For Germans Colla Felindon and Lux Jakubowski, the best way to explore Norway is by road. They have hired a camper van, and they're getting to know the spectacular 1)fjords and 2)glaciers of Southwest Norway. They're on their way to Briksdal, a valley that lies in the heart of the fjord region. It's home to some of Norway's most spectacular scenery and it's easily accessible, making it one of the most popular tourist spots in the country. Their guide, Ola Falado, is driving an old 3)Troll car, one of only fifteen in existence. It can just about manage five kilometers per hour. The trio are heading to one of the most famous attractions in Norway, the massive glacier, 4)Briksdalsbreen. Visitors can get a little wet along the way.
Fresh from their unexpected shower, they continue their ascent up the mountain with Ola providing a colorful commentary as they go. Glaciers are the largest reserves of fresh water in the world. They're essential to river systems and mean Norway has an abundance of readily available drinking water. The glacier at Briksdal is part of the largest European glacier, 5)Jostedalsbreen, and is under protection as a national park.
The immense power of all this flowing water has been used to the country's advantage. Norway is able to meet its entire energy needs through 6)hydroelectric power. The Briskdalsbreen is a mass of ice formed in this valley thousands of years ago. Covering an area of 1,400 by 250 meters, it overpowers all that see its magnificent beauty. The tourists are impressed by the spectacle.
The ice sheet is up to 400 meters thick. Climate change is making itself felt in Norway, and the Briksdalsbreen is melting. The whole Jostedal glacier, of which the Briksdal glacier is part, is slowly melting. In the last nine years, the ice has retreated by an average of 90 meters. Some now believe it is growing again.
It all depends on winter snowfalls and summer temperatures. If there is a heavy winter snow and a cool summer, then it will grow and vice versa. Global warming or seasonal temperature changes have happened in the past, so a lot of Norwegians are hoping that the melting of the Briksdalsbreen can be averted.