>Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
(>Pictures at the bottom!)
I don’t know if there can be “love at first sight” in a country. In any case, we fell in love with this huge country from the very first moment we came here from Finland, actually right after crossing the border. Here you can find everything from the alpine country: mountains, lakes, sea and endless untouched landscapes!
The first two days were already behind us; at the northernmost tourist highlight we were already looking into the depths of the polar sea and we also experienced a stormy night at the North Cape. We could still enjoy our coffee, quickly clean up and already the first raindrops were falling on our car. The weather forecast promised more humidity than sunshine for the next days.
We took the road number 69, later it became number 6, the long way to drive south. There were no other roads or paths for us either; up here there is only one traffic axis, but even this one was very impressive and varied. As alternatives there would have been route sections through Sweden, but due to the Corona pandemic the borders were closed for tourist traffic.
And then there is this: The way from the North Cape to Oslo is further than from Oslo to Basel! Amazing!
The clouds were hanging low in the mountains and only now and then a few rays of sunshine laughed behind the clouds. The drive through tundra and forests with small birch trees, strange rock formations always provided new surprises, be it a completely different landscape or reindeer, which were also on the road. Also moose crossed our paths, but unfortunately they were always faster than the camera at hand.
And, if we were already up here above the Arctic Circle, why not a short detour to the northernmost city on this earth? Already the first houses around Hammerfest gave us a hint that snow lies here longer than the meadows are green. Everything is somehow designed for long, cold and dark nights. In former times it was the starting point for polar expeditions and whalers, today it is a hotspot for everything crazy, whether on land or water.
From Hammerfest we went back again and along the coast, the countless fjords further west. Apart from the many ferry trips, we were always surprised by the bold bridge constructions. If for some reason a bridge construction is not possible, the Norwegians simply drill a tunnel under the estuary. Speaking of road constructions: I always thought that we were the Swiss world champions in tunnel boring and that we would drill holes through the whole mountain world. Maybe it’s the Norwegians? They build even crazier things and really build tunnels everywhere. If necessary, there is also an underground crossing including the corresponding traffic circle. And if a tunnel is not possible despite all the engineering skills, there is a bridge over everything.
In Tromsø we finally found an LPG filling station, where we could fill up our empty gas bottle again. Gas cars are apparently not as popular in the northern latitudes as the omnipresent electric cars. In the city center we bought the rest of our daily shopping. The short visit to the northernmost cathedral, which is completely built in wood, made a warming impression on us in this gloomy world (weather).
Our direction of travel turned slowly to the southwest and the sun also laughed for long stretches behind the clouds, followed by heavy showers. The many fjords and long distances around them, or the waiting times at the ferries made our cruising speed finally only small bumps on the map. But almost behind every bend there was a different view of the spectacular landscape and the ferry crossings gave us a wider perspective from the water every time.
Soon we jumped out, from island to island towards the Lofoten. Unfortunately, when we arrived, everything was deeply overcast and again and again the windshield wipers had to wipe away the moisture. We also asked ourselves what we actually wanted to do here; just drive out that we were there? But the Lofoten, which extend far out into the Norwegian Sea, would not be the Lofoten and here the weather can change every minute; from sunshine to stormy rainfall or vice versa. We experienced the weather change from precipitation to cloudless skies and pleasant warmth, with a beautiful double rainbow. The bizarre mountain world, surrounded by the sea was an optical dream and filled the memory card of the camera visibly. You could spend weeks here; hiking, fishing and relaxing would be the absolute highlights, but requires weather and storm proof equipment.
In the last place “Å” – this “Å” is one of the last letters in the Norwegian alphabet – we stopped with many other travelers for a longer break and visited the small former fishing village, which today is more like an open-air museum and where all kinds of things are offered for adventure-hungry tourists.
A ferry brought us back from the offshore Lofoten to the mainland and from Bodø we followed the coast, circumnavigated countless fjords or always looked for possible side roads to avoid the many tunnels. Sometimes it worked, often we had to turn back after several kilometers or we just drove on over blocked road sections.
Between Bodø and “Mo i Rana” – it was pouring again – there was another long ferry trip, when suddenly the captain over the loudspeaker announced that we were about to cross the Arctic Circle. Everything stormed outside and tried to immortalize the markings in the fog on a cell phone. Actually, the Arctic Circle runs in the middle of the fjord, but the marking was shifted by a few kilometers to the next headland; almost like the North Cape 😉
In “Mo i Rana” we left the coastline and climbed up into the highlands and mountains, where our road led from one body of water to the next. The variety was very big and we found appropriate roads and paths, which took us away from the busy roads again.
After longer stretches inland we returned to the coastline and we were already at the gates of Trondheim, or at the ferry port, from where a ship took us to the other shore. Trondheim makes a very dressed up impression on newcomers and invited us to stay for a longer time. But in the summer time, we were not the only travelers and everywhere, there were crowds of people who strolled – close together – over the squares and in front of the northernmost cathedral, they studied the frescos of the entrance area extensively. Keeping a distance and wearing masks was apparently not yet as popular up here as in other places and the many people behaved as if everything was fine. Once again we looked for loneliness and left cultural things aside.
South of Trondheim the “mountain roads” finally followed over wide plateaus and snowfields. Our route options were still a bit extravagant and so we drove through valleys, where not exactly the big tourist masses go; gravel roads and steep sections are not suitable for all motorhomes and even normal cars fought their way up the ramps. Despite the strains for driver and vehicle, the scenic compensation was extremely large. Whether it was spraying waterfalls, glacier fields that almost reached the roadside or any mountain lake; it was wonderful even without sunshine. Somewhere in this mountainous landscape, we celebrated August 1st with Cordon-Bleu and Swiss ensigns on the banks of a rushing mountain stream. Unfortunately, we had not practiced our national anthem enough for a worthy conclusion of the evening. But the scenery and the mountain stream awakened in us the feelings of home and a cheer was granted free rein.
Up to Bergen, there were still countless crossings of plateaus, which took us far up into the mountains, where snow was still everywhere and ice fields were within reach. Although only about 1200 meters above sea level, the icy wind whizzed across the wide plains and most of the snow will probably stay until the next winter. The descent to the next fjord was also always a plunge into a green world, surrounded by blue and snow-covered mountains; a wonderful contrast program.
Flåm did not only fascinate us, but whole hosts of other travelers and we were again a little irritated that almost everything was organized and carried out normally for the many arriving tourists. Amazing!
Admittedly, the many ship travelers were missing, each of them landing in the port with huge luxury steamers and flooding the small town by the thousands. We skipped the trip up to Myrdal to the Bergen Railway and then downhill with the mountain bike. We even went through the museum of the Flåm Railway in single file, so that we soon started our way to Bergen.
From Flåm it was also no longer possible for us to ride over any pass or high plateau. We had to make do with long tunnel trips; they simply don’t exist and anything else would probably have been forbidden; our beloved side roads and paths. The drive through the underworld was long and only on the opposite side we could leave the main traffic axis again and drive on the quieter side roads. Soon we followed the Bergen Railway up into the wide mountain world, where apparently every Norwegian has his little vacation cottage somewhere in a clearing or at a lake. A big no-driving sign stopped us far up in the valley and forced us to return. From far up we reached Bergen with its very spacious suburbs. It was not easy for us to find any decent place to sleep in this urbanized area; there were houses everywhere and even the inconspicuous road junctions always ended in front of some family home. Finding our way around the agglomerations presented us with new challenges and often the search ended in an almost hopeless situation. Our tools from the Internet are more oriented towards motor homes than towards compromising campers in off-road vehicles.
We paid a full day visit to the center of Bergen and were very surprised by the quiet atmosphere. It may be that the rainy weather prevented many visitors from taking an extensive tour through the former warehouse district and even in this – UNESCO protected part of the city – many stores were closed. Presumably the big luxury ships, which usually dock in the harbor and bring many visitors to the city, were also missing here.
Our time in Norway was soon over. With a ferry we left Bergen and could say goodbye to this beautiful country on this mini cruise. We spent a long time on deck, looking into the deep fjords and to the distant mountains, which slowly disappeared in the night.
The seagulls were still screeching around the ship as we retired to our cabin. The “Tuck-Tuck” of the ship’s engine and the gentle swell soon rocked us into a deep sleep. In the morning we will continue in Denmark.
>Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator