Lovatnet, Norway in the fall. A one lane road, the standard way to travel Norway, leads from the “touristy” town of Loen to Kjenndalsbreen glacier, by way of Lovatnet lake.
I should qualify a couple of things.
“Touristy” is in quotation marks because Loen is only touristy by Norwegian standards. Which is to say, it’s not very touristy. There’s a skylift that takes you up to a nice lookout point with a (sort of) fancy restaurant. There’s skiing to be had in the winter, and hiking trails leading up to mountain peaks (the tallest of which features one of Norway’s many near-free rustic overnight cabins at its peak). But, unless you’re there for the two month mid-summer span that marks Norway’s “tourist season” (again, the quotation marks), you won’t run into much of anyone.
And, if you go in the fall, you might not see anyone at all.
Also, less interestingly and importantly, “Kjenndalsbreen glacier” is a bit redundant, as “breen” is Norwegian for glacier. These are the sorts of things that interest perhaps one one-hundredth of one percent of the population, of which I’m (apparently) a part. But, in case you were wondering, now you’ve got “glacier in norsk” under your belt.
Lastly, “one lane road” is a bit redundant in Norway. Unless you’re on a major thoroughfare, you’re likely driving on a one lane road. This is much less harrowing than it sounds, hard though that may be to believe.
The road to Kjenndalsbreen passes by Lovatnet, which is a glacial lake. That photo actually does quite a poor job of capturing the color of the water. Believe it or not, it’s greener in real life. The glacial green comes from bits of clay minerals and a sort of glacial rock powder that ends up in the water. Though it’s difficult to conceive of, the glacier is constantly grinding bits of rock as it melts and slides down the side of the mountain. Those tiny, ground up rock particles end up in the water, resulting in the distinctively green color. It’s otherworldly and breathtakingly beautiful.
This photo was taken from a small café, which sits alongside the lake at the entrance to Kjenndalsbreen. There was no one around, incidentally. Not a single person. This is a surprisingly common occurrence when you travel Norway, especially for a country with such an intense amount of natural beauty at every turn. Although, with a population density of 36 people per square mile, Norway’s the 213th densest country in the world (out of 241 ranked, which includes quite a few disputed territories and countries claiming independence from parent states). The U.S. is about three times denser than Norway. And, to compare apples to apples (well, sort of), Norway (which is roughly the size of New Mexico in terms of area) has about the same population density as, say, Utah or Kansas. Meanwhile, to put things in perspective, New Jersey has a population density of about 1,218 people per square mile; Massachusetts, 871. So, roughly 33 and 24 times as dense as Norway, respectively.
So, upon reflection, it’s not that odd when you fail to run into anyone as you travel Norway. Just the odd moose.