Norway - The wonderful Bratlandsdal road
( Originally Published 1907 )
Direction—We are looking back northeasterly, to-ward Roldal. Surroundings—Precipitous cliffs, like these on both sides below, and overhanging between us and the sky.
For nearly a mile the road is a succession of gloomily picturesque places like this ; in one place there is a complete tunnel. Part of the way the ravine is so narrow, you could throw a stone across to the opposite wall. The little river is racing along through a rocky channel down at our right. This crevice for the highway was blasted out of the solid cliff, the workmen who made the drills and set the fuses being lowered by ropes from a vantage point higher up in the mountain-side, above our heads. The labor, of course, occupied several seasons' time, but (a wonderful thing to relate of a public work anywhere, even in Norseland) it is said that the total cost—about $100,000, came out within two hundred dollars of the original estimate ! Of course, a good many tax-payers contributed their share in the form of personal labor. The investment will certainly be a profitable one for Norway. The road has become widely celebrated ; every year more and more people ride through here on their way up-country after landing from a steamer at Stavanger (see the map), or else make a special side-trip down here as we ourselves have done.
(Just before the photographer passed through here, a landslide or earth-avalanche had swept down the mountain-side not far away and temporarily filled the road with rocks and earth ; pony and travelers had to pick their way over it as best they could. The dam-age was soon repaired.)
Returning to Roldal, or rather to a point on the west side of the lake, about two miles this side of Roldal village, we will push on northwesterly toward the sea. Part of the way one climbs up from the lake in great loops and windings somewhat like those he descends when approaching from the east side. (Position 31). Lake Roldal lies 1,225 feet above sea level. In order to reach the fjord or arm of the sea, to which we are bound, the road has first to climb up over an intervening mountain wall two thousand feet higher still. At last it begins to descend at the other side of the mountain barrier.
Be sure to consult Map 5 at this point, it will be so much more interesting to know just where we are and what we are seeing when we take our next position. The spot where we are to stand beside the highway is marked 36. See how the red lines reach off down the valley, ending against a huge, snow-covered plateau called the Folgefond.