This was probably one of the biggest gifts I personally got on our trip across the Nordics with Scandic and I will explain why later on. I don’t think even Scandic realised it at the time – I definitely didn’t) but before all that, let’s cover everything you need to know about getting to Pulpit Rock and the Lysefjord.
HOW TO GET THERE?
– Fly into Stavanger
– Take a ferry to Stavanger to Tau. This is where staying at the Scandic City Hotel Stavanger comes in very handy as it’s like a 2 minute walk to the ferry terminal. You can also drive onto the ferry if you have a car.
– Take a bus (or drive) to the Preikestolen (The Norwegian name for ‘Pulpit Rock’) car park.
– Then there’s a hike right up to the top. You can do this hike in two hours but this is an uphill hike so come mentally prepared
WHAT TO PACK WITH YOU?
– Food & Drinks
– Warm clothes (depending on time of year you go of course but just take a jacket with you just in case)
– Hiking Boots
– Waterproof jackets (and bag covers)- if it rains, you will want to keep yourself and your equipment (cameras, phones..etc) all dry
– Swimming trunks – You wouldn’t believe it but there’s a lake near the top and you can go swimming here.
TIPS AND TRICKS
– Despite the uphill hike, you don’t need to be hiker or mountain climber to do this. Even the most average of average Joe’s (like myself) can do this hike. The important this is to stop for a break when you feel like you need to.
– Try to take smaller calculated steps rather than huge lunges. Those huge lunges will tire you out a lot quicker.
– Look for our the letter in the rocks showing you which path to take (we followed the ones with “T” painted in red)
– If possible, try to get a nice bit of rest before you start the hike.
OUR VERSION OF EVENTS…
After our initial introduction to Norwegian seaside life, we headed back to the Stavanger and had a little jaunt around the city…
It’s such a beautiful city! Especially so with the sun shining… and how great are these colourful buildings?
We made our way back to the hotel where I had great plans to make some calls and perhaps do something productive with my free time but (and I’m kinda not ashamed about this) I promptly fell asleep! I personally blame those comfy beds. 🙂
I woke up from my nap and hurriedly went downstairs to grab some lunch and try to glean some information about what our next activity would be.
We met a lovely lady and our host Silje all dressed in active gear and slowly we started putting together the clues. We got told what to pack and were guaranteed that due to the change in the weather, we would need dry clothes and shoes to change into once we were done. It was only when we got onto the Ferry that we were told what we would be doing next. We would be hiking up to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and seeing the Lysefjord! This is where the clues about extreme heights and navigation in the dark finally made sense. 🙂
The ferry was relatively quick – about 40-45 minutes and is actually quite pleasant. There’s a nice indoor bit to chill in and you can even grab yourself a snack and drinks onboard.
After a brief drive to the car park we started our hike. Now I’m just gonna come right out and say it – I’m not the kind of person that looks to climb mountains or even hills. I have always seen mountains as these amazing, beautiful natural landmarks and have never truly felt like I needed to climb them to fully appreciate them. I would even go as far as saying that I never thought that I could ever do it.
If someone had mentioned climbing a mountain, I would have told them that I probably couldn’t do it as I wasn’t trained enough – plus I’m not a fan of uphill walking so this was always something that seemed like other people could do but definitely not me. Don’t get me wrong, I always wanted to be the kind of person that climbs mountains, runs marathons and genuinely loves going to the gym (I kinda envy those people) but I’ve never felt like I could. I know if Scandic hadn’t surprised me with the opportunity to this, I probably wouldn’t have thought it possible.
Lloyd on the other hand was in his element and even though it was physically demanding on him, he’d camped across America for a month and hiked for 7 hours to almost to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite in the past so he was in his element with this hike!
And boy did I feel like that at the start. I had my backpack on the wrong way, had a ridiculously steep bit to start and my heavy camera and equipment on me so within a few minutes of starting, I was already starting to have doubts about making it to the top. The important thing here however was to take it one step at a time and to stop for rest when I needed to. And to change the how I was carry my backpack (seriously, that backpack was such an impediment at the start).
Little by little, we crossed through rocky paths, and strangely enough, I started to feel like I was slowly building my stamina. Turns out – it’s not all steep hikes. There are 3 or 4 relatively steep bits for very short lengths of time (feel free to take a break just before attempting them) and everything else is pretty manageable.
There are also lots of flat bits and some bits go uphill for a bit and then downhill for the next part so it’s not all uphill, flat, uphill, flat… (which is kinda what I thought it would be).
Finally, we made it to a point where you could see the Lysefjord and apparently, at this point, it’s customary to have a Kvikk Lunsj (Norwegian for “Quick Lunch”) which is a chocolate bar kinda like kit-kat… and as I type this, I just realised I have still one in that jacket pocket! Will have to stop for a second and check if it’s still in there…
Yes! It is! 🙂 I am at this very moment gobbling down the Kvikk Lunsj as we speak! 🙂
Also, as you can see – we did not pack appropriate hiking shoes. This was in no way an impediment so trust me when I re-iterate – even the most average of average Joe’s or Jo’s can do this hike. This by the way, was after the main steep climb (which turned out to be actually much easier than it looks).
We traipsed along through the paths and made our way closer and closer to Pulpit Rock…
While passing by the lake I mentioned earlier where you could go for a swim.
Finally, we started to get a much better (and somewhat dramatic) view of the Lysefjord!
But the view in the opposite direction of that was pretty epic too! 🙂
Then we came to edge where we could finally see Pulpit Rock. Now this is where I kinda lost it a bit. Hehehe! (By the way, can you see those people in the mid-left of the photo below – kinda part way between the Fjord). Up till this point, I was fine with the heights and coping marvellously but at this point, the path went a lot narrower with one side of it having no barriers and being almost unbelievably steep. All my cool (of which there wasn’t much of to begin with) went out of the window. It was fine in the end but I just didn’t mentally prepare myself in advance.
We carefully and hurriedly walked past this point and finally, there it was – Pulpit Rock!
Another thing you can’t tell from the photos was how windy it was! In addition to the rain, there was some pretty strong winds blowing and so we heeded the very good advice to not get to the very edge.
We did walk as far as we dared in those winds (which kept surprising with unexpected gusts)…
Silje (our host for the day) however put us all to shame and showed us how the Norwegians do it! She walked right up to the edge and held her hands out embracing the wind, Lysefjords and Preikestolen!
Seeing her do it encourage us then to move a little closer to the edge, if for nothing else but for the dramatic photos of the Lysefjord.
It was only when we started to make our way back that it then dawned on me…
I had done it!I had actually hiked all the way to the top and seen both the Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock! The adrenaline rush was intense and the gift I mentioned earlier was so much more apparently here. Thanks to Scandic, I had (perhaps, once again) realised that the only thing stopping us from doing certain thing we would love to do is ourselves. If you want something, you should definitely go ahead and try your very best to get it – if you don’t get it, let it not be for lack of trying! I realised at the end of this amazing experience that I am capable of so much more than I realised and I have to admit, in addition to seeing the amazing sights along the way and at Pulpit Rock, this was a very great feeling and realisation to have been left with. Thanks for that Scandic! 🙂
(Don’t forget – you can have your own Nordics 48 hour experience with Scandic by telling them where you would like to go to and why. Click here to go to the Scandic website and enter now.)