Norway - Road Trip! - 2018

FIRST STOP: STAVERN - THE WASSILIOFF HOTEL

Before we reached Stavern, however, we marveled at the amazing infrastructure Norway has in place. The highways and byways are beautifully maintained and engineered, no matter how curvy they have to be to facilitate travel between fjord arms and mountains. And we realized that we seemed to be spending more time underground than above. The tunnels are real feats of civil engineering as they carry traffic beneath lakes & fjords and through granite mountains! Some of these tunnels actually kept us underground for many miles (I think 11 miles was the longest single tunnel we traversed). Some of the tunnels use two lanes and others four or more. Most amazing of all were the roundabouts inside the tunnels. These roundabouts allowed traffic to divert to highways going in several different directions. For example, a sign would say “Take first exit from roundabout to reach Highway 61 to Bergen.” Another would say, “Take 2 nd exit to Route 44 for Oslo.” And if either of those cities were your destination, you would just peel off as directed and still be underground until the chosen route brought you into the light of day again. Absolutely fascinating! The most amazing tunnel we entered did all that and our exit took us onto a long bridge over a fjord. Some of the roundabouts sported a tall column in their middles with a mushroom shaped top encircled in blue lights—made us all think of a spaceship like the one in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Just mindboggling really! Another feature of their highway system is the Moose bridges over the highways. Norwegians are passionate about saving their moose populations and avoiding car/moose collisions ending in human and animal injuries and deaths. So they build bridges at intervals and cover them with trees and vines so they look like the woods the moose live in. Incidentally, their moose is the same species as ours in the US; they are just not quite as large as our formidable ones. This system has been in place around 20 years and it has certainly worked to a certain degree with far less accidents every year. Our drive to Stavern was certainly magnificent in every way! The scenery is spectacular with deep blue fjords reflecting the craggy granite mountains around them, torrential waterfalls tumbling down steep mountain slopes, neat and colorful villages and farms

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