Tag Archives: roadtrip

The last night of the Scandinavian AdVANture in Europe

Wednesday 20 November 2019

So here it is. My last night on the continent on my Scandinavian AdVANture. This epic journey is reaching it’s conclusion and I’ll be heading for Rotterdam and the ferry home tomorrow.

It has been life changing for me and has made far more of an impression on me than I envisaged.

I have been overwhelmed by some of nature’s most spectacular landscape and I have found that I am very much emotionally involved in the landscape and nature’s importance in my life. I have gained a very small insight into the way that Scandinavian people live, particularly those in the far north and the journey has reinforced my belief that travel is the most important part of any person’s education. If we don’t meet and communicate with other peoples and cultures, in their own country, then we become xenophobic and remain ignorant of the other’s point of view.

A couple of facts and figures –

After over 500 hours of driving I have covered over 14,100 miles (22,700 kilometres) and visited 6 countries, 4 of them twice and 2 of them three times!

Not forgetting that I have made the 12 mile walk to the most northerly point of the European mainland, Knivskjelodden, and raised £1095 for the Alzheimer’s Society in the process. I must say here that I am so grateful to all those lovely people who contributed to my donation pages. Thank you.

I do feel guilty about the amount of pollution I’ve caused by making this journey but when I compare it with the amount of HGVs on the road, my minuscule contribution is put into context.

I’m currently in a rest area in the small Dutch town of Zaltbommel (love that name, it could only be Dutch!) and I’m going to get my head down and leave early in the morning to make my way to Rotterdam.

I’m hoping to get an exhibition together sometime next year of the images I’ve captured and I’m creating a couple of different presentations of the Scandinavian AdVANture. Details in the New year.

Thank you Scandinavia, it’s been a blast!

Heading home

Monday 18 November 2019

Saw Fi to the airport to catch her flight home and I began the journey home.

This journey will take me three days and I’m now in a rest area just west of Odense on the E20 near a village called Skallebolle.

This part of the journey I’m not really looking forward to. The landscape is flat and mainly agricultural. For the most part of the last four months I’ve been on a real natural high and now I really feel I’m coming down to earth to return to my “normal” everyday life.

So I’m heading to Rotterdam via the fastest and easiest route.

Lindesnes Lighthouse

Saturday 2 November 2019

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.

Lindesnes lighthouse on the most southerly point of the Norwegian mainland

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.

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 Bridge In Mist and a Huge Waterfall

Friday 18 October 2019

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.

Eidfjord and the wonderful colours of autumn
Eidfjord quayside

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.

Vøringsfossen

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.

Vøringsfossen

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.

Sleet and snow on a mountain road is not good, time to get down to the valley!

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.