Thursday 19 September 2019
(Most of this post written by FIONA Illingworth, whilst enjoying her well deserved holiday with me here in Norway)
We stopped in a rest area last night, shared only with some sort of tanker. It was bitter cold and windy, so we slept with the roof down. We had a good meal of pasta with sausage and tomato sauce and managed to catch up on some writing. John’s blog has not had the same attention since I arrived and he has used a lot of text from my journal to update the days we have shared. He will have to get back into the habit of doing it more regularly when I go home.
It has snowed in the mountain tops overnight and they look spectacular this morning as we drive along the E8 with the Balsfjorden to our left. The E8 was traditionally a track built for reindeer and sled, built along the borders of Northern Norway, Sweden and Finland for market trading. It was only navigable in the winter. It has a number of border crossing points along its spine into Sweden. It was the Germans who built a road for traffic when they occupied Norway during the Second World War. Now it is open all year round and is an impressive road, it must be said, stretching for 622 kilometres.
We don’t have far to travel today and our plan is to spend most of the day in the very expensive campsite at Tromsø, where I need to pack my bag and John needs to use the laundry facilities. It will be good to get a shower as it feels like it’s been a while!
The cooking gas finally gave up this morning. I think it has done really well to last this long given the amount of usage it has had, particularly whilst I have been here. It was a bit of a struggle to get the new bottle in the locker. The trick, we learnt, is to put it in head first. The new bottle should last John the rest of his trip, with a bit of luck. He won’t cook as much as I have done for a start!
Well, I have managed to pack my rucksack without much of a problem. There is something rather depressing about packing dirty clothes into bag, not nearly as much fun as packing clean clothes in a bag to set off somewhere. I managed to get everything I needed for the plane in the little crappy black rucksack that John brought with him. He is pleased about that: I can leave him the far superior orange rucksack that I brought out with me.
I wasn’t too sure about this campsite as it seemed expensive and looked huge and rather regimental. I thought it might be somewhat impersonal. But actually the facilities are brilliant. We have eaten boiled eggs for lunch, had a shower and John has done one load of washing. We’ve also enjoyed a fabulous sauna, all included in the cost Great site!
So we’re all packed and ready to take Fiona to the airport tomorrow. It’s been a great three weeks and it’ll be back to talking to myself tomorrow afternoon!