Autumn magic in Urke, Hjørundfjorden

I visited home sweet home Urke in Hjørundfjorden last weekend. It was autumn magic and Norwegian fjords and mountains at it's very best. Hiking, a boat trip on the fjord, some more hiking, waffles at Urke Kaihus and just enjoying the beauty. The recipe of a perfect weekend!

The hikes went to Gapahuken Bentebu, Leknesnakken and Haukåssætra. Short hikes with amazing views! The Hurigruten was also there, the people adding an international touch to this amazing fjord village.

I'll let the pictures tell you the rest of the story. 

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The mountains are calling and I must go

The mountains are calling and I must go is a quote by John Muir, one of America’s most famous and influential outdoor enthusiasts. I often feel just that. The urge to be outdoors, in one with nature. It doesn't have to be the mountains (even though I love them very much!). Things like kayaking, hiking in the woods, skiing hills or just sitting in a park - they all give me bliss, energy and joy.

I grew up in Urke, surrounded by the Norwegian alps (Sunnmørsalpene) reflected in the fjord (Hjørundfjorden). Time was spent outdoors, in the weekends we hiked. Some of it I enjoyed, some of it not. As children do. I actually had to grow up, to move away to understand how much I loved it. Today I will hike in Oslo, I'll start outside of my apartment, hike to lake Nøklevann, 2-3 hours. It doesn't have to be more. This weekend we will hike in Hemsedal, a few weekends ago we hiked a real mountain - Besseggen and camped by the lake. During the winter we went skiing every possible weekend. That's the life I like!

Travelling gives me great pleasure, but I have realized that being in the nature gives me just as much and I often seek outdoor activities on my travels. Living in Norway gives so many opportunities. My goal is that every possible weekend is about doing some kind of outdoor activity. At the moment it is. That makes me very happy.

I have a tent, skiing equipment, outdoor clothes and I own half of a kayak and a bike. It helps to have stuff you need but it's just as much about seeking the nature experiences, feeling the joy of it. Buy stuff to use it, not because you think about using it. Don't make it to complicated. Define your own adventures. Be outdoors, seek the green spots, the woods, the hills, the mountains.

The mountains are calling if you are listening.

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Urke Kaihus - a cafe you just have to visit if you are in the area

The small village Urke in Hjørundfjorden opened it's very first cafe/pub this summer - Urke Kaihus. (Urke Port house). And what a place! In doors the furniture is old fashion with deep couches, a disk built from planks from old barns in the village, pictures on the wall from old times when this was the villages active port house and so on. Perfect when the weather isn't the best outside (and we all know that that tends to happen in this area...). 

But the out door serving is the very best part. At the dock by the fjord, surrounded by the Norwegian alps and the view towards Slogen. Magnificent! 

Ever in the area around Hjørundfjorden, kayaking the fjord or arriving with Hurtigruten - you just have to make a stop. The waffles are also great by the way.

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Kayaking at Hjørundfjorden

Being on summer vacation in Urke by Hjørundfjorden (the village where I grew up), I did some very nice kayaking on this majestic fjord. 

Hjørundfjorden is one of the most distinctive and magnificent fjords of Norway. Among the wildest and most beautiful mountain areas in western Norway – Sunnmørsalpane - the fjord stretches 33 km in a straight line south-south-east from Storfjorden in the north to Bjørke  in the south. By Leknes the narrow Norangsfjorden go to the east towards Øye. (source Hjørundfjordportalen, more information about the fjord to be found there).

Hjørundfjorden is a great place for kayaking with many small villages to visit along the way. The fjord is surrounded by tall mountains on both sides which makes kayaking there into an exiting experience. Kayaks can be rented from Sagafjord Hotel at Sæbø and Hotel Union Øye (and probably other places as well). 

I mostly stayed in the part of Hjørundfjorden called Norangsfjorden where you have the view towards the majestic mountain Slogen. I also paddled towards Bjørke. The cafe Urke Kaihus and Hotel Union Øye are amongst stops you really should do if you are in the area. 

Kayaking is such a great way to do sightseeing and at Hjørundfjorden it's just perfect. Some pics from my days on the fjord. And imagine it all with a deep deep blue sky;)


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Visit Urke and Hjørundfjorden with Hurtigruten

The guests arrive at the dock in the small town of Urke. They are welcomed by the host of the day, and given a brochure about the town. Pictures are taken beside the "Downtown Urke" sign, surrounded by mountains reflected in the fjord. The locals like to chat and invite the guests to visit the small very cozy partly volunteer driven Kaihuset cafe. No need to buy anything, but if they feel like, the coffee is good and there are home made cakes and waffles. 

Hurtigruten is a daily passenger and freight shipping service along Norway's western and northern coast. Many would say they offer the worlds most beautiful voyage. Two years ago it started sailing in the fjord called Hjørundfjorden during September and October, the trip is called Autumn Gold

I grew up in Urke, the small town where the passengers can walk around for a couple of hours when visiting Hjørundfjorden with Hurtigruten. I'm extremely proud when I see how the locals are welcoming the guests, this is a big thing for the town with less then 50 inhabitants and for all of us who used to live there, we finally get to show it all to the world! Because Urke is truly amazingly beautiful, just look around Instagram

So if you are going to visit Norway, Urke should be on the list. Travelling with Hurtigruten is one way to visit, but you can also go to Urke in other ways and stay at Urke Camping or the amazing historic Hotel Union Øye in the neighbor town Øye. There are also other options to rent cabins etc. 

Hurtigruten in front of Urke, late October.

Hurtigruten in front of Urke, late October.

Waiting for the passengers strolling around Urke.

Waiting for the passengers strolling around Urke.

Hurigruten waiting while guests are visiting Kaihuset cafe.

Hurigruten waiting while guests are visiting Kaihuset cafe.

Urke and Hjørundfjorden seen from the mountain Saksa.

Urke and Hjørundfjorden seen from the mountain Saksa.

(This post is not in any way sponsored by Hurtigruten or any other local parts involved, but its filled with my subjective thoughts about the town where I grew up):

Travelling and home sweet home

One of the effects of travelling is the fact that I appreciate so much more what I have back home. I love exploring new countries, understanding other cultures, seeing new things and meeting new people. But it also makes me understand how lucky I am, what I have where I live.

Off course growing up and living in Norway is pretty good because it's a democratic and wealthy country with benefits others can just dream about. But what I appreciate the most is the beautiful nature we have. I live in Oslo and today I have been walking in the nature (Østmarka) for hours and I started just outside my own door. The closeness to the nature is great about Oslo.

But even more I love the place where I grew up (Urke in Ørsta, Sunnmøre), one of the most beautiful places in Norway, between mountains and fjords. I actually had to move away to understand how beautiful it is and I understand it even more after travelling.

I was standing on a mountain top in Peru (4000 meters above the sea, the highest I have ever been), and the local guide proudly asks me; Isn't this the most beautiful view ever? I didn't know what to say, because it was truly beautiful, but I have seen something even more amazing, at home sweet home.

I'm so grateful that I can travel the world, learning about the world and seeing new places the way I do, but I will always love home sweet home the most.

This picture is from the mountain Saksa in Urke, I grew up in the village you see at the foot of the mountain.

My sanctuary

My sanctuary