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!
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.
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!)
It was a drizzly, miserable day when I woke up in the staff car park of the IKEA store near Bergen. I’d been awake since 6.0am when staff began arriving for work. I was going to take the opportunity of using the IKEA free bus into town which started the day 10.0am so I had plenty of time to have breakfast and get the van sorted out and park it in the main car park, where I felt it would be safe to leave for the day.
The bus journey into Bergen was excellent. The coach they used was very comfortable and each seat had individual seat belts, which the driver insisted everyone put on before starting the journey.
I got off the bus in the centre of town and began looking round. Bergen has a very old street on the waterfront, that’s apparently recognised by UNESCO as being of special significance due to the age of the shop fronts there and is a protected World Heritage Site.
Things were looking very damp this particular day and it was apparent that some of the buildings were definitely wonky due to their age.
I found Bergen to be a really interesting town with lots of quirky and old buildings like this one with a huge mural painted on the side.
I took a walk along the harbour side and came across the Green peace ship Rainbow Warrior tied up in one of the inlets. I have to say she was looking a bit worse for wear and exhibiting some obvious battle scars, but it was good to see she was still around.
Further along the quayside I saw some huge deep sea trawlers. I couldn’t get very close because that part of the port was fenced off, but they were very impressive.
I made my way back to the centre and on the harbour side there I saw a fish stall and restaurant and thought I’d see if there was anything I could afford. I chose to have a bowl of their fish soup and it was absolutely delicious and contained a dozen scallops, prawns, pieces of lobster and crab, all in a delicious soup. It was served with bread and butter and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
So at 3.0pm I caught the bus back to IKEA and got back in the van ready to begin the journey to Oslo. I really enjoyed Bergen and would definitely consider going for a long weekend sometime. There’s plenty to do and see there. Thanks to IKEA!
On the road again I came to a large rest area with good facilities and decided to bed down for the night.