Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Our Scandinavian Tour - Day 71 - 74

Saturday 14th July 2018  ☁☁☁⛅☁☁☁
Mileage today 163 from Reisa National Park to a Lay-by on the edge of Grovfjord
Parking Co-ordinates 68.72673, 17.36552

Well, I really haven't got much to report today except for the fact that we've now come full circle in our travels in North Norway and that's because we've parked in the same wild camp spot that we stayed in on our first day in this country.  Our next destination is one of the less well known Vesteralen Islands that lie just above the Lofoten Islands - specifically Hadsel, but it was too far to travel there all in one day so we decided to reuse this lovely place for an overnight rest stop.

This is the pic from our first stop - there's no sunshine today!

Sunday 15th July 2018  ☁☁☁☂☁⛅☁☁
Mileage today 90 miles from a Lay-by on the edge of Grovfjord to a Parking area just outside Sortland
Parking Co-ordinates 68.661, 15.499

We travelled 90 miles today but that wasn't quite as far as we'd planned - and I'll tell you why in a mo!!
We left our lay-by on Route 825 and for the first part of our journey we were still re-covering the same ground that we'd traversed before, but that changed just before we found our way back onto the main E10 route that runs all the way down the Lofoten Islands.  Here it was fairly busy with lots of motorhomes travelling in the opposite direction but we still didn't see any of our fellow countrymen - I think we've only seen two other English vans since we've been in Norway and that was only in passing!

Eventually Mrs Snoopy guided us off the E10 and onto Route 85 and that was when T4rdis2 declared a problem!  The engine management system started to flash a red oil warning light, and then a message appeared that told us we needed to 'Change the Engine Oil'  However, as this had been done at our last service (11 months ago) it was hard to believe it really needed doing again, but having said that, we've done a huge amount of mileage since then, and when we considered the damage that could be caused to our engine if we ignored it we really had no choice other than to comply as soon as possible.

Therefore, we pulled into the next available parking area which was just a short way down the road  outside the town of Sortland,  and then we quickly identified that there was a Fiat main dealer in the town!  The only problem now was that it was Sunday and they were closed, hence our decision to stay put so that we can visit them first thing in the morning   .......    to be continued when we discover if they can help!

The view from T4rdis2's door!

Monday 16th July 2018  ☁☁⛅⛅🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞
Mileage today 28 from a Parking area just outside Sortland to Melbu Marina on the island of Hadsal.
Parking Co-ordinates 68.49469, 14.81253

OUCH ...... but we're fixed😁😁😁!!  This morning we set off to look for the Fiat dealer and unbeknown to us we managed to drive straight past it!!   It had moved house and was now on the opposite side of the road, but a very helpful chap at the Mercedes Garage  provided instructions and on our second fly by we located it easily.   And the Fiat people were extremely helpful as well - we needed an oil change and a new filter fitting , and although they couldn't do it immediately they asked us to return at 2pm - and only an hour after that the task was complete and T4rdis2 was feeling much better.  The only down side to it all was the 2902 Nok bill (£270), but in the grand scheme of things it was a small price to pay to be so swiftly put back on the road so that we could continue with our travels.

So only a day later than planned we crossed a very grand bridge that swept round from the mainland and landed us on Hadsel Island which is part of Vesteralen Archipelago.   We then continued on for a short distance to the  town of Melbu where we planned to stop for 2 nights on the motorhome parking area at the marina.  It costs 20 quid a night but it has all the facilities we need and also  fantastic views of  Lofoten's jagged mountains, so we're already getting a taster of what's to come.   And our reason for being here - well that's because there's  a cycle ride that circumnavigates Hadsel so the bikes will be released from their long period of incarceration and tomorrow's entertainment is sorted.

Our view of the Lofoten Islands 

Tuesday 17th July 2018  🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞 but a bit breezy
Mileage - about 28 cycling miles today
Parking Co-ordinates same as yesterday.

This morning we packed our picnic, filled our flask and then set off to explore more of the island of Hadsal, and on our trip we were hopeful that we might see some wildlife.  But sadly 😞 no, ( except bleedin flies. ) however  we were treated to some more magnificent oceanic vistasπŸ˜€. 

This archipelago lies right on the edge of the continental shelf and is a primary feeding ground for whales and while we were cycling we were watchful for 'spouts' but there were none to be seen, and I would imagine you would have to go out on a boat to be guaranteed a sighting - but the last time I did that in Iceland I was  πŸ€’🀒🀒 for the whole time we were at sea!  We also thought we might spot one of the white tailed eagles that frequent these parts, and although I did see some big birds circling over the high cliffs they were too far away to identify. 

The first part of our ride took us along quite lanes that allowed us to gaze across the bright blue water at the Lofoten mountain peaks on one side, and on the other Hadsal's mountainous interior looked down on us.   Then after about 8 miles we came to the white sand Taen beach, and as it boasted a lovely picnic area it was an ideal place to stop for coffee.

From there we proceeded on for another 10 miles or so until we found ourselves in the little town of Stokmarknes where we found a garden overlooking a strait that is home to the Hurtigruten Museum, and this was interesting because we've already seen the cruise ship of that name several times.  Apparently, this ship was originally launched from Stokmarknes and has voyaged up and down the Norwegian coast for more than 100 years between Bergen in the south, and the Russian border in the North.  And even though a cruise would never appeal to us, it's modern day voyage must provide a comfortable way to see many of the remote fjords if that mode of transport is your thing.

The last part of our trip was unfortunately along the main road back towards Melbu, but even here the views were still breathtaking, but so was the fairly fast pace that we set ourselves in a our bid to complete today's trek.

Tomorrow we're going to move onto the Lofoten Islands, and to do that we're going to catch a ferry which will take us on the 25 minute trip across the water to Fiskebol (fish bowl ? πŸ˜‚). While we've been here it's been 'steaming' to and fro on a regular basis so tomorrow it will be quite interesting to see it from a different prospective.  And I'm also hopeful that from it's decks we might be able to see the old herring tanks - apparently they have musical concerts in one of them because of it's unique acoustics - I wonder if you have to sit on barrels while you listen!

Anyway that's all for now πŸ˜™

Click here to see our Norwegian camping spots