When the weather plays ball this is paradise!

Monday 28 October 2019

Yesterday I found myself on a high road in the mountains with the snow beginning to settle on the road and the driving conditions becoming steadily worse. I certainly didn’t want to wild camp in those conditions with the risk that I wouldn’t be able to move in the morning, so I made my way to lower ground. Today the weather was completely different, with clear blue skies and the promise of it continuing throughout the day.

I’d found a campsite in a very small village called Røldal situated right on the edge of Røldalsvatnet lake and surrounded by high mountains. The facilities were excellent and it was run by a very friendly and welcoming farmer’s wife who turned out to be from Sweden and had moved to Norway many years before and brought up five children on this farm.

Røldal campsite

I set off early to explore the surrounding area and I was stunned by it’s beauty. It was the kind of landscape I love, with high mountains, huge lakes and enormous forests. I travelled around the area, known as Røgaland and made many, many photographs. I must say that when confronted by magnificent landscape like this, I do feel somewhat overwhelmed and find it difficult to capture anything resembling a true representation of it with the camera, but I’m here to try and do that, so I’ll keep trying.

See how the light captures the shapes and intricacies of these wintering birch trees, now devoid of all their leaves.
Mokleivåsen beside lake Røldalsvatnet
Lake Røldalsvatnet

I discovered a preserved farmhouse and outbuildings that was apparently typical of the ‘cotter’ or crofter farms of the 18th and 19th century in this area. Built in 1834, the farm had been occupied by the Røynevarden family until 1948 and was now in the care of a Norwegian organisation that strives to preserve the heritage of the area.

Røynevarden farm, note the grass rooves of the house and buildings.

I spent the day driving around the area and decided to return to the same campsite that evening.

Back in the mountains

Saturday 26 October 2019

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.

Åmotsdal church

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.

Hardranger National Park
Hardranger National Park

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.

Vinji

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

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.

Return To Norway!

Friday 25 October 2019

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.

Kongsberg railway station

At 10.0pm I arrived at a rest area next to the Hjartsjå lake and bedded down for the night.

Border Crossing

Tuesday 22nd of October

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.

Vassvikken rest area, a place to deliberate

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!!

OYS Camper Parking, Orust, Sweden
OYS Marina Camper Parking, Orust, Sweden

Oslo and the Vigeland Sculpture Park

Monday 21 October2019

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.

Just one Tesla amongst 15 I counted in this small car park at Frogner Park

There is also a scheme too borrow these scooters to get you around the city.

A great day in Norway’s capital!

A Sunday Drive on the E7

Sunday 20 October 2019

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!)

What a location this house is in and the perfectly still water reflected it beautifully.
The mist floating over the top of the mountain here just made it for me.

Wash Day

Saturday 19 October 2019

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!

Sometimes the domestic chores have to be done!