We climbed a mountain! Next to a fjord! It was really, very, quite pretty. And tiring. And thankfully we didn’t break anything, get soaked, or miss our cruise ship. These were all completely valid concerns.
Today required some research to make possible, since it was definitely not a cruise ship-supported excursion. The timing was a bit delicate, meaning we had to be among the first ones off the boat and were almost the very last ones back on. But we made it! And here’s our story.
We arrived in Stavanger, found our bearings, and made our way to the ferry terminal. (Two side notes here, which perhaps we should have been mentioned earlier in these posts: 1) Google Maps enabling offline caching in their app is an incredible feature. Thank you Google. 2) Not having a chip-and-pin credit card while traveling in Europe is incredibly frustrating. Planning on visiting? Go get one. Seriously.) Our short ferry ride to Tau gave us a nice overview of the harbor, a view of Stavanger, the Stavanger City Bridge, and a nice chat with a Dutch gentlemen we had been seeing around over the past few days.
Our next leg in the trip was a short bus ride to Preikestolen and the bus was waiting for us at the dock when we arrived. But we were missing one key element – our bus driver. After twenty minutes of frustrated hikers wanting to get on with their day, a new bus finally showed up to take us to the mountain. (Pro tip: buy your ferry and bus tickets separately, since there is another bus agency which we could have taken. Alternately, have the phone number of the bus company so that you can call and ask them where the bus driver is. Either of these would have been helpful.)
We arrived at the base of Preikestolen and started up the mountain. It’s about a 5 mile hike round trip with an elevation gain of approximately 2300 feet. And we made it up in a little under two hours. With only a small amount of going on the entirely wrong trail. Turns out we passed the proper cutoff and went to an overlook to view the overlook of Preikestolen. (Yo dawg). We managed to get down from the overlook without too much hassle and only a bit of rock climbing.
Up top, we rested, ate lunch, and took a whole bunch of photos with the tripod I lugged along. A surprising amount of hikers were up top with us – families, dogs, young, old – all sorts of visitors. It was perhaps the most incredible view I’ve ever witnessed, and it was a magical space to spend an hour or so.
Our journey down was laughably faster than our trek up as we walked/jogged/ran down the mountain to catch the bus to catch the ferry to catch the cruise ship. But we did it! And even had a bit of time to explore Stavanger’s old town area. Whew.