“Where the hell are we going to sleep tonight?” I remember thinking to myself as we leaned against the rental car. We had come all the way to Norway and we’re now standing in the parking lot of a campground that overlooked the most incredible lake I’d ever seen, but I was far from stoked. My girlfriend and I were roads tripping through Norway and planned to camp on the shoreline of this glacial-fed lake in Loen, but things started to not go as planned along the way.
The trip had been going well, until the weather took a turn for the worse. The wind picked up, sweeping across the glacier, bringing a cold air front through the valley. There was no way we were spending the night outside below freezing, having only this light backpacking tent as our shelter. So we did what any millennial would do. We stood within range of the WiFi to shower the Internet for other places a to stay. But we couldn’t find a single place nearby to stay, and it looked like we’d have to drive back out to the next town and hope to find better luck there. After already driving 8hours that day, I was not looking forward to any more driving.
With my tail between my legs, the two of us got back in the car and started driving away from the beautiful lake we came all the way to see. As the road wound alongside the lake’s edge, we saw a sign for Loenvatnet Cabins and figured we’d give it a shot. We pulled the car into the parking lot, walked in and asked the caretaker if they had any vacancy. He turned around to a full wall of keys, grabbed two off, and in his broken English said, “Go check out these two cabins and see if you like.”
We took that as a yes, grabbed both sets, and headed down to the first cabin with 1A on the door. We entered the rear door, not terribly impressed by anything inside until we saw the view of the lake out the front door. The door walked out onto a deck with an unobstructed view of the bluest lake I’d ever seen. Sold. Or at least we thought were, but totally expected to pay the price of a plane ticket to stay 2 nights here. We headed back up to the front desk and told him we didn’t even need to check out the other cabin, we wanted the one on the lake. “How much?” We asked. And he said 450 Krones. After the sticker shock, we realized that is only about $50. This was the most incredible place I’d ever stay, and it was going to cost less than most places I could stay back home. Sold!
As fast as we could, we threw our bags into the one windowless bedroom, and sat out on the deck just soaking in the view. We started this day off expecting to camp out on this lake, drove almost the entire day, only to realize that we’d freeze to death if we tried to sleep outside. Then, to our surprise, we not only found vacancy at a cabin, but it costs less than our last dinner bill per night. We spent the next two days surrounded by the green pines that lined the valley walls, the sapphire blue water colored by the glacial silt, and of course eating some of the freshest salmon in the world. We hiked the following day up to the foot of glaciers that eventually fed into the lake. Sheep wandered the mountainside and the roads we drove along. Needless to say, this was easily the most memorable place I’ve ever stayed. So memorable, Court and I talked about how much we would pay to buy this cabin so that we could always come back to it.