From the very beginning, I knew this is the place to be. We started our road trip without any expectations, big plans, and destinations. We were drifting through nature on the Swedish roads. We would live day by day and enjoyed every precious moment. Did you know about the Everyman’s right in Sweden, Norway, Finland and other European countries? It gives you free access to the countryside as long as you tread lightly. Outdoor recreation has become a major part of a national identity and is established by law. So here we are with three cups of coffee, and two peanut butter sandwiches. We had one common idea, a route to Norway was made. We crossed the border south of Oslo after about ten minutes and we couldn‘t get enough. With butterflies in our stomach, our eyes were glued out the car windows and outside mirrors to absorb that stunning view. Innumerable dirt roads, dark tunnels, exciting gradients and slopes were behind us. This part of the country took our breath away. Right in front of us was the glacier lakes in a lovely setting among the mountains.
Just imagine, the sun is out, and the water is sparkling, shining, and turquoise. We are surrounded by enormous towering mountain chains. Others have told us about the beauty of Norway’s nature. However, we’ve never imagined that it would be so spectacular. I mean look at those pictures. One street to Loen, one intersection, one decision and we drove on a road offering space just for one car in one direction. We wanted to admire the great spectacle of nature so, we took a small break at the next parking. It belonged to a campsite named “Helsetcamping“. As we were watching the mountain streams and little waterfalls out of the snow covered peaks, we were warmly welcomed by an elderly man. So we really had little choice but to stay. We usually look out for places where we can stay a night for free because with our van we can be self-sufficient most of the time. Sometimes we’d prefer to let the local community profit from the massive tourism. We paid 200 NOK (20 Euro) for a spot like this. We chose a spot close to the water and savored the peacefulness of the lake as well as the last rays of sun to the fullest.
For those who didn’t know, here’s a short introduction to Norway’s geography. It is primarily divided into five regions (landsdel) that can be subdivided into eighteen counties (fylker) for administrative purposes. Lovatnet lies in the valley Loen in the Norwegian province Sogn og Fjordane, Vestlandet. The valley Kjenndalen with the glacier Kjenndalsbreen is the innermost branch of the bigger valley Lodalen located 17 kilometres away from Loen. It is about a 30 minute walk to the lowest branch of the gigantic Jostedalsbreen (breen means glacier). A tragic history, though, is hiding behind the splendid nature. Rocks off the mountains of Ramnefjell fell twice into the lake below. The resulting tidal waves decimated the hamlets of Nesdal and Bødal and 135 lives were lost. The years 1905 and 1936 is reminiscent of that for the people in Indre Nordfjord. Primeval forces and the fascination of beauty can be found side by side. Nature has regained a piece and the lake is still sparsely populated today. One can see only a few buildings and grassy cottages while a walk through the region. Many did not return out of fear. Visitors can explore the hole in the mountain, that was left by the broken rock. You can go by boat, kayak, or canoe which can all be borrowed at the campsite.
Words cannot express the magnificence of this landscape, one must simply experience it! After almost two years we are still attached to this special place. You’ll find breathtaking and idyllic scenery and the view of the snow-covered mountain ranges. The adjacent forests look like fairytale watercolor painting that can be gazed on for days. Hooray for midnight sun! Let me end by saying the melted ice water in the lake is not as warm as it looks. It is not an attractive prospect for a swim. Lovanet Lake is more for a jump in and run away screaming!
Location: Lovatnet Lake, Norway