The Geirangerfjord and the surrounding area is supposedly known as one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The water that penetrates the mainland enclosed by steep walls is probably one of the reasons why you got there in the first place. But you have to spend at least a couple of days in Geiranger to get to know its real majesty.
The best time to go is May. Depending on how the winter was and on the amount of precipitation, you can choose to go in the middle or end of May. During this time you can experience the moment when the winter gives space to the spring: the snow melts and the flowers bloom at the same time. On the one hand, you can hear the sound of an avalanche, on the other, the birds tweet. The locals get ready for the summer season, the first tourist and the first cruise ships arrive. But you still have the amazing perception of being in one of the most remote places on earth where human life is very small in comparison to the majesty of nature.
This is the reason why the greatest way to get the best out of this place is to camp and immerse yourself in nature. Even if the temperatures are slightly cold in May during the last four years it has been quite sunny and it makes it possible and nice to camp. The peaks are still covered with snow so you should decide for a place located at around 200-500 meters above sea level. If you reckon it’s too cold to camp you can also opt for a wooden cabin (hytta in Norwegian) which is a nice and cosy alternative. Once you decide the type of accommodation you are ready to come in contact with this unique place.
You may not notice immediately how far from a modern and civilized Western society you are. This is because Geiranger is a village and you can find all the basic stuff from food to medicines; phones are working and internet too. In the houses there are comfortable bathrooms with hot showers.
However, beyond all this there is a cosmic silence. It isn’t only a lack of sound, but a peacefulness of the senses. You can feel it, perceive it, even see it, you are in the middle of it. No gigantic billboards nor images of any kind are to be seen. No Traffic lamps or horn blasts. You are surrounded by the world as it was created: no stimulation to keep your mind busy and distracted, if you know what I mean. I am convinced that every human being deserves this peace. Think just a second about it: when do you have a moment when everything is really still? If you want to experience this in Geiranger you can do that.
There’s also water as you may have never seen it before. The quantity of water in this place is inestimable: the fjord brings the ocean to the mountains, the waterfalls are to be seen on every mount side. When the snow melts it creates even more water streams descending from the slopes and frozen lakes are located in every valley. If the sun shines you can see the waterfall in the village growing before your very eyes, if it rains it happens pretty much the same. The sound of water accompanies your nights and when you get close to it you can feel its freshness.
On the fjord’s shores it is possible to smell the sulphur that usually characterizes the ocean. The seagulls keep you company during the walks along the fjord. The feeling of being by the sea isn’t a hallucination: the first time I was here I looked around to see if someone looked at me, as soon as I felt alone I decided to taste the water. It’s saltwater. The proximity of sea and mountain isn’t that extraordinary but in this place the saltwater fills the bottom of a steep valley and the mountain sides raise from the fjord shores. This is something you cannot find very often and you can spend hours contemplating this natural master piece. And exactly in this spot, at the end of the fjord humans settled down and today people from all over the world come here to see this.
What also shocked me when I first arrived here was the light. The mountains filter the sun light, the snow reflects it and the water too. The result is a game of shadows and of strong light (Geiranger is located at 62 degrees of latitude). The light accentuates the traits of nature or hides them until the time comes for them to stand out. In summer, on this stage, the curtains never close, or at least not completely. If you aren’t used to having light twenty-four hours a day, it’ll certainly affect you: it won’t only amaze you but it’ill also influence your body.
Images and word will always help you getting closer to the experience but there is a gap in between. Don’t hesitate to visit Geiranger and undergo every corner and aspect of it. Sit down, look and listen.