Troll Twinning in Hardangervidda

There’s drama in the Norwegian country. It is so replete with it that it seems to be made up of bangs sans the whimpers.

You might arrive at the conclusion that drama peaks at the heart of Eidfjord with the Kjeåsen Mountain Farm, but wait awhile, unless the lead photo has introduced you to the idea already.  

First, let me point out to you that we are in the traditional district of Hardanger. It happened to be a petty kingdom before it was, along with the other minor kingdoms in the country, united under the banners of Harald Fairhair, the first Norwegian king. The reason behind the unification is attributed to that reckless emotion of love. Our Harald wanted to marry the daughter of the king of Hordaland (one of the most important counties in western Norway), Gyda, and our fair lady would have none of him till he ruled over all of Norway.

Harald took a decade to achieve this aim but till then he did not cut and comb his hair. He acquired the unfavourable title of ‘Shockhead’/‘Tanglehair’ which he dropped in favour of ‘Fairhair’. After all we cannot see a strong woman like Gyda going for a king with malodorous locks, isn’t it?

Time to snap back from the world of strong queens and besotted kings to the present-day district of Hardanger which is home to two of the country’s important national tourist toutes – the Hardanger Route and the Hardangervidda Route.

The Hardanger route was framed by fruit orchards. Aplenty. The mist persisted in hugging the mountain tops as we took off from the village of Eidfjord. Driving down the Rv7 ( short for the Norwegian National Road, Riksvei 7) we found ourselves in the valley of Måbødalen. The mountains towered above the hairpin bends in the roads, brooding away in the doom and gloom of the day.

Two paths diverged at a stop which was for an ancient farm at Måbø. Ignoring the path leading down to the building which we had spotted from the road, we made a beeline for the woods instead and arrived upon Måbøvatnet, the lake that adjoins the area. Giant boulders stood in attendance upon the lake, with an accompanying army of smaller rocks, and it was all very slippery and mossy as the water gurgled and gushed by us into the bend around the corner.

The icy waters and the slimy outgrowths on the boulders made me yearn for the cosiness of a coffee shop. I am strange, I know. I crave the lap of nature but then I often end up feeling intimidated. On a damp, dark day in the woods, it seems to me that the visible roots of gnarled old trees wait to entwine their solid strength around me and not let go. Wiping away all traces of my existence. But let it be sunny. Then the dappled sunlight, the soft play of light and shadow as it streams in through the canopy, uplifts my heart.

We got going after and the road kept climbing higher and higher till we reached a point when a wall of mist showed up, dense and impenetrable. We were at Vøringsfossen, one of Norway’s iconic waterfalls. A bouquet of waterfall, of varying degrees of girth, converged into a chasm with thunderous notes which were strangely hypnotic. A bus load of Oriental tourists chattered around us excitedly as they hurried to hold their selfie sticks into the air, the Vøringsfossen forming a suitably dramatic backdrop for their self-portraits.

This was our gateway to the flat country that marks Europe’s largest mountain plateau, Hardangervidda.

The landscape started changing obviously. At one point in the afternoon, we stopped for a spot of lunch on a summit. The view was that of a broad expanse of marshy land interspersed by lakes and we munched on boiled eggs and sandwiches as the wind tore through our hair and thick jackets.

When I lay my eyes upon such vast tracts of solemn, barren beauty, loneliness steals in upon me. Just like it did whenever I was in the heart of the English moors – the way I felt in Haworth in Brontë country on a grey, grey day. Dark thoughts come swooping in. It is no wonder that you feel the presence of the moors seep into the text of Wuthering Heights

The spell was broken by a group of Norwegian boys and girls who happened upon this parallel world of ours. It did lead us however to my favourite memory of the day, Adi meeting his troll twin. Why no, I am not calling my husband a troll.

Outside a cluster of yellow and red buildings, which happen to be a mountain lodge on Rv 7, stands the Dyranut troll in a red jumpsuit. His sleeves are dark green, the face marked by large eyes and pendulous nose, his hair is white and he wears a toothless old man’s smile. He does look quite harmless and silly as he peers into the horizon scanning for I know not what. Maybe his troll wife who has been gone long to bring him soup after stirring it well with her bulbous nose? Now consider yourself warned, if you are offered soup by a troll woman, think twice. She is known to use her nose as a ladle.

Punctuated by the occasional presence of small black or yellow cottages – possibly outposts for fishing and camping – the desolation and primordial air of Hardangervidda clung to us for a couple of hours till we found ourselves quite ready for civilisation.

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Måbøvatnet

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Making our way through sleepy hamlets nestled at the foot of the mountains

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Reaching Vøringsfossen

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Trolls of Vøringsfossen
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Merry double-headed troll
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Vøringsfossen free falls into the chasm below 
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The view from our lunch spot in Hardangervidda
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Making his way to meet the Dyranut Troll
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I shall have to carry my head in my arms for safekeeping when Adi comes across this
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Hardangervidda 
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The stark, the cold and the beautiful brings with it a mingling sense of exile and desolation.

 

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80 thoughts on “Troll Twinning in Hardangervidda

  1. Oh my goodness. This post was wonderful. This place is absolutely wonderful! I have put this on my bucket list of places to visit. Although, said bucket list is down to my feet now – it’s that freaking long! I love your photos and your detailed information! xo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Linda 🙂 It is quite so remote and lovely. You would have a great time arranging your shoots there.

      Hahaha wrt the bucket list, it depends upon how tall you are?! I am just about a 5′ 4” so don’t go making me jealous 😉 xx

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  2. Arundhati this place is incredible!! I love the mist, it makes the setting even more mystical, and those falls!! The trolls look hilarious to me, I kept laughing at them. Which is not the appropriate response probably. Also, I’m with you on nature, I long to be in it, then once I am, I feel out of place 🙂 It’s definitely awe inspiring once you’re in the thick of it though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is, Angela. I guess maybe that is what is special about nature, that ability to awe and intimidate at the same time. To show us our place in the scheme of things on earth.

      The trolls are supposed to be dangerous creatures, so take care. You can offer to have their soups as a peace offering I suppose…xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Unbelievably beautiful landscape. Seriously, consider my jaw unhinged and dropped low (and just a teensy bit of drooling) as I ogle your pictures. And when Adi does happen to stumble across his troll twinning photo commemorating husband-troll twinning all round the world, please let him know we would appreciate it if he would spare you (and your head). 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, have I missed your presence. Welcome back. I notice you have not been posting missy!

      Thank you 🙂 It can do that but that I shall say drooling is better than unhinging the jaw. Less painful and you can have your own pool at the same time. Just sayin’

      Adi shall be plied with a lovely Indian dinner when he returns home from Detroit tonight. And Bam! I will make sure that he is suitably dazzled by the chicken curry to even consider snapping my head off (also, the chicken would have died for a cause) xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And I have missed being here! I have so much to catch up on–I think you have been making up for my lack of posts 😉 I am hoping today and tomorrow can be days dedicated to lazy reading and maybe even some writing.

        I will admit that drooling is the easier option–and sadly I would know, as I am a sleep-drooler when I reach a certain level of exhaustion–but those pictures seem to demand the unhinged jaw-drool combo.

        Excellent idea with the good meal. I swear a good plate of food will cure anything. Add a delicious curry sauce and you’ve earned extra grace for the next embarrassing picture, I’ll bet. 😛 And for the record, if the chicken knew you, I am sure it would be proud to know it took your place on the chopping block.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have indeed got myself a routine now and it feels so good! I had been missing my own space and schedule. We humans are such creatures of habit – it is amusing.

        Okay I shall let you unhinge the jaws. I am just trying hard not to imagine it. Too achy for my ‘tender’ imagination.

        The thing is that Adi has to yet learn the art of deleting his embarrassing pictures. I have perfected it with mine. Curries will have to do for him till he gets there. If the chicken would have known me and vice versa, he would not have ended up on the block. He would have been clucking his way around the apartment with his own mini bucket of popcorn.

        I am looking forward to your posts and that is needless to say xx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Noooo, I am now picturing Adi coming home to a clever chicken wearing your clothes and eating your popcorn. In this scenario, are you the one soaking in curry? I hope not! 😛

        On another note, I have officially posted a new post. Phew. Now to keep up some momentum…

        And finally, I just saw Cheila’s party series post featuring you. So fun. 🙂 And now it is confirmed that your name is Arundhati. I thought so much from Instagram, but had this fear that I would be wrong and call you by the wrong name. Oh it is one of my greatest sources of social anxiety, getting people’s names wrong. But now I know–yay! But the question is whether you go by a nickname. I have assumed (most likely wrongly so, knowing me and my ratio of right : wrong assumptions) that the Dotty in “Dippy-Dotty” is drawn from your name????

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Aha. Now Dippy-Dotty is purely on account of my personality, my dear lady. It has not been derived from my name though.

        Arundhati is pronounced as just as it is spelt with the ‘u’ enunciated as in ‘dubious’. It means a constellation and it also happened to be the name of the wife of a famous sage in Hindu mythology. Don’t even ask why my parents had this sort of a brainwave. They clearly wanted the world to suffer in trying to get my name. I just go by Zara in Starbucks. Way easier on my own overworked senses.

        At home, they call me Mom (which is pronounced as Mome, rhyming with dome). It is Bengali for the word ‘wax’. My mother however always helpfully points out to all and sundry, “This is hard wax. Does not melt.”

        Hahaha, Kristyn you can easily compete with me in goofing up and you will probably pass the crown to me.

        P.S.: You can call me anything you want. Goat, Donkey, …or Cathy like Cheila or Zara or Mom…isn’t that quite democratic?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I think your parents chose a great name for you. Who would not want to be named for the beautiful stars in the sky?? And it’s always important to keep others on their toes–make ”em work for your name 😉 My name is so typical, but my parents threw the y in instead of the usual e or i. The best result there was that my dad still misspelled my name until the day he died! 😂

        And now you have left me with a challenge to choose a worthy nickname for you. I do love goats and donkeys…

        I will also be looking into shipping costs for crowns. We may be having to overnight it now and then when our blunders trump each other’s 😜

        Liked by 1 person

      6. He did?! That is a precious bit of information. HAHAHA. He sounds sweet 🙂

        Thank you for saying so. I have grown to like this big arse name however. I guess its habit too. Humans are conditioned to get used to something, ain’t it?

        I look forward to the crown (we can make it a tiara too) and thrilling nicknames…xx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your prose was just as immersive as the stunning photos. I could almost feel the mist washing over me as I stared down into the chasm. It’s always a treat to share a few moments of your journey.
    Thanks for inviting us along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks Gabe. I have to stop saying that. Aw that is. I am not an aw person! Or am I? Grave dilemmas in life.

      I am smiling as I hear about the mist washing over you. It was such a wondrous dream. It makes me want to step into the photos and just stay put there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you. The itch to get back out there is strong right now. Fortunately, your prose n pics provide plenty of virtual reprieve from the laptop.
        And I hear one of the benefits of being a writer is that you get to use whatever words you want, even if they’re made-up, or droll.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Droll. One of my favourite words. You do it very well as you must know. So go on take a bow.

        And you can get out there surely. I am itching to taste my first American hike. Bring on the grizzlies and the snakes.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re not kidding that there is drama in the Norwegian country. I love the moodiness created by the mist, the harsh elements, and landscapes. It reminds me a tad of Newfoundland (minus the trolls), which makes me very happy. Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya Amanda, thank you for the lovely comment and dropping by. We have a common love right there then 🙂 Plus I am not a big fan of heat and humidity too. Must be because I am a November baby even though most of my growing up years were in Calcutta, India. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

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