I’ve written about Osterøy several times, especially since our last visit in April. Aside from being a unique part of this area, it’s the home of Jan’s sister and her family. I always feel warmly welcomed.
I’ve been looking over my Osterøy posts and realized that, although I’ve shared specific visits, areas, and emotions, I haven’t written much about the overall island. So I thought I’d dive into a little more “information” depth about this area of this beautiful country.
I found this interesting; from Wikipedia: The Old Norse form of the name was ‘Óstr’. The last element ‘øy’ which means ‘island’ was added later. The meaning of the name is unknown. It is possible that it comes from the word ‘óstr’ which means ‘the arch of the neck’ — words for parts of the body are common in Norwegian place names.
A few facts about Osterøy:
– Population: about 7,500 people.
– Size: at 328 km2/127 square miles, it’s Northern Europe’s largest island; from Osterøy’s official webpage: “[it’s] surrounded by the mainland on all sides and [has] only one narrow outlet … where the Sørfjord and the Osterfjord meet.”
– Surrounded by fjords: the Osterfjorden-Romarheimsfjorden on the northern side, the Sørfjorden on the southern and western sides, and the Veafjorden on the eastern side.
– Mountainous: a dozen mountains, with Høgafjellet the highest at 868-meters/2,848 feet; Brøknipa (also known as Bruviknipa) is the next highest and has its steep face towards Sørfjorden.
The northernmost part of Osterøy has only one road and isn’t connected to the other areas of the island. If residents in the northern part need to travel to the kommune’s administrative center of Lonevåg, they have to drive across the Kallestadsundet Bridge to Vaksdal. This bridge opened in 1985 and crosses the Veafjorden. Residents then continue for quite a way (about an hour) on E16 along the Sørfjorden to reach the other bridge … and then, once back on Osterøy, it’s still another 20 minutes to Lonevåg.
Yes, Osterøy is that big and has that much remote area!
Although we passed it several times during our travels to and from Modalen, I don’t have a photo of the Kallestadsundet Bridge — but I found this interesting photo on Wikipedia:
(Here is where the Kallestadsundet Bridge is located on the map.)
The “other bridge” is the Osterøy Bridge. It opened in 1997, and connects Osterøy to E16 closer to Bergen. The third largest suspension bridge in Norway, it is 1,065 meters/3,494 feet long.
(Here is where the Osterøy Bridge is located on the map.)
In addition to the two bridges, the Breistein–Valestrandsfossen car ferry offers a third way to reach Osterøy. It began in 1932 and has operated continuously since then.
Is it any surprise that the ferry is named Ole Bull? 🙂
(Here is where the Breistein–Valestrandsfossen car ferry is located on the map.)
We’ve driven around Osterøy often, especially my first visit in 2006, but many of my photos are of family and too personal to share here. I especially wish I had taken more of the 1860′s-home-overlooking-one-of-the fjords restoration that one of Jan’s nephews was undertaking then (but hope to get there soon now that they are finished).
I’ve shared other Osterøy photo “themes” in my past posts, so I’ll end this with a collection of some of my favorites from our first visit that give you a glimpse of a small part of this intriguing island — they were my introduction to the way the clouds, sun, and mountains affected the light and reflections of the Norwegian west coast, and utterly captivated me. I stood and looked at these same views during our recent visit, and even with the expansive “over the southern end of the Bergen valley” and “over the fjord” views I’ve enjoyed from my own apartments’ windows — the views seen here still captivated me!
(I’m not able to ski, or go on strenuous hikes, but a blogger I follow has many beautiful photos of his skiing and exploring in the Bergen area. His Osterøy mountain photos are breathtaking, and show a side of this island that I can’t access. You’ll be amazed!)