We hit Bergen on the Sunday which meant we were able to finda small pay & display area right in the centre that was free! Phew – otherwise £3/h. Bergen was very very touristy, full of cruise ship passengers and the like, and whilst it was worth a visit, didn’t stand out as a gem. The main area was pretty, but exploring off the beaten track wasn’t that exciting or enticing. So we moved on towards Voss on the E16 (not as pretty as the E13) and explored Voss and their gorge walk. Nice, but not mega, but wildcamping in a wooded area we were treated to shepards and a large flock of sheep passing by with bells ringing.
From Voss, we headed towards Flam which is a very pretty little spot on the edge of Aurlandsfjorden (I think) – and this sort of set a bit of a scene. It appears all beauty spots in range of cruise ships are heaving with cruise passengers and hence everything is geared for them along with hiked prices. And, coaches and coaches taking everyone to whatever is in driving range. Everywhere would be so much better without tourists (except us of course!). We also hit the longest road tunnel so far – 25km! The Norwegians know how to dig!
We did manage a nice run there, and a good walk to a waterfall, and stayed on a campsite as we needed to do laundry. Basic campsite was £26, and showers £2 each. (Elect £5 – but the solar and driving keeping us charged).
We can’t keep going on, or over selling the scenery. Except the innards of the tunnels, the scenery is stunning pretty much continuously. Rocky ravines, blue fjords, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains. And we still turn a corner or come out a tunnel and say wow. Leaving Flam for Jostedalsbreen national park, the views were equally good, but a really big wow moment when we saw an area where you park and overlook the bottom of the glacier. Absolutely stunning with great walk, and a beautiful place to overnight (once the cruise coaches stopped coming).
The plan was to see the glacier from the other side of the national park, and we did drive up there but didn’t fancy the apparent 4hr walk to get to it – especially as we had such a great view the previous night, so we carried on towards Geiranger and its famous Fjord. We were recommended to go to Dalsnibba which is a viewpoint up a 140NOK (£14) toll road, and as the sky was blue we went up and yep, spectacular views over Geirangerfjord – as well as a challenging drive up, again stunning with snow and ice in the lakes. We had planned to overnight at the top, but the weather has been very kind and the forecast is for a week of rain, and we really wanted to see Geirangerfjord in its glory, so left there and another alpine-esque drive on very very very windy roads into Geiranger.
We’d been tipped to take the car ferry to Hellesylt as a way to see the Fjord without being too touristy, and amended our planned route accordingly. We drove in and just missed a ferry (damn) but then parked and looked at the prices, and it would’ve been £110 (!) (phew! Lucky escape). We can’t justify that for even more great views when we’re surrounded my them daily. So back to plan A! (Clearly the standard car ferry has hiked prices to match the tourist trips)
On the bright side, we got some fresh food and managed to get a side of salmon on offer for £5! And a box of 6x cornettos for £2.50. Phew. Also managed to get a small inverter to run the laptop mains power supply I happened to have after the 12v one failed. The guy told me “it’s a cheap one” – but at £60 I still almost cried after seeing the same for <£20 at home. Needs must!
Geiranger has a campsite, but heaving with people and vans and not much better than a car park. Just past that we spotted a dead-end road with some areas suitable for overnighting right over the Fjord in peace and quiet, and ideal spot to watch the sun go down and cook some lovely Salmon.
Leaving Geiranger the road zig-zagged up the mountain with spectacular views, sadly a technical glitch meant the photos vanished (!) off the phones. No idea how, but it was a good view and the photos were good – I’ll have to nick someone elses.
After a service-stop bumbled to Ålesund for a look around as the town is different to most apparently. Yeah, nice to look around but not wowing. The scenery here is a little flatter and not as exciting either, so after a walk around we just did some site-seeing and ended up back inland near Isfjorden for the light in a lovely spot on yet another fjord. The sort of spot in Europe you love to find, and whilst nice is just “another” similar spot here.
Sadly, the picturesque spot didn’t live up to its image, as there seemed to be a massive intermittent storm which blew gales rocking the van more than normal, then calming down, then the same half hour later. So we slept quite badly. Which explains the next cock up. We looked at the map and planned our route for the Atlantic Highway segment, which was in itself quite pretty and worth the drive, very pretty, then on to Kristiansund ultimately heading towards Trondheim. One of the database overnight locations was almost full of vans despite there being an overnight parking ban (too many vans!) so we just went for a good run and spotted a perfect isolated wildcamping spot where we had a quiet night and a good outside shower (it was quiet!)
Then, to Trondheim where we stayed in the motorhome parking area for the night (£25) but perfectly located to explore the small city. A few interesting things, pretty in places, pleasant enough, but not a must see gem. There was a good flat ish run around the city in about 4.5 miles which stretched the legs a little and showed us a bit more.
Only in the morning when we looked at the map did we noticed the aforementioned cock up. We overnighted around 10 miles from the trolls road and the trolls wall, two “must see” sites in Norway and on our to-do list since the beginning. And due a crap nights sleep totally forgot about them and didn’t notice till we were 100’s of miles past. Damn. And so ends week 2.
Week 3 is HERE