Our visit to Eplet came from a dear friends recommendation, so we already knew a little about this hidden treasure before arriving. We travelled from Lom via local bus (this took around 3 hours) waiting patiently until we heard the call for Galden. From here a downward 3km walk was required to find the hostel nestled in the beautiful fjordside town of Solvorn. Boasting above average temperatures and microclimate that makes it perfect for growing produce; Solvorn is a little paradise.
Eplet has space for around 15 averagely sized tents with ample facilities for all the camper's needs at 110 Nok / £11 per person per night. Whilst over in the main building there are over eight rooms for those in need of hard walls and warm beds. For those that require a little hybrid of B&B and camping, two yurts are available with bedding supplied. The site is beautiful, we woke every morning to the misty summit across the fjord, the mountain changed hourly as the weather see-sawed between wind, rain and shine.
Agnethe and Trond were great hosts; super friendly and full of great tips for making the most of local area. We stayed for 5 days and we only scratched the surface of what the Sognefjord has to offer. What we found really inspiring is how they ran both an eco hostel and a successful fruit juice business at the same time. Supporting them were a team of teenagers from across Europe who tended to the groves; picking fruit for the Eplet juices 8 - 5 everyday. Victorian, maybe, but it was great to see young people in and around nature and loving it.
Eplet grow much of their own produce. A really neat touch was their 'weeding for free vege' idea. Guests were able to take a some organically grown vegetables from their grow boxes in return for five minutes weeding. We took a courgette and lettuce and popped it into out nightly pasta dinner, the fresh vegetables was greatly appreciated! Running relatively wild were four 'happy' sheep, free range chickens supplying eggs and acres of raspberries, apples & pears grown to make the juice, they press 15,000 litres of the stuff each year. We tried the raspberry juice and it was delicious, an energy boost that can be enjoyed hot or cold.
There are many activities to get involved in and around the Sognefjord. The first day we chilled in Solvorn and took two coastal walks in the morning and evening, the fjord almost looked tropical in the evening sun (see photo).
The next day we upped the ante and cycled towards the tallest mountain in the area, Molden. To get there we had to endure an hours uphill cycle, poor Ali's little unprepared legs were suffering, as you can see from the speed of her manoeuvres in the video.
The top of Molden provided some excellent views and meant we had a downhill cycle most of the way home. This allowed us to try out our first bit of off road mountain biking down a muddy rocky track, exciting and scary. We also voyaged out on the bikes the next day, by ferry across the fjord to the Unesco site of Urnes. Here we found Norway's oldest Stave church, an epic wooden structure built in the 13th century. This church is special for defining the rise in Stave architecture which can now be found all over Norway's churches.
Further along the Sognefjord, the second longest waterfall can be found. Although we misfired and stopped at a smaller sibling waterfall (stopping 5km too early!). We heard from the other guests that it was pretty special, I think we'll have pop back one day to see it ;-). Here is a photo of us by the smaller one. LOL!
Lastly a trip to the Nigardsbreen Glacier is a worthy excursion, billed as the mostly accessible glacier in the world it offers walking routes, boat journeys and actual trips onto the ice with crampons etc. We got rained on pretty heavily but seeing the huge mass of a glacier is something everyone needs to see.
Surrounded by beautiful scenery it was very easy chilling in the hostels relaxed spaces; cue Skandi furniture, ambient jazz and a steady internet connection from which to write this piece.
As with everywhere in Norway, getting places takes time and includes many buses but Eplet was definitely worth the journey. If you would like more detailed information then you can visit their website here.
(so you can find it again later)