Before the Internet became the refuge of the world's trolls, Norway was their spiritual home.
We contend they're mythical creatures, but lots of Norwegians to this day believe trolls really exist. Spooky, Blair Witch-style trolls, if you take YouTube at face value.
And why wouldn't you? Rich in natural resources, long on natural beauty, Norway is also very thinly populated and fairly walled off from its neighbors by steep mountains. There's plenty of heavily wooded terrain for trolls to set up light housekeeping, plenty of tasty dairy animals wandering the countryside, plenty of pine trees to use as toothpicks. The only things missing in this Scandinavian West Virginia are an origination theory and their own troll-hunting Bobo.
Challenge accepted. One problem: the only hunting apparel we have is a 626-horsepower Bentley. If we find a real troll, we're going to haul him in with the car, and hope the bull hides applied to the cabin don't make the car smell too much like an hors d'oeuvre.
Where to find said trolls seems easy, though. There's a road that leads from our pristine Storfjord Hotel to the world's most beautiful rest stop, which sits at the foot of a paved rollercoastery path called Trollstigen--translated from Norwegian, it's literally "the troll's ladder." Too easy? From there we'll take to the Atlantic Road, 5.2 miles of roads and eight bridges that cling bravely to the western coast of Norway, lashing it tight and damming it off from the vast north sea and, a thousand miles in the distance, Iceland.
Fans of Successories, take note: this is one of the passages in life where it really is more about the journey than the destination. Over long mid-summer days, we thread through fjords and assorted wilds punctuated by few villages, zero industrialism, and only an occasional child shrieking with joy at the sight of anything traveling more than 40 miles per hour. For hours on end, we layer on it a vivid, Apple Green blur, our zoetrope projected against a verdant backdrop, framed by steep grey mountains capped in pure white snow, crystalline water, and robin-egg blue skies.
Norway, it turns out, is also really into color blocking.