Of, all our Norweigan escapades, Gudvangen thrilled us beyond words! For a small town girl, this village established that a large part of fairytale movies must be inspired, by this Norweigan valley of mountains. Our first step into this small ‘snow-edged’ hamlet gave us a glimpse of its surreal beauty complemented by a Tiki statue and a booking counter. We walked past several Norweigan flags, hovering in the air, before making it to the Tiki Statue guard.
That’s just a name we made up because the ticket-checker usually stands next to the worn-off wooden statue. Only those with a reservation can walk past this line, which leads to World’s most iconic scenery. Let the “Norway in a Nutshell” begin, we said to ourselves.
In 60-minutes, we were to board the Fjord cruise, a driveway into the World’s most iconic route. Inhabited by merely 120 people, Gudvangen, stands true to its name, meaning the field of the Gods. From every step, we took on this historically-affluent soil, we tell you, Gudvangen is where nature weaves magic at every corner. Located at the far end of the Nærøyfjord, this village is essentially where Norway in a Nutshell trip begins. (or ends, if you are travelling from Oslo to Bergen) We arrived here in less than an hour from the central Bergen.
But, once we were at the Fjord waiting-junction, time lost its magic. Our hearts were pounding with excitement as, we were to travel through the world’s number 1 Natural Heritage site, as quoted by the National Geographic magazine. (Besides, Nærøy Valley has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005) But, Gudvangen is an extraordinary Viking Village marking the beginning of the Nærøyfjord.
We learned from the locals that the best time to visit Gudvangen is when the annual Viking Fest takes place in July each year. (We were visiting in August, so we just missed it by a few days) This Fest allows the tourists to partake in local activities and shop for authentic Viking crafts, and home-brewed mead. Additionally, the locals display sword fights, archery strife, theatricals, fire shows, and Viking wrestling around the Viking Ship. Followed by an authentic Viking feast to take your palate on an adventure of flavours. For other days, you can still buy yourself an authentic Norwegian meal at the Fjordtell Restaurant and Hotel.
This side of the world holds large stocks of Fjord salmon. If you fancy seafood, then you must taste the salmon in this area. Best would be, to get a takeaway from the Fjordtell restaurant for your onward journey. They also sell Reindeer burgers, that is, if you’d like to get a little more adventurous with the food. We did away with baked salmon in balsamic sauce and a cup of hot coffee. Ate in complete silence as we could not stop drooling over the sublime beauty of the glaciated mountains and one of Norway’s highest Kjelsfossen waterfall.
We may have missed the blooming orchards and the traditionally carved wooden houses; however, we did film the Viking-style boat parked at the shore. This boat if you look closely, casts back the authenticity of Viking handcraft. Soon after, our Fjord cruise signalled to depart, while, we were more than ready to venture into Norway’s longest and narrowest Fjord of all times.