Norwegian roads vs Norwegian airports..

We drove 1700km through three sets of roadworks and only waited in a traffic jam for 20 minutes by a fjord.

Our flight was 30 minutes late leaving Trondheim and now we’re delayed by an hour at Stavanger. Stavanger’s a nice enough airport but it would be lovely to see Heathrow.
Perhaps Norway’s so focused on making the roads work that there’s no energy left for airports……….alternatively it could be the weather
Of course, the third option could be the delay is at Heathrow because the UK’s having a sombre day!

The vote is cast and we’re outcasts…..

So we woke up to news that the likes of Boris and Nigel had won the day. The public face of the Leave campaign doesn’t make me proud to be British. Having said that, the Remain campaign wasn’t up to much either.
It’s been a hot topic in the dining room this morning and Norway’s not even in the EU. We’ve discovered Americans and Germans have very strong views and neither of us felt ready to join in the debate.
There’s no doubt that change is needed but it’s still a sad day. Let’s hope it drives a positive change that improves our public services and standard of living for those that need it most rather than turn us into a nation of insular, inward looking xenophobes.
Matt’s talking about emigrating to Australia, we hope to get home before he’s gone.
John challenged me to write this in French. The best I can manage, without the help of Google translate is:
Nous sommes tres triste

Kristiansund to Trondheim

Last night was spent standing on a hill, watching the Tahiti Festival on Innlandet, the most historic of Kristiansund’s islands. Apparently it is known locally as Tahiti although no-one knows why. The festival venue holds about 500 people and money raised helps to restore historic waterfront buildings. It’s a big event in the town….the CC Cowboys were well received by the locals but the warm up act covering Bob Seger songs was better.


Breakfast, this morning, was spent watching a training session for new recruits struggling to park a lifeboat next to a ladder.  A new first for us was a lesson in how to make fresh Norwegian waffles.


Today’s drive had nothing of the drama of the last three, valleys and fjords became wider and it no longer felt like Trolls, which appear every 100 years, might be watching your every move. Apparently, the trolls are due a come back any day now because no-one has seen them in the last 100 years……In fact, the journey felt a little dull despite sunshine and spectacular scenery.


We stopped for lunch in a pretty little town called Orkanger and Kim was in lunch heaven – the cafe was attached to a knitting shop. Luckily she couldn’t read Norwegian knitting patterns otherwise we’d be bringing back bags of wool.
The roads became significantly busier as we approached Trondheim which reminded us that we’re tackling the M25 tomorrow.
Trondheim is very pretty with lots of beautiful, historic waterfront buildings. Many have been restored and turned into apartments with great views, although they don’t appear to have much in the way of foundations!


The afternoon was spent wandering through the old town before finding ourselves on top of a car park, watching the biggest cruise ship we’ve seen leave port. We also had a great view of the railway and noticed all of the trains are equipped with snowploughs – we truly lived life on the edge today!
Having travelled so far north we realise that we are quite close to the Arctic Circle, Narvik is appearing on signposts and it’s very tempting to try and get there as this evening the sun sets at 23:40 and rises again at 3:03. Probably best left for another day. 
It has taken us 4 days to get from Bergen to Trondheim, you can do it by bus in 14 hours. I wonder why we didn’t think of that.

Geiranger to Kristiansund


Kim’s turn to drive today and it started scarily with an 11% incline and nine hairpin bends. Luckily we were ahead of most of the coaches but it was still a busy tourist route.

We had a couple of car ferries today the first, about a third of the way along our 130 mile route (you just wouldn’t believe how long it takes to get anywhere in Norway!).  We’re not sure why you would choose a cruise on a ship the size of a small housing estate when you can choose a car ferry!


We had a short stop at a beautiful place with a stunning waterfall but this is the picture we have….


John made a new friend, Martin from Czech Republic, who is very keen for the UK to remain in the EU. He spends 5 months working in Norway during the summer and comes back again in December for another month selling Christmas trees. Kim was rather jealous of his lifestyle although he does spend his summer living a very tatty caravan!
Next stop, Trollsteigen. Another route similar to the glaciers we have already seen but without the snow. Mountains loomed up around us, waterfalls cascading, rivers running by the side of the road, more hairpin bends, ridiculously steep inclines and descents. This was another truly terrifying route to drive for a Brit that only really potters to Bedford or Luton. Photos really don’t do justice to the drama!


The scenery opened out when we left Trollsteigen and, rather than being grateful that the driving became easier, the scenery started to seem a little dull!
Our last treat before arriving in Kristiansund was the Atlantershavsvegen, a route comprising 9 bridges that links a number of islands to the mainland. A stunning drive over the bridge to nowhere..



We finally arrived in Kristiansund and will save our impressions of the area until tomorrow, other than to say we’ve earned a beer and there is a music festival next to our hotel tonight…. A little different to our wooden hut!

An early start…

Breakfast wasn’t included in our deal for the little wooden hut so we decided to make an early start.

We drove into Geiranger and treated ourselves to locally made cinnamon buns in Ole Cafe – there wasn’t really anything else on offer! Breakfast was fine, but the Americans who arrived shortly after us were not going to be satisfied with a measly bun and wandered off in a huff.
Now to take on today’s challenge of the Trollsteigen and Atlanterhavswegen

An evening in Geiranger

We survived our very long walk into Geiranger for a leisurely dinner – it cost a fortune but it was lovely to eat in a ‘proper’ restaurant. We stuck with drinking local beer (£8/33cl), you need to re-mortgage to drink wine!


The meal was lovely, Kim had deer with celeriac, John stayed with the veggie option of quinoa with avocado. Dessert was a shared apple and hazelnut cheesecake. The walk back to our Campinghytter was just right. As we settled down to read on our verandah, we were entertained by the huge cruise ship leaving. Who needs TV when you can watch a ship the size of an 8 storey apartment block sail up a narrow fjord.
Here’s a photo especially for Matt and any chocolate lovers…
Geiranger has its own chocolate maker who drives a Tesla (Teslas are very popular over here and had we’d known the Hertz rent them, we may have upgraded). The logo on the back encourages us to ‘Save the planet, it’s the only one with chocolate’. Even more reason to buy a Tesla……

Sogndal to Geiranger

We woke to sunshine and Sogndal looked a lot prettier. In fact John has chosen his next home. 

Our first stop was the bottom of Boyabreen glacier, the highlight was the cows. According to John, a lot of snot comes out of a cows nose when it sneezes! We’re also experts on H&S for glaciers…..



We had a lovely drive along Nordfjord before grinding to a halt in roadworks. Signs warned of a 30 minute delay which would drive you bonkers in England. Drivers got out of cars and and stood patiently, taking in the scenery.  We’d never seen such a good natured queue and it probably sums up Norwegians. They seem to be very calm and relaxed. We do wonder if that changes in the winter when they don’t see much daylight. Is that when their inner Viking surfaces?
We drove through Olden and encountered our first cruise ship, it completely dwarfed the town which was heaving with passengers desperate to buy souvenirs We kept driving until we found somewhere quieter!


We stopped for lunch in Stryn
Next stop, the Gamle Strynefjellsveg. Another amazing drive over a glacier. The poor hire car is really being put through its paces. We were stunned to find a ski lift and small cafe right in the middle of glacier full if enthusiastic snowboarders
Finally we arrived at our little wooden hut in Geiranger. Despite our worst fears, we have our own bathroom and fantastic views. The downsides are we have to make our own beds, clean before we leave and it’s a good 40 minute walk from the town.


Bergen to Sogndal

Kim’s turn to drive and the rain has kept us company all day!

Our route took us out along Osterfjord and followed fjord after fjord for 150 miles. The scenery is stunning and we’re not bored of it yet. The roads are lovely to drive, it’s a shame about the tunnels. There are hundreds of them, ranging in length from fat bridges to the longest in the world! Some are dark, narrow and terrifying when driving a hire car with the steering wheel on the wrong side.
We stopped for lunch at the old Railway station in Voss which is gearing up for its annual extreme sports festival, it looked like it could very pretty when not covered in grey cloud.
For the last half of our drive, Aurland to Laerdal, we had a choice……… longest tunnel in the world or the snow road across the top of the glacier which only opens in the summer. 25km in a tunnel or 48km over the mountain? Snow route it was! The climb up the mountain was terrifying – single track road, hairpin bends and sheer drops off the edge. We stopped halfway up for Kim to have a break, stop shaking and man up. 

After a few deep breaths we were on our way and it was spectacular when reached the top. The temperature plummeted to 4 degrees and we drove for miles through snowdrifts higher than the car, past frozen lakes. We ventured out of the car long enough to practise our selfie skills (more work needed, we think)


Feeling rather smug having arrived safely back at fjord level, we decided that we couldn’t miss out on the longest road tunnel in the world and chose to do the 50km round trip it would take to drive through the tunnel and back again. The tunnel has been designed with special rest areas and they are very special…


We finally arrived in Sogndal and found in a little cafe  overlooking the fjord for dinner. Homemade fish soup and carrot soup washed down by a selection of 3 (out of 40) local beers on offer and a game of chess. A lovely way to end the day.


Tomorrow night we’re staying in a wooden hut with communal showers and toilets so we shall make the most of our hotel tonight.


Breakfast in Bergen

We finally called it a day at 11:30 last night and it was still light! There is something very appealing about a country that has warm sunshine after 10pm.

This morning, a leisurely breakfast called to us (Kim mainly) before our 5-6 hour drive to Sogndal

Kim was in breakfast heaven – fresh fruit, cheese, fish, more cheese, salad and unlimited tea!


Discovery of the day was that pickled herring in mustard trumped pickled herring in tomato. John’s face was a picture, he doesn’t do fish. Diane does so, perhaps Kim should have bought her mum along!
John really pushed the boat out with muesli and a boiled egg, his biggest surprise was when his egg turned out to be soft-boiled rather than hard

John’s new friends…

As you know John has a habit of striking up conversations with complete strangers. Last night he did it again and was invited in to the home of his new friends Geir and Judit Tangerud. Geir used to have two jobs so he could afford his hobbies, of cars and motorcycles, now he has just the one job helping drug addicts get rehabilitated, the cars have gone but he still has his bikes.

First was Geir’s Rowbike, no pedals you just pull on the lever rowing style, downsides and their are many is it looked very unstable and very hard work


Next up was Geir’s Pedersen bike, the frame is a work of art and the idea is to provide a very upright riding position. In the winter Geir fits it with studded tyres for riding in the snow,
Finally we have Judit’s, ladies version of the Pedersen, you would never know from looking at it.


John was only meant to take a photo of the pots!!

A long way down

The funicular up to Mount Floyen was fantastic and the views from the top spectacular.


In a moment of madness we chose the 45 min walk back down to the centre……. It was a long way down. At one point we were rather scared by the warning signs….


We zig zagged and then zig zagged some more, our legs were aching and suddenly we were back in the city centre, approaching it from a beautiful residential area. John has made new friends after we stopped to admire the display of plants.


Dinner was in the Fish  Market, eating at a trestle table and drinking a very expensive beer. It’s 10:30 pm and the sun is just about thinking of setting, the evening has been the best part of the day.




….is really rather lovely although, so far we have only seen the inside of a pub and been on a 4 hour ferry trip round Osterfjord. So much for plans to do culture!


We spent vast sums on a spur of the moment trip, fleeces were in the car and, as we headed up to the sun deck on the ferry, we wondered if we’d done the right thing. It was blooming chilly and got chillier as the ferry picked up speed and headed out of the harbour.  The sun made guest appearances from behind clouds, and when it did, it was beautiful. The scenery was stunning, the commentary entertaining.


Apparently Edvard Grieg was a local lad and key moments of the trip were accompanied by rousing blasts of his music (Peer Gynt suite for anyone interested!), very dramatic as we sailed through narrow shady gorges and passed waterfalls.


Not content with showcasing Greig, the captain pulled up close by a waterfall so that could drink pure mountain water and the romantics could pick flowers from the cliff side – full marks for skillful boat control. We were treated to a blast of Jailhouse Rock as we rounded a prison island, shortly followed by the captain encouraging a passing steam ship to acknowledge his boat by blasting its whistle, purely for the fun of seeing the steamship slow to a halt until it could build up steam again!
Now checked into our hotel to defrost before heading out for dinner and the funicular up to Mount Floyen.

From the Isle of Wight to Norway

Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark and parts of Norway, conquered England and reigned from 1013-1014. His predecessor, Ethelred, fled to the Isle of Wight. Thank you, Google, for a neat link from our last blog to our new adventure.

A book Ken bought back from his travels to Norway sparked, in Kim, a lifelong fascination with Norwegian countryside.  

We’re driving along the fjords from Bergen to Trondheim via Geiranger Fjord, Trollsteigen and the Atlantic Road. We are heading for 20 hour daylight, a language we don’t know a single word of, mountains, glaciers and (if we’re really lucky) a troll or two!
An early start awaits us tomorrow