I drove to the south coast of Sweden today and visited a historical site called Ales Stenar. This is a 3500 year old stone circle in the shape of a viking ship and was used, it is believed, as a calendar for various ceremonies throughout the year.
A really interesting place and I spent a couple of hours there. I thought it might be a good place to return to when the light was better. So I moved on to Stenshuvuds National Park on the south east coast of Sweden and I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful forest they were looking after there. It was adjacent to the sea and had a beautiful sandy beach in addition to the forest. The autumn leaves were still clinging on in some places.
It was getting dark and I thought I may get some better images if I returned the following day.
So it was back to Sweden and I took full advantage of the brilliant facilities at the OYS marina in Henån on the island of Orust and that included laundry facilities. So today I spent the day washing and cleaning. Boring, but it has to be done.
The decision to once again head south was a good one. I woke this morning to a light covering of snow and noticed that the butane cooking gas I use was beginning to freeze. Time to move to slightly warmer climes!
I drove south east and headed for Sweden and the marina site that I’d stayed in before.
I do seem to have developed a real interest in lighthouses on this trip. I think it’s becasue of the remote landscape that many of them are built on. Today I visited the lighthouse at Lindesnes at the most southerly point on the Norwegian mainland.
There is an extremely good visitor centre there and the whole history of the place is fascinating and is described in the centre with a museum and a cinema showing a couple of very well produced short films. If you get the chance I thoroughly recommend you pay a visit. I did and signed the visitors book inside the lighthouse.
This lighthouse is still operational and is staffed by two keepers who work two weeks and two weeks off. I have created a video of my visit to the lighthouse and I will post that when I get home and have more bandwith to do so.
I continued my journey and made my way to the E18 to slowly make my way back to Sweden as I could see that the weather was really beginning to turn wintry and I didn’t want to stuck up in the mountains of this National Park.
I found a rest area in the Gjerstad kommune called, Østerholtheia and decided this would be a good place to wild camp for the night.
November already, means I have just 22 days left of this epic road trip and it seems to have gone by so fast, as I always knew it would. I have really tried to observe, appreciate and retain all the amazing places and landscapes I have seen. So here we go with the rest of the Scandinavian AdVANture.
Whilst driving along route 44 today I came across what seemed like an out of place war memorial. It commemorated four New Zealand airmen who died whilst on a raid on Jossingfjord just three days before the end of the war in 1945. You can read about the story in more detail here. This memorial is on an extremely steep cliff face where the road passes between two tunnels.
We must never forget how much sacrifice our freedom cost.
I was going to drive into Stavanger today to have a look around the town, but the closer I got and the busier the traffic became, I just went off the idea. I’m becoming very averse to large conurbations, busy traffic and crowds of people. I just prefer to be in areas of space and peace and, above all, silence, where I can enjoy the feeling of being at one with the landscape and just make images.
I turned around and joined the E39 south. I then turned off onto the 504 to head for the coast. My idea was to follow the coast road towards Kristiansand, rather than just drive on the E39 across country. I’m so glad I did.
My first stop was a tiny fishing harbour called Kvassheim that had an old lighthouse (I like lighthouses!). Whilst photographing this quaint and pretty harbour, I had the most amazing experience. A rainbow began to form in the distance, so I set up to photograph it. As the rainbow developed I could see where it began and ended, quite unusual I find. Then the rainbow began moving closer to me and continued developing until it formed almost a full circle and appeared to be just a few feet in front of me. It was amazing. The photograph doesn’t show the full extent of it but it was truly breathtaking. I was stood on the harbour wall and I could see one end on the left of the wall and the other on the other side of the wall to my right.
The little harbour and the lighthouse were like a place where time had stood still for quite a while as you can see.
From there I continued southward along the coast road. By lunchtime I had reached the UNESCO Magma Geopark (thanks to Google maps) and parked up to make what I thought would be a casual stroll around the area. However, I discovered that this Geopark is huge! It’s also quite unique in geological terms, though to be honest my knowledge of geology is not great, so I had difficulty in understanding the true significance of the area.
I did read though that the surface of the moon is made up of two types of rock anorthosite and plagioclase. Here at the Magma Geopark at Ytstebrød, Apollo 17 astronaut, Harrison Schmitt, studied anorthosite before landing on the moon in December 1972. The area is almost unique in being made up of anorthosite and is said to have a “moon landscape”.
I had a walk around the area for a couple of hours and made a number of images. But I noticed a storm approaching from the sea and after making the image below I quickly made my way back to the van about a mile away!
A little further down the coast I passed this rather bazarre piece of “art” at the side of the road, next to a replica wild west saloon.
I also came across this lovely piece of natural sculpture in the form of a tree clinging to the rock. I’m not sure if there was any life left in the tree but it reminede me of a bonsai. the textures of the tree and the rock were lovely.
I wildcamped in a rest area that evening with this lovely sunset to finish the evening off. A good day!
I continued along the E13 heading in the general direction of the coast and thought I would try to make the long hike to the famous piece of rock known as Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). This rock stands 604 metres (1982 feet) above Lysefjorden and the return hike takes around four hours climbing 350 metres and is a 7.6kms round trip. It was well within my capabilities. So I checked the weather forecast and it was abysmal. Not only was it bad but it was due to get worse over the next few days. So with a heavy heart I decided to abandon the hike to Preikestolen.
Just out of curiosity I did call into the car park where you start the hike, well, nearly into the car park. The charge for parking there is a whopping 250NOK, around £25.
So what now? Well Lysefjorden is a really beautiful fjord with high canyon like walls of rock on either side, so I thought I’d try to get into a location where I could photograph the fjord showing its character.
And so I made my way to Tau on the coast, across the water from Stavanger, and found a a quiet little rest area on the water’s edge to spend the night.