Norway – Zigzag Steeps Of The Grjotlid Road To Marok

The pony carts on that bit of nearly level road have come up from Marok on Geirangerfjord, the place to which we ourselves are bound. No wonder the animals, strong as they are, welcome an opportunity to rest without having to hold even the weight of a cart. Without doubt most of those passengers have walked up the steepest portions of the road, partly out of regard for the horses and partly from choice of the more comfortable mode of progress. We can see how suddenly the ground drops just beyond the part of the road where the carts are. The ascent of so nearly perpendicular a bank would be too much for even a Norwegian beast, unless he were a goat. The longer way around is really a saving in time. We are now less than four miles from Marok and the fjord, as the crow flies, but we are 3,000 feet above the tide-level ; that means an average rise of about one foot for each six feet of straight distance! In order to make the grade practicable for horses, it has been laid out in these great zigzags, so that one actually travels ten miles instead of between three and four. The road is a masterly piece of engineering and the people are justly proud of it. The work, of course, involved an immense amount of labor and expense, for it was done with conscientious thoroughness, in such a way as to last, but the already large and constantly increasing volume of tourist travel which it attracts to this part of the kingdom can be depended on to make the investment profitable. These travelers whom we meet may have come up merely to see the road, intending to return to Marok. They may be going over to Lake Stryn, Loen and Olden, reversing our own route ; or they may be intending to continue from that fork in the roads at Grjotlid by another highway eastward into one of the long inland valleys, and after several days’ drive make connection with the railway between Christiania and Trondhjem. From the business point of view this road-building was a very important enterprise.

Now go to the map once more, and follow the road with your eye till you see where it reaches the head of crooked Geirangerfjord. Our eighty-fourth position is to be taken before we reach the end of the road, but the red lines indicate that we shall be able to see the fjord in the distance.