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Destination: I never wanted to ever leave Fjærland in Sogndal, Norway; books and a gorgeous hotel

Fjærland, is a tiny little town in Sogndal (Norway). Nestled deep amidst towering mountains, it finds itself at the very end of one of the Sognefjord's long branches. The village exudes a delightful charm unique to Norway, comprising only a handful of beautiful wooden homes, a few distinguished hotels, a place of worship, and a couple of boutiques. One would never suspect, looking from the main road on the fjord's opposite side, that it is a destination worthy of an extended stay, perhaps even an unintended week-long visit. Allow me to explain the reasons why.

A fjordlandscape in Norway

Fjærland is an undeniable marvel, not just because of its breathtaking natural surroundings, but also because this small village is a respected haven for book lovers. Despite its modest population of only 300 people, numerous books, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, grace the shelves of various shops and barns. The literary collection extends beyond Norwegian titles, offering a significant assortment of English literature. This allows one the luxury of leisurely browsing book covers, enjoying the pleasure of an afternoon's literary exploration. I myself came across an English edition of 'War and Peace,' which I acquired and enjoyed while reclining contentedly in the lush grass, delving into its opening chapters. I still haven't finished it though.

Along the streets, several covered bookshelves beckon passersby, allowing them to select a book on trust, with a humble 10 kroner left in the nearby mailbox. Indeed, where else does such a charming tradition persist in these modern times?

The village, reminiscent of a bygone era, appears as if it has been plucked from the enchanting realm of a 1950s postcard. Adding to its allure, the venerable Mundal Hotel, dating back to the 1800s, adds an extra touch of grandeur. Unfortunately, it is currently closed for renovations, leaving one eagerly anticipating its transformation once it reopens.

However, I am delighted to recommend to book a few nights at the Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel, which I think is a boutique hotel of utmost charm. Its exquisite rooms and the culinary expertise of its esteemed chef ensure a highly gratifying experience. The communal area, resembling a cozy living room, offers a welcoming refuge, a true haven for relaxation. The mesmerizing view of the cerulean fjord waters proves endlessly captivating, especially when a group of five dolphins gracefully glides past, leaving one in a state of wonderment.

For those with limited financial resources, fear not, for Fjærland still provides the opportunity to enjoy a delightful vacation. Just beyond the village lies a charming campsite called Bøyum Camping, with ample space for tents and caravans. But, they also offer the rental of modest trekking cabins. If luxury is not a top priority, these accommodations will more than suffice. I myself had a thoroughly enjoyable two-night stay.

Also in Fjærland: the Glacier Museum. This museum is a private foundation established by Den Norske Turistforening, International Glaciological Society, Norges vassdrags- og energidirektoratet, Norsk Polarinstitutt, Høgskulen i Sogn og Fjordane, University of Bergen, and University of Oslo in 1989.

The purpose of the Norsk Bremuseum is to gather, create, and disseminate knowledge about glaciers and the climate. The foundation's activities span the fields of natural science and cultural history. The Glacier Museum illustrates the workings of nature and the interaction between nature and humanity through advanced film techniques, interactive models, and your own experiments with real glacier ice. The Norsk Bremuseum is designed for the inquisitive mind, definitely!

Not least of all, Fjærland is a kind of mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Kayaking, skiing, and guided walks to the glacier are all part of the possibilities. Take a look at Fjærland Guiding and let yourself be enticed.

My earnest suggestion is to embrace the unhurried pace of life in Fjærland, staying until your heartbeat achieves a state of absolute tranquility. The village's allure stems not only from its enchanting atmosphere but also from the enigmatic wonders of nature that captivate from every angle. Dedicate a day to exploring the outskirts of the surrounding glaciers under the guidance of a knowledgeable guide. And be sure to reserve a few precious hours for indulging in the 'Dampen', the floating sauna. The view it offers is truly extraordinary, and it is both a personal obligation and a gesture of respect to the locals to take an invigorating plunge into the icy fjord waters at least once. There is no better moment to savor this experience than when you can retreat to the comforting warmth of the sauna afterward. Fjærland, with all its resplendent charm, embodies the essence of a small-scale fairytale, providing an unparalleled sanctuary for the discerning traveler. I, for one, long to return. Tomorrow preferrably!

**Getting there: it is most likely you'll arrive at Oslo Airport (OSL). Public transport really takes forever to get you there and isn't all that flexible in these remote areas, so it is most wise to reserve a car in advance. Since Norway has one of the best fast-charging networks in the world, I would advise you to rent an electric car. Better for the environment, cheaper to charge and it gets you everywhere. Check here for availability.


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