A photographer from the YORK area of the UK, I love to travel. My passsion is in landscape photography, though I also find myself photographing architecture, wildlife, abstract and pretty much anything that pleases my eye.
Currently on a four month road trip around Scandinavia, mainly northern Norway. I intend to reach the northernmost point of the European mainland called Knivskjelodden and then explore as much of Norway as I can, including a long stay in the Lofoten Islands.
I drove straight to the Hardranger National Park after breakfast and came a village called Åmotsdal that had a very pretty little church, now with a gentle covering of snow surrounding it.
As I got to higher ground the snow became deeper and I was beginning to think this may not have been such a good idea. But it did make for a couple of winter pictures.
The roads didn’t seem too bad and the weather looked good. The forecast was for clear skies for the next couple of days, so I continued into the Park, which is huge.
Many of the trees retained their autumn foliage despite the freezing temperatures and sometimes gusty winds. I passed many beautiful scenes and took photographs with the ‘big’ camera, in addition to the ones I took with the iPhone like the one below at a place called Rauland
Eventually I came to a valley called Brattlandsdalen with enormous mountains surrounding perfectly calm reflecting lakes. There were waterfalls and canyons but by now it was too dark to make any photographs, so I pulled into a rest area for the night. I knew I was next to a waterfall but I couldn’t see it. It would have to waiting until morning.
Yesterday was a domestic day. I washed all my clothes, washed the bedding and generally tidied and cleaned the van. I finished off yesterday with some catching up on this blog.
It was quite a bit cheaper to buy food in Sweden so made a visit to the supermarket first thing and got a few essentials in like chocolate and cake 😁. I filled up with fresh water and emptied the grey water and with all my clothes and bedding washed the day before I was ready to roll.
The plan (yes I had a plan) was to drive north west, avoiding Oslo, and head to the mountains of the Hardranger National Park. Once there I could explore the area properly for about a week and take advantage of the good weather that was forecast for the next few days.
So off I went straight up the E6 back into Norway, then turned left on to the E134 and through the Oslofjord Tunnel which is pretty impressive as it’s 7.5 km long and goes under the fjord. It has very steep inclines going into and out of the tunnel, a magnificent feat of engineering once again.
I then reached Kongsberg, just passed Drammen, and I was going to stay the night there but it was just too noisy and urban so I made the decision to head up to the mountains this evening, or at least part of the way.
At 10.0pm I arrived at a rest area next to the Hjartsjå lake and bedded down for the night.
After breakfast I began heading for Stockholm. It was going to be a long drive and I expected it to take two or three days.
I crossed the border into Sweden and after a few kilometres I had a change of mind. I looked at the map and saw that the journey to Stockholm and then to Malmo where I had to be eventually, was going to be more than a thousand miles further than heading down the Atlantic coast via Gothenburg then on to Malmo. I deliberated and decided it wasn’t worth it. The landscape in Sweden can be quite monotonous, consisting of trees, lakes and small rolling hills and is not the kind of landscape I enjoy.
I would also like to explore more of the Atlantic coast so I plotted a route and as I write this I’m having lunch in a rest area called Vassvikken.
I needed a campsite that evening so as usual I consulted ‘Campercontact’ and saw a place in a marina at Henån on the island of Orust. I thought the coastline might provide some interesting material from a photography point of view and I could spend the day tomorrow driving around the coast looking for good seascapes.
So that was that and I changed course and got myself down to the island of Orust. The campsite I was heading for was not what I was expecting. There was a huge area avaialable to park in with electric hook up and good wifi. What made it really special was that clothes washing and drying and the showers were included in the price of 150kr (about £12). Brilliant!
First thing was a good shower, oh how I needed a shower!!
Oslo’s Vigeland Park, is the largest sculpture park in the world by a single artist, boasting over 200 pieces by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland
This sculpture park in the Frogner Park, Oslo with more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) in bronze, granite and cast iron, including The Angry Boy (Sinnataggen in Norwegian), The Monolith (Monolitten) and The Wheel of Life (Livshjulet) really is a must visit place if you’re in the Norwaegian capital.
Vigeland was also responsible for the design and architectural outline of the park, which is one of Norway’s top tourist attractions, with more than one million annual visitors.
I spent a good half day there and became completely immersed in viewing the sculptures, all of which are life like and of people varying in age from newly born to near death. It is exquisite and my camera was constantly clicking, trying to capture the beauty and the expressions on the faces of the subjects in various materials.
Just to add to the overall gorgeousness (is that actually a word??) of the place, the trees were in full autumn colour and looked fabulous.
As the light began to fade it was time to leave and make my way out of the city. Oslo is a vibrant and busy city and I promised myself I would return when the opportunity arose, there is so much more to see.
One thing I must mention here, is the fact that Oslo is full of Tesla, and other electric vehicles. Having rarely seen a Tesla before, I was struck by how many there were. One can understand why when you see that all the bus/taxi only lanes are full of them, whilst we drivers of the great polluters queue to move a few yards. This is also something I’ve noticed in the rest of Norway, electric vehicles are everywhere and the recharge network is in evidence from the far north to the capital city. I feel it is something we should seriously try to address in the UK.
There is also a scheme too borrow these scooters to get you around the city.
I left the excellent campsite at Geilo and took to the E7 route heading south. The trees were just stunning in their autumn colours that seem to get more saturated as each day passes. Near a place called Nes in Buskerund Kommune I came to Lake Hallingdalselva where the reflection of the wooded area opposite was just exquisite. Once again I saw a house that seemed to have been built in just an ideal location. The whole scene just had to be photographed.
The silver birch trees above made a really good tryptic I thought (I may swap them around when I get round to printing them!)
A grey drizzling morning this morning and I’ve decided to stay on the site I’m on for another day and catch up on things I need to. The WiFi is good and I’m just about the only one on the site so I have access to all the facilities to myself. The facilities are excellent and I’ve washed a bag full of dirty clothes already!
The weather this morning is looking really good. The rest area where I spent the night was adjacent to a magnificent bridge, marking yet another piece of superb engineering by the Norwegians. Hardangerbrua spans Hardangerfjord and this morning it looked superb as the morning cloud began to lift around. To me the cloud looked almost unreal and I took an hour or so to find the best view of the structure.
So I moved on and made my way along route 7 towards Oslo and I passed through the beautiful village of Eidfjord.
A little further on I came to a spectacular natural phenomena that is Vøringsfossen. The Vøringsfossen Waterfall has a free fall of 145 metres and a total fall of 182 metres, and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Norway.
To witness the huge volumes of water from the Hardangervidda plateau drop to the valley of Måbødalen below is an impressive sight in natural and idyllic surroundings.
I spent almost two hours at this location and took stills, video and drone footage.
As I got back on to route 7 it began to sleet that added to the already snow covered mountains and I consulted “CamperContact” for nearby campsites. Geilo Camping looked good so I headed for it.
When I got there, it was just what I was looking for and I booked in for the night. With good Wifi and excellent facilities, it was a good choice and doing housekeeping in the van was a good idea.