Saturday, 24 September 2011

64 Halfway up Norway

Wednesday 21st Sept.
Up early to sort ourselves and the hut out for handover. We left at about 10am and took a picture of the campsite owners laughing goats.
Hey kid, does my smile look good this way?

We decided to go straight North and went up into the mountains. As we neared Lillehammer (as of the 1994 winter olympics) we drove straight through a toll booth without paying not realising what it was. We filled up with diesel at the next station and I asked the attendant what to do about it. He gave me a phone number to ring and sort it out. I rand the number and got the usual ...Press 1 to hurdy gurdy....Press 2 to mumbo jumbo....Press 3 to mumbo jumbo gurdy. As you cam probably imagine I understood none of it and gave up. As least I can show that I tried from the record on my phone when I am arrested !
We stopped in Lillehammer and did some shopping and then set off north again and found a high mountain plateau. The scenery was just awesome and raw. Nothing except rochs, heather and the occasional hut. The huts incidentally are a major feature of Nordic life, apparently they either have a holiday hut or a boat or sometimes both. The majority of the huts on the plateau have grass sewn on the roofs for insulation.
Raw scenery
Try nicking the lead off of this church roof.

We stopped here for lunch.
It was a tad breezy.

We stopped again 2 miles down the road off a side dirt road to a lake.

These pictures speak for themselves.

We were then struggling to find a quiet place to camp and I eventually drove up a dirt track in the dark and found some unoccupied holiday huts and we just climbed in the back of the van and went to sleep(ish). (GPS coordinates  N 62 42 50.3 E 9 55 52.5 near Ulsberg)  It was a very uncomfortable night and we got up at 4am, Karen having had little sleep and we set off again. We have no idea what was actually around us as we left in the dark too.
Thursday 22nd Sept.
We drove through Trondheim, arriving there at about 6am when the place was twilight and just waking up. The place was still shut so we just drove through and then along the Fijords towards the north west coast of Norway. It rained most of the journey and one of the things we came across was lots of roadkill. We later identified them as Lemmings and Karen saw one dash across the road, and back again, and back again in front of us. He had obviously failed previously and was still trying to join his mates in Heaven.
A nice view to wake up to.
We then found a turn off and tried to play guess the duck in the adjacent fijord whilst eating breakfast and hiding from the rain which had started again. A few hours later the rain had abated and we took the opportunity of having lunch by (you guessed it) a fijord.

Lunch with a view.

The camera does not do this justice, the reflection in the water was mirror sharp.

Leon assisting Ray with the lunch prep.
 Some pictures of one of the bridges we crossed and a couple of waterfalls.

Hawkeye then shouted at me that she had seen an otter so I pulled over, we got the binoculars out and lo and behold, there was 6 dolphins swimming in the bay. I am never going to catch her up now.
Dolphins honest!

2 miles later we caught the ferry from Holm to Vennesund and then drove another 5kms and turned up a track and found a beautiful bay to stop for the night. Needless to say, we used the tent. (GPS N 65 15 55.2  E 12 06 25.4 ).

The start of a rainbow

Off the boat and tyhe scenery starts again
We had a really chill evening. We set a fire after foraging for wood (all wet needless to say) and Karen cooked an easy tea.
The complete rainbow from our camp

We then sang “Ging gang goolie goolie watcha ging gang goo, ging gang goo” whilst sipping wine and beer until the heavens opened – again.
It doesen't get much better than this.

It was a very wet night and I would like to say the tent performed admirably unfortunately operator error came into play and this idiot forgot to zip up one side of the entrance and wind decided to open it for me and let the storm poke its ugly head in and pour straight on top of my head. Karen slept through all this, like a snug bug in a rug.
Aside from the rain, we are actually sleeping very well in the tent and often get 8 or more hours undisturbed sleep.

Friday 23rd Sept.
We rose just after 7 and whilst I was making tea, Karen had her eyeballs glued to the binoculars watching for Dolphins. I assumed from the “Whoops” of delight that it worked. We struck camp just as the rain came down really heavily – that saved us from having to look for somewhere to have a shower (only joking mum).
breakfast on the beach.
By 9:15 we were off again for the next ferry. We were sort of island hopping and got on the next boat to Andalaswagen. Whilst waiting for the ferry I saw a Sea Eagle being chased by a seagull – got some points back – not enough though as Karen had spotted a small herd of deer 10kms back.
Just managed to get the last one

Once off the boat, it was a quick 16km drive to the next ferry at Forvik.

This was like a shuttle for the locals and stopped at several smaller islands with vehicle reversing on and off before dropping us off at Tjotta. The ferry was weird. It went backwards as fast as forwards and there did not seem to be a proper front or back. It would sail into one port and then as it pulled out backwards it would not turn around  as it went to the next island.
If you look closely, you can see Karen downloading books on her kindle.
One thing that impressed us was the trust these people have in each other. At every small town we saw loads of pushbikes left in various states of abandonment without locks beside the bus stops. It appears they ride to the bus stop, dump the bike somewhere nearby and go to school/work/whatever.

We noticed that the further North we travel, the more autumnal the foliage appears.
We were blindly following the sat nav and it surprised us by taking us to yet another ferry as opposed to our intended road route. Not a problem but they are expensive compared to road usage (and of course failing to pay road tolls !).
Trees turning.

Couldn't resist one of the lake and trees.

Waterfalls as seen from the ferry

Gromit in all her splendor!

Another one we couldn't resist.
By this time it was getting late and were struggling to find an open campsite so we decided to grab a bite to eat in a restaurant called “Bimbo”, (with a name like that it just had to done) and look for somewhere to wildcamp. After a few trips down peoples driveways we eventually found somewhere that was not near a railway line, a road or houses . Yippee. Then we noticed a row of bright lights come on, on top of the hillside across the river. Was a nearby stadium about to fire up ? No, it transpires that we are camped 200m from the end of a runway of the local airport. We have been here for 3 hours and 5 planes have taken off and landed. You couldn’t make it up.
We were however severely compensated by a completely different air show put on just for us by a pair of tawny owls. We had them flying past us with only a couple of feet to spare. They were completely silent and we heard nothing but they were obviously checking us out. The display was beautiful and so were they.
Karen says that this is the most wonderful experience. She has been nervous but had dealt with it admirably. 

Saturday 24th 
We were up early again, I have to say it is totally not like me, but after packing up the tent and breakfast, we hit the road.  We have a plan for today which is to get to a campsite and do the washing and have ourselves a right nice hot shower, or two. 
However, we had not taken into account, that the main road went through so many beautiful places. What should have been a two hour journey, ended up taking the best part of four.  We had to stop ourselves from stopping every couple of minutes to take more pictures of the wonderful surroundings. We crossed the Artic circle and obviously stopped and crossed it several times, just because we could.
Ray looking resplendant on the Artic circle.

Cairns set up all around, very eerie feel about it.

Norwegian for Artic circle.

The Arcic Circle is just a line on the map. It is the point on the globe where the sun just touches the horizon on the 23rd of December. From here North there is 24 hours of night in the winter and 24 hours of daylight in the summer.
Can you see me?

You can't miss him!


Autumn colours

Even more awesomeness

We arrived finally at the campsite called Nordnes and set up.  Leon went on the missing list for an hour, but eventually returned looking quite pleased with himself.  We soaked in hot showers and got on with the chores, and that is where we leave you now.


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  3. OMG im loving all the wonderful pics, as im going though them and nicking them for my screen saver (he he), I have to keep changing it as there all so pretty lol but i have settled on this last one as my fav :-)