Last year I decided to offer myself the Preikestolen Rock as a well-deserved birthday present.
The Pulpit Rock (in English), is one of Norway’s most iconic landmarks. The steep cliff is more than 600m high, and ends with a square plateau. It is as if it was sculptured straight into the mountain.
The idea for the hike came when I saw a brochure from Holland America Line. I discovered that the passenger ship Rotterdam was going to sail under the Preikestolen on the 25th of July, the day before my birthday. This is a very exceptional event.
Most cruise ships just stay in nearby Stavanger and sell the famous rock as an excursion. Passengers are then ferried into the Lysefjord to see Norway’s most iconic cliff from below.
My photographer’s heart was speaking: I wanted to realize a picture with the rock and the ship below. I Google-searched and found none of such pictures.
Two good friends decided to join, Marko Stampehl from Hamburg, and Bruce Peter from Scotland.
It was like a miracle. During that week we had a day where it rained cats and dogs for 24 hours. Then on the morning of the 25th it was still grey, wet and foggy. But the forecast was good. And indeed, by the time we started our ascent the sun appeared. Ultimately it became one of the brightest days of Norwegian summer, with an incredible visibility.
The hike up took us some three hours. When we arrived up I had a little bit of vertigo. The view down was breathtaking, o yes, but my vertigo came especially from seeing these fools doing crazy things at the very edge of the cliff.
Then I realized that the photo of ship and rock could only work if I was even higher than the Preikestolen. I really had to breathe deeply before climbing even more, and I almost decided to cancel the idea altogether. Luckily I could convince myself to go on. The fact that Bruce already climbed to the next level was a good motivation. Soon we were all three of us on a balcony of rocks, overlooking the Pulpit and the Lysefjord.
Marko checked with his Marinetraffic app, and indeed the Rotterdam was on her way. Some 15 minutes later she passed under the rock.
Photographer’s joy! Mission accomplished!
Hours later, when back in Stavanger, we celebrated with some rounds of beer.
Rotterdam turns into the Lysefjord
Hard to believe that she is 234m long
Marko, Bruce and Mike, happy, and ready to hike down again
Bruce Peter posing the Norwegian way