We ended our first day and began our second day of our road trip in the stunning location. Aurlandsvangen is a district within Aurland and sits on the Aurlandsfjorden, which is a branches from the King fjord, Sognefjorden. It is only a short distance by car from Flåm, Undredal and Nærøyfjord (Gudvangen). This was the perfect place to stay over night, since it had cheaper for accommodation, had amazing views (unobstructed by cruise ships) and it was very nice and quiet.
During our stay we made the most our our amazing view of the Aurlandsfjorden, explore the centre of Aurlandsvangen and made a trip to the abandoned village of Otternes Bygdetun.
Before I show you the views I have to show you the gorgeous Airbnb we rented for the night. We had the entire bottom floor of the little house that over looked the Aurlandsfjorden. The rooms were really stylish, clean and comfortable and the perfect place to relax and enjoy. The owners are a lovely European couple that live upstairs. They greeted us on arrival and also spent a bit of time with us, answering our questions and chatting with us into the evening. This was probably my favourite accommodations in Norway, so I highly recommend checking their availability if you are staying in this area.
Since we had such a late lunch at the Viking Village, we decided to do a light meal of snacks and drinks and make the most of our accomodation. We picked up some food at the local supermarket in the centre of Aurlandvagen, had a spa, then set ourselves up on the deck to enjoy the view. We dined on the sweetest strawberries, mandarins, smoked salmon, ham, avocado, crackers and cream cheese. We drank NZ apple cider, since we couldn’t tell if the other brands were beer or cider.
We had already seen some amazing fjords, but this was by far the most enjoyable experience. Knowing that we didn’t have to rush off anyway, we were able to enjoy gazing over the changing landscape. Our hosts also spent a bit of time with us, which was nice. They told us about their experiences in Norway and their home countries. They also had a lovely little cat, which gave Octavia plenty of enjoyment. Did I mention she is obsessed with ginger cats? Our hosts also gave us a can of the beer from the Brewery they work at in Flåm (the restaurant we were meant to visit). I’m not in to beer, but Marco didn’t mind it at all. Although to be honest, we both prefer sweeter drinks, hence the sweet apple ciders.
One thing that was strange to ours was how quiet it was. There where houses nearby, but seemed like we were the only people on that side of the fjord. Our house explained that Norwegian people are extremely quiet at home. We did find this everywhere we travelled on this trip so we tried our hardest to be quieter and respectful.
The next morning we had our breakfast on the deck again. The view was even more beautiful in the morning, but it was also a lot colder. We had a simple breakfast of avocado and cream cheese on flat bread, strawberries, oat milk coffee.
Our first stop was the centre of Aurlandsvangen. We had briefly visited the evening before but this morning we had a chance to see the Aurlandsfjorden, Merete Rein Art Glass store and the church. If we weren’t up so early I would of loved to try some of the pastries from Marianne Bakeri & Kafe, which we heard are pretty good.
The Vangen Church (Vangen kyrkje) is the main parish of Aurland and is situated overlooks the central carpark in Aurlandvangen. The white stone exterior is early Gothic style and was originally built in the 13th century. However it was later restored in the 19th and 20th century. It is also the largest of seven remaining medieval churches in Norway. The interior of the church was quite beautiful, despite its simplicity. It was a nice blend of medieval features and modern fixtures.
Our next stop was Otternes Bygdetun, which is an 18th century farming village. The people who farmed here were descended from the original inhabitants in the area, who settled there since 300 A.C. There are ancient graves in the area around the fjord, which indicate that people have been living in the area since pre-Christian times. There are 27 houses on the farm, the oldest dates back to 1700.
According to some websites, this farm use to be an open-air museum, which had guided tours, refreshments and a restaurants serving lunch and dinner. However, today it seems that it has been abandoned, but you are invited to walk around the farm. The farm is quite high on the hill, so you can get a spectacular view of the Aurlandsfjorden and a clear view of Flåm.
Although I had already seen quite a few of these kinds of farming villages, it was really nice to walk around and have the area to ourselves. We weren’t able to see clearly inside the buildings, but I did brighten some of the photos I took from the windows. I was surprise that they were still liveable, although they looked like tone capsules. One of the houses had a commercial kitchen, with all the appliances still intacted and a Tourist Advisor sticker on the window. So I’m not sure how long ago this open air museum closed down or it can still be hired for events.
Thanks for coming along with me for another stop on our road trip in Norway. Our next stop is the beautiful little town of Undredal, coming soon.