Most visitors to Bergen book themselves into the Norway in a Nutshell package. With this they take a combination of trains, buses and boats from Bergen to Oslo (or the other way around) in 1 to 3 (or more) days. The trip brings visitors through the UNESCO World Heritage Fjords and their incredible scenery.
We decided to rent a car instead of taking the Nutshell package, and do it our way and at our own pace. Based on the Norway in a Nutshell information it seemed that there was little to see between Bergen and Voss, but that the road from Voss to Gundragen, also along the E16, was stunning. Obviously whoever wrote that material has been surrounded by this unreal place for too long. The journey from Bergen to Oslo turns stunning the second you leave Bergen. The moment you leave the colourful wooden houses of Bergen you are surrounded by incredibly steep hills that jot straight up along both sides of the road, covered in lush green trees. Below them, are crystal clear waters. The only thing getting in your way of hours of perfect views are kilometers of tunnels, anywhere from 200 metres to 11 km long. Some magically let the radio keep playing but others not only cut your music but also have no lights, making you very sleepy, very fast.
As we criss crossed along the valleys, the plan was to drive straight to Voss but we got a tip from a lady at the tourism office to stop at Evanger. There isn’t much in Evanger, but if you turn left off the main road, over a small bridge and then right into town you will find yourself at the very quirky Rom Kafe. I wish I knew the full story about Rom Kafe.
I know only bits and pieces despite trying to gather more info from the young woman working there. Obviously my English and her Norwegian just weren’t getting along so well. But I did learn that it was opened and owned by an artist that lives nearby. This single comment explains everything as this space can only be described as wacky crazy. At first when you enter you are amazed and drawn in by …. everything. There are several different areas of the café set up with completely different kinds of furniture, all from the 70s, all well loved. A huge grey cat was so passed out on one large chair that we wondered whether he was alive or a part of décor. We assumed he was 10 years old…he is actually just about to turn 3. Obviously he is well fed and incredibly lazy. There is a small stage at one end set up with drums and other instruments for concerts which they apparently have quite often. Then there are all the details; little statues, nicks and nacks, everywhere (make sure you visit the washroom which has been taken over by dinosaurs and is fantastic!). The place jumps back and forth from being quirky to being a hoarders paradise. They have a nice little terrace with views of the mountains and the charming little town.
Today we were the only ones inside. I ordered a hot chocolate which was a small piece of chocolate (the man who made it couldn’t tell me anymore than that) melted in milk and served in a tiny cup usually used for double espresso. It was very nice but there was so little of it I craved more. But it did the trick and I’d have it again.
After you have filled yourself up, get back on the road to Voss. The Voss to Gundagen road is indeed stunning (plus it has very few tunnels) and brings you past an impressive waterfall. Gundagen to Flam is through a long tunnel and then in Flam you can choose to take the train or the boat to continue your exploration of the Fjords (more reviews on those coming up soon.) It took a good 3 hours to get from Bergen to Flam (speed limits are set at 70) but because of the stunning scenery that is ever changing it really didn’t feel that long at all.
Verdict: Rom Kafe is perfectly located for a driving break and they serve not just drinks but a range of food and sweets. There is also another café right next door if you need something a bit calmer. Rom Kafe, Evanger, Norway