SCANDINAVIA 2010

In july 2010 we undertook a roadtrip through parts of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. It was my first visit to these countries and I hope you will find pleasure (and perhaps some use) in browsing the images and my account of this trip.

NORWAY

Norwegian roads and bridges

Although we took care not to plan the distances we habitually drive in Canada and the USA, we found that the smaller roads kept us on the road for most of the day. But it wasn't a bad way to spend the day...
We stopped for occasional outings, like a visit to a church of for coffee.
While there was no lack of restaurants on Norway's coastline, we found it much harder to find a restaurant open for business in the less densily populated areas more inland. Imagine the hardship we had to endure driving for hours without coffee!

Ringebu Stavkirke
Ringebu Stavkirke


Christianity was introduced into Norway around the year 1000 A.D. From then on during the Middle Ages until 1537, approximately 1000 stave churches were built. The Church in Norway was Roman Catholic at that time. The stave church at Ringebu, built c.1220, is one of 28 surviving stave churches and is one of the largest.
www.stavechurch.no

'Ringebu Stavkirke' is on the itinerary of many tourbus companies and I had to wait for a quiet moment to take this photo. One had to pay an entrance fee to get into the church, which we didn't as it quickly filled up with too many people.
Remarkable to witness how people now flock in droves to this church, not for holy gospel but for history and architecture.
>More history on this church<

Driving the E6, between Dombas - Hjerkin, displaying fantastic rugged scenery and odd items
Norway scenic route
Wodcarving and trolls

Church
Fjelkapellet - in a small community on an isolated mountain pass

Endless roads

Sod houses
Norway - scenic route
 

 

Weird crowd
Strange crowd cheering us on...
 

Romfo Church
Romfo Church - built in 1821
Romfo Church graveyard
Romfo Church graveyard

Unpaved roads in Norway
When you program your TomTom or GPS to avoid toll roads, you are likely to end up on these unpaved roads. But they are very good to drive and tend to take you nicely off the beaten path.

Country Barn in Norway
Wrapped bales - somewhere Norway
Norwegian waterways
Norwegian waterways
 

 

Atlantic Road - Norway The Atlantic Road, going south from Kristiansund.
We enjoyed exceptionally good summer weather for most of our stay, but on this day the clouds gathered and we had the occasional drop of rain.

Cabin Atlantic Road - Norway

Bed and Breakfast in Molde
B&B Astrid Hatlebak in Molde
We didn't like Kristiansund much and decided to press on to Molde. The tourist office recommended the B&B of Astrid Hatlebak and proofed to be excellent advise. We stayed here two nights, the only time we stayed two nights in one place during this trip and we did nothing much except to read and rest and a walk to the supermarket for groceries.
Molde is a good place to stay three days and do three circle drives from this point. Passing through we more or less did two. We left Alesund for another day.
 

 

Changing weather
Wildflowers
Leaving Molde we soon saw the sun returning and Mother Nature lighted up with plenty of colour.
 

 

Trollstigen souvenirstop
At the base of the famous Trollstigen we did some inevitable souvenir shopping and coffee & cake.
The traditional dress worn by the women reminded me of Austria and Switzerland, charming.
Waitress

Trollstigen, in the heart of Romsdal, is one of the best visited attractions in Norway; you cannot bu tfeel impressed when you look up and see the Trollstigen road winding it's way up the mountainside!
Stigfossen waterfall gushes down the mountainside. From the top you look down, far and wide into the Isterdalen valley.
The mountains which encircle the Trollstigen road are enormous. Names like Kongen (the King), Dronningen (the Queen) and Bispen (the Bishop) confirm their majesty in this mountain world...


Trollstigen
Trollstigen
Trollstigen
Trollstigen
Trollstigen

Mountainpass and snow
After the impressive views over the Trollstigen, we found the mountain pass equally fascinating
Lonely skier
Mountains of Norway
Snowy mountain tops in Norway
 

 

From the snowy mountain passes we found ourselves soon at sea level again, such is the versatality of Norway's landscape.
Intending to cross by ferry Linge - Eidsdalen, upon arrival in Linge we found a scenic ferry cruise leaving here, taking us direct to our destination Geiranger over the Norddalsfjorden, Sunnylvsfjorden and Geirangerfjorden.
We enjoyed a three hour sailing trip and the ship's speaker pointed out interesting views and historic facts.
Norway ferry over fjord
Immense waterways in Norway!

Cutting through the fjord

Fantastic waterfalls

Arrival in Geiranger Upon arrival in Geiranger we noticed two large cruise vessels and feared for crowds in this small town. But there were hardly people around. The largest cruise ship soon left (only to be replaced during the night or early morning by another huge one). I think most of the cruise passengers take a bustrip to somewhere.

Cabin at Geiranger campground
Cabin at Geiranger campground
We decided to rent a cabin here for the night, on the campground. We were in luck as only one was left to rent.
I didn't feel like pitching my tent again, but the price for this cabin wasn't exactly cheap: around 100 euro without linen (we used our sleepingbags and our own pillows).
Admittedly, that the cabin was very well furnished with a complete kitchen and the bathroom included a shower. The beds weren't too good.
The fact that the campground looks out into a fjord which is on the UNESCO Heritage List will have an effect on the price too...
Cabin at Geiranger campground

Looking down on Geiranger one last time:
Cruise ship in Geiranger Fjord
 

 

Another mountainpass in Norway

Big mountain, long tunnel... (they can be as long as 25 kilometers!)
Big Mountain Long tunnel

Summer snow!
Rough roads in Norway
The Old Strynefjell Mountain Road.
Past stone walls and guard stones on the road rv. 258, between Skjåk and Stryn, heading into the Strynefjell Mountains.
I read that many old Norwegian poets and artists drew both inspiration and rest from the narrow road that twists at one with nature across the mountain Strynefjell.
The stretch represents a piece of Norwegian natural history as the only way of passage between Skjåk and Stryn during most of the last century. Today there is an all-year road, however, the old stretch still provides both the vista and the atmosphere. Here you will find wild nature only inhabited by birds and animals adapted to the arctic climate.
People find here a place for skiing and snowboarding in the summer: 'Sommerskisenter'!
 

 

Info
Church in Skjak
Skjak church - tombstone
 

 

Boverton Rom Bøverton Rom (read that on a nearby sign)

Norway's rugged landscape include glaciers
 

 

Hotels are expensive in Norway
From the high mountain passes again back to sealevel: Sogndal & the Hofslund Hotel.

A little over 16:00 we checked at a hostel in Sogndal, but we found the frontdesk unoccupied. We were tired after a full day of driving, temperature around 25 C, so instead of waiting we checked the Hofslund Hotel in the center of town and at the water but found it too expensive.
So then we drove 20 minutes to another hotel, out of town, but found it to be even more expensive.
Back to the hostel we went and this time found the frontdesk occupied; it was a university which rented out its dormitory during the summer and while the price was good I didn't feel like making my own bed and spending the night in a deserted building...
So back to the overpriced Hofslund Hotel, paid the 125 euros and compensated by a cheap pizza dinner in town.
Such are my considerations and tribulations on these trips...

Back on the road, uhm.. water!
Another ferry over the fjord
Taken a ferry over the fjord
 

Borgund Stavkirke
Borgund Stavkirke is a stave church located in Borgund, Lærdal, Norway. It is classified as a triple nave stave church of the so-called Sogn-type. This is also the best preserved of Norway's 28 extant stave churches.
Borgund was built sometime between 1180 and 1250 CE with later additions and restorations. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name stave church. The 4 corner posts were connected to one another by ground sills, resting atop a stone foundation. The rest of the staves then rise from the ground sills, each stave notched and grooved along the sides so that they lock into one another, forming a sturdy wall.
Borgund has tiered, overhanging roofs, topped with a tower. On the gables of the roof, there are four carved dragon heads, swooping from the carved roof ridge crests, recalling the carved dragon heads found on the prows of Norse ships...
[Wikipedia, more..]
Borgund Stavkirke
Borgund Stavkirke

Tunnel on xtc
Roads, ferry boats, bridges and... tunnels. Tunnels come in all sizes; long and short. The long ones have a half-way point illuninated like above and the long ones may seem them divided in three of such points. I think this was the Laerdal tunnel.
The photo below shows left and right painted white which also helps to avoid claustrafobia.
These effects certainly have a positive effect.
Tunnel as it should be
 

 

Bergen, Norway

We arrived in Bergen around 16:00, the weather had steadily deteriorated when we approached the coast.
Not surprising, as Bergen has a reputation to be wet: it rains 200 days of the year.
Montana Hostel, Bergen
Knowing hotels would be expensive here too, we first checked the YMCA but found it to be a chaotic dump. A hotel programmed in our TomTom no longer existed.
Next we found our way to the Montana Hostel.
Upon inquiring for a double room, one night, I was told it to be 100 euro plus costs for linen. With a choice of bunkbeds and wireless internet in the room, or two beds on the ground and no internet in the room. No tv in either of the choices.
This selection pissed me off no end, but we opted for the latter, which proofed to be one of the smallest of rooms I ever stayed in.
But the community room of this hostel did have a tv set (I watched part of a football game, the World Cup in South Africa), a meal could be prepared in a large kitchen (groceries available in a nearby supermarket) and the lounge did have wireless internet (I do my planning for the next day mostly by internet).

I had been considering to stay in Bergen for two nights, knowing I would arrive late in the afternoon, but with these prices and 'comfort' I decided against it.




The cloudbase was so low that a trip up the mountain seemed futile (it did clear later in the evening).
We used the remainder of the afternoon to see something of 'downtown Bergen'.
Naroow streets in Bergen Norway
Sleeping it off
Church in Bergen Norway
McDonalds in Bergen Norway
Culture in Bergen Norway
Culture in Bergen Norway
Harbour of Bergen Norway
When we arrived at the well-known fishmarket we found people closing their stalls. Most shops were closed too by that time (it was a saturday), so what remained was a walk at the harbour and the center of town.
 

 

Breeding salmon We woke up in Bergen to a lovely, sunny day, but that didn't change or mind to leave.
We were looking forward to another scenic drive and counted ourselves lucky to have the sun shining again. We came to a point where we looked down on this scene: I suspect they grow salmon here..?

Ferry over the hardanger Fjord

By 2013 there should be a bridge over the Eidfjorden, but I like doing the ferry: it breaks the monotony of driving.
The Hardanger bridge will replace the ferry on National Road (Rv.) 7/13 between Bruravik and Brimnes. There will be a toll fee as part of the financing of this bridge.

Nice spot for a picnic: Hardanger Plateau
Now isn't this the ideal spot to have a nice bread & salmon picnic lunch?
This is somewhere on the Hardanger Plateau
 

Floatplane LN-IKO
I wasn't realy looking for planes on this trip, but I couldn't resist stopping for this one near Nesbyen

Staying wake
A nice beverage we liked picking up at gasstations, helps to stay alert on the long drives too!
 

 

OSLO
Oslo, city of culture, entertainment and shopping. Actually, cities don't have much attraction to us, but Oslo was on our way and I did want some shopping (books) done and I had also set my mind to visit a museum on Bygdøy.
Oslo and culture
oslo and shopping

Vikingskiphuset
While I wanted to visit the Fort too, I found my sports injury still severely limited my mobility and choices had to be made. We opted for the Vikingskiphuset on Bygdøy and once more we travelled by boat.

Vikingskiphuset Oslo
A remarkable museum, displaying a proud and fascinating history.
The museum displays the Viking Age Oseberg ship, Gokstad ship and Tune ship alongside sledges, beds, a (horse) cart, wood carving, tent components, buckets and other grave goods.It has many Viking ships that have been found, very intact. Its most famous ship is the completely whole Oseberg ship.
vIKINGSKIPHUSET
Vikingskiphuset
Vikingskiphuset
Vikingskiphuset
Vikingskiphuset
In 1913, Swedish professor Gabriel Gustafson proposed a specific building to house Viking Age finds that were discovered at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
The Gokstad and Oseberg ships had been stored in temporary shelters at the University of Oslo. An architectural contest was held, and Arnstein Arneberg won.
The hall for the Oseberg ship was built with funding from the Parliament of Norway, and the ship was moved from the University shelters in 1926.
The halls for the ships from Gokstad and Tune were completed in 1932. Building of the last hall was delayed, partly due to the Second World War, and this hall was completed in 1957.
It houses most of the other finds, mostly from Oseberg.
[Wikipedia]

As it was before restoration
Imagine the condition of this 'find' and compare the restoration above..

 

Artifacts in Vikingskiphuset

Summer day in Oslo waterfront

Back into town... Oslo
Stortinget, building of the Norwegian Parlement, centrally located on the Karl Johans gate

holding hands
Everybody holding hands...

Bokks, books, books
uch to enjoy in Oslo

Our time in Oslo was limited to a parking ticket: 11:00 - 16:00, which is of course rather short to explore a city of this size and magnitude. But the entire trip was only meant as 'a general taste of things' and quite satisfying as such. Oslo did offer us a downside: first we had a parking incident with someone who behaved quite rude and while stuck in traffic at some point someone who apparently didn't like foreigners yelled 'go home!'.
I have read articles of Dutch people who emigrated to Norway and started a business, finding the Norwegians quite distant, reserved and standoffish. As a tourist you'll be met mostly with a friendly "hej, hej".
A holiday can never offer enough material to judge an entire country, one can only draw conclusions for oneself. I found Norway to offer plenty to see and enjoy.
In that bookshop I fell once more victim to a selection of books I couldn't resist..

After finally breaking away from the massive traffic jam in and out of Oslo, we crossed the border into Sweden again.

 

Visit Norway www.visitnorway.com
National Tourist Roads Norway www.fjordnorway.com/en
Hardangerfjord   www.visithordaland.com
Hardangervidda (Hardanger Mountain Plateau) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardangervidda
Hardangervidda National Park Route www.nasjonalparkrute.no/eng/
Atlanterhavsveien (Atlantic Road) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanterhavsveien
Trollstigen  www.trollstigen.net
Geiranger www.geiranger.no
Camping in Norway  www.camping.no

 

PAGE 1 - DENMARK & SWEDEN

PAGE 2 - NORWAY

PAGE 3 - GOING HOME, VIA SWEDEN AND DENMARK (KRONBORG CASTLE, HELSINGØR)