We had travelled all the way from Bergen to Tromso by Hurtigruten boat and then flew back to Trondheim to spend two days there. After our time in Trondheim, we caught the bus back to the airport where the car hire companies were located and picked up our means of transport for the next four days. We drove around the outskirts of Trondheim on our way south, heading for a guest house on the coast not far from the small town of Sveggen. The internet had suggested that our drive would take us around four hours. After a one night stay here, we would then continue on at a leisurely pace for 3 more days to return our hire car to Bergen Railway station.
When I had looked at Google maps before arriving in Norway, I noticed that our guest house appeared to be on an island off the coast with the road on the map appearing to be built straight across an ocean passage. I was puzzled how this would work. It was only after this trip had started that we realised that, unlike Australian roads, driving in this country could be a road on dry land but regularly our route would be through long tunnels under mountains and slightly less frequently, on car ferries between islands. The last road that took us to the Sveggvika Guesthouse was a long tunnel under the sea channel to Averoy Island followed by a short dirt road to our destination. The large town of Kristiansund was about 10km away from our guesthouse.
We were very pleased with our accommodation when we arrived. The guest house was built on pylons over the edge of the bay and its design didn’t look like the guest houses that we were familiar with. This was because it used to be a factory that processed the salt cod that was the mainstay of the Norwegian fishing industry. (See Appendix 1). As can be seen in the image below, the original users of the building had carved a swimming pool shaped space in the rock in front of their factory to provide access from the bay to protected shelter to unload fish cargo from larger boats. It is still used today by the owner to shelter his own boat.
The image below shows the view from our bedroom window of the bay and the rocky islands that pave the way out to the Atlantic Ocean.
After a very pleasant night relaxing in the old fish factory, we decided we would have a quick look around Avaroy island before we continued south to Geiranger. We returned to the dirt road that led to the small fishing village of Sveggen. Avaroy island is just one large rock but the sea had cut a channel down the middle of it and humanity had been delighted to settle in this convenient channel for a life-style of ocean views and cod-fishing.
The first part of Sveggen was a small inlet off the channel that had been carved out of the Island rock over the eons. There were a series of fisher folk houses here with their boat-sheds and the ageing trawling equipment that had been cast off the boats but not quite made it to the rubbish tip.
Driving back up the hill we found the main road took us over the deep channel in the rock giving us a great view of the rest of the town which stretched along the channel down to the ocean.
APPENDIX 1…Stock Fish (Dried Cod)
I am not sure why mein host at the Sveggvika Guesthouse kept a huge, dried stock fish handy in his reception room. I could only presume it was left over from the factory days…these Cod had a long life in the dried state before somebody decided to soak them in water and bring them back to ‘ready to cook’ life.. These dried fish were exported all over Europe, particularly Spain and Italy. At quite a number of the ports that we stopped at while we were on the Hurtigruten boat, we noted the drying racks for the cod where they were hung out after they had been salted and dried.
It was interesting to note when the topic of Viking raids came up, that these stock fish were a big component of stores on Viking longboats when they headed out for long voyages to terrorize any Europeans within sailing distance.