Beautiful views at Aurlandsford – Stegastein in Aurlandsfjell
The biggest celebrity on the Aurlandsfjord is certainly the historic Flåmbahn (Flåmbanen). But as soon as a cruise ship is here, the small town of Flåm turns into an unbearable tourist hell. It is inconceivable that five of the gigantic floating social apartments were parked here in the past. In any case, we literally fled and discovered the exciting Stegastein for us and watched from here how deep down in the fjord the last floating tourist ghetto of the day leaves the Aurlandsfjord.
Aiming high requires good balance
It is always a dichotomy that the more mobile the world becomes, the more you have to face it. Tourism is an important source of income, especially for people in regions who otherwise become impoverished. But the current type of uncontrolled marketing makes tourist flows uncontrollable. Where there is money to be made, the balance quickly gets out of hand.
You notice that very quickly in Flåm with its really unique Flåm Railway. If you really want to discover Norway, we recommend places that are not advertised excessively and that, if possible, do not have Unesco World Heritage status. I know Norwegian tourism won’t love me for that opinion, but we should keep what we love.
An architectural symbol for the tourist boom is certainly the Stegastein in the Aurlandsfjell. Originally, a simple construction road led through the lonely Aurlandsfjell. The Aurlandsfjell is impassable due to its enormous snow masses until the end of May. We don’t use any four-wheel drive in the world or a Norwegian winter experience like we really have. Here, in Aurlansfjell, the snow is still a few meters high at the end of May. The construction road through the Aurlandsfjell also earned it the name “Snow Road”.
From Aurlandsvangen to Stegastein in the Aurlandsfjell
The “Snow Road” has been leading through the Aurlandsfjell since 1967 and thus through a truly untouched and lonely high mountain idyll between Lærdalsøyri (Lærdal) and Aurlandsvangen on the Aurlandsfjord. Today, the former construction road is narrow, but well developed. At its highest point, Schneestraße is 1306 meters above sea level.
Almost exactly halfway up, the expansion of the snow road through the Aurlandsfjell to the official tourist road has enriched it with an impressive viewing platform. At 650 meters above the Aurlandsfjord you literally hover over the fjord landscape, far from the hustle and bustle in the valley. A sloping glass wall at the end of the 30 meter high wooden structure offers a unique view down into the Aurlandsfjord. The water shines like an emerald and the landscape is comparable to a valuable and special jewel.
The Aurlandsfjord – a very special jewel
We spent two days at the campsite in Aurlandvangen and are slowly approaching this precious environment. We often look up to Aurlandsfjell and can’t wait to leave. Norway has recognized the uniqueness of this landscape and has reacted for now. Until recently, up to five of the oversized cruise ships entered the Aurlandsfjord, which are partly responsible for the climate change that is already visible in Norway, today only a maximum of two such ships are allowed to enter. Soon only ships without exhaust gases will be allowed to enter.
Of course, many of the cruise ships also offer a trip to Stegastein. The journey takes you through the narrow streets of Aurlandsvangen and quickly winds up to 650 meters over narrow switchbacks. Good for those who have no oncoming traffic. And woe to those whose brakes are no longer working on the descent. Good for those who have mastered their motorhome on this route, which is not secured by guard rails. The residents of this route up into the Aurlandsfjell watch the summer hustle and bustle with the numerous coaches and motorhomes with skepticism, although some of them also earn a little bit from overnight stays during the short season on the cruise.
Stegastein in balance
Yes, I have a weakness for beautiful ships such as the Hurtigruten. If, I think, you should travel to Norway with the original and these are the post ships. And I have deep respect for the architects, road builders and landscape designers like here with the builders and workers who created this viewing platform, the Stegastein, for us.
In this case, the architects Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen stand for the idea and realization of the Stegastein in 2006. The Stegastein has always been considered a special viewpoint on the Aurlandsfjord. The architects now officially wanted to make this place, which until then had not been a tourist destination, officially spectacularly known. To this end, they sketched this floating wood-steel-concrete structure, which is light in expression, with a catwalk width of four meters.
In contrast to this floating platform, right next to it they set a formally simple toilet facility made of black-colored concrete and wood, which has a fixed and immovable place in this landscape. You can look at the landscape from the buildings directly on the abyss, without being able to be observed.
As the architects have thought about this landscape and its design, I myself am invited to think about it, to be worthy of this environment of the Aurlandsfjord at Stegastein. And only then will I stay to let this architecture and the landscape work on my soul. The place, here at Stegastein, is far too good to be cut off on the excursion list, to have to be used for self-portraits in the chord.
The Aurlandsfjell, the Aurlandsfjord and the Stegastein with their people, they deserve nothing less than to stay, feel, see. And thinks. Anything else would also be disrespectful to the place, to yourself. Let’s start rediscovering the world. And let’s start here at Stegastein, look at the Aurlandsfjord. And just let the crusaders go. Whether their travelers are still at Stegastein in their thoughts?
How right now: Aurlandsfjord or Aurlandsfjorden, Aurlandsfjell or Aurlandsfjellet?
The Scandinavians have a peculiarity in their language. You attach the article directly to the noun. What we have for the person who stands for it, end it with the ending with -en or -et. So the Aurlandsfjord in the Norwegian Aurlandsfjorden.