Thursday, 5 July 2018

Our Scandinavian Tour - Day 56 - 59

Monday 2nd July 2018  🌞🌞🌞🌞 for the full 24 hours!!
Mileage today 103 from Abisko National Park to a Lay-by on the edge of Grovfjord in Norway
Parking Co-ordinates 68.72673, 17.36552

This morning we left our free parking spot in the Abisko National Park and travelled the few miles down the road to the Norwegian Border where we fully expected to get stopped - but no - there was nobody about and we just sailed through the 'nothing to declare' lane without any problems.  And we really had got nothing to declare because we'd made sure we were within Norway's customs limits which vary a little depending on what you want to bring in.  For us it was 1 litre of spirits and 4 bottles of wine each - but had we known that passing over the border was so easy we might have been tempted to 'smuggle' a bottle or two more because Norway's prices for alcohol will almost certainly ensure we don't buy any while we're here!!

And what fantastic weather we had to welcome us - we thought by the time we got this far north all our shorts and t-shirts would be redundant but we certainly didn't need any winter woollies today (about 20 degrees and wall to wall sunshine)!!  The other thing we didn't need was any more insect repellent, because although we hadn't moved far none of the bothersome Swedish mozzies were anywhere to be seen - we thought maybe that was because none of them had a passport!! Additionally, right from the word go the vista's of glacial boulder strewn hillsides, waterfalls and more snow capped mountains were living up to our expectations and that was even before we'd seen any of the fjords.

After passing the border crossing our first stop came very quickly and that was at The Bjornfjell War Memorial which is one of six that were erected by the Norwegian Army commemorating the first defeat for Nazi Germany during the Second World War.  This mountainous area  became the scene of a very hard fought campaign  in 1940 when the German's attempted to gain control of the Iron Ore train line that transported ore produced in Kiruna to the ice free port of Narvik from where it was transported worldwide. However,  the allied forces of France, Poland, Great Britain and Norway prevented this at that time, but later negotiations resulted in the withdrawal of the Allied troops.

Part of the Battle Fields
From this area that had seen so many bloody battles and hardship for the soldiers we continued along the main E10 and then the E6 towards Narvik where it was our intention to visit the Tourist Info Office to find out more about what there is to see and do here, but unfortunately we were unable to park T4rdis2 anywhere near so that plan had to be abandoned  and we ended up heading back out of town to a lovely parking area right on the edge of  the massive Ofotfjorden where we partook of our lunch.

The Ofotfjorden and the Suspension Bridge that leads to Narvik
And while we were scoffing that we discussed how we were going to spend the rest of our day and the next couple to come.  As I said in my last blog obtaining more LPG (gas) was fairly high on our priority list but we could manage for one more day, so we decided we'd head out to see the peninsulas around the Grovfjord and hopefully find a nice quite spot to wild camp for the night.

So with that in mind we got underway and left the Ofotfjorden behind as we headed further along the E6 and conquered a couple more 'firsts' on our 60 day tour of Norway!  We'd already been over our 'first' Norwegian Suspension bridge on our way to Narvik, and now we passed though our 'first' tunnel, and no sooner had we completed it's 800 metre length than we were plunged into the next one!  But I'm sure that's something we'll need to get used to in Norway.  Our third 'first' was sailing under one of the many overhead automatic toll barriers that litter Norway's main roads - there will be no avoiding them here, but other than the cost they shouldn't be a problem because John has set up an account with EPC (Euro Parking Collections) which will automatically bill us for any tolls we incur.

Luckily, after that we were soon off the main road and onto route 829 which is a minor road that passes by the land locked Shoddebergvatnet and Saltvatnet Lakes, and then further along, the road is mostly bordered on one side by a granite cliff face which comes complete with numerous water falls, and on the other by the waters of the Grovfjord which eventually leads out to sea.  And after about 30 miles we found our perfect overnight parking place - right on the water's edge and surrounded by granite topped hills.

Our first wild camping spot in Norway

One of the many Salmon Fisheries in Grovfjord - and guess what we're having for tea tonight?
Norwegian Salmon that I brought in Swedn!!

Tuesday 3rd July 2018  ⛅⛅⛅
Mileage today 146 from a Lay-by on the edge of Grovfjord to Senjatrollet on the island of Senja
Parking Co-ordinates 69.41, 17.263

Our View When We Opened our Blinds This Morning!
This morning we reluctantly left our free parking place and continued on along the edge of the Grovfjord to the town of Flodvic Bryggeferie where the main occupation seemed to be related to fishing.

Soon after that we were back on the E6 and then route 84 where we had fantastic views of myriads of very high waterfalls pummelling down from the towering cliffs that rolled up on both sides of the road.

It really was an area of natural beauty that went on for many miles, and at times it very much reminded us of our time in the French Alps.  By now Grovfjord had changed to the much bigger Andfjorden and our journey was continuing along route 854 which took us into the town of Bardufoss where we ventured into our first Supermarket.  We new it wasn't going to be cheap because Norway has the reputation of being one of the most expensive countries in the world!  The shop  we chose was a Rema 1000 who apparently started out with a plan to only sell 1000 lines,  thus keeping there costs low with an ethos a bit like our Lidl.   However, the one we went into today had far more goods to choose from than 1000 and the attractive displays  and freshness of what was on offer really impressed us.  We only wanted bread and milk but while we were there we had a good nose around to see what food prices were really like, and although they are more than we're used to they weren't as bad as I'd feared, so the good news is that we wont have to consider going on any enforced diets  in the near future πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  • Bread (posh) - 220 Nok  (or you could slum it with Loff bread for about 7 Nok  )
  • 12 Eggs 390 Nok
  • l.75 litres Milk 230 Nok
  • 500 ml can of beer 350 Nok (so we wont be having much of that)
and as 10 Noks almost equals £1 everything just needs dividing by 10 for an estimation of the price.

Additionally, our next mission was very easy to accomplish as we pulled into a garage in the town of Andslimoen which was just down the road.  We were keeping everything crossed that the web site we'd looked at was correct and they would have LPG - it's quite readily available as you go further South in Norway, but in the North the supply of it is still fairly sparse and if we'd failed at this stop we'd have had a huge detour to get it elsewhere.  However, our tank was soon brimming, and while we were at the garage we thought we may as well top up with Diesel as well - cost £1.46 - again expensive but we'd heard it could be much more!

Next on our agenda was lunch for us and servicing T4rdis2 so that we can continue to wild camp. Happily, Norway has lots of free service stations  so once again all we had to do was nip a bit further down the road to the River Malselva to achieve our goal.  While we were there we learnt that the river is one of the ten best salmon fishing rivers in Norway  - but as we haven't got a rod that bit of info wasn't very useful to us!  However, I did try to persuade John to catch us a big one by using the old fashioned method of Jostring - apparently if you dazzle a fish with lights you stand a chance of stabbing it with a jostra - a fork like tool with barbs - but declined cos he didn't want to get his feet wet!  We also learnt that the riverfreezes in winter and then it's possible to travel along it by horse, sled or even car!  I think T4rdis2's weight might be a bit more than it could stand so we wont be coming back to try😱

And from there we still had quite a few miles to go along more of Route 854 and then 855 with Mrs Snoopy set for our final destination which was another free camper stop on the island of Senja!  More beautiful scenery passed by our windows, and as we neared our destination we passed over another suspension bridge to get onto the island, and when we finally arrived it was to find that these two were looking down on us!!

Tonight's parking spot is attached to a small quirky theme park that is dedicated to Troll legends.  The big chap in the picture (Senja Troll) qualified for the Guinness Book of Records in 1997 and he 'stands' in a sitting position πŸ˜• 17.96 metres, and weighs 125 kg.  He has his 'Old Woman' next to him, and on a building not far away there was a line of little trolls - I hope the're all quite while we're sleeping tonight!  The theme park itself is very much aimed at children so I doubt we'll go in but seeing the above grinning down at us was quite amusing.

Wednesday 4th July 2018  ☁️☁️☁️⛅☁️☁️
Mileage 161 from Senja Island to a Wild Camp spot near Sommaroy
Parking Co-ordinates 69.614, 18.09799

Rain overnight left this morning dank and misty, and things didn't really improve much all day with temperatures only ever managing to reach about 12 degrees at best.  So it was quickly decided that today would be another touring day, and with that in mind we were soon back on Route 86 and heading for another remote area on Norway's very convoluted coastline.

Nearly wide enough for 2!
Mostly the roads weren't too bad, but early and late on in our trip they became a bit challenging in places, and although they weren't quite as difficult as some of those we'd found in the French Alps they did require all of my very skilled chauffeur's powers to maintain our safety!    Additionally, I had to maintain a high level of alertness too because here in Norway almost every 3rd vehicle contains  friendly motor-homers  and everybody expects a πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹

Our route took us along the 86, and then back onto the E6 and it was here that Mrs Snoopy tried to trick us.  She'd decided we should stick to the longer route via the main road and the town of Tromso, but my canny husband quickly sussed her and wouldn't allow her to have her wicked way!  He completely ignored her mutterings and turned us off the main road and back onto the much more scenic toll free 858, but that angered 😠Mrs Snoopy 😠so much that she punished us with almost constant bings, bongs and wailings  telling us  to 'turn around when possible', and this went on for so long that we were almost ready to chuck her into the fjord at the side of us!

Anyway, in the end John won the argument and we proceeded on to the Ryatunnelen (tunnel) that passes under the Grindoysundet (body of water) for about a mile!  Then after a few more miles the road became as rough as a badger's ar much less smooth πŸ˜† and the terrain begun to resemble The Great Glencoe in Scotland - but on an even more magnificent scale!

Cloud topped mountains
By now it was getting on towards 4pm so we were quite keen to get to our camping spot at Sommaroy but as we passed through this wilderness we didn't rush because we were quite hopeful that we might see some more wildlife, either in the sea or on land.  However, all we saw were more beautiful vistas, several powerful waterfalls and some suicidal sheep who came close to death when they ran down a cliff side and almost right out in front of us.  The other thing that was quite noticeable on this part of our journey was the rather large coaches coming from the opposite direction!  One or two of them rudely intruded into our personal space and as they were on my side I could do no more than cling on, shut my eyes and hope for the bestπŸ˜±πŸ˜±πŸ˜‚.

But as usual we arrived safely after crossing over  a graceful arched single track bridge, but only to find that although our planned spot was in a lovely bay the ground that we would have needed to park on was even more like the badger's behind than the road had been.   And to make matters worse it was on soft sand so staying there was absolutely out of the question!

Therefore, an about turn was required and we retraced out tracks over the bridge and about 5 miles back the way we'd come to a little off road car park overlooking a white sand beach and the very clear aqua green waters of the Norwegian Sea!

Thursday 5th July 2018  ⛅🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞
Mileage 35 from a Wild Camp spot near Sommaroy to Tromso Camping
Parking Co-ordinates 69.64753, 19.0139

Today we're going to break our habit of wild camping and opt for a campsite near the city of Tromso instead - and that's for two reasons really.  The first is so that John can have a rest from days of continuous driving - in the last 9 days he's driven nearly 1,300 miles, and when you take into consideration the slow speed limits and sometimes poor road conditions that almost deserves a πŸ₯‡πŸ₯ˆπŸ₯‰!!  And in this equation we've still got another 391  miles to go before we get to Nordkapp which we're aiming for on the 10th July which is John's birthday!!  Our other reason for a campsite is to tackle our laundry mountain which is threatening to crawl out of it's bunker and it certainly doesn't πŸ‘ƒ of 🌹🌹!

A View from this morning's drive!
To get to our destination we were required to pass through Tromsoysuedtunnelen - a tunnel which went under another rather large body of water -  and like it's name it was very long (several miles), but once again not anywhere near the longest we will encounter while we're in Norway!

And very soon after that we were settled in at our home for the next two nights - but although it's quite delightful (and packed so tight that soon after we arrived they were turning people away), it's one of the most expensive sites we've ever stayed on at the equivalent of nearly £37 per night πŸ˜’ - ouch!  However we can't really complain because at the mo we're not paying for many!

Anyway, that's all for now because I've got to go and rescue my washing, and next time I ramble on will probably be at Nordkapp where we're hoping we might see the Midnight Sun

Take care 😚😚

Click here to see our Norwegian camping spots