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Adorable Chick

NORWAY & DENMARK Diary : Day 12 - 11th April 2019

Sitting in the lap of the Sunnmore Alps, flanked by the beautiful fjords - STORFJORDEN and GEIRANGERFJORDEN, is the municipality of Stranda, consisting of 4 villages. The Central, largest village of them all is the Stranda Village. The place gets its name from the German word STRAND meaning ' Beach'. It's strategic location earns it the name of a world renowned SKI RESORT. Skiing down its snow clad slopes, with the fjord views on the way down is a dream of many. Lying at a distance of less than 2 hours from Alesund, a visit to this SKI RESORT obviously became our choice for a day tour.

Our beautiful day began by the usual cooking. We hit the roads by the 9:00 am. Our journey consisted of a bus ride in the FRAMEXPRESS bus, to reach STRANDA by 11:30 am. The bus stop was just a 4 mn walk from our apartment in Nedre Strandgate , Alesund. Anticipating the arrival of bus no. 250 at SPOR 3 (terminal), we stood waiting. The bus found its way to the stop around 9:15 am, upon which we immediately purchased our return tickets from the driver himself. Quickly settling down in the uncrowded vehicle, we were soon on the move. It turned out to be a fun filled journey. We were unaware about the more exciting stuff coming on our way.

The Bus accelerated through scenic streets and villages & soon reached MOA ( pronounced "Mo ah" - the main bus station). After a short break in MOA, it zoomed again to reach the MAGERHOLM ferry port. The scenery here was, as usual, stunning. We got off the bus and were excited to get a few pictures. The driver seemed to explain something, in his own slang of English. Though a few question marks clouded our brains, we managed to decipher that a ferry would cross us over to SYKYYLVEN (on the other side- pronounced CYCLE - VIN) after which, we would be boarding another bus, to get to STRANDA. However, we stood puzzled when this bus wouldn't budge after dropping us off.

Tidy Desk

It seemed even more stranger that none of the other passengers moved from their seats. Our bus driver again instructed us to get back before reaching the Sykkylven port. A great realisation dawned at that point, that the bus too was about to be ferried along with the passengers. We spotted a fast approaching ferry. As it got closer to the port we saw that it was loaded with many vehicles from the other side, including another bus no.250, which was on its way back to Alesund. The number of vehicles that disembarked, surely out numbered the number of passengers. Now, this was our first time experience. We were in awe. It was thrilling to see our bus boarding the ferry along with us.

Crossing beautiful villages, the ferry reached Sykkyvlen, our bus disembarked with us and hit the roads to reach us to Strandafjellet (ski mountain) by 11:10 am. This is the stop before the STRANDA Village. The ski resort here, is a top-rated tourist spot, which offers unparalleled views of the fjord surrounded by snowy mountains in winters.

We spotted the start point of the cable car ride, diagonally across the road of the bus stop. We bought the return tickets for the ride at a small 'hut type' office situated before the cable car start point. We rode the Gondola ( Cable car) to reach the top in about 7 minutes. We got out of the Gondola and walked just a few steps. It was bright & sunny. An infinite snow white carpet welcomed us with its body sloping downward. Where now ? This didn't look very walkable. It only looked suitable to skiers, who were already wading their way downward, swishing & swashing their sticks on the snow. We were aware of a restaurant on top but that too seemed nowhere in sight. After discussing amongst ourselves, we decided to make a move.

We soon caught sight of a sign board that assured us of being on the right track. We staggered down the slant, as carefully as we could. A weird fear of losing control & tumbling downhill filled our minds, but we didn't give up.

We slowly & steadily turtled to a piece of flat land, a little below this slope and lo ! Our vision came across an out of the world, spectacular sight ! The STRANDAfjellet ski resort magnified before us the view of the entire range of the SUNNMORE Alps surrounding it, along with amazing views of the STRANDA village right below it including the bluish waters of the Storfjorden snaking its way through these massive mountains. We could see the village clearly and it was turning green as the summer was duly setting in. The top part of the peaks are covered with snow throughout the year. After a while we even spotted a large boat making its way through the fjord waters. We looked to our right and found the restaurant. It looked like a piece of cake submerged in the white land.

At what seemed to be the edge of this flat piece of land, was a man made fence, mounded out of snow, may be a little less than a feet high, running along its full length. It was great to ride on this snow mound and get captivated by the views. We found less than a dozen RED chairs, neatly laid out one next to the others at this edge, creating a perfect colour combination. We relaxed thoroughly. There was no sight of wind. We, however, explored the restaurant for some warm, yummy eats and coffee. The hot coffee lifted our spirits further. We stepped out of the restaurant, catching sight of young foreign skiers religiously sliding down this frosty treat with ease. This whipped up a frenzy in us non-skiers, to experience the snow in our own way.