Finland, North Cape, Norwegian coast and interior, Oslo, Odense, Bremen
Munich -> Travemünde
25.7: On the ferry to Helsinki
26.7: Helsinki -> Rovaniemi
27.7: Rovaniemi -> North
28.7: North Cape
29.7: North Cape -> Alta
30.7: Alta -> Tromsø
1.8: Tromsø -> Senja ->
2.8: Skøelva -> Andøya
-> Sortland (Lofoten)
3.8: Sortland -> Nyksund
5.8: Lofoten -> Bodø ->
6.8: Saltstraumen ->
Storforshei (Svartisen NP)
7.8: Storforshei ->
Svartisen glacier ->
8.8: Vefsn -> Farnhem (near
11.8: Trondheim ->
Kristiansund -> Oceanic
road to Ålesund
13.8: Ålesund ->
Geirangerfjord -> Nordberg
14.8: Nordberg -> Lom ->
glacier viewpoint -> Sogndal
15.8: Sogndal -> Borgund
-> Stegastein ->
17.8: Bergen -> Oslo
20.8: Oslo -> Odense
21.8: Odense -> Bremen
23.8: Bremen -> Nürnberg
Planning and overall impression
This was quite a long trip. We travelled for one month, driving over
8800 km by car. Originally I was planning to spend more time in
Finland, but I could only leave Munich on July 24th and I wanted to
show my wife and
the kids the midnight sun. At the end of July there is midnight
sun in continental Europe only at the North Cape and only until July
31st. So I had to plan the trip in such a way that we would arrive at
the North Cape a few days before July 31st at the latest.
In fact we managed to do that. Leaving Munich on Friday July 24th
at 1pm, we reached Travemünde shortly before midnight, in time to catch
the car ferry to Finland.
Then starting in Helsinki on July 26th in the morning, we reached the
North Cape on July 27th in the evening, and saw the midnight sun that
night. After that we slowly drove south along the
The trip along the fjords took so long that at one point my wife got
tired of Norway and just wanted to get back home. I had to explain to
her that to do that from where we were at that moment would have
taken three days of non-stop driving.
We did the trip by car mainly because of the pandemic situation. It's
more easy to isolate yourself if you have your own transportation
medium and do not have to rely on public transportation.
(Vuosaari) - Rovaniemi
- Nordkapp - Kirkeporten Camping
Camping - Honningsvåg -Gjesvær - Kirkeporten Camping
Camping - Museum in Alta - Alta
- Tromsø - Kvaløysletta
- cablecar in Tromsø - Tromsø - Kvaløysletta
- Brensholmen - Botnhamn - Segla mountain - Ersfjord - Sorreisa
- Northern coast of Andøya - Skjelbugen
- Nyksund - Sennesvik
- Leknes - Borg - Eggum - Unstad -
Haukland - Sennesvik
- Nusfjord - Flakstad - Ramberg - Fredvang
- Reine - Å i Lofoten - Moskenes
- Storforshei - Svartisvatnet - Storforshei
- Svartisvatnet - Vefsn
- Buan Gård
Gård - Trondheim - Buan Gård
Gård - Trondheim - Buan Gård
Gård - Kristiansund - Ålesund (via Atlanterhavseveien)
- Trollstigen - Geiranger - Nordberg
- Lom - Bøyabreen - Kaupanger
- Borgund - Stegastein - Nesttun
- Bergen - Nesttun
- Odense (via Malmö, without using the ferry)
- Nürnberg - Munich
That was the main problem. Scandinavia is
expensive, and Norway is especially expensive. Hotels and restaurants
were too expensive, so we relied mostly on apartments booked via Airbnb
and precooked dishes from the supermarket. We only used hotels and
restaurants a few times. Staying in hotels and eating in restaurants
would have added at least 5000 Euro to the cost of this trip.
Fish and seafood in Norway probably are
quite tasty, but we never tried them due to the high cost (a meal in a
Norwegian restaurant starts around 40 Euro/person). We mainly relied on
pre-cooked dishes purchased in supermarkets, which are not bad,
actually surprisingly good. There is also quite good bread in Norway (I
got used to buying a fresh loaf every second day) and good quality
The pre-cooked dishes were ready in a matter of minutes. All you had to
do was to heat them up in a pan (all accomodation we chose had a fully
equipped kitchen). We usually bought the food for the day in the
evenings before heading to the apartment (on weekends you had to buy
food for two days, because on Sundays most supermarkets close).
Plenty of hotels in Norway, but quite expensive. After spending the first couple of nights in a
camping bungalow at the North Cape, we concluded that campings were not
suitable for us (because of the shared kitchens and toilets). After
only booked apartments, mostly via Airbnb and sometimes via
booking.com. This worked very well and we had multiple bedrooms and own
kitchen, toilet facilities and (most of the time also) washing
machines for the clothes.
Money / Exchange rate (August 2020)
1 Euro = 10.6 NOK
1 Euro = 7.4 DKK
Mobile phones and prepaid cards
We relied on EU roaming and didn't buy SIM cards.
All places were we stayed
offered free WLAN, sometimes fast and sometimes not so fast.
Outdoors we used the smartphone to access the Internet.
Overall we have been extremely lucky
with the weather, because Norway is a very rainy country, but we had
sunshine and blue skies almost every day. Even in Bergen, perhaps the
rainiest city in Europe, we had two straight days of sunshine.
The temperatures were quite comfortable. Even in Northern Norway it was
never really cold.
Health / Vaccinations
This was the key thing,
given the pandemic situation. The low COVID-19 infection rates played a
certain role when selecting Norway as our travel destination. Upon
Scandinavia we were surprised by the fact that nobody was wearing masks
anywhere. Coming from Germany we were used to wear masks in indoor
places, but in Finland and Norway nobody was wearing them. In fact, due
to the extremely low contagion rates these were not necessary.
VISA / Entry requirements
No VISA needed for us. International travellers may need a Schengen or
No problems in the countries we visited (Finland, Norway,
We travelled by car and used the
Finland ferry to get from Germany (Travemünde) to Helsinki. In Norway
there are car ferries everywhere to transport cars and people across
fjords. They bill you automatically by scanning your licence plate
(and you probably can save some money by buying some pass before
travelling to Norway).
For lots of roads in Norway there is a toll. You get an invoice by mail
after the trip, unless you have registered with them before the trip
24.7: Munich -> Travemünde
We sleep in the Finnlines ferry to Helsinki. 838
Euro for a cabin with four beds, inside with no windows. Expensive in
my opinion. A few years ago we took the same ferry from Helsinki to
Travemünde, had a cabin with a window and paid only 500 Euro.
Weather: a mix of sunny and clouds, temperatures
up to 27°C. Some brief rain for about 15 minutes later in the afternoon.
We leave home at 1pm and initially drive to the school in Haar, where
we pick up Alissia who just got her school results for the year. Then
we start driving to Travemünde, from where the ferry to Finland departs.
Essentially until after Nürnberg we proceed slowly, running into a
number of traffic jams (none too long), caused by the heavy traffic.
Short stop at 4pm for 10 minutes in a motorway parking.
The situation changes drastically when we get on the motorway to
Berlin, which is mostly empty.
Initially we cross the hills. Here the motorway is a bit difficult,
many curves, steep slopes, surface not always smooth.
Once after the hills we are in the plains and here the motorway is
straight and plane, with few curves. We drive faster, with a "cruising
speed" of 160 km/h (no speed limits in this section of the motorway).
Between 6:20pm and 7:20pm we stop around Bitterfeld, where we buy
some food in an Edeka supermarket and the kids have some fast food in a
When we restart driving at 7:20pm,
the navigation system shows
more hours of driving. We do these four hours essentially non-stop.
Later on, we forget to refuel the car at a motorway
petrol station. We end up in Travemünde with just about 50km of range
left, having wasted some time looking for a petrol station. Then in
Travemünde we drive to a petrol station which we find with Google Maps.
We are at the ferry check-in quite late, at 11:42pm. The check-in
procedure is quite fast. We do not have to get out of the car, just
stop at the check-in counter and in 5 minutes everything is done and we
have the keys to the room on the ferry. Then we drive with the car to
the ferry (8th dock) and get into the room.
The ferry is surprisingly full of people. I had expected fewer
tourists because of the coronavirus situation, but it looks like lots
of people chose to travel to Finland. The bar is full of people (not
wearing the face mask). Elsewhere in the ferry we meet people wearing a
mask. We sleep after 1am.
ferry to Helsinki
Second night on the ferry to Helsinki
Weather: blue sky and sunshine on the Baltic sea.
Only some thin cloud layer here and there.
Day spent on the ferry not doing much. You basically can only go to the
11th floor where there is a cafe, a restaurant, a gym, some shop, a
sauna. The 12th floor gives access to the deck (the 11th also).
I book an apartment in Senja (Norway).
First aparthotel Comet, Rovaniemi. 65 Euro for a
comfortable apartment, probably around 30m², modern, with kitchen area
complete with everything (microwave, water boiler, toaster, fridge,
cooking stove. Toliet with shower, king size bed, sofa-bed, LCD-TV,
Weather: a mix of sunny blue sky and partially
overcast. Sunny blue sky in the evening in Rovaniemi. Daytime
temperatures in Finland around 20°C, 15°C in the evening in Rovaniemi.
The ferry reaches the Vuosame harbour in Helsinki at 9:30am, at 10am we
are in the car and start driving towards Rovaniemi.
Initially we are on a
motorway with a speed limit of 120 km/h, then the
motorway ends and it's a long distance roads with either 100 km/h or 80
km/h speed limits. Plenty of speed cameras everywhere.
At 1:25pm we stop at a Subway restaurant at a petrol station along the
road in a place half an hour north of Jyväskylä.
nobody is wearing masks. Also elsewhere in Finnland we see that nobody
is wearing masks. Inspite of this, the total number of active cases in
Finland is currently 144, the daily number of cases is just around 20
We continue driving at 2:15pm, i.e. we have spent 50 minutes in this
place having lunch.
Shortly before 4pm we stop at a supermarket in Kärsämäki, further
to the north. There we buy some food and drinks, then continue driving.
There are no traffic jams
today and the roads are mostly good. Only
between Oulu and Rovaniemi we drive for some time (probably 40-50
minutes) on some quite bad road. Every now and then there is a
reindeer along the street.
Finally we reach the aparthotel at 8:15pm.
Total of 10 hours 15 minutes
to complete 800km on Finnish roads, including stops. This is not too
bad and it's not too late to have dinner.
We meet the owner (or caretaker) of the apartment (a Chinese guy from
Wuhan) and have dinner at his Chinese restaurant. Then, after 9pm I
spend some time exploring Rovaniemi.
From what I can see in the centre of the city there are only modern
buildings. Perhaps all old buildings were destroyed in WW II.
Basecamp Northcape, North Cape, Norway. 65 Euro
(+170 NOK for sheets and towels) for a small cottage with four beds.
The cottage has an area of 3.5m x 3.5m, contains a small table+chairs,
fridge and stove. No running water and no toilet (these are shared
facilities). Quite peacefuil camping type of place.
Weather: mostly sunny, blue sky with some clouds
every now and then. Around 20°C in the evening at the North Cape,
blue sky. We are lucky with the weather.
Checking out at 10:10am, we first drive to the Santa Claus village.
Total consumer nonsense, but very, very cute. I guess if you have small
kids it must be cool bringing them here at Xmas. Really nicely set up
Then we continue driving. The
road today will be a mix of decent and
very bad roads, with speed limits ranging between 80 and 100 km/h in
Finland and up to 90 km/h in Norway.
Very poor road conditions in Norway on the mainland section.
narrow road, bad surface, plenty of curves and uneven surface. It's
difficult to drive at the allowed speed limit of 80km/h. The road
becomes much better on the Mageröya island, where the North Cape is.
We stop at 2pm in Ivalo, where we buy some groceries in a supermarket
and a pizza in a bistro for the kids. The pizza is not good (below it's
burned). We have some food, then continue driving.
Along the way, several times we run into reindeer which are walking
along or even in the road.
At the border to Norway,
the border guard stops us
and asks where we
are going and if we have any alcoholic drinks with us
Later, when we stop at a parking along the way, we are assaulted by a
swarm of hungry mosquitoes. Small mosquitoes, but very aggressive.
After we do a number of stops along the road before
arriving at the
camping in Mageröya at 8:19pm local time. I take a rest, because
I'm quite tired, after the third full day of driving.
By the way, some stunning scenery with this evening sun along the
Really very photogenic.
After 11:30pm we take the car and drive to the North Cape (13km
the camping site). We arrive there shortly before midnight. 200 NOK fee
to get in with the car. Very big parking with lots of cars, camper
vans, lots of people. Wonderful, stunning views of the ocean and the
midnight sun - hard to describe in words.
It appears that here the sun reaches
the lowest point around
After that the sun starts rising again and it gets brighter.
We're here until almost 1am, then start driving back to the camping. On
the way we do a stop for some photos. When we are back, it's brighening
up already and it feels like the new day is starting.
28.7: North Cape
Weather: again a sunny day with blue sky and only
a few clouds every now and then. Top temperatures of 22°C. Due to the
strong sun, in the harbour area of Honningvaag it gets really hot at
We get up late and only leave the camping at 12:20pm.
Then we drive to
Honningsvaag, the main urban centre of Mageröya island where we are
now. With a number of stops along the way to
take pictures (pretty
impressive scenery) we reach Honningsvåg at 1:10pm.
Honningsvåg is a small city centered around a fishing harbour, clean
and immaculate. Even more pretty today with this special sunlight.
There are a few cafes mainly along the harbour, but otherwise there are
almost no restaurants.
We get some Norwegian cash at an ATM, then buy some food in an Extra
supermarket. Parking costs around 3 Euro/hour, ridicolously
expensive for a small town like this.
We then spend some more time
walking around the city. Around 3pm we
leave Honningsvåg and drive towards Gjesvär, a small fishing village
along the northwestern coast of the Mageröya island.
It takes about half an hour to get there. By the way, on the entire
Mageröya island there are no trees, perhaps because of the climate.
Gjesvär is nice and cute
with that harbour nested in a fjord and the
entire scenery around it. It's not really suitable as a place where to
watch the midnight sun, because there is some island in front of the
bay obstructing the view.
Around 4:30pm we drive back
to the camping in Skarsvåg. I stop in a
couple of spots along the way for some photos. In one a swarm of
mosquitoes charges me, forcing me to quickly withdraw.
At 5:10pm we are in Skarsvåg, the fishing village adjacent to the
Basecamp camping. I have a quick look. There are a couple of
restaurant, one focused on fish food. The giant king crab goes for 398
NOK, while a dish with cod costs 249 NOK.
After dinner I walk up the
hill behind the camping to see if it is
suitable for the midnight sun. It is indeed, and the spot can be
reached in about 40 minutes of walking.
After 11pm I get out of the cabin in the camping and start walking up
the hill behind the camping. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the
right position (the top of the promontory overlooking the bay). Shortly
after midnight the sun comes out from behind the north cape. I stay
until about 00:20 then walk back to the camping, arriving shortly after
Apartment in Alta booked via Airbnb. 65 Euro for
two small rooms and a bathroom. The place is a few km out of Alta. It's
rather basic and we have to set up the beds ourselves. In the bathroom
if you want to take a shower you have to sit, you can't stand. Quite a
few mosquitoes. On the other hand, the host is friendly, we are allowed
to use the kitchen, and you can't find anything like this for 65 Euro
Weather: another great day of sun and blue sky at
the North Cape (Mageröya). I was
prepared for cloudy and rainy weather,
but like this it almost feels like the Mediterranean (except for the
temperatures, which are a few degrees lower). Shortly before Alta it
rains, then while we are at the
rock carvings museum in Alta, shortly
after 5pm it starts raining again, this time quite heavily for about
30-40 minutes. Top temperatures in the 22-24°C range.
In the morning we leave the camping quite late at 11:30am and start
driving towards Alta. We make a stop in Repvåg, which is described in
the Rough Guide as an interesting place to see. In reality it's a very
small fishing village, far less interesting than the fishing villages
on Mageröya island.
With some further stops along the way, we reach Alta at 3:30pm. Then we
drive to the Alta museum. This is where the rock carvings, some kind of
prehistoric art on the rocks, are located.
This is a UNESCO world
heritage site and the carvings indeed are impressive.
Shortly after 5pm it starts raining and we quickly retreat to the
museum building. By the time we arrive there we are already wet. So we
wait for a moment in the building, then when the rain finishes (a few
minutes later) we get to the car and drive to a supermarket where we
buy some food.
After that we drive to the apartment and stay there.
30.7: Alta -> Tromsø
Apartment in Tromsø, NOK 999. This is a small
apartment in the basement of a house west of Tromsø. This
place has a
number of issues: the WLAN isn't working when we are there, the
livingroom has no light except for a small table lamp, the
machine doesn't work (my wife freaks out trying to wash some clothes,
until she discovers that the washing
machine is defective, because the
barrel doesn't rotate). Then the bed for the kids is too narrow for two
people (my wife and I have to sleep on the sofa in the livingroom).
Hot water for the shower is limited to a 120 litre water boiler (if
several people take a shower, there may not be enough water). On the
positive side there is a fully furnished kitchen with stove, microwave
and fridge. But this place is seriously overpriced for what you get.
Weather: very good weather today. Sunny, blue sky
with a few clouds, no rain. Top temperature of 24°C.
The car trip from Alta
to Tromsø takes 5 1/2 hours according to Google
Maps. In reality, leaving Alta at 11:20am,
with several stops
way, we reach Tromsø at 6:40pm.
There is little traffic on the roads, and
the scenery is very, very
There are these very steep mountain
cliffs everywhere, special
colours and light and those deep fjords with the steep mountain slopes
falling into them.
The road quality is mixed:
there are road sections with good surface
and speed limit of 90 km/h, but there are also road sections with poor
surface quality and ruts, where it is difficult to keep the car on the
road, because due to the ruts the car tends to drift. It's a bit
that a rich country such as Norway doesn't fix these roads.
This day is dominated by the long car trip from Alta to Tromsø.
fact, besides driving, today we won't do much else.
We arrive in the evening at the Nerstranda Senter shopping mall in
Tromsø, hoping to find a food court inside. But there is no food court
and the mall in actually quite small. On the other hand the cheapest
small meal in the Burger King costs the equivalent of 10 Euro - no
point spending so much money for fast food.
The city of Tromsø looks cute, although the historic core is a bit
small. We'll have a closer look tomorrow. The tourist office is
near the Hurtigruten harbour.
Apartment in Tromsø.
Weather: another great day with a sunny blue sky,
top temperatures of 24°C, in the evening more fresh because of
the wind. Only
a few clouds here and there, no rain. It's amazing that
the weather is so good.
Day spent exploring Tromsø. We leave the flat quite late and drive to
the Fjellheisen Tromsø cablecar.
The ground station is
not far from the
Ice sea cathedral. The cablecar brings up to 350m asl on Mount
From there there is a great
view of Tromsø.
At 1:25pm we start walking down and are back at the car around 2:10pm
(slowly walking down, with several stops). The path down consists to a
large extent of a stone staircase.
Then we drive to the Ice Sea cathedral. Qiuite interesting architecture
with that triangluar shape and the diagonals. 50 NOK entrance fee (kids
until 12 are free). Very nice triangular stained glass window behind
After that we drive into town, leaving the car in the parking of the
Nerstranda mall. It's already 3:30pm and we quickly get to the Lutheran
cathedral because it closes at 4pm. The interior of this cathedral is
nicely set up and decorated. Also here there are nice stained glass
We then spend some more time in the centre of the city. The centre is
actually quite small, and Tromsø itself is a quite small city. I walk
to the tourist information centre, but when I arrive it's already
The kids and Shirley then do some shopping in the city centre. While
I'm eating some bread, a sea gull quickly snaps it and steals it from
me. Quite impressive these animals. Also the local pigeons are not
afraid of people.
Before the bread was stolen I
had a pigeon on my
shoulder, greedily waiting to get some bread.
After 5pm we take the car and drive to the Arctic Alpine Botanic
Garden. This can be reached by car from the city centre in about 10
I was expecting nothing so
special, yet another public garden
with some plants, but this botanical garden is really impressive,
especially considering we are above the polar circle. So many different
plants and flowers. And this garden is open round the clock (even at
night) and right now it is still free.
At 6:40pm we are done with this place and get back to the car. We are
all a bit tired after so much walking. We drive to a shopping mall
where I buy some food and drinks and the kids get some fast food from a
Burger King restaurant. Then we drive back to the apartment.
1.8: Tromsø -> Senja
booked via airbnb in Skøelva. 65 Euro for a nice apartment in the
basement of a house in nice surroundings. Complete with kitchen,
bathroom and plenty of other amenities.
more fresh today (14°C for a good part of the day, then warmer as the
sun comes out). In the morning it's cloudy, then when we climb Mt
Hesten in the Senja NP we are completely in the clouds. Later in the
afternoon and in the evening the clouds disappear and we have sun and
blue sky. No rain the whole day.
When we leave the flat at
11am we are unsure if we will get a place on
the 12:45pm ferry from Brensholmen to Botnhamn on Senja island. That's
because we do not know how big the ferry is and if all cars in the
queue in front of us will find a place on the ferry.
Luckily things proceed smoothly: all cars in the queue get on the ferry
and the ferry leaves punctually
at 12:45pm (cost is 447 NOK).
takes 45 minutes to reach Botnhamn. From there we drive to the parking
below the Segla mountain.
Shortly after 2pm we start the trek to
the Segla mountain. The idea
would be to reach the spot from where you can take the impressive
photo. What in practice will happen is that once we reach the spot, the
Segla mountain is completely covered in clouds. So with some additional
we just summit Mt Hesten
(556m). This wasn't planned, but the
summit seamed easily reachable.
By the way, lots of people today are doing the climb and the trail is
really steep in some sections.
The GPS only shows 450m on
far less than the altitude indicated there.
We are back at the car at 5pm and start the drive along the scenic
route along northern coast of Senja. There is some very impressive
scenery, with steep cliffs plunging into the sea.
Then around 6pm we discover the
impressive Ersfjord beach: a white sand
beach in a bay surrounded by steep snow-covered mountains. It's warm
and people are swimming in the sea. What a contrast. Who would imagine
finding a cozy beach so far in the north.
After some time we continue driving, again seeing some impressive
scenery. Around 7:30pm we stop in an Extra supermarket and buy some
food. Shortly before 8pm we continue driving towards the apartment in
Skøelva, arriving at 8:30pm.
Skøelva -> Andøya
Skjellbogen Hyttegrend, Sortland. Cottage with two
very small sleeping rooms, a
larger living room with table+chairs, sofa
which probably doubles
as a bed, kitchen
with fridge and stove and
tools+dishes etc, toilet with shower. For 700 NOK quite reasonable, the
only thing is that sheets and towels are not in the room (probably they
have to be paid for separately). WLAN in the room doesn't work (the
says it's not installed yet). The location is somewhere in the middle
of nowhere. No problem if you have a car however.
Weather: sunny and spotless blue sky (not a
single cloud in the sky). Top temperature of 20°C, some wind along the
We leave the flat at 11am, then drive towards Gryllefjord, where the
ferry to Andenes leaves at 3pm. It's Sunday and all shops and
supermarkets are closed. With a few stops along the way we reach the
ferry harbour of Gryllefjord at 1pm.
The last 25 or so km
of the road
are supposed to be part of the scenic road, but in reality they are not
too terribly impressive.
We have now two hours to
kill. We arrived early to have a better chance
to get a place in the ferry, but in reality all cars and vans today
will make it onto the ferry. We could actually have arrived later.
Gryllefjord itself is a very small place and there is nothing to do
We have some food in a fast food restaurant (today only this place and
a nearby pastry shop are open).
When it's 3pm and they let the cars onto the ferry, the arrival order
seems not to play a role anymore. They first let the cars in, then the
camper vans. Some cars which arrived much later than us go first.
In any case the ferry leaves on time. The cost of the trip to Andenes
is 859 NOK. On board of the ferry there is some sea movement. People
with a sensitive stomach might get seasick.
The ticket counter doesn't open for a long time, so long that I end up
downloading and installing the Troms Billett app and use that to pay.
At 4:45pm we leave the ferry
and start driving along the western coast
of Andøya (the scenic road). At a Shell petrol station I refuel the car
because the diesel here costs 14 NOK instead of the 15.6 NOK I had seen
in all other petrol stations.
Then Shirley spots an open supermarket and we buy some food there.
Hadn't we found that supermarket, dinner tonight would have been quite
Quickly we run into some
nice white sand beach with the background of
steep cliffs. Impressive scenery. There are similar beaches on the
North Sea coast, for instance on the Dutch island of Terschelling, but
without the steep cliffs behind them.
Further south the scenic road becomes less scenic. It appears that
Andøya is more flat and gentle than Senja, at least the northern part
of Senja. The highlight of Andøya is mainly its beaches.
We reach the hotel around 8:15pm.
3.8: Sortland -> Nyksund
in Sennesvik (booked over Airbnb). 91
Euro for an apartment with a bedroom, large livingroom with sofa, large
LCD TV, table with chairs, fully equipped kitchen, bathroom with
washing machine and shower. Parking for the car and WLAN.
Weather: sunny with blue sky in the morning,
after 3pm increasingly cloudy. In the evening fewer clouds. No rain,
some wind, top temperature of 20°C.
In the morning I spend some time discussing the itinerary, then book
the ferry from Moskenes to Bodø and accomodation in Saltstraumen near
Bodø. As a result we leave the apartment later than usually at 11:30am.
We drive to Nyksund, a fishermen village on the northern end of
Langøya, the island where we are right now. The owner of the place we
are leaving now recommended this village yesterday.
Getting there takes about
40-50 minutes of driving. On the way, in Myre
(a larger city on this island) we buy some food in an Extra
supermarket. With some stops along the way we arrive in Nyksund at
1:10pm (by the way,
the last 11km are a very
narrow and not paved
coastal road - too narrow for two cars, when you meet another car you
have to use one of the spots where the road is wider).
Nyksund is kind of nice and idyllic. Rocky coast and stone beach. Small
village with a few houses. Not much to do here, but still lots of cars
of tourists are parked here.
We spend about one hour and a
half in this place, then shortly before
3pm start driving towards Sennesvik.
There are two routes to Sennesvik: one which is shorter and uses
ferry Melbu-Fiskebøl, and another one which is longer and involves
driving on the large Hinnøya island. We take the one without the ferry,
because I don't want to depend on a ferry which might be full, forcing
us to wait for the next ferry in 1:20 hours (and by the way, ferries in
Norway are not cheap).
It turns out that the route
is actually quite impressive: initially the
scenery is coastal with beaches, lots of sun, but after that it gets
with wide and deep glacial
valleys and snow fields on the
mountain flanks. Water is almost everywhere. What look like lakes in
reality are deep fjords with seawater. This combination of landscape
features is unique and in Europe only available in Norway.
With another stop in Svolvaer around
7pm for some shopping in a
supermarket, we finally reach the apartment in Sennesvik at 8:20pm.
Then we spend a few minutes trying to figure out how to get into the
apartment, because nobody is there. In the end we find a code for the
key box in a message sent by the host using Airbnb.
Apartment in Sennesvik
mostly overcast the whole day, with very
few spots of blue sky. Some light rain in the morning and over the rest
of the day. Quite fresh - top temperature of 14°C. Very windy in some
of the places we visit.
Day spent exploring the island of Vestvågøy, where we currently are.
In the morning the weather is
bad and it rains, so we only leave the
apartment after 1pm. We drive to Leknes, where we buy some drinks and
snacks in an Extra supermarket. Then we drive to the Viking musseum in
The museum consists of an
open air part and an indoor part and is a
life museum of the life of the Vikings. It acually is a bit mediocre,
because there is little information about the life of the vikings and
the historical background,
i.e. who were these people,
where did they
live, why did they start their raids etc.
I was hoping to give my kids a deeper
insight into the vikings,
this museum is not the right place for that. On the positive side, you
can do a boat ride on a replica of a viking ship and you can practice
shooting arrows with a bow and throwing axes against a wooden wall. The
entry ticket is quite expensive (200 NOK for an adult).
At 4pm we are done with the museum and drive to Eggum, a village on the
of Vestvågøy island. It
takes about 15 minutes to get
there. The village itself is not terribly impressive, but the
background of the steep mountains right behind Eggum is. Then, there is
a road which continues for a while along the coast after Eggum.
From Eggum we drive to
Unstad, which is again on the northern coast and
which has a sandy beach, although not as nice as the other beaches on
Vestvågøy island. Unstad seems to be a centre for surfing.
After Unstand, we drive to the beaches of Haukland and Vik, both on the
northern coast of Vestvågøy. These are two nice beaches about 500m
from each other. If it was a sunny day, with higher temperatures and
less wind, it would be nice to spend a few hours or longer here.
At 6:30pm we drive back to Leknes. There we buy some food for dinner
and then drive back to the apartment.
5.8: Lofoten -> Bodø ->
Saltstraumen-Elvegård, Saltstraumen. 1000 NOK,
which later become 1400 NOK for accomodation for us. We originally had
booked a caravan with attached bathroom. Upon check-in the guy says
need sheets and towels, 145 NOK per person, total of 580 NOK for the
four of us. When I complain about the absurdity of this, a discussion
starts. In the end the guy
only charges 400 NOK, so the place ends up
costing 1400 NOK. Then
it turns out that the attached bathroom only has
20 litres of hot water, so
for a shower we have to come to the office.
Suddenly these 1400 NOK start sounding like very poor value and I
regret having booked this place. In the end the guy, probably seeing my
unhappy face, "upgrades" us to a
room with four beds in a adjacent
house which today happens to be empty. He also mentions that he rents
out this whole house to groups of people for 3000 NOK per night. The
house has a kitchen and a toilet in the ground floor. By the way, the
WLAN connection in the house is poor.
Weather: overcast and rainy in the morning, 14°C.
The weather improves when we reach Nusfjord at 12pm (the sun comes
out), then is again overcast, then again sunny. After 3pm it is
consistently sunny, with a mostly blue sky and the temperatures climb
We check out at 11am and initially drive
On the way I stop
in a spot with a particularly scenic view (impressive
valley with huge,
steep cliff in the background). We finally are in Nusfjord at 12pm.
Nusfjord is a beautiful little fishermen village, with real old houses,
nested in a picturesque bay. There is a free parking area, but then
entering into the historic core of the village costs 100 NOK per person
(the Rough Guide of 2014 mentions 50 NOK, sp they must have doubled
their prices over the past 7 years). It's a very touristy and
"characteristic" place, a cute & perfect spot to visit. Right now with
the sun this place really shines.
In addition, the road
leading to this
place passes through very scenic areas.
Shortly before 1pm we leave for the next place, Flakstad, a small
village on the northern coast with a sandy beach. When we arrive there
at 1:10pm the sky is overcast again and it is windy. We only stay for a
few minutes, then drive to the next place, Ramberg.
Ramberg is impressive. it is on a huge, circular bay and has a
white sand beach. The sea water is turquoise and crystal clear. The sun
is shining again, which makes the beach look even better. This town is
more developed than the other ones, perhaps because of this beach (I'm
guessing this place is heavily focused on tourists).
We then drive to Fredvang, which is easily reachable because there is a
bridge over the fjord. Fredvang is less impressive, meaning that there
is no special thing in this place. There is a beach which can be
reached by hiking over the coastal ridge to the west side.
Shortly before 3pm we are in Reine, another fishermen village on
southeastern coast of this island. Here there a lots of visitors and
because of that, initially we can't find a parking. Finally we find a
parking (50 NOK fee for cars if you park between 3pm and 6pm, a bit steep
if you only stay half an hour or so).
Reine is wildly cute, cute little red fishermen huts along the coast
("rorbuer"), everything nicely done and set up for tourists. Tourist
prices - a souvenir magnet which we usually get for 1 Euro here costs
the equivalent of 5 Euro).
We spend one hour in Reine, then take the car and drive to Å i Lofoten.
This is another cute fishermen village. The special thing about this
place is that there is the stockfish museum (which we skip, as the kids
are not interested).
We explore this place a
bit, then shortly before 5pm take the car and
drive towards Moskenes. Along the way we stop in a supermarket and buy
The reason to go to Moskenes is to catch the ferry to Bodø. This is a
car ferry and leaves at 6pm. On board of the ferry we have coverage
with the LTE network for almost the entire duration of the trip (3 1/2
We arrive in Bodø around 10pm and reach the camping in Saltstraumen around 10:40pm.
6.8: Saltstraumen ->
Krokstrand AS, Storforshei. 1200 NOK for a large
cottage with two bedrooms, a fully furnished kitchen, a livingroom (but
without TV), bathroom with shower. Very clean, nice and newly built.
Located next to a small river in the middle of nowhere (the nearest
supermarket is 30 minutes by car away). No WLAN in the cottage (the
signal is too weak).
Weather: early morning it's sunny blue sky, but
after 10am it's overcast and rains almost the entire day (very light
non-stop rain). Top temperatures around 16°C.
We leave the camping at 11:30am, then initially drive to a
for some food and drinks. Then I refuel the car at the adjacent gas
pump. Only 12.20 NOK for a litre of diesel. Everywhere else the price
for diesel was 15 NOK/litre, but here it is so much cheaper.
I was thinking of seeing the maelstrom water vortex in the fjord,
the time is not suitable (it starts after 1pm) and it's raining. So we
just leave for the Saltfjellet-Svartisen national park.
The road is for a large section (before we hit the E6 national road)
quite bad. Poor surface, very narrow.
At some point we cross the Polar Arctic circle. This happens on a
plateau at 680 m of altitude. At this point there is a hotel.
We reach the hotel in Storforshei before 3pm and check in. Shirley and
the kids decide to stay in the cottage, while I will continue to the
Svartisvattnet lake, from where the ferry to the glacier leaves.
I'll reach Svartisvattnet by 4pm. The problem is that it is still
raining and the visibility is bad. In addition, the last boat to the
glacier has left already (these boats leave at 10am, 12pm and 2pm). The
boat (adult: 250 NOK, child: 100 NOK - very expensive considering the
short distance) crosses the lake and after that it's a one hour (3km)
walk to the place where you can see the glacier.
While there I meet a family of Germans who have been travelling since
July 10th in Norway. Some discussion about out trips across Norway.
Around 4:45pm I leave this place and drive to a supermarket close to Mo
i Rana, where I buy some food for dinner. I'm back in Storforshei by
the mountains near Mosjoen (in Vefsn), 87
Euro. Complete house with two bedrooms and additional sleeping
opportunity on the roof for two people. Fully furnished kitchen.
bathroom with shower and washing machine. No WLAN (Internet) in the
house. The house is in the middle of nowhere, at the end of a dirt
track, near a farm. Idyllic and peaceful place. Lots of mosquitoes.
Weather: in the morning it's still raining and
overcast until about 10am. After that the sun comes out and the sky is
essentially blue except for a few clouds. Top temperature of 22°C.
In the morning we leave the
Krokstrand place at 10:30am and drive to
Svartisvattnet, the starting point of the ferry to the Svartisen
glacier. Expensive boat ticket (250 NOK per person). We will take the
12pm boat. Return boats today leave at 12:40pm, 2:40pm, 3:30pm and 5pm.
The boat leaves at 12pm with only about a dozen paying customers. The
4-5 km trip on the Svartisvattnet lake takes about 20 minutes. We then
From the jetty it's 3km of an easy walk, mostly on granite rocks, until
you reach the Svartisen glacier. Not sure why this glacier is called
"black ice" (= svart is), because the ice is very white (and a bit
Along the path you pass by a
huge waterfall (not very high, but
carrying a lot of water).
There are perhaps not more than 20-30 people today at the glacier. The
weather is perfect: the right temperature, sunshine, little wind. Only
close to the glacier there is some strong, cold wind.
With lots of stops for photos
we reach the glacier at 1:22pm.
is impressive - this glacier and the surrounding panorama of rocks are
I try to walk from the viewpoint to the actual glacier, and I almost
manage to reach the glacier, but the walk is not that easy. To a
certain extent you have to climb on rocks. Some sections are quite
steep. In addition there are tricky sections with wet, smooth rock
surfaces and parts where you have to walk on small stones on a slope.
At 2:10pm I walk back to Shirley, because she wanted to get the 3:30pm
boat to return (the 5pm one being too late).
Around 2:30pm we start
walking back to the jetty and to go down we only
need 45 minutes (with stops).
It's almost 4pm when we are back at the car. We drive to an Extra
supermarket near Mo i Rana and buy some food and drinks.
After shopping it's already 5:10pm. We start driving to the house in
Vefsn. With a couple stops along the way, we reach the place at almost
There we move into the house and meet Ingrid, the owner or caretaker of
this place. Ingrid is a very friendly lady and spends some time
explaining the place and the surroundings. She mentions that
molteberries (yellow forest berries) grow near this place.
In the evening, after dinner we will wallk in the forest near the house
searching for molteberries (we find the plants, but only find three
Then we book accomodation in Trondheim, our next place. Actually we
don't book accomodation in Trondheim, because that is too expensive. We
book it in Fannrem, which is 40 minutes by car from Trondheim.
Half of a wooden house in Buan Gård, a small place
52km from Trondheim. The house is in the middle of the nature, adjacent
to a farm with animals. It's
complete, meaning that there are (small)
sleeping rooms, a living room, a fully furnished kitchen (stove,
fridge+freezer, oven, microwave, dishwasher etc), bathroom with shower
+ washing machine + dryer. WLAN is included, but the signal is poor. We
actually were thinking of staying in Trondheim, but hotels in Trondheim
are just to absurdly expensive, so we booked a place via Airbnb.
Weather: in the morning sunny with clouds. Later
the temperature climbs to 25°C. Gradual cloud buildup, then between 4pm
and 5pm is rains and the temperatures drop to 16°C. In the evening it's
We leave the forest house in Vefsn at 11:05am and start driving towards
Trondheim. In total we'll be driving over six hours today. The road is
initially a dirt track, until we hit the E6. From that on it's a good
road, with speed limits up to 90 km/h. Around Trondheim we are on a
motorway with a 100km/h speed limit for a few km.
Not sure why
Norwegians are so obsessed with speed limits and fine
people so much for exceeding these speed limits.
There are road
sections where one could safely drive faster than 80 km/h, but still
there is this speed limit of 80km/h.
Around 2pm we stop in a Rema 1000 supermarket along the way. There we
buy some drinks and food and refuel the car.
Then at 5:40pm we stop at the Hell train station near Trondheim for
Around 6:30pm we reach the City Syd mall south of Trondheiim. We buy
food and drinks and then drive ot the house where we will be staying
the next three nights.
Wooden house in Buan Gård. This morning the girls
play with the goats who live on the farm. It seems that after about
10-11pm they switch off the Internet for some reason.
Weather: overcast in the morning. The sky
gradually opens up during the day and after 5pm it's mostly blue. Top
temperature of 17°C.
Day spent visiting Trondheim (45-50 minutes to drive from Buan Gård to
the fortress; we park for free at the fortress). The highlights are the
Kristiansen fortress and especially the Nidaros cathedral (120 NOK
entry ticket). The Nidaros cathedral is perfectly preserved and very
Trondheim contains a handful of old buildings,
but a historic, medieval
core is not visible. I guess if there was one it has been destroyed,
because most of the buildings in Trondheim are relatively new or max.
100-200 years old. In any case Trondheim is a nice, clean city, with
its own special look and architecture.
We are in town until 6:30pm, then drive back to the apartment.
Wooden house in Buan Gård
Weather: sunny, blue sky with barely a cloud for
the whole day. Top temperatures around 20°C. No rain, very little wind.
We leave the apartment and
drive towards Trondheim.
Along the way we
stop to refuel the car. At about 12:50pm we are at the Liamvatnet lake,
a small lake west of Trondheim with nice forest around it and a trail.
We do once the trail around the lake.
On a meadow people are
tanned and there is even a small beach with sand. We find blueberries
and raspberries in the forest.
Around 1:30pm we walk back to the car and drive to the Sverresborg
Trøndelag Folkemuseum, sort of an open air museum with a display of old
Norwegian houses (ticket: 180 NOK).
There is an indoor
old Norwegian things in the building, then outside there are (not sure
if real or replicas) old Norwegian houses from the 19th century or so,
from rural and city environments. Kind of interesting, but less
intereesting than similar open air museums in Bucharest or Stockholm
After one hour and a
half in this place, at 3:15pm we drive into town
and park the car in the parking of the Torg mall (which at 30 NOK/hour
is cheaper than parking on the street with the easypark app (40
The Torg mall is very nice internally. Not very big, but nicely set up
and decorated. It's a stylish place, designed to make visitors feel
comfortable. Prices for everything are high.
While Shirley and the kids have a buffet meal (229 NOK for an adult,
110 NOK for a child) in the Thai restaurant in the mall,
I use the time
to walk around the city centre and take some pictures.
At 5:30pm we take the car to the
Solsiden mall near the waterfront.
Again another beautifully set up mall along the waterfront, with shops,
cafes, restaurants etc. Hard to describe in words. They have basically
blended old harbour buildings with modern elements, using this kind of
At 6:30pm we walk back to the car and drive towards Buan Gård. On the
way we stop in an Extra supermarket and buy some food and drinks.
11.8: Trondheim ->
of Kjetil (Airbnb) in Ålesund. 108 Euro
per night for a few rooms (two bedrooms, toilet with shower, common
room). Good fast WLAN. 4km out of Ålesund. The big problem of this place
is that there is no kitchen (and no washing machine, never mind). There
is just a microwave oven on a table, a water boiler, some dishes +
wooden cutlery and a small fridge. Otherwise the host is friendly and
Weather: a mix of sunny/blue sky and overcast
sky. No rain. Top temperatures around 18°C.
We leave Trondheim at
11:10am and start driving towards Kristiansund.
We are there after a ferry crossing (where we can't pay - they tell us
somebody will send us the bill to Germany) by 2:30pm. We spend some
time there, then leave for the oceanic panoramic road to Molde.
This is quite nice, but perhaps a bit overrated, at least for us. We
have seen enough of these coastal roads with bridges in the Lofoten
We then proceed to the Askevågen viewpoint, which is recommended in the
Lonely Planet guidebook. This is actually nothing so special, just a
glass platform with a view over the islands. When we arrive some people
are there fishing.
So we drive to Ålesund where we arrive after another ferry crossing
(Molde-Vestnes) and a stop in a supermarket at 9:10pm.
Apartment of Kjetil in Ålesund.
Weather: perfect weather: no wind, not cold, not
too warm, sunny blue sky the whole day, almost no cloud in the sky.
After 11am we leave the apartment and walk up the mountain trail behind
the house until we reach the main trail. Then we walk on that until we
reach a number of viewpoints. The last viewpoint, the Kniven viewpoint,
offers a great view of Ålesund.
Ålesund itself is a
beautiful city with cute buidlings, on the water, with canals.
A bit like Venice,
just more pretty. Everything in the
city centre is neat, there is water everywhere, small bays, channels,
elegant buildings. On a sunny day with a blue sky like this it really
We spend some time exploring Ålesund, then walk back to the apartment.
In the evening I'm back in town for some blue hour photography.
13.8: Ålesund ->
Wooden cottage in Furuly camping in Nordberg. 84
Euro for a wooden cottage with two small bedrooms, a toliet + shower
(small 30 litres hot water container), living room with kitchen area (fridge,
stove, microwave, kitchen utensils). Small vacuum tube TV in the
livingroom. Booked with Airbnb.
Weather: rain, overcast and poor visibility early
morning in Ålesund. When we check out, luckily it has stopped raining,
but it will start raining again later. When we reach Trollstigen it
rains and the sky is overcast. By the time we leave, it has stopped
raining. In Geiranger the sky is overcast, but it rains only a little
bit. Dalsnibba is fully covered with clouds (zero visibility) according
to the webcam and has 0°C. The whole day the temperatures range
between 16°C and 18°C. In the evening in Nordberg the sun shines again
and there are only a few clouds in the sky.
Today we drive 284 km (total of 5 hours of driving). In practice,
including all the stops we make, we are on the way for over eight hours
(between 11am and 7:20pm).
Leaving the apartment in Ålesund around 11am in the morning, we drive
to Trollstigen. The last few km of the road before the viewpoint are
cool - narrow and steep winding road in a scary scenery, which is made
even more dramatic by the clouds and the bad weather. On a sunny day
this place would lose a bit of its drama.
Shortly before 2pm we continue driving towards Geiranger. The road now
is a bit less dramatic, but the scenery is still cool (black rocks,
alpine/arctic vegetation, waterfalls, streams, snow patches).
Brief stop in Validal to buy some food in a Spar supermarket. Short car
ferry from Linge to Eidsdal at 3:30pm.
The Geirangerfjord would be impressive if we had better visibility and
tall mountain walls falling
straight into the sea).
At 4:20pm we are in Geiranger. Very touristic place with hotels, shops,
ferry terminal. Today there are not that many tourists, but I can
imagine that in normal times this small city probably is very crowded.
We skip Dalsnibba (no point
driving up to 1500m, paying 200 NOK, if the
visibility is 0) and drive directly to Nordberg, where our accomodation
is. On the way we cross a mountain range. At the highest point we are at
1040m of altitude.
Immediately below the
mountain pass there is a hut
and a lake. The environment looks similar to the Alps above 3000m, but
here it's just 1000m of altitude.
Then it's one more stop in a supermarket in Nordberg, where we buy our
dinner (precooked dishes, which you only have to heat in a
pot, pan or microwave oven).
When we reach the point indicated by the Airbnb app in Google Maps, we
are in the middle of nowhere in a farm. Quick check with Google Maps
for "Furuly camping" and we find the camping (it's 20km away from the
point indicated by the Airbnb app). Seems like the Airbnb app has the
wrong coordinates. At 7:20pm we are in the Furuly camping.
road -> Bøyabreen
glacier viewpoint -> Sogndal
Apartment between Sogndal and Kaupanger, booked via
Airbnb. 110 Euro
for a big apartment with three bedrooms, two
(one with shower) and a combined kitchen / livingroom with table, chairs
and sofa. The kitchen is fully equipped with everything, including
fridge+freezer, dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave. Everything
spotlessly clean and quite high level. Most luxury place we've been so
far in Norway. The apartment is in the basement of a villa with a
beautiful and carefully set up garden.
Weather: beautiful sunny day, blue sky with a few
clouds, no wind, top temperatures of 22°C. No rain.
We leave the camping at 11am and drive to Lom, where we have a look at
the local stave church (ticket: 90 NOK). Very nice wooden building,
interesting interior. Quite a few visitors today, i.e. you can see this
place is a touristic highlight.
After that we get back to the car and start driving towards Sogndal
using the Sognefjellet road.
This is supposed to be a
scenic road and
in fact it really is. Hard to describe in words, but the scenery along
this road is very photogenic. The road climbs up to about 1450m of
altitude (well above the tree line).
At its highest level you are
surrounded by glaciers, snow patches, rocks, lakes, rivers and meadows.
Brief stop at 12:35pm at Sagasøylen, a pillar with motives from
Norwegian sagas carved on it.
Along the central part of the road, at an altitude of 1200m and
above, we basically stop every few km, to take pictures of the scenery
spots with car parkings and
After the interesting area is over, the road descends rapidly from
1400m to sea level with a series of steep serpentines and narrow
curves. I use too much the brakes with the results that the wheel rims
get quite hot (you can smell burnt rubber, probably of the tyres).
Picturesque scenery once down (Eidsvatnet lake with reflections of
We continue driving and after a few more stops we are at the Bøyabreen
glacier viewpoint at 5:10pm. The road between Sogndal and Bøyabreen by
the way is good (smooth surface,
wide enough, wide curves;
tunnels of 1.6 and 6.5 km).
In Bøyabreen you can park at a first parking or drive a bit further to
the second parking. From there it's a short trail to a lake at the
bottom of the glacier. Impressive view of the steep mountain walls and
the glacier on top. The Bøyabreen viewpoint is at 150m of altitude.
After the glacier we drive back to Sogndal. There we buy some food and
drinks, then drive to the apartment. At the apartment there is a young
guy (perhaps the son of the owner) waiting for us. He shows us the
accomodation for tonight.
15.8: Sogndal -> Borgund
Room in the Midttun Motell & Camping. 960 NOK
a room with a small kitchen corner with a stove, fridge and some
kitchen utensils. Attached toilet with shower. Free WLAN, reasonably
fast. If I compare this place with the apartments where we have stayed
until now it's not exactly great value (actually it sucks a bit). You
can use the washing machine for the clothes, but have to pay 40 NOK.
Weather: nice sunny day with a blue sky and no
clouds. Top temperatures of 23-24°C, no rain.
We check out at 11am and drive towards Borgund. On the way we take the
11:40am ferry from Mannheller to Fodnes. With a few stops along the way
(petrol station and two scenic spots) we reach the Borgund stave church
The parking is about 200m from the church.
100 NOK fee to enter
church (actually without the ticket they won't even let you enter the
After the church we have a look at the nearby Kongevegn, some 18th
century road across the mountains with curves and old stones.
It's almost 2pm when we start driving to the Stegastein viewpoint. The
road passes through the Lærdal tunnel, which is 24.5 km long. Inside
the tunnel there are three caverns which are illuminated with blue and
green light and with parking areas. Quite scenic.
The tunnel ends close
We stop there and buy some
food and drinks in a supermarket. After that we take the road to the
Stegastein viewpoint. This is a bad mountain road, which in some places
has only one lane. You have to be careful and stop in the larger
sections to let the traffic from the opposite direction drive through
(or they stop and let you drive through).
At 3:30pm we are at the Stegastein viewpoint. This is at 650m of
altitude and gives a cool view over the Aurland fjord. Some people fly
drones to shoot cool pictures.
Then it's the same road down to Aurlandsvangen (convoy of cars
me, while I slowly navigate down to the sea level).
Once down there we
drive towards Bergen.
The road is now much better, especially the last 70-80km before Bergen.
There is even a short stretch of motorway, with however the ridicolous
speed limit of 80km/h. Very hard to understand why they don't allow at
least 120-130 km/h.
At 7:30pm we are in the centre of Bergen, close to the waterfront.
Brief stroll along the waterfront. Pretty cool environment on this
Saturday evening. There are lots of people, lots of life, nice
background. Then we drive to the hotel, arriving there at 8:20pm.
Midttun Motell. This morning I notice that the
shower is very good - plenty of water.
Weather: perfect weather, sunny, spotless blue
sky, no wind, top temperature of 23°C (in the sun it feels hotter). In
the evening after 9pm the sky gets overcast. No rain.
In the morning we leave the hotel after 11am and drive to the Mount
Floyen viewpoint (323m asl) near Bergen. That is we try to drive,
because the road ends 1.6 km from this viewpoint at about 180m of
We park the car and
walk over a good easy trail to the viewpoint. Along
the way we meet a lot of people. Seems that the whole of Bergen this
morning is either climbing up to Mt Floyen or down from Mt Floyen to
At 12:15pm we are at the viewpoint. This is a huge thing: there is a
very big viewing platform, a big cafe restaurant, several other
buidlings and other stuff. I'm guessing that there must be a paved road
leading to this place, because otherwise all these businesses operating
here couldn't be serviced.
Anyway, the view from this place is fantastic. Also the light and
fresh air contribute to the great feeling.
After 1pm we start walking down to the car. Once in the car we
the Kloster Garasjen parking (18 NOK/hour) where we park the car.
Then we start exploring the
centre of Bergen. Shirley immediately spots
a McDonalds restaurant, so we stop there for some quick food. After
that we continue having a look at Bergen.
The centre of Bergen is definitely cute and there are also a few old
buildings, mainly in the Bryggen area. On the other hand, there are
very few buildings which look older than 100-200 years. Perhaps it's
because of this Norwegian wood architecture, because wooden buildings
don't last as long as stone ones. Essentially Bergen as a whole is an
overwhelmingly modern city with only a very small historic core.
By 4:30pm Shirley has had enough of Bergen and we drive back to the
Later in the day, after 6pm I drive back into town for a few more
photos. While in town I notice that there lots of men here are wearing
shorts and bermudas. Lots of women wear either short shorts, miniskirts
or short dresses. As if they just returned from a beach holiday (and in
fact quite a few people you meet on the streets are tanned) and want to
preserve the holiday feeling by wearing beach attire. I guess as long
as the summer lasts (right now it's the last few weeks and then it's a
I'm back in the hotel at 9pm. Tomorrow we drive to Oslo.
Apartment in Oslo, rented via Airbnb. 87 Euro for a
small apartment with two bedrooms, livingroom + kitchen, toilet with
shower, washing machine and clothes dryer. The kitchen is fully
equipped and of good standard (everything looks like new). The entire
apartment is stylish and elegant, spotlessly clean and modern. Good
WLAN available. A garage parking is included.
Weather: early morning it's still cloudy, but
from 9am onwards it's sunny with a blue sky and some clouds every now and
then. Top temperatures of 27°C. Probably I'll wear shorts tomorrow
(like everybody else is doing right now in Norway).
In the morning we check out around 10:30am and start driving towards
Oslo. On the way we stop at a petrol station to refuel the car. This
time the diesel costs 13.10 NOK/litre, which is a good price in Norway.
Later in the day we'll see prices in the 14-15 NOK/litre at various
petrol stations and 12.65 NOK at one.
At 12:40pm we make a
stop at the Skjervfossen waterfall. Here there is
a parking area with a cool elegant toilet and tables for picnic.
are a couple of trails leading to different viewpoints.
It would also
be possible to drive further down the road for another view of the
The next stop is the Hardanger bridge at
1:30pm, a 1380m long
suspension bridge across the Eid fjord. This bridge starts immediately
at the exit of a long tunnel,
i.e. you exit tunnel and are immediately
on this bridge. Technically the bridge is quite impressive - one big
arch spanning the entire fjord.
We then continue driving
and after a couple of
short stops at 2:30pm we
have a look at the Vøringsfossen waterfall.
Also here there is a big
parking and a trail leading to a viewpoint. Later I notice that there
is a second viewpoint with a viewing platform further up the mountain.
Later we cross the Hardangervidda, a large mountain plateau. This is
less scenic, because everything is more or less plain and there are no
or few peaks or rock formations.
Shortly before 6pm we stop at the stave church in Gol. After buying
some food in a REMA supermarket we reach the apartment in Oslo at
Apartment in Oslo.
blue sky, but a bit less blue
than in other places in Norway. Could be the pollution of the air or
some very thin clouds layer. Quite hot (top temperature of 27°C, people
are swimming in the sea until the late evening), no rain.
Day spent exploring Oslo. I'm a bit disappointed - Oslo it not as nice
and cute as the other Norwegian
cities I've seen so far.
It's a huge
and messy city (compared to other Norwegian cities).
There is much less
waterfont in Oslo than in the other Norwegian cities (relatively dull
coastline). Lots of ugly buildings and not enough cute or old ones to
make up for the ugly buildings.
There is also no medieval core (cute old buildings, cobblestone streets
etc). It's as if everything or almost everything in Oslo is at most
100-200 years old, or as if everything old had somehow been destroyed.
In the morning we face the problem that parking in Oslo is insanely
expensive. A parking close to the city centre costs up to 100 NOK/hour
(and we'll probably need to park the car for 5-6 hours). In the end we
drive to the Kongen parking which is the cheapest at 13 NOK/hour, even
if it is quite far away from the centre (2km walk).
By the way, driving into
Oslo involves taking some undersea tunnels, where Google Maps doesn't
work properly and it's easy to take the wrong
exit and get lost.
The Kongen parking is full. So we open the parkopedia app and choose
another parking for 20 NOK/hour (also a bit far away from the city
centre). This place is not full, but the garage smells like pee. In any
case we leave the car there and walk towards the centre of Oslo (the
We quickly reach the
central area with pedestrian streets, shops,
Shirley and especially
the kids switch into shopping mode
and get stuck in a shop for ladies products. I leave them there and
spend the time having a look around.
After that we walk to the royel castle. This is in a big park. The
royal palace is, well, a bit underwhelming (if compared to royal
palaces in other countries). On the other hand there is a change of the
guard performance, with soldiers in traditional uniforms.
From the royal palace we walk to the Akerhus fortress,
looks better in the pictures than in reality. There is some park and
some oldish buildings, but that's it. Not exactly terribly impressive.
After the fortress we walk to the waterfront with the opera house.
That's really nice. Great view of the building from the distance.
After approaching the opera house we discover the train station which
is nicely integrated with a shopping mall. Next to this mall there is
another mall, the Oslo city mall.
It's now almost 5pm and we
walk back to the car and drive back to the
apartment (stop in a supermarket along the way to buy some food - this
supermarket doesn't have its own free parking for customers).
In the evening after 8pm I'll go again into town for some blue hour
photography. This time I drive to the Tjuvholmen area (parking is 60
NOK/hour even in the evening). Tjuvholmen is a pretty cool place, with
a very stylish and modern museum, a nice waterfront and a beach area.
I'm back in the apartment after 11pm.
Apartment in Oslo
in the morning overcast, then after 12pm
the sky opens up and for the rest of the say it's sunny and blue sky
with a few clouds here and there. Less warm than yesterday (perhaps
23-24°C max) and some wind.
We leave the apartment after 12pm and get to the car. Then we drive to
the Ekeberg park, a public park on a hill southeast of Oslo, known for
the statues which are spread in the park (all modern art). It's a bit
confusing at the park entrance, because it says cars are not allowed
in, but then there is a road and a restaurant with a parking. In the
end we drive in and park at this parking.
I was actually looking for the famous set of statues of
the naked people, but it turns out that these statues are not there.
They are in another park, the Frogner park. So we walk a loop in this
park (by the way, some statues are quite interesting) and at 1:40pm we
get back to the car and drive to the Viking ship museum.
The Viking ship museum (ticket: 120 NOK) is small but very
interesting, because it contains two complete Viking ships,
of another one (only the bottom part) and other artifacts of the Viking
period (probably 10th century).
We spend some time in this museum and then around 2:45pm get back to
Then we drive to the Frogner
park, which is only a few km
It turns out that the Frogner park is wildly beautiful, with trees,
meadows, lots of flowers and art and statues everywhere. Strange that
the guidebooks don't mention this place - we would have almost missed
it. Not sure why so much effort was put into the creation of this park,
because it is far away from the centre of Oslo and there is no apparent
reason for its existence.
In any case, we spend about one hour in this place.
Then, as the kids
are getting hungry (as usual on this trip we skip the lunch), we drive
to the McDonalds restaurant in Majorstuen. I chose this place, because
it's the closest fast food restaurant to the park, but this Majorstuen
area seems to be very interesting and full of life. Lots of shops,
Norwegian women you meet on the streets in Oslo wear overwhelmingly
sexy stuff (shorts, miniskirts etc.). In the parks you find young women
getting suntanned, wearing tiny little bikinis which do not cover much.
I guess that the winter in Norway is long and when the summer is here,
people want to get the most of it, especially if the day is sunny.
Not many people wear surgical masks. On the streets only a few people,
more in buses (actually on one bus I notice
lots of people wearing
masks). But otherwise in shops and restaurants people do not bother
After the McDonalds we drive to Tjuvholmen. There we spend some time
walking around, checking the area. The grass area in front of the
Astrup Fearnley museum is now full of people in swimsuits (mostly young
people). Lots of people swimming in the sea.
The cafes and restaurants in Tjuvholmen are also full of people, as
well as the entire area. We go to a Coop supermarket and buy some food
for dinner, then drive back to the apartment.
In the evening after 9pm I'm back in town for some blue hour
photography (Opera museum and central station area).
Then, later in the evening I receive an email and SMS from Fjordline,
the company operating the ferry from Kristiansand to Hirsthals. The 3pm
ferry we were planning to take tomorrow has been cancelled. They
mention that they will contact us for rebooking or cancellation.
After some brief checking I decide to drive to Denmark via Sweden
instead of taking the ferry. Luckily the location where I am planning
to stop for the night is Odense, which is located relatively
20.8: Oslo -> Odense
Odense. Worst deal I've had in a while
- maybe I should complain to booking.com. We pay 115 Euro for a tiny
little room in a small city in Denmark. The room is slightly bigger
than a train compartment - probably it has 9 or 10 m². They manage to
squeeze four bunk beds, a small table with two chairs, an LCD TV and a
toilet which has the size of a shower cabin. Actually the room is well
equipped and quite high tech, it's just that it is far too small for
this price. There is no A/C despite the fact that when we check in, the
room is very hot. We are forced to sleep with the open window. WLAN is
In the morning the room is still hot, even if
outside it's raining with
temperatures around 20°C) and the window has been open for most of the
night. It must be impossible to stay in this place when the outside
temperature is above 25°C. This room has a serious heat problem.
sunny, blue sky with some clouds
in Oslo. Mostly overcast and some rain in Sweden. Heavy rain in
Denmark, but then in the evening the sky is blue in Odense.
Today we will drive across Norway and Sweden to Odense (Denmark). Total
of 760 km, doable in eight hours. In the morning I call Fjordline and
they offer to rebook me on the 2pm ferry from Langesund. I decline,
because this ferry arrives at 7pm in Hirsthals, which is too late.
We start driving at 10:20am. Initially we stop at a Rema supermarket
where we get rid of the empty bottles. Then we quickly get on the
motorway to Sweden. The speed limit gradually increases from 70 km/h to
110 km/h (close to the border to Sweden). In Sweden it's 110 km/h and
later 120 km/h (the last section before we enter Denmark). In Denmark
the motorway initially is limited to 110 km/h and later to 130 km/h.
We cross the bridge from Malmö to Copenhagen (Öresund bridge, 460 DKK)
and later the Storebält bridge (245 DKK).
Overall the drive is ok. I've been driving for eight hours, but in the
evening I don't feel tired. Probably it's because it was all motorway
and there was little traffic.
At 7:25pm we stop in a mall a few km out of Odense, where we have some
fast food in a KFC restaurant. Then we drive to the hotel and check in.
Shortly before 9pm I walk into town for some blue hour photography.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic cafes, restaurants and pubs are full
B&L Guesthouse, Bremen. 85 Euro for an
apartment with two bedrooms and a toilet with shower. One of the
bedrooms has a kitchen corner with fridge, stove, microwave and kitchen
equipment (you can cook). The other is bigger and has a big glass table
with two chairs, an LCD TV and a cupboard or the clothes. Small
corridor room where you can place stuff. Overall quite spacious place
(lots of place), huge difference to the claustrophobic Cabinn hotel in
Odense, where you step on each other's feet.
Weather: overcast and even some very light rain
(which quickly stops) in the morning in Odense, but not cold (around
22°C). By the time we leave (at 2pm) the sun has already come out and
the sky is blue. Then it's sunny blue sky until close to Bremen, where
there is some rain (maybe 20 minutes). In the evening in Bremen it
doesn't rain and there is a nice blue sky with a few clouds. Top
temperatures around 27°C.
We check out around
10:30am from the Cabinn hotel and load the luggage
on the car. Then we park the car in a parking and start our tour of
Odense. We quickly get to birth house of Hans Christian Andersen, and
are told that we need to get the tickets at the museum. So we walk to
the museum, get the tickets (120 DKK per adult, kids under 18 are free)
and have a look at the museum. It's nicely made with several exhibits
about the life of H.C. Andersen. Even my girls, who rarely care about
museums, are interested. After the museum we walk to the birth house,
have a look and then continue exploring Odense.
Shortly after 12pm we have a lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant. Then we
visit the childhood home of H.C.Andersen. Finally we walk back to the
It's 2pm when we finally start driving towards Bremen (brief stop in a REMA 1000 supermarket for some drinks). Google
Maps already indicates over five hours of driving to get to Bremen,
caused by a one hour traffic jam around Hamburg. Unfortunately there is
no alternative route to avoid this traffic jam. For some reason we have to go
through the motorway.
While in Denmark, the traffic on the motorway is moderate.
Once in Germany we speed up to 160 km/h and more. Finally we can drive
at much higher speed on a much better motorway.
The feeling of freedom doesn't last long, because we quickly reach the
Hamburg traffic jam.
It starts a number of km
before the tunnel under
the Elbe river and makes us lose over an hour. To a certain extent the
traffic jam is caused by the very brainless way the traffic is handled:
in two places they let two lanes converge into one for no reason. One
or two km after the lanes have converged,
the supposedly blocked lane
is not blocked at all and you can again use it. Why let lanes converge
into one for no reason?
Then in one section there is an 80km/h speed limit which makes no sense.
Looks like they just forgot to remove it. Very sloppy way of handling
We reach Bremen at 8:30pm and park the car. While Shirley and the kids
have some dinner, I walk to the historic city centre for some blue hour
photography. Very, very nice historic core.
After dinner I pick up the ladies and we reach the hotel shortly before
B&L guesthouse, Bremen. The Internet connection
in this place comes and goes...
Weather: more fresh than yesterday (in the
morning I initially wear a light jacket). Sunny with clouds which
intermittently cover the sun until about 5pm. Then it rains for an hour
and in the evening it's dry again and the sky is blue.
Day spent with Bremen sightseeing. We leave the apartment quite late
(it's almost 12pm). Initially I drive to the airport, then into town.
After leaving the car in a parking we walk towards the city hall
square. On the way we split - Shirley and the girls do some
shopping, while I walk around a bit.
Bremen is cute, but the very
special part of the city is very small - only a few
buildings in medieval style around the city hall. Once you have seen
that, there is not much else left worth seeing.
I go to the train station which has a nice facade and then to the trade
fair building. After that I'm back in the city centre and meet Shirley
and the kids. By the way, there is an LGBT demo (rainbow flags on the
city hall and another building).
We have some late lunch at 3pm in a Chinese restaurant (food is so-so).
After 4pm we drive to the Waterfront Bremen mall, a shopping mall a few
km northwest of the city centre.
The mall is modern, has a
shops and retail outlets, a Lidl supermarket and a food court. The food
court makes a good impression (lots of choice). We should have come
here for eating.
By the time we get out of the mall after 5pm it is just starting to
rain. We rush to the Lidl supermarket where I buy some food and drinks,
then drive back to the guesthouse.
In the evening after 8:30pm I get back into town for some blue hour
23.8: Bremen -> Nürnberg
Home, sweet home.
Weather: sunny, blue sky with some clouds. Top
temperature of 24°C. The whole day no rain.
We leave the
apartment around 10:30am and drive to a petrol station,
where we refuel the car. Then we start driving towards Munich.
It's a relatively easy drive, almost totally on German motorways. There
are just 2-3 traffic jams, the longest causing a delay of about 20
At 5:40pm we stop in Nürnberg and have some early dinner. Then we walk
a bit around Nürnberg. Right now there is a fun fair in the central
square. Lots of people, perhaps too many considering the pandemic
situation we are having.
We continue driving towards Munich at 7:15pm and reach home at 9:07pm.
Copyright 2020 Alfred Molon