For the past week we have been very low on gas. We had stopped at several locations to try and exchange the bottles, but the fittings are different in Norway and no one had European bottles. Starting to get a little concerned we found a caravan and camping store in Larvik, just a short detour south of Oslo. After talking with their technicians they generously gave us a fitting that we could use on the bottles here. They also told us a place where we could actually refill bottles, success, we managed to refill both our bottles. A sigh of relief and we were on our way again.
We stopped for the night at a small campsite, by a lake, called Haukelifjell. We discovered that it even had a small chair lift and a couple of ski runs.
As we continued towards Haugesund we need a brief pit stop as one of our headlights had blown. As we checked all was ok other one went, very frustrating but when you are going through tunnel after tunnel after tunnel... working headlights were a priority. I can tell you there are a lot of tunnels in Norway. All we seemed to be doing was either a tunnel or a roundabout. Cant even think of the number of roundabouts we have had to encounter... Pete is so over them!
Haugesund is on the west coast and it was from there that we planned to head north following the, fjords and islands. This was, allegedly, even more scenic than the routes we had just taken.
3 cruise liners had docked overnight so, the the next morning, the place was heaving with tourists (says us!). We took a walk around the harbour, visited Rosencrantz Tower, which was under renovation (by Guildenstern builders plc....RIP), St Mary’s Church, then made our way to the Floibanen a century old funicular railway that connects the city centre to mount Floyen.
The fish market was bustling with tourists but we hadn’t had fresh seafood for a while so we picked up some mussels, other seafood and a side order of reindeer salami! (At tourist prices!)
It’s strange that in Norway, with their amazing fishery and great farmland, there’s almost no butchers or fishmongers, whenever we ask the locals, they tell us to go to the supermarket where all the meat is pre-packaged in display shelves, disappointing.
We headed off later that morning following the Osterfjorden north. Again just breathtaking scenery. Crystal clear waters, sheer cliffs and countless waterfalls. We stopped for lunch at a lookout over the fjord, then caught the ferry from Leirvag to Slovag.
The next morning we left Eivindvik and headed north for a ferry from Rutledge to Rysjedalsvika. At the crossing, I met up with a German guy and his wife who were trying to make head or tail of the confusing timetable (being in Norwegian didn’t help) eventually we decided the ferry didn’t leave for about 2 hours, “Bugger”. I was annoyed and frustrated at having to wait when he turned and said “oh well - we are on holiday right!??” The penny dropped, he was totally correct! It was a beautiful sunny summers day, we were parked along a picturesque fjord- get a grip girl! We went back to the vans, he then took out his fishing rod and went to the waters edge to fish!!
The next day we walked to the Glacier Museum. A really interesting museum, small but very well done, informative and well laid out.
We couldn't get this close to the glaciers and not actually go for a hike on one could we? We found a company, recommended by the museum, and booked a tour for the next day. Realising Pete didn’t have any suitable pants we took a short drive back to Songdal and found a pair on special, success. Unfortunately trying to get out of a very tight area we soon learnt that- long van versus a tight turn= bugger!... back at camp, after some elbow grease with the polish and a little hammer time, Pete minimised the evidence!
Wet and cold, yet very happy, we went back to camp. During the glacier expedition the guide had been telling Pete that the lake we were staying next to had the best Trout in Norway. No more needed to be said... Pete bought a fishing rod, a fishing license (something required in Norway when fishing in a lake) and even though wet and cold, he was in a happy place. Let’s say we didn’t have fish for dinner.
The next morning we stopped in Lom to find a garage where we could put the van on a hoist to get a good look underneath. We were sure everything was fine, but peace of mind is better. Especially when we knew we had the ‘Death defying Trollstigen switchbacks’ to come, no place to have car issues. With the help of the technician we checked it out and nothing appeared to be damaged. We were back on track.
Our plan paid off. The next day saw sunshine and clear skies, perfect weather for such a route.
A cruise liner had docked in the bay overnight and we were a little concerned seeing the queues of tour buses about to do the same route as us. We grabbed some breakfast delights, snacks and lunch from the local bakery and headed off ASAP.
We found a free camping area for the night. no great outlook but there was a sculpture inspired by a can of whipped cream, we had to check it out! It turned out to be a a series of white marble pieces that had been ‘squeezed out all over the rocks and pools along the rocky shores. It was fun and in a strange way really worked with the natural landscape. After a predinner drink at the cliff edge we had a bbq dinner, then a sunset walk back to cliff area for photos of the sculpture.
The Atlanterhavsvegen includes the ‘Atlantic Ocean road’ an 8.3km stretch from Karvag to Vevang connected by 8 bridges. You basically island hop your way up. The new James Bond film for 2020, was filmed here last month on one of the more well known bridges.
Olav took us out about 2km from shore. We were given a rod & reel. We both cast whilst Olav sussed out the area. I had a bite and lost the fish about 2m to the boat. So typical!
Happy with our catch and way more than we personally needed we headed back. Pete cleaned enough fish our consumption and Olav took the rest for his guests. His company also had Orca expeditions, now that would have been cool! www.orcanorway.no. He is also building a new hotel and was keen to show Pete his plans.
That afternoon we finally made it over all the bridges then, after buying some fresh bread rolls, we stopped and cook up some of our freshly caught fish!! Yummo!!!! Simple meals are sometime so good! Simple pan fried fresh fish in a soft bread roll. :-)
Turning east again we headed toward Trondheim. Time to look for a camp spot, we saw a potential spot down the hill by the waters edge where another camper had just pulled up. We went down to join them. Pete went to park and suddenly I saw the back wheels of the camper sink down into the mud. I felt sick! All I could think of was how the hell are we going to get out of here? Luckily Pete used his 4WD experience. As opposed to revving the car, spinning the wheels and just getting bogged, he managed not to get the camper stuck, but quickly got out of the boggy area! Given the rest of the area wasn’t suitable, we ditched that idea and went back up the hill to find another spot. Shortly up the road we came across a nice pull of with stunning views over the lake on a cliff edge. We lit the Weber and cooked up one of our fish.
Next morning, we drove into Trondheim to look around. Our Sat Nav needed updates loaded so we found a MacDonald’s to use their WiFi (we had previously discovered they have strong free WiFi) Unfortunately this time the WiFi wasn’t so great and the updates didn’t work - in fact we lost all our maps! Now no TomTom!!!! Peeved we wasted time and lost the maps we tried to sort out a new sim card but nothing was straightforward! Annoyed we had wasted the best part of a day we left. Decision time! which route to take? Head east into Sweden then up the middle through the national parks or continue north following the Norwegian coast. We felt we hadn’t given Sweden enough love so we headed towards the border. With about 200 roundabouts and 100 tunnels behind us, we headed to the border of Sweden!....