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NORWAY 2002 - DIARY
01.06. - 27.07.2002
Notes: Stojan Deprato
Translation: Janice Forster
Click on the map or the photo to enlarge!
1st day - 01.06.2002 - Saturday: San Maurizio (I) - Kappel (CH) - 440 km
At 20.30, my wife Carla and I (75) left San Maurizio Canavese (TO) with our camper to travel to Norway for the third time. Our first journey was in 1995 when we crossed Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Norway, returning through Finland, Sweden then again Denmark, Germany and Switzerland to return home. In 1999 we toured around the south of Norway as far as Ålesund, without visiting Finland or Sweden.
This Year our intention was to follow the Atlantic coast of Norway from Egersund to the island of Lofoten without falling into the temptation of exploring inland. According to our plan, programmed in detail, we expected our trip to last from 3.6 to 18.8, for a total 75 days (─►Map). We left two days earlier. The anticipated length of the journey was 8786 km, of which 5049 in Norway, with an average of 75,6 km/day (in Norway. The total of the expenses (food, fuel, ferries etc) was about 2500 €. All locations, islands, fiords and elsewhere, named in the diary in red colour, can be found on enclosed maps.
Our camper is the same one we had in 1995: Dethleffs Globetrotter Type A532, 1991, LxBxH: 562x223x283, Fiat Ducato, with a Fiat engine TD 95, 2482 ccm, 70 kW, 95 HP, only now it has done 90,000 km.
Today we have programmed to arrive in Kappel in Switzerland (Map), where our son Davor lives with his family. It’s a lovely, sunny day today, which has given us a pleasant departure (at 20.30).
We took the motorway from Turin to Milan and then north towards Switzerland. At the border we found a traffic jam. The line of traffic was about 2km long and was directed into two lines. The lane we were in proceeded along the state road. We crossed the border at Chiasso, crossed the city and joined the motorway again where the two lanes met up again in a queue that was two kilometres long! The cause of the delay was work on the motorway. In Switzerland you know when the work starts but you never know when it will finish.
Two kilometres before the tunnel St. Gotthard we stopped again (as in 1995), again two lines of traffic, regulated by two traffic lights, 10 seconds for one, a pause on the seconds then ten seconds for the other and …. 30 minutes to get into the tunnel. We continued for Luzern end then in the direction of Basel. Near Olten we left the motorway.
We arrived at Kappel, near Olten, very much behind schedule, of course. At 2.45 we parked in front of Davor’s house. As we didn’t want to wake anybody, we prudently went to bed and fell asleep immediately. A silent night.
2nd day – 02.06.2002 - Sunday: Kappel (CH) - 0/440 km
We got up at 8.30, not really rested, but breakfast was ready. The weather was lovely, sunny and hot. Before lunch we went for a walk through the countryside and the woods. For lunch Davor had prepared for us an excellent barbecue of meat (1, 2). Everyone was there: Davor with his wife Michelle, their sons Tobias and Fabian, Michelle’s mother Dora and us two. After lunch we watched a motorcycle race on television (Biaggi lost to Valentino Rossi). In the afternoon Davor popped over his office and took Carla with him in his Honda 1800 (3, 4). The sun shone all day.
3rd day – 03.06.2002 - Monday: Kappel (CH) – Lingelbach (D) - 490/930 km
Today we slept until late to be well rested. Davor went to Luxemburg for work. He left early in the morning. The others were at work or school and we left at 10.20. It was rather cloudy but didn’t rain. We crossed the border into Germany at Basel at 11.00. The weather was good again. We continued along the motorway passing Frieburg, Karlsruhe and Mannheim, in the direction of Frankfurt where we turned right and left the motorway near Offenbach.
At 15.00 we arrived in the little town of Steinberg, where Carla’s aunt and uncle (Werner and Ursula) live. We arrived just in time for coffee (1, 2). The weather was beautiful and hot, very sunny. We stayed until 21.45, then we said goodbye and continued along the motorway crossing Frankfurt in the direction of Kassel. At 23.45 we left the motorway near Alsfeld and stopped in the little village of Lingelbach, between Alsfeld and Bad Hersfeld. We parked in a little square, which, in the middle of the houses, seemed to be like in a yard. There was complete silence while we slept.
4th day – 04.06.2002 - Tuesday: Lingelbach (D) – Pinneberg (D) - 480/1410 km
We woke already at 7.00 and by 7.30 we were on our way. We stopped after a few kilometres in a nice place surrounded by woods and countryside to have our breakfast in peace (1). After breakfast we went back onto the motorway. We passed Kassel, Götingen, Hannover and Hamburg. The weather was still good but there were one or two clouds in the sky. In Hamburg at 15.00 the temperature was 24°C! We arrived at Pinneberg (the suburbs to the north-west o Hamburg) where Carla’s relations Rotraut and Waldemar live again punctually for coffee at 16.00 (2) and parked in front of their house. We went to bed at 24.00.
5th day – 05.06.2002 - Wednesday: Pinneberg (D) - 0/1410 km
Today I bought a small compressor freezer here of 18 litres, produced by the WAECO company, type CC-18 which takes 12V. It uses only 45W and this is no problem, not even when we are parked, because the camper has 2 batteries at disposition of 110Ah (plus one of 110Ah for the engine) and two solar panels, which charge the batteries up to 75W, when the sun is “good”. I hope to take it home full of fillets of good Norwegian fish. It will be useful in the summer at the seaside, because the absorption fridge con cool to a maximum of 20°/25°C below the temperature of the environment and this means that, when the outside temperature reaches + 35°C, in the fridge the temperature is +10°C. Instead this compression fridge cools to a temperature from +5° to -18°C (regulated) independently of outside conditions (at least that’s what the instructions say).
In the afternoon, after a good lunch and a nap (1) we went for a walk near the sports fields for the young people (football, athletics). Everything was very clean, ordered, everywhere the green of the grass, silence, it was wonderful.
6th day – 06.06.2002 - Thursday: Pinneberg (D) – Glyngøre (DK) - 483/1893 km
In the morning we weren’t in a hurry, we had plenty of time at our disposition, as the ferry for Norway would be in Hanstholm (DK) only the day after tomorrow. Before leaving we went one more time in a supermarket to buy food and drinks for our stay in Norway. Everything is much cheaper here.
At 12.30 finally we left for Denmark, following the motorway past Neumünster, Schleswig and Flensburg. After about 30 km a very strong wind started to blow and near the border with Denmark, it became so violent that driving required a great deal of attention. The gusts of wind deviated our heavy camper, despite the fact that I was only driving at 90 km/hour. The weather was very good with no clouds in the sky, only the wind that disturbed us and accompanied us until the evening.
At 15.00 near Flensburg, we entered DENMARK (we had travelled 1582 km from home). We continued in the direction of Kolding and Århus. Near the motorway in Denmark we saw as many as three times roe deer that, without any fear, were eating grass at only 50 m from the traffic. Near Århus we changed the itinerary of our journey a little, leaving the motorway to follow the state road in the direction of Viborg. This road is very good and fast, it only goes through two or three small villages, the rest is outside built-up areas and some parts of it are motorway.
We crossed Viborg and Skive and the long bridge over the straits of Salling Sund, looking for a parking place for the night. No luck! We went back over the bridge and turned left, finally we found a parking place (1) in the small and picturesque Glyngøre (2). At 19.30 we moved to another parking place that was nicer, out of the centre and near the little pleasure port. We parked at 10 m from the sea near a beautiful beach. We had a magnificent view of the fiord and a wonderful silence. The wind had completely died down and, at about 23.00 we walked along the beach. It was still light.
Up to now we had always been accompanied by lovely, hot weather. We saw the Italian news on the television and saw that in Piedmont, Lombardy and Veneto, both yesterday and today they have had thunderstorms and floods. Here, however the summer has not betrayed us!
7th day - 07.06.2002 - Friday: Glyngøre (DK) - Hanstholm (DK) - 65/1958 km
In the morning we woke up to a strong wind again (1), like yesterday. The sky was clear, without clouds (2, 3). At about 10.30 we set off Hanstholm where, in the Fjord Line offices, we bought return tickets for Egersund. Returning in August. The total price (camper with two persons - return ticket) is 1895 DKK, about 250 €, relatively little. We boarded at 8.30 tomorrow and the ship left at 9.30.
With our ticket in our pocket, we passed the day in the sun, to the south of Hanstholm. We parked at the side of the road near the dunes and stayed there. Carla found a big plaited rope on the beach (2 metres long) 6 cm in diameter, impregnated with salt and sand. Carla wanted to take it home. I had no choice, protesting didn’t help. I had to fix it onto the roof of the camper. It wasn’t possible to bend it, it was too big. I took it off 50 days later in San Maurizio and now you can find it at the head of my bed. A lovely souvenir.
In the evening at 19.30 we went back to Hanstholm. The wind had dropped completely. We stopped in a small parking place on a hill, near the port. Near us was camper of a Norwegian family, going home. The parking place was very clean and quiet, with a view of the sea (4).
We went for a walk into the town and at 23.00 we went to bed. At about 1.00 a group imbeciles on scooters arrived and drove around the car park, a terrible noise! It went on for 20 minutes. We survived!
8th day - 08.06.2002 - Saturday: Hanstholm (DK) - Egersund (N) - 0/1958 km
We got up at 7.45. Beautiful weather, not a cloud in the sky. At 8.45 we went down to the port. We weren’t in a hurry because our ferry boat had not yet arrived and was nowhere in sight on the horizon. We got our boarding ticket, got in the queue and waited. The ferry boat M/S “BERGEN” (30,000 BRT, L 134,4 m, B 24,0 m, draft 5,70 m, speed 19 miles an hour) arrived in the port of Hanstholm exactly at 9.30 (1) and, after unloading all the vehicles (2) it was our turn to enter into the belly of the ship. At 10.45 we finally set off for Egersund.
The crossing to Egersund was very pleasant this time. With the experience of previous trips we made sure to go immediately to the bar where you can sit on chairs at tables, if you get there in time. We managed to get two small armchairs and a table near a window and now we could enjoy the crossing (3). I wrote on my PC and I watched a match of the World Football Cup (Croatia - Italy 2:1). Carla read a book and the time passed quickly (4, 5). Sunny and calm for all the crossing (6).
At 17.00 we left the ship in Egersund. We immediately went to the petrol station to buy a cylinder of Norwegian gas but we didn’t find the Norwegian type of reduction valve. The two cylinders, which normally bring from Italy, are not enough for 84 days and in Norway, when they are empty, it is not possible to fill them up again. For this reason I decided to bring only one from home, which we can use, until we get to Norway (and on the return journey) and to buy the other in Norway and change it at the petrol stations, when it is empty. That is the advice I found in Internet. But the Norwegian cylinders have a different attachment from ours so we had to buy a reduction valve. At the petrol station they didn’t have any. At the Shell station they gave us the address of a company that sells these things, it’s open tomorrow at 10.30. We can only try!
We went towards the outskirts of Egersund, towards the fiord. We stopped near a factory and tried fishing from the quay. It was already late and the factory was closed. We could see no-one and no-one disturbed us. This time luck did not abandon us. We caught 4 mackerel and 4 sei (black cod, sea salmon) (7). In all about 2 kg of fish. At 21.00 we stopped fishing and went back into the town. We parked in a nice square in the town centre, near the pleasure port. Carla prepared the 4 sei for dinner. They were very tasty, especially when accompanied by a good glass of vine. We went to bed satisfied. The night was silent, calm and nice and hot!
9th day - 09.06.2002 - Sunday: Egersund (N) - Jørpeland (N) - 104/2062 km
In the morning we woke up to another lovely, sunny day. After 10.30 we went to the company and bought everything that we needed, but it was very expensive. The deposit for the cylinder was 590 NOK = 75 € (in Italy 5 € !!!), the gas about 40 €. In all, with reduction valve 1500 NOK (780 €). We think the man understood that we needed all these things urgently and took advantage of us. But we couldn’t say no as it meant we would have run out of gas. The Norwegian reduction valve is somewhat different from the one we had, it has a screw attachment, ours was a nut, so I had to invent an intermediary piece (this took me 20 minutes) and for all this I had to pay very, very well. If I had known, I would have brought three gas cylinders, one of them on the roof, and it would have been much cheaper but there was nothing I could do so that was it! Next time three cylinders! The important thing was that everything worked.
We finally left Egersund at 11.40 following the state road 42 until E39 and from there continuing in the direction of Ålgård and then on the 508 for Lauvvik. The 508 is quite narrow and dangerous, especially in the bends. At 13.00 we were at Lauvvik to board the ferry for Oanes. The price of the ferry was 61 NOK. We waited quite a long time as it seemed the crew had gone for lunch (?), finally they arrived after 14.00. The weather was still fine, but the first clouds started to appear.
We crossed the strait to Oanes and immediately turned left on the road to Idse. We parked after 10 km near the bridge to the little island of Idsal. We had a god lunch (1), after which we went fishing in the strait. Not one bite! We continued on our way to the town of Idse on the island of Idse and tried fishing there, in a narrow strip of water, but with the same result. In the end we packed everything up and left for Jørpeland, where we arrived at about 19.00. We parked, as we had in 1999, at the port, right on the dock, at less than two metres from the sea and with a beautiful view of the fiord. We tried fishing in the port but had no luck. In 1999 in the same place we were luckier and fished really a lot of fish in half an hour.
The weather went off a bit and it was cloudy, the next day we wanted to climb up Preikestolen and hoped all would be well. In 1999 we were here on our way north and again on the return journey. Each time we stayed for two days but the low clouds and rain meant no view and weren’t able to climb Preikestolen. How would the next day be?
10th day - 10.06.2002 - Monday: Jørpeland - Preikestolen - Jørpeland - 20/2082 km
During the night or early morning a heavy shower started to beat on our roof. Goodbye to our trip! However, during the morning the weather started to improve and some rays of sun started to break through the clouds so at 11.40 we decided to set off with our camper towards Preikestolen, which in Norwegian means “The Pulpit”.
Preikestolen is a gigantic rock which rises up, as if cut vertically, from the sea, a real pulpit that dominates the fiord. At 12.20 we left the Preikestolen car park for the rock. The distance is only 3800 m as the crow files with a drop of 334 m. The rock rises vertically for 604 m above the level of Lysefjorden. According to the map (1, 2) the walk from the car park to the rock takes two hours (3), the return journey the same, the slopes are quite steep (5, 6, 7)across great boulders (8, 9), you must be careful at every step especially when is wet. There was also a level part with gangplanks over swampy ground (4) but there were also parts where we went downhill so that the drop we had to climb was greater than what was indicated on the map. Fortunately the path was dry but we took about two and a half hours to get to the rock. We made many pauses, also to take photographs (10, 11, 12), we weren’t in a hurry and respected the age of the climbers. The weather was good, quite warm and windy, especially on top of the rock.
The view from the rock was amazing (13, 14). It was worth all the effort to climb up there, looking down took your breath away. The edge of the rock seemed to have been magically cut with a knife and we humble mortals could reach it only by sliding along on our stomachs (15) and from there crane our necks to be able to look down. Here you had the sensation that a dark force was pulling you down into the abyss (16, 17). And in this position, if someone suddenly touched your shoe or tried to lift it, you had the sensation that you had reached your end (18-Carla). You feel this feeling of insecurity already at two metres from the overhanging edge. The wind was blowing behind us, which gave an even more unstable feeling and if it had blown away my hat, I don’t know if I would have run after it. You feel afraid to make any brusque movement, even just dropping into a lying position, something that is unimaginable in normal conditions. Finally when you sit near the edge but with your back to the drop (19, 20) you feel better and start to enjoy this divine, natural but extraordinary beauty without fear. The Lysefjorden sparkled below, reflecting the sun’s rays in an intense turquoise colour, contrasting with the blue of the sky, brushed with the white of clouds. Indescribable, you must see it (22-Carla)!
We ate our sandwiches and a little chocolate, we drank some coffee and lemonade and at 15.45 we set off back. It was getting cloudy again. We thought that going down would be quicker, but passing from rock to rock, with the fear of slipping (23), it took us two hours. We arrived at the Preikestolen car park at 17.45 (24, 25) and half an hour later we were in our parking place in Jørpeland. Half an hour later it started to rain and continued for all the night. We were happy to be under the roof of our camper and that we had succeeded in climbing up and seeing Preikestolen. Exceptional!
11th day - 11.06.2002 - Tuesday: Jørpeland - Skjoldastraumen - 177 km/2259
We got up at about 10.30. It was raining! We got water for the camper from the aqueduct for the boats in the port. We went in the town centre and bought food in a supermarket and in a bookshop we finally found a beautiful book of road maps of Norway (CAPPELENS KART 14 - 2000/2002) in scale 1:325.000 (30 €) also postcards and stamps. At 12.40 we finally left, heading north, in the rain! After about 30 km we stopped above the Tysdalvatnet Lake and had lunch. We went on by way of Årdal and at 15.10 we arrived at Hjelmelandsvågen, where we took the ferry for Nesvik. The crossing took 10 minutes and cost 61 NOK. Our programme was to reach Jelsa, which we visited in 1999, but with so much rain, we decided to go on.
At 16.50 we reached Sand to get the ferry for Ropeid and were just in time to see the ferry that had just left and only 50 m from the dock (1), fortunately we had to wait only half an hour for the next one. Again it was 61 NOK for a 10 minute crossing.
From Ropeid we went on by way of Sandeid and Kårhus to Knapphus and then by Solheim to Skjoldastraumen, where we hoped to do some good fishing. We knew the place well from when we were there three years before. We arrived at 19.45 and it had stopped raining. We found three boys who were fishing and they told us that the fish weren’t biting that day. We tried just the same with our fishing rods but there was nothing doing, not one bite. We found a lovely parking place near the marina, far from any noise (2), near the sea, wonderful (3). Ten metres from our camper a sea bird (black and white with a long red beak) sat on some dried-up branches. When it flew away, Carla went to have a look and found, amongst the branches., in a hollow in the ground, three little, light-green eggs. Later we watched the nest of “our” mother bird from the window so as not to disturb it.
After diner we played cards until 24.00 and then off to bed. At 4.00 there was a short, heavy shower and before the morning there were another two.
12th day - 12.06.2002 - Wednesday: Skjoldastraumen - Tittelsnes - 132/2391 km
This time we woke up at 8.00. The sky was clear and blue towards the north, cloudy and grey towards the south. Not a very promising day. We took a secondary road toward west to Stakland, passing a pretty little church (1), we turned to the south to Hervik, and then again towards the west to Slåttevik where we finally reached the state road E39. From Hervik to Slåttevik the road is impracticable and uneven (the first we found in Norway) so we decided, if it wasn’t really necessary, to not adventure onto secondary roads, full of dangerous bends. After Susort we stopped near a bridge (2) and tried fishing, but still had no luck! The weather consoled us: beautiful and sunny, with a pleasant breeze.
We left at 13.15 and reached the southern extremity of Bokn Island, from where the ferries for Mortavika and Stavanger leave. We got information about prices: a camper + driver 117 NOK, passenger 24 NOK and the tunnel to Stavanger which costs 90 NOK. We took ferry to the island of Karmøy by way of Randaberg, which is longer and costs 136 + 38 NOK, but goes directly to Stavanger avoiding the cost of the tunnel. We will probably choose this solution also for the return journey, as it is much quicker and cheaper than the way via Sand and Jørpeland (where there are three ferries costing 183 NOK).
Near the port we found a great parking place, on a hill, with a view of the sea (3) and ate a lunch of risotto with edible boletus mushrooms, superb! I finally finished writing my diary, which had got a bit behind. Carla went for a walk along the seashore and came back with her hands full of big crab shells. At 16.15 a light rain started and, when we decided to leave at 17.00 heading towards the north, black, menacing clouds had accumulated in the sky (4). We waited half an hour and the rain seemed to diminish towards the north so we set off on the E39 via Grinda, Våg and Førde to Tittelsnes. We escaped the rain and the weather was lovely and sunny until the evening. During the journey we filled up with Diesel oil (at 8,04 NOK). Before arriving ar Tittelsnes we turned off to the port of Valevåg for information about ferry times, but the ferry port doesn’t exist anymore. To get to Leirvik you now go through a tunnel under the strait.
We arrived at Tittelsnes at 19.00, parked on high ground above the little port and, naturally, immediately went fishing. This time we were lucky. Carla started with three beautiful fish, then I caught two and so we went on until we had 14 big mackerel. Two German boys, fishing near us, gave us two lyr (yellow cod) they had caught, because they were only interested in the mackerel, which are used as bait for deep-sea fishing from a boat. We took about 5 kg of fish back to the camper (5), which we immediately cleaned, packed and froze. For dinner we ate mackerel, of course. Later the boys joined us and we drank some wine together. We went to bed at midnight.
13th day - 13.06.2002 - Thursday: Tittelsnes - 0/2391 km
In the early morning we were disturbed by the buses in the bus deposit, 10 metres from us. They left every hour starting at 5.45. Each one cam out of the deposit and waited for at least minutes near our camper with the motor running. When we got up we didn’t feel rested.
It seemed a clear day in the morning, it was sunny and hot. From the dock we fished 2 mackerel and a sei. Nearby, in a picturesque, wooden house full of flowers, lived a lady and we spoke to her about our noisy parking place. She offered to let us park on her private dock, in front of her house (1). We moved there immediately and were only two metres from the sea with a beautiful view and the indispensable silence (2, 3, 4). The lady was very pleased to accept our invitation for a plate of spaghetti. Shi was very kind, tall and slim and we couldn’t believe that she was 80 years old. She was very open and friendly. She spoke to us in English. She was a widow for the last 5 years and lived alone. In front of her house there was a tap for water so we filled our tanks, of course.
In the afternoon we went fishing again: two big lyr and 5 beautiful mackerel (5). We were full of fish. Carla cooked the pickled mackerel. Before dinner we went for a long walk and then we stuffed ourselves with fish. We slept, wrapped in a divine silence, no sound from the buses.
14th day - 14.06.2002 - Friday: Tittelsnes - Straume - 164/2555 km
It rained a little during the night but the morning was clear. We left at 9.30 for Valevåg and went into the tunnel under the sea which leads to the island of Stord. The tunnel is 7,860 m long and goes 260 m below sea level. The entrance, down a steep slope, was quite frightening. The exit was the same. Fortunately the traffic was flowing smoothly here and not like in Hamburg where you find yourself driving in two lines of intense traffic in the same direction, in a very narrow tunnel at a speed of 80 km/h. The price for campers and cars is 80 NOK, motorbikes are free. Coming out of the tunnel we found ourselves immediately on a bridge and then at a crossing. To the left there is the road, which crosses a beautiful bridge to the island of Bømlo. We went straight ahead and arrived at Leirvik, where we stopped to buy spinners for fishing.
We changed our journey plan again. We abandoned the idea of going to the island of Tysnesøy and following the long and winding road toward Bergen. We decided to take the E39, the ferry from Sandvikvåg to Halhjem and shorten in this way our journey to Bergen.
During the journey we stopped to take photographs of a salmon nursery. The platform, in the deep sea, 50 metres from the coast, floats, resting on cylinders full of air; on these are mounted four big pools enclosed in close nets, which hold the fish, but the water can circulate freely (1). On the platforms are the houses and the workrooms of the technicians and the silos with the food (the food is mixed with minerals and comes in little bails). A series of plastic tubes comes out of the silos and the balls are sprayed through these tubes at regular intervals programmed by computers, to be attacked by the salmon with their marvellous leaps out of the water.
The Sandvikvåg - Halhjem ferry cost 184 NOK (2, 3) and the crossing was quite long, but pleasant (4). After Halhjem we stopped in the town of Osøyro. We went into three supermarkets to buy food non of them accepted the “Visa” credit card. We went on to Bergen along the E39 but we didn’t want to stop there, as we know it well. We visited it twice in 1999 for a total of three days. Before Bergen we entered the tunnel that passes under the mountain and came out after the town. We had to pay 10 NOK to go into Bergen, even though we didn’t go into it. We took E39 and crossed a lovely long bridge (5) and vent on to Knarvik. The toll for the bridge was 45 NOK. At Knarvik we took the 565 and at 15.10 we arrived at the port of the small town of Manger. On the dock, near the sea, in summer weather we had lunch (spaghetti, mackerel, wine - super!). We got moving again at 16.30. We went to a supermarket but, once again, they wouldn’t accept the “Visa” card. They said that for them it was expensive, there are few tourists so it wasn’t worth it for them. We must wait for the tourists to come, then we can use the “Visa” for shopping. We bought food just the same and paid in cash.
In Norway there are many supermarkets, every little village has one and there is a good choice of goods everywhere. Vegetables are very expensive (for us), but there is a vide choice of frozen vegetables that are very good. In fact you con find everything except wine e strong drinks. There is beer, but is very expensive. Bread, jam and dairy products are very good and their prices are similar to those in Italy.
At 18.00 we arrived in the little town of Straume about 20 km further north. We were here three years ago and caught a lot of fish. There is a beautiful place for parking the camper near the sea, in the little port about 1 km from the town. There is nobody there and complete silence. There are only parking places, no houses. On arriving, we left the car and set off in our boat.
The weather was still very good and very sunny. We started fishing (6), stopped for dinner then started again, fishing and cleaning fish. We caught about 20 sei and a big mackerel.
We admired the beautiful colours of the sunset (at about 23.00), with clouds on the horizon and with the colours dark blue, red and pink and we photographed it all (7, 8, 9). We fished until midnight then went to bed at 1.30!
15th day - 15.06.2002 - Saturday: Straume - Solleibotn - 67/2622 km
We didn’t get up until 10.00, after our long night of fishing. Unfortunately it was raining and the sky was completely covered with clouds. At 14.00 we decide to leave, even though we had decided the night before to stay there for a few days. When we set off we had planned to visit the beautiful island of Krossøy, which we visited three years ago, but we decided to abandon the idea because of the bad weather and, at Leirvåg, we took the ferry for Sløvåg. It rained all the time(1)! The ferry cost 77 (56+21) NOK (56 for the camper and driver, 21 for passenger). Our programme was to go for a couple of days to the small camping sit at Hatlevik, 8 km from Sløvåg, but we didn’t want to park on the grass or the wet ground so we changed our plans again with the intention of stopping in a little town or port. We went on along the 57 towards north and stopped at 15.30 at the beginning of the Eidsfjorden, where we had been three years before. Here Carla prepared an excellent fish soup with vegetables. The weather improved a bit. It stopped raining but it was still very cloudy.
At 16.00 we continued on our way and, near Nordgulen we turned left in a small, narrow road and at 17.00 we arrived at Solleibotn, on the Gulafjorden, near Eivindvik, which seemed to be a place out of Norwegian history. We crossed the town and parked two kilometres further on, on a little wooden dock for the ships which, twice a day, come and go from Bergen. The sky cleared a bit dropped in the evening. We caught three sei, two mackerel and a big lyr. At 19.30 we moved back to the town and parked near the little port (2). We had a romantic view of the fjord, a tasty fish dinner (3, 4) and a peaceful night for sleeping.
16th day - 16.06.2002 - Sunday: Solleibotn - Hjartholm – 56/2678 km
At 11.00 we were back on the isolated, wooden dock (1). The weather wasn’t bad. Occasionally the sun came out. At 13.00 we received a call from Mario, our friend from Milan, through Internet. We planed to meet him in the evening of 21.06 at Olden and continue together for about fifteen days travelling on to Bodø. He left Milan the day before in his camper with his wife Irene and when he called us he was already at Frankfurt. He expected to arrive at Hannover that day and the day after at Copenhagen. He’s a fast mover!
Carla started fishing and immediately caught an enormous mackerel (2), 44 cm long and weighing almost 1 kg. We weighed it, measured it (3) and put it immediately in the freezer! Our lunch was fish, of course, a very abundant serving! In the afternoon, as the weather was nice, we went for a walk, away from all the paths, in the beautiful, wild nature. After dinner Carla pulled up a great beast: a lyr that was more than half a metre long and very heavy (4). Our photos can confirm this! We cut two large steaks from the lyr and the rest was for broth. The weather started to worsen again.
At 23.00 we left the dock and set off towards Rutledal, where there is the ferry to cross the Sognefjorden. It soon started to rain, which wasn’t pleasant at night. Near Rutledal we turned left in a very narrow road, towards Brosvik, but it didn’t lead anywhere, there was only a horrible, muddy road. We gave up our search for a parking place and went back to Rutledal. The car park near the port at Rutledal was deserted and didn’t seem a very safe place to us. We set off towards east and after 12 km we arrived, at 0.30 at Hjartholm and near a little tourist village, we found a parking place, near the sea. We drank a little Istrian grappa from Marčana to celebrate Carla’s fishing success the slept in silence and in peace.
17th day - 17.06.2002 - Monday: Hjartholm - Straumsnes - 70/2748 km
We woke up to rain, had breakfast and went back (1), to the port of Rutledal, where, still in the rain, we waited over half an hour for the ferry. We set off for Rysjedalsvika (82 NOK) and, after the crossing went on towards north (2), always on the 57 until we reached Staurdal where we turned left onto the 607. We arrived in Hyllestad and found the “Spar” market where they accepted (!) our credit card immediately. Hyllestad is a small town and certainly doesn't have tourists, especially with such rainy weather! It is quite mysterious: some people accept our credit card without hesitation and others don’t want to hear about it?
We went on, and near Hellevik we turned left to get to the town of Kjøsnes, but again the unsurfaced road was difficult to drive along with the pouring rain and we had to go back. Going back we stayed on the 607 (3) and arrived a Tysse where we turned left again. We went on until we ended up literally on a dock. The road ended there. There was only the sea in front of us. There was no-one around, only a fantastic parking place. This place was only one house on the dock and one or two more about a hundred metres before it. Its name is Straumsnes! It is even on our road map!
We parked 1.5 metres from the sea, there was no traffic, complete silence, all you could hear were the waves against the dock. Wonderful! We could fish from the camper window! The weather had improved, it wasn’t raining anymore but it was still cloudy and windy. We started fishing and were successful. We caught three big mackerel (total about 1.5 kg). What a pity, we couldn’t go fishing any more because our freezer was already full of fish. We played cards until midnight and then off to bed!
18th day - 18.06.2002 - Tuesday: Straumsnes – 0/2748 km
In the morning it was cloudy but promising. At 11.00 a little sun came through. At lunch time we had a magnificent view from “our restaurant” on a sea illuminated by the sun (1). At 14.30 we watched the TV. South Cores eliminated Italy from the World Cup. Perhaps Italy deserved it with her defensive tactics.
After lunch we climbed up to the top of a hill, about 300 n high (2). It was very steep (3) and tiring but also very beautiful (4). Quite sunny! It was great to photograph the unforgettable view towards the Atlantic, dotted with many islands (5), at the entrance of the Vilnesfjorden. With the Casio QV 3500 digital camera we had taken about 150 photographs in Norway up to then (6).
We went back to our dock and started fishing. We caught 5 mackerel and we gave them as a present to a German couple who we met on the dock. They had been fishing too, but without success. Towards the evening the clouds rolled up again and it started to rain.
We phoned Mario at Göteborg. They were blocked by a thunderstorm but they were a day ahead of their timetable and this meant that perhaps we would already see them on 20.06.
19th day - 19.06.2002 - Wednesday: Straumsnes - Sandane 159/2907 km
We woke up to pouring rain. After breakfast the weather improved a bit and we decided to set off. We filled our tank with water from a tap and a rubber tube on the dock and were off for 2.00. We stopped at Dale and bought food in the “Spar” market because our credit card functions there! We also bought a little compass of mediocre quality (125 NOK). I needed it to check the position of the Astra TV satellite and orient it, even it is cloudy.
For lunch we had the succulent pickled mackerel that Carla had cooked three days before, delicious! After Dale we continued along the 609 and crossed Bygstad, we stopped near a magnificent waterfall (1, 2), unfortunately it was raining (3, 4). We passed Førde and went on along the of the lake, which is 20 km long, after Skei, a heavy downpour made visibility difficult and, near Byrkjelo, we followed the wrong road, as we continued along the E39, instead of taking the 60 to Olden, in this way chance took us to the lovely town of Sandane on the Gloppenfjorden. The weather had improved (5). We stopped here for the night. We didn’t feel like travelling anymore that day. We spent the night in the car park of a supermarket. Perfect silence!
Today, during the journey, we received a telephone message informing us of a road accident. Cataldo, the fiancé of our daughter Jasminka and Margherita, our son Peter’s girlfriend, were injured while riding a motor bike and now both of them were in hospital in Turin (Margherita with a fractured femur and Cataldo with a complicated injury to his foot but no broken bones). Jasminka told us not to return home for the moment. Cataldo then celebrated his 30th birthday!
We also spoke to Mario on the telephone, it was his intention to come to Olden the next day!
20th day - 20.06.2002 - Thursday: Sandane - Olden 92/2999 km
The morning was not of the best. At 10.30 we left for Byrkjelo where, without making any mistakes, we took the 60. We started to climb a very steep hill, passed over the top and found going down possibly even steeper. Finally we reached Utvik and went on towards Olden. Near Invik we tried fishing in two different places but no luck!
We arrived at Olden and parked on a recently constructed dock, perhaps for tourist boats, but that day nobody was about. Since our last visit a lot of things had changed at Olden and we were amazed to find the little town completely renovated. I set off o fish from the dock. Three Belgian men, who had arrived in two campers, did the same. Not one bite! It was the same in 1995 and in 1999! Here is far from the open sea, about 150 km from the Atlantic and I think you can’t fish from the coast anymore, only from boats, fishing in deep water where, probably, there are fish. Near the coast there are no fish!
Around 19.00 Mario and Irene arrived. We set off immediately in the direction of the Briksdalbreen glacier which we wanted to visit the next day. But here a bitter surprise was waiting for us. The road that goes to the glacier ended in a series of camp sites and parking places, where you must pay dearly to stay. We were here in 1995 but there were not so many people visiting the place. Now every parking place has a parking meter. You must pay to stay the night! What a pity! We went back 2 km and parked in a free parking place near on old uninhabited house. Carla prepared dinner for everybody: risotto and liberal portions of fish! Around midnight we went to bed. A quiet night.
21st day - 21.06.2002 - Friday: Olden - Hellesylt 99/3098 km
This morning, fortunately, the weather was good, there were clouds in the sky, but the sky was blue (1). We hoped that we could get through the day without rain. At about 11.00 we finally set off for the Briksdalsbreen glacier. At the end of the road we found a parking place: 40 NOK for the day.
The nature here is really amazing. It is full of waterfalls (2, 12, 13), rapids, flowers and green. You can go towards the glacier following a path (on the right of the photo) or following the road (10). The road doesn’t go all the way to the glacier, but you can go down it in little carriages pulled by horses, used almost exclusively by the Japanese (11), who come in large groups. This service is probably already calculated in the price by the travel organizers. The last part is only a foot path and everyone must do it on foot (5). It takes between 60 and 90 minutes, it depends on your pace, how much time you lose taking photographs (3, 4) etc. It isn’t difficult, but requires some attention.
The glacier is enormous (6, 7, 8). At the bottom of the photograph you can see some alpinists that are small like ants. The base of the glacier was different from when we last saw it 7 years ago. The little lake had become smaller and shallower, you could see rocks sticking out of it. The banks of the lake, once beautiful and straight like a little beach, were now covered with deposits of sand and gravel, dirty too. This time here were many groups of alpinists, dozens of them, climbing up the ice, accompanied by guides. The air was cold, but it didn’t rain.
After a snack, we went back (9) and at 15.30 we were in our camper. We decided to go to Hellesylt that day and eventually to go for a sail on a ferry boat on the Geirangerfjorden tomorrow.
With the 60, passing Stryn and Hornindal we arrived at Hellesylt at about 19.00. During the journey it rained a little, but at our destination it was fine. We found a parking place to our liking (14) and went to the ferry boat ticket office to find out the price (135 NOK) for our eventual trip of the following day (15). When we got back to our camper we found a lady with a BMW waiting for us who invited us to leave the private car park of her restaurant free, crowded with morning customers!
We moved to the car park of the football stadium which was empty, had our dinner in peace and went to bed. Around 2.00 in the night a car arrived, drove round us accelerated and went away. After 20 minutes another came and did the same thing. It stopped three metres away from us with the accelerator pressed down and sounded the horn too, then finally it went away. Mario turned on his engine and came closer to us, he said he was afraid and wanted to move somewhere else. We didn’t agree whit this but for his sake we got up, got dressed and found a place near the petrol station at the port where we finally slept in peace.
22nd day - 22.06.2002 - Saturday: Hellesylt - Åndalsnes 107/3205 km
In the morning we bought food in the supermarket and at about 12.00 we set off for Stranda. We saw that the parking place that the lady with the BMW had sent us away from was completely empty. The weather wasn’t good so we gave up the idea of going round the Geirangerfjorden on the ferry. We arrived at Stranda and took the ferry for Liabygda (61 NOK).
After Liabygda we took the 63 in the direction of Sylte, where we left the Norddalsfjorden (1, 2) and turned left towards Valldal and Trollstigen. It started raining heavily. Along the road we saw fields of strawberries and farmers selling them to the tourists at stalls. The Valldal road, as far as Trollstigen as about 30 km long, it isn’t steep but you can admire many rapids from it. We stopped, I think it was near Alstad, near a bridge to admire one. Very beautiful!
We arrived at Trollstigen (859 m) and immediately after we had left the hills at 200 – 300 m there was a big car park (3, 4) with a beautiful view and souvenir stalls (5). The rain had stopped so we stopped to admire the panorama of the valley. We could see the road that goes to the sea (6, 7). The road, in between the rocks (8), goes down with a large number of U-bends. The way up was much steeper on this side than the way we had arrived on (9). It is very difficult for big buses to get round the U-bends and it is prohibited for vehicles longer than 12.4 m to use the road. It was quite cold, there was snows around us.
After we had stopped for an hour, we set off again and arrived in Åndalsnes at about 19.00 where we parked in the port area, behind the railway station, near the sea, with a view if the Isfjorden (10). In the car park we found another 7-8 campers. We tried fishing but no luck. Probably we were too far from the open sea!
We could still get very good pictures with the satellite television. We received the pictures by way of my little “Kathrein” antenna, quadrangular 50 cm. According to the instructions, it would have worked until Bergen, at the most, but it was still working much further north! The weather was good, the night calm.
23rd day - 23.06.2002 - Sunday: Åndalsnes - Bud – 140/3345 km
At about 11.00 we continued our journey (1). The weather was good and sunny. We set off and skirted the Isfjorden with the 64 as far as Åfarnes where we took the ferry (2) for Sølnes at 11.30 (3). Price 66 NOK. Before we got to Molde we stopped in front of a beautiful bridge (4), we passed through a tunnel under the sea (75 NOK), very deep and with a steep entrance and exit and we entered Molde which we had visited in 1995. Also here a lot of building has been done, Molde has become a bigger and more modern city, with a marina and new hotels.
We didn’t stop, we went on along the 622, following the coast in the direction of Hollingen then on again until Vågøy. We parked near a little church and got out the TV antenna to watch the Grand Prix from Nürburgring, but 3 km away from us there was a high mountain Helset, which was probably in the direction of the satellite and we couldn’t see anything. We quickly set off towards the south and after a few kilometres we left the shadow of the mountain and could watch the race, even if were 15 minutes late. We could see very well. The Ferrari won the first and second places. The weather was beautiful, very sunny and hot.
After the race we continued towards Einesvågen where we took the 664 and arrived at Bud at 19.00. It’s a small fishing village, far from the tourist routes but there is a camp site. We parked on a parking place behind a supermarket (5) with a view of the little port and the fishing boats (6, 7). We went for a walk and tried to fish from the dock but caught nothing! It was the first time we fished in the open sewa and caught nothing. Perhaps the secret lies in the coasts where the water is shallow. Who knows?
Our wives went for a walk and climbed up some rocks, 60 m about the little village. Up there was a beautiful view and also a museum and a bunker from the 2nd World War.
The weather had become colder and around 22.00 it started to rain. We passed the night quietly.
24th day - 24.06.2002 - Monday: Bud - Kjønnøy – 58/3403 km
As usual, we set off at 11.00 towards Kristiansand. The weather was good, a bit cloudy and also windy near the coast. We followed the coast road by way of Farstad and arrived at the picturesque “Atlantic Road” which stretches above the sea, crossing bridges from one island to another. The road came into use in the year 1989 and during its construction, unfortunately for the construction workers, there were 12 hurricanes.
We tried fishing at the first bridge after Vevang (1) and caught 4 sei and a strange, brown fish. We wanted to stop near the second bridge but there wasn’t good access to the sea. This was the same at another two or three and in the end we found ourselves on dry land, the sea was nowhere to be seen and goodbye to our fishing plans. Really we imagined that the “Atlantic Road” which is so clearly noted in the guide books, was much longer, so in the end, we never stopped. What a pity!
After a couple kilometres we turned left and stopped under the bridge which goes to Langøy, we fished but with poor results. Mario, in extremis, managed to catch a small sei and a good torsk of about 1 kg. They were his first fish!
We went (2) on towards Kjønnøy (3), searching along the way for a parking place and after a little while we found one near a fish factory, near the sea (4). Carla and Irene went for a walk and Mario and I went fishing. In a short time, broken by a heavy downpour, I caught two splendid cod (one 59 cm long and weighing more than 2 kg) one big and one small lyr and four sei (5). Altogether about 4,5 kg. We cut the three big fish into fillets to put in the freezer and put the rest in the fridge. The big heads and the rest of the fish was to make a good broth the next day (6). Carla started to prepare dinner at 22.30.
Later it rained and went on for all the night.
25th day - 25.06.2002 - Tuesday: Kjønnøy - Aukan – 62/3465 km
At 11.00 we left towards Kristiansand. It had rained all the night but then stopped. At 12.15 we got on the ferry at Bremsnes for Kristiansand (71 NOK) and it started to rain again (1). We parked on the dock (12 NOK an hour). While we were waiting to eat we watched a football match on television Germany – South Korea (1:0). We could still see the TV very well. For lunch there was fish soup made from fresh cod. Kristiansand is a small, pretty town (2) with a port, but nothing else in particular (3).
It had stopped raining and at 19.30 we set off. At 20.20 we arrived at Seivika and at 20.45 we got on the ferry for Tømmervåg (82 NOK). We continued along the 680 and at 22.00 we arrived at Aukan, after passing Leira, and we parked near the ferry boat dock. We fasted on fish for dinner (Carla and I ate 8 sei) and after, with a light drizzle for company, I went on the dock to fish and in 10 minutes we caught another 5 beautiful sei. For dinner the next day!
A very peaceful night.
26th day - 26.06.2002 - Wednesday: Aukan - Kyrksæterøra – 70/3535 km
All the night the rain beat down our roof. We got up at about 9.30 and after a good breakfast, at 11.30, in the drizzle, we went to the dock to try if our luck was the same as last night. Once again a very good catch! Later Carla came and caught 6 sei. The result at 12.30, after an hour (!), was that we caught 25 fish (1). Two big torsk, two lyr and about 20 sei. About 8-9 kg of fish (2). Mario had caught 5 sei and a mackerel. Carla and I started to clean the fish immediately. At 13.50 we took the ferry for Vinsternes (66 NOK).
After the crossing we found better weather. We stopped in a little parking place to make fillets of the torsk and lyr. Once again we had replenished our stock. We went on and at Aure we tried to buy some things but in the supermarket it wasn’t possible to pay with Visa card. It is curious the fact, that in shops and petrol stations they accept the Visa card without any objections, but of all the supermarkets, only the Star accept it.
We went on along the narrow 680bis following the south coast of the fiord Tortsetsundet. Near Glomstad we stopped near an isolated church (3, 4). Attached to this we found a cemetery, as is usual in Norway. The cemetery was very beautiful. All the graves were without barrows, there were only tombstones with flowers on the ground (5) and all round the green of the grass. We were sure that a gardener cared for the lawns. Every church (with its cemetery) has its parking place, where, in the past we solved the problem of a place to sleep. Mario wouldn’t accept this solution for an overnight stay. It seemed that he didn’t like sleeping near cemeteries! Was it fear or superstition?
Finally we arrived at Årvåg: our destination for that day. The weather was cloudy but dry. We went on and stopped at the pass towards Singsdal (6) to drink a coffee and admire the fiords of Torsetsundet and Årvågsfjorden, which we had just passed. We continued along the 680 and at 19.30 we reached Kyrksæterøra, where we parked on an old, worn-out dock, with unpleasant surroundings, but we didn’t have any other choice. On one side of the dock, we had a view of a house in construction, and on other there was an ugly beach, at that moment covered with sea weed (low tide). It started to rain. Later in the evening (in reality it was always day time where we were), we watched a mother gull with her baby. The baby remained for some time alone and as the tide came quickly in, the little one backed up the beach struggling from rock to rock to escape the rising water, which was an intelligent thing to do as it couldn’t swim. We went to bed, as usual at 24.00.
27th day - 27.06.2002 - Thursday: Kyrksæterøra - Sandviksberget – 295/3830 km
It rained all the night but there was some improvement in the morning. Our resting place became noisier because of the work on the nearby house. An excavator was making a great racket turning over stones. We went to the supermarket where I bought 5 spinners for 50 NOK (sales price). Carla bought same food.
We went on our way towards Orkanger. We didn’t want to take the main roads 680 and E39 so we chose the less smooth but more picturesque road towards NE by way of Holla and then we got onto the 714 as far as Gjølme, near Orkanger. From here we followed the 710 northwards. We would have liked to stop to fish but the shore was low, muddy and covered with seaweed. Instead the road was beautiful and sunny, the scenery delightful. At around 12.45 we arrived at Valset where we got on the ferry at 13.15 for Brekstad (56 NOK). While we were waiting I went to the dock and in 5 minutes I caught a very big mackerel (0.75 kg) and a small sei. Unfortunately the rain obliged me to take refuge in the camper. Our dinner was a delicious marinated mackerel.
From Brekstad we continued along the 710 to Botngård and then along the 721 towards Oksvoll where, after Carla’s insistence, we turned at Valsneset point (which is great shit!). The water is shallow and mud, a place to forget. The weather changed and the sun came out again. We went on towards Fauskan, where we tried to fish from a bridge but the current was so strong that the spinner rose to the surface of the water and seemed to be a little hydrofoil there. Despite this Carla caught a little torsk. After that we abandoned the fishing and went back to the other side of Botngård. We turned left along the picturesque 710 and went on to Åfjord. Along this road we saw a female elk, very big. After 25 km we took the 715 and after another 22 km we arrived at Åfjord.
Here we decided to go on a camping site to do the washing and have a good shower. The camp site cost about 100 NOK + 20 NOK for the electricity, but they didn’t have a washing machine. We gave up the idea, we couldn’t find a parking place so we decided to continue along the 715 in the direction of Osen (about 60 km). Two or three times I wanted to stop for the night, near the sea or on a car park but Mario was afraid of sleeping in an isolated place and insisted on going to Osen, but he didn’t want to sleep near a cemetery, nor near a church, no near factories. Finally we arrived at Osen, an inland town and we agreed with them that, while they slept in the town, we would go back towards the sea. So we said goodbye until the next day at 10. at Osen.
Went back 10 km to the coast and slept in a car park between the road and the sea at Sandviksberget. Quiet, isolated, there were other vehicles and a lorry but not one living soul.
During the journey, that day, near a bridge we had met a group of workers and technicians who were putting up a farm for breeding mussels. One of them had given Carla 1 kg of mussels, very good and already clean. Carla prepared them for dinner and they were a great success (1, 2). She also prepared a fish broth for the next day. The fridge was overflowing with fish, too much fish!
At 23.30 we went for a walk to a nearby wooden dock. It was quite windy. We enjoyed the delicate pink tones of the clouds, illuminated by the sun, which was still low on the horizon (3). Al 24.00 we photographed a spell-binding “Midnight Rainbow”, a marvel we had never seen before (4).
28th day - 28.06.2002 - Friday: Sandviksberget - Holm –245/4075 km
At 9.50 we set off for Osen, at 9.58 we arrived there, and at 10.08 Mario and Irene turned up. They had slept in front of a bank in the middle of the town? There are so many splendid places to sleep in contact with nature, near the sea with panoramic views but fear can play nasty tricks on you.
Today was cloudy, unpleasant, as if it were December, it seemed like it would snow at any minute. But after we set off the weather began to improve and after a while the sun came out and kept us company to Holm. We stopped briefly at Namsos to buy food with the usual problems for the Visa card which we resolved, however. We went on along the 17. We stopped near a splendid lake Eidsvatnet (1) and enjoyed Carla’s lunch: broth of sei with polenta! Fantastic!
We continued along the 17, with the spectacle of the beautiful lakes and along the fiords Indre Folda (2, 3, 4), illuminated by the son. We arrived at Holm at about 18.30 and parked in the ferry port, on some land that was raised up above the level of the sea. We watched the ferries coming and going (5) and decided to spend the night there before continuing our journey the next day.
We tried fishing but nothing. Mario noticed that there were no seagulls and, probably he is right: where threw are no seagulls, there are no fish and vice versa.
The evening was very beautiful and sunny. At 23.30 clouds started to roll up in the west, but the sun was still in the sky (6). The night was almost the same as the day.
29th day - 29.06.2002 - Saturday: Holm - Brønnøysund – 83/4158 km
In the morning we got in the queue with the camper to get on the ferry for Vennesund, which leaves at 10.40 but we forgot that, as it was Saturday, there wasn’t a ferry at that time. There was one at 11.40, costing 77 NOK. We stopped at Berg to get Diesel oil and along the road we also bought some tomatoes. They were 30 NOK/kg a relatively good price. At Brønnøysund we went to the Spar to buy food (here the Visa functions) and we saw tomatoes at 90 NOK/kg, more than 11.00 €/kg!
From Brønnøysund we followed an almost impracticable road towards the island of Torget, connected with Brønnøysund by a beautiful and interesting bridge. Continuing on our way we were able to visit mount Torghatten (258 m) which is magically pierced buy nature about half way up. The hole is probably from the glacial period and a long working of erosion by sea water. Has made it as we can admire it today: 130 m long, 40 m high and about 25 m wide (1, 2, 3). A legend tells how a prince in love wanted to carry away the daughter of a king but she ran away from him. The prince shot an arrow to stop her so her father threw his hat in the way of the arrow. In that moment the sun came up, the arrow pierced the hat which fell to the ground and in an instant all turned to stone (6). There is a 30 minute climb from the car park to the cave. From the other side, there is a breath-taking view of Atlantic, dotted with little islands (4, 5). The footpath was full of blueberries which we were very happy to gather, of course.
We went back to Brønnøysund and parked in the port near the sea (7), in the front row, very nice. We had dinner at 17.00. In the evening twice we saw the Hurtigruten postal ships pass on the sea route between Bergen – North Cape. Once these ships really did the postal service but now they are a luxury tourist attraction. The ships are very beautiful, modern and big to be docking in ports like this one with a reduced and narrow access, so they need to have special characteristics. With their gigantic bulk they must turn round 180° almost on the spot and they can move away from the dock sideways, that is perpendicular to it (8, 9, 10).
In the evening, or was it the night, you can never know here if it is one or the other with the intense light of 23.00, we were amused by three little wild ducks. A female and two males – evidently they like polygamy – appeared in the car park and started to waddle between the campers, without any fear. I was sitting on the door step and I threw them a piece of bread (11, 12) they came nearer and in the end they were eating bread out of my hand (13). They went away but after an hour they came back. The female “withdrew” with one of the males under a small tree at the edge of the road (14) and the other male took up position almost in the middle of the road a little further away from the couple (15) to “stand guard”. The drivers had to be very careful as they drove past but the Norwegians are really attentive in these situations. Finally I went over to the duck and moved him away from there as I couldn’t stand seeing him risking his life.
Today the day passed with lovely weather, few clouds, lots of sun and no wind. At 0.30 we went to bed.
30th day - 30.06.2002 - Sunday: Brønnøysund - Levang – 107/4265 km
We got up at 9.30. The seagulls had made a great din all the night so we hadn’t slept well. At 10.00 we continued our journey towards the north and at 10.30 we arrived in the port of Horn. The weather wasn’t very promising. We waited for the ferry and watched two big eagles gliding above us without moving their wings. At 11.15 be boarded for Anndalsvåg for the price of 71 NOK. After the crossing we went on to the port of Forvik (17 km) without stopping. This coast , like the previous one up to Brønnøysund is low-lying, the water is shallow and the sea-bed is muddy and not promising for fishing. At Forvik we got on the ferry for Tjøtta at 12.00, price 128 NOK.
When we arrived here, after a couple of kilometres, we stopped in a car park to watch the final of the World Football Championships between Brazil and Germany (2:0). Naturally it was only transmitted by the German television because, on the RAI network, all the sports programmes are codified. The only way is pay TV. In Italy the motto is: pay and then you can watch! In Germany: watch without paying! We could still see perfectly with the satellite TV.
We continued our journey, passing Sandnessjøen end we stopped near the beautiful, impressive Helgelandsbrua bridge to take some è photographs which, unfortunately, were not illuminated by the sun so in the photographs you can’t see all its magnificence (1). The toll for the bridge is very dear: 82 NOK. We went on still on the 17 and near Leira we turned left and arrived at the port of Levang. We parked almost on the edge of the dock and went immediately to fish. We pulled up 4 beautiful sei and a lyr.
A good fish broth for dinner! At about 23.30 we went to bed. Before going to bed, Carla went to fish again and brought back another two sei.
31st day - 01.07.2002 - Monday: Levang - Holandsfjorden – 145/4410 km
At 10.40 we got in the queue for the ferry to Nesna. A miracle: nobody came to collect the toll. This time it was free! We continued our journey and, “for a change”, it started to rain. We climbed up a hard, steep slope with hairpin bends and in a short time we went into a cloud. On our atlas there were indicated two parking places with panoramic views of the Sjonafjorden but we saw only mist. What a pity!
We went on our way and went down towards the sea. Soon a heavy rain started to fall and we reached Kilboghamn (1). Here it stopped raining. At 14.30 we took the ferry for Jektvik (2). It cost 148 NOK. On this ferry, unfortunately with bad weather (3), we crossed the polar circle (---P---), indicated on the coast with the symbol of the globe of the earth.
After Jektvik we stopped in a car park and, still in the rain, tried to fish. We caught 5 small sei which we put back in the sea then, as we were finishing, Carla caught a torsk of about half a kilo.
At 17.45 at Ågskaret we took the ferry for Forøy, our last ferry on our journey across the Atlantic islands, in the direction of Bodø (61 NOK). We stopped at Holandsfjorden, on the car park near Braset. Here there is a lovely view of the immense Svartisenbreen glacier, I think it is the largest in Norway. It is coming down from a height of about 1500 m to 20 m above sea level and about 200 m from the sea (4, 5). We went down from the road to a little dock and started fishing (6). In an hour we caught about 15 sei and finally I got a great torsk of almost 2 kg and more than half a metre long (7). In total more then 7 kg of fish.
After fishing we went on for two km to the information point for Holandsfjorden and here we found an inviting parking place (8) where we settled down for the night, which passed quietly. The weather became good again.
32nd day- 02.07.2002 - Tuesday: Holandsfjorden - Saltstraumen – 153/4563 km
We got up to a bright, sunny day. The view over the fiord was splendid (1, 2). The parking place was very orderly and wonderfully cared for, full of green grass and beautiful flowers (3). It was a tourist information centre with drinking water, wash houses and toilets that were very clean and with an installation for draining camper. And all without paying!
We went for a walk along a little tourist trail through the nature, where you can read information (with photographs, all in three languages) of the flora and fauna of this region, for example: when the reindeer arrived in this area, when the elks arrived and how many there are, the condition of the woods, the abundance of wood etc. Very pleasant, interesting and instructive. An unforgettable walk (4, 5) in contact with nature, stupendous scenery (6, 7). Further it is all prepared for resting (8, 9) and with platforms for fishing (10) etc.
At 12.50 we set off again on our journey (11). We stopped in a parking place with a panoramic view, immediately after Glomfjord (12,, 13), where Carla cooked us a tasty fish broth for lunch (14). We would have liked to stop at Glomfjord but we passed under the town, through a tunnel so that, unfortunately, we missed it.
Further on, behind Ørnes, we stopped on a beautiful beach (+) near Reipå, and here Carla (15), in summer clothes (16), and I, without shirt or undershirt, went for a walk in the sun until a light rain obliged us to take shelter in the camper. A Norwegian family with little children was bathing in the sae, completely immersed in the water.
We went on along the 17 then turned onto the 838 to look for a parking place for the night (17, 18). We arrived at Inndyr but turned back as we didn’t like the low-lying shore. We decided to go on Saltstraumen and stay there. The weather was good again.
At Saltstraumen we arrived at 19.45 and under a big bridge, we found an excellent parking place, free and equipped expressly for campers.
Saltstraumen is a sea strait between the great Saltfjorden fjord, which has a wide aperture towards the Atlantic and another great fjord, the Skjerstadfjorden that is about 50 km long, but completely closed in. One passage towards the open sea is at Saltstraumen. The other, which is also very narrow, is at Godøystraumen. Enormous quantities of water are flowing 4 times a day, every 6 hours, through Saltstraumen (19, 20) which is about 3 km long and there it’s 150 m wide. With the changing of the tides between high tide and low tide (twice going in and twice going out) in the 6 hours period, 400 million square metres of water pass through the straits. This enormous mass of water in such a narrow passage creates a current with a speed of 20 miles an hour, with whirlpools up to 10 m wide and 5 m deep. Of course, the water brings also an enormous quantity of fish so the fishermen have their hands full.
Saltstraumen is known in all the world as the Eldorado of fishing. A record sei (sea salmon) was caught here: 22.7 kg. It was stuffed and is on display in the museum. Every year, in August the World Championships for fishing sei are held here.
As you can imagine, no sooner had we arrived that we grabbed our fishing rods. I caught 3 big sei for a total of 1.5 kg. A young Norwegian, who was fishing about 20 m from me, with a short rod and a relatively small spinner caught a torsk (21, 22) about 14 kg (when I tried to weigh it the scales broke, as it was calibrated to a weight of max 13.5 kg). A giant with an enormous head.
In the evening with the sun low on the horizon (24), we went for a walk near a small lake (24), about 5-6 m above sea level. We also went onto the other bridge which passes over the straits and from here we admired the view of the straits and the many-coloured sky (25).
33rd day - 03.07.2002 - Wednesday: Saltstraumen - 0/4563 km
We stayed all day in the parking place at Saltstraumen (P) (1). In the morning I went for a walk with Carla along the shore of the straits (2) and in the afternoon, with the rain, I went to fish. I caught 13 sei, two were very beautiful and about 1 kg, in total 5 kg. Unfortunately it wasn’t a very good position, there wasn’t much space between the rocks, which were angular and slippery, and isn’t possible to fish just anywhere because the current is too strong. If you slip, that’s it! Not much chance of coming out alive!
The weather was very crazy that day. Sun and rain.
We had dinner with Mario and Irene in the evening. They had to leave the next day to go home. Their holidays end on 15.07.
34th day - 04.07.2002 - Thursday: Saltstraumen - 0/4563 km
At 9.00 Mario and Irene went of home and I went fishing. I caught 5 big sei and 6-8 small ones which they put back in the sea.
After lunch we decided to go to a nearby camping "K", to do our washing, have a good shower etc.
The price was 100 NOK, two people included in the price, electricity 23 NOK, hot water and shower included in the price, washing machine 25 NOK for one use (it had a great capacity), drier 25 NOK for one use. I attached to the electricity to charge up my batteries as much as possible.
Of course we didn’t fail to go fishing and caught 10 lovely sei. Today I caught more than 6,5 kg fish. Our reserves of fish were very abundant, I gave some to our neighbours. I cut fillets from the biggest ones and froze them.
Later Carla and I went on the bridge (2, 3) to see the midnight sun (4, 5, 6).
35th day - 05.07.2002 - Friday: Saltstraumen - Å – 42/4605 km
It was raining, as usual, in the morning, a light rain, but at 13.10 when we set off for Bodø, it stopped. We arrived at 13.50 and got in the queue for the ferry to the Lofoten islands, and waited until 17.00. It we had got in the queue only 15 minutes later we wouldn’t have got a place on the ferry at 17.00 and would have had to wait the 18.00 ferry. The difference lies in the time of arrival in Moskenes: the first leaves at 17.00 and arrives at 20.00 (a three-hour journey), whereas the one at 18.00 calls at the islands Røst and Værøy and arrives at destination at 1.45 (after a journey of 8 hours!). What luck! At 15.00 they started selling tickets (camper with one passenger: 563 NOK, if it is longer than 6 metres the price is double!). As we set off it was raining but not for long!
The ferryboat A/R “BODØ” (1, 2, 3) which took us to Lofoten (4, 5, 6) has the following characteristics: L 80 m, B 18 m, speed 19 miles an hour, it has almost 4000 BRT and engines of about 8000 kW. At Moskenes (7) we got out the belly of this beautiful fish at 20.15 and turned immediately left to arrive after 4 km in a village called Å (it’s a very, very short name), where the road ends that crosses the Lofoten islands from Andenes in the north towards the south. We were here in the now long ago 1995, exactly in the same parking place, only then we were alone. Now the parking place was full of campers (at least fifteen) and buses.
We discovered the existence of a new path which goes on towards the south and is asphalted at the beginning. Along this we met a pair of free campers, who had put up their little tents, in the virgin nature, but only 500 m from civilization. We walked south towards the sea. It wasn’t raining, the ground was dry, which meant is hadn’t rained there! The town of Å had grown, new houses, new objects for tourists. The night was quite calm without the noise of motors, only many seagulls, which are not really silent.
36th day - 06.07.2002 - Saturday: Å - Reine 10/4615 km
We woke up to rain. During the night some campers and two caravans had arrived and in the morning big buses. Some stop here on the way to North Cape, one carried tourists from the Czech Republic. They all went to see The Museum of Fishing at Å.
It stopped raining at 13.00 but when we set off for Reine (1) at 14.30, it was raining again. When we arrived it was dry again but there was a lot of traffic. The rescue squad, helicopters and the state road full of badly-parked cars with the people standing by their cars locking towards a mountain, many with binoculars. What had happened? Six young Hungarians (three boys and three girls) had arrived here with a modern van and they had gone to do alpinism on the nearby mountain side, covered with snow at a height of about 300 m. It seemed that one of the boys had fallen in a fissure between the rocks and the snow. They had locked for him for two days and finally called the rescue squid which had found him dead. A helicopter arrived to bring down the body.
We parked in the port and near us was the van of the Hungarians. After the body was brought down, the boys and girls were called to the police station, which was there near the port, one at a time, probably to officially recognise the body. They came back in tears and went to cry for their friend by the sea, poor things! What a sad holiday!
After we tried fishing at the entrance to the port and caught two small torsk. At about 18.30 it started to rain again. Later, we went for a walk along a dock under construction.
37th day - 07.07.2002 - Sunday: Reine - Flakstad – 33/4648 km
It poured with rain all night. In the little port of Reine we filled up with water. In the little market we bought food, spinners for fishing and Diesel oil and we posted our letters (1).
We crossed Hamnøy and, despite the rain, we stopped to photograph seagulls in their nests, clinging to the vertical rock (2, 3). The seagulls build their homes on little rock outcrops and I couldn’t understand how it was thet their babies didn’t fall off into the sea. Anyway they make a terrible noise.
After Hamnøy, despite the fact that it was raining, we stopped along the road above a little cape (+), where, 7 years before we had inaugurated our first successful fishing trip. Then it had been a lovely, sunny day, today it was raining, not heavily but it disturbed us. We went down to fish. The previous time we had caught 13 beautiful sei, today only 3 small, ones which we immediately put back into the sea. Seven years before we wouldn’t have done that, but this year after so much “success”, we didn’t want to waste our time with small fish. Carla manage to hook onto some seaweed and broke her rod.
We interrupted this unfortunate fishing expedition and went on our way. We stopped before Flakstad and parked at the side of the open road (4, 5). We had been here in 1995 and had met Martin and Martina from Hanau. We had cleaned their fish together with them and had later eaten a pleasant dinner with them.
With Carla (6) we mad two lovely walks along the stupendous, long beach (7, 8) of pure white sand. The weather was better. In the evening arrived also other campers and parked overnight. During the night it was perfectly quiet.
38th day - 08.07.2002 - Monday: Flakstad - Napp – 25/4673 km
We woke up to sunshine but at around 10.00 it was already raining again. At 10.20 we went on northwards. We went down to the port of Napp, a small fishing village, where in 1995, in a fish processing factory we received, as a present, a beautiful torsk. We parked a little outside the town, on the dock of the port (empty). The sun was shining again and, of course, we went fishing again (1). In less than one hour I caught 13 sei and a big torsk about 56 cm long. Altogether about 5,5 kg of fish (2) After dinner, while I was resting from the “exertions” of fishing, Carla dedicated herself to picking the blueberries, which looked so inviting (3).
Later we climbed up a hill together (#) (4) behind our parking place (200 nm above sea level). The photograph shows our camper, parked on the dock to the left of the port (5). The sun was magnificent, unforgettable panoramas (6) of the fiord and the islands (7, 8), I was overwhelmed by a satisfying “delirium” of photographing (9, 10). When we went back down to the port, we found a group of Italian tourists with children, had parked their two campers near ours. They tried fishing from the shore, but without success. They were fishing with bait, as I had done in 1995. I proposed to give them a short course in fishing and in the evening they left with abundant stock of fish.
For dinner Carla prepared 10 very good crêpes with fresh blueberries. Food for the gods, to make you lick your plate! At 23.00 I went to fish again and caught 6 more sei, about 2 kg. At 1.00 off to bed. The night passed peacefully.
39th day - 09.07.2002 - Tuesday: Napp - Henningsvær – 133/4806 km
In the morning Carla went fishing with my rod, as hers was broken and caught 5 sei (2,0 kg). At 12.10 we left Napp. After 1.5 km we entered in a tunnel (65 NOK) which passes under the straits which divide the islands of Flakstadøya and Vestvågøy.
Here we stopped at Leknes and bought food, spinners for fishing and Diesel oil at a supermarket. From Leknes we turned right to go to Mortsund, a narrow and picturesque port, which is on the tip of a cape (1, 2), facing the open sea, but protected by small islands (3, 4). We parked again just two metres from the sea (5) and ate our lunch in perfect peace (6, 7). After we followed side roads, went over the mountain pass (8) and arrived in Sennesvik (9). We toured round the town then continued for Stamsund. In the port we found the M/S “Finnmark”, another of the great ships of the Hurtigruten postal line which stops also in this port, but only for two hours. We watched it leave on its way to North Cape (10) then went on along the 815.
We arrived in a bay near Horn and saw, near the coast, a big whale, about 10-12 m long, lying on the beach, dead. It seems that the whale entered the bay and, as it was not very deep, injured its underside in the sea bottom. Somebody told us that it had been killed so it wouldn’t suffer anymore (11) and now it was lying there, desolately, surrounded by little buoys (12). What a sad end for the poor whale.
We went back again on the E19 and stopped under a big bridge which crosses the straits of Gimsøystraumen. We wanted to go fishing but there were no suitable places to park or reach the sea. We went on for another 2 kilometres, turned right onto the 816 and, at about 21.00 we arrived at Henningsvær. Here in 1995, we fished our first fish during our wanderings around Scandinavia. We crossed the little town in our camper, which, in comparison to our previous visit, was unrecognisable. Lots of new houses, tourism and cars. There were 15 campers on the old parking place where we had stayed overnight in solitude seven years before.
We went back along the road for 1 km, stopped near the sea (+) and tried fishing. Only the midnight sun was rising to bait (13, 14), at about 0.30. No trace of fish. At 1.30 we went back to the town, parked and went to bed.
40th day - 10.07.2002 - Wednesday: Henningsvær - Stokmarknes – 97/4903 km
We woke up after 9.00. The sky was covered with high clouds, some sun rays were passing through and the sky was blue on the horizon. Our sleep had been disturbed by the cries of the seagulls but we survived. They had their nests on the nearby beach and during the night, after being relatively quiet, on of them let out a cry, God knows why, and the others answered, starting off a tremendous racket, then suddenly, they were quiet again. You must fall asleep quickly in this fleeting moment of quiet if you don’t want to hear the noise again.
At 12.20 we came out of Henningsvær and parked 1 km further on, near the sea (+). Carla went fishing but without success. After the negative result of her fishing, Carla gathered a great quantity of raspberries for lunch and I wrote my diary on the computer.
After lunch we set off at 16.10 northwards, first along the 816 and then along the E10 in the direction of Svolvær. We stopped at Kabelvåg (1) and went for a walk to the port (2). It’s a pretty town. We went on towards Svolvær, where we wanted to stay, but we found that it was an industrial town with traffic and traffic jams, so we hurried away. We went on to Fiskebol stopping twice on our way to fish and Carla caught a ½ kg sei.
We arrived in the port of Fiskebol from where the ferry for Melby leaves, turned left on a road that was relatively wide, but not paved and full of holes and we stopped after Sellåter on the Morfjorden, which is narrow and full of sandy beaches. We parked in an isolated place near a lovely beach with the idea of staying the night. We started fishing but just then the high tide came in. The currents in the narrow fiord became strong and carried seaweed which attached to our spinners. We abandoned this sport and, as it had started raining too, we decided to go and get the ferry for Melby.
We went back to Fiskebol at 21.40 and at 22.40 we took the ferry (96 NOK). It was already late, but it wasn’t a problem, there as it is always light. After 20 minutes we got off at Melby (the rain had stopped) and went on to Stokmarknes. At 23.30 we stopped in exactly the same parking place where we had stayed overnight in 1995.
41st day - 11.07.2002 - Thursday: Stokmarknes - Stø - 113/5016 km
A splendid day, hot and sunny. Already at 8.00 Carla had me out of bed, ignoring my protests, so we set off towards north. We crossed Sortland and, near the bridge for Strand (1), we left the E10 and continued along the 821, always heading north. We arrived at Myre, where we took the wrong road and ended up in a residential area with a speed limit of 30 km/h. After these wanderings we found the way out and set off for Nyksund (12 km). The road was very narrow and the last 9 km weren’t paved and were in bad condition, not to be recommended. Finally at 13.30 we arrived in the little village of Nyksund, 10 houses on a narrow peninsula. We parked 300 m before the village, under a mountain. We sunbathed, it was very hot, we also tried fishing but without any luck! We would have liked to stay the night there, but we noticed that it was possible that stones would fall down from the mountain onto our parking place (2); what should we do?
At 16.40, with a brilliant sun, we set off again and went back (3). Before Myre we turned left and, following a good, paved road, we reached Stø, a small fishing village. There are only 6 km between Nyksund and Stø as bird flies, but we travelled 27 km from Nyksund because there was no other connection. In Stø we found a port and also a camp site where they organise trips on the fishing boats to go and see the whales in the Atlantic. There were a lot of tourists and people swimming in the sea.
As usual, we were lucky and found a parking place near the sea (4), in a car park between the town and the camp site. In the evening (23.30) we went fishing on the sea wall of the port (5) and caught 5 lovely sei and Carla caught a small torsk, for a total of 2 kg. A warm and pleasant breeze was blowing. A warm wind would not be so strange if not for the fact that it was coming from the north!
While we were fishing we saw, in the port, a head come out of the water, at about 20 m from us: it was a graceful sea lion which watched us with its deep eyes and then disappeared. We saw it again, further away but always in the port.
Later we saw a beautiful show offered by nature. At 24.00 the sun was still quite high on the horizon and travelled towards north, from our left to our right, then it seemed to rest on a small island in front of us (6), half hidden by it, then it seemed to slide forwards to reappear completely to the right of this piece of land and (7), in all its majesty start slowly climbing again. It was already 2.30 in the night, or in the morning if you prefer, it was hot and we sat in the camper near the open window (8) observing with amazement!
42nd day - 12.07.2002 - Friday: Stø - Andenes – 185/5201 km
We woke up to a strong wind with gusts that made us think of the Bora wind in the Adriatic. Early in the morning at 6.00 the sky was clear, but at 8.00 it was covered with high clouds, but it wasn’t cold.
We went for a walk in the town until 12.00. We saw that the sea gulls live very near to houses. The road runs right between the houses and the rocks where the sea gulls make their nests (1), bring up their little ones (2), defecate everywhere and make a terrible noise. How can humans live at a distance of only 10 m, I don’t understand!
We left at 12.00 and, passing the town of Klo (3), we arrived at Gisløy. It wasn’t very nice, also because it was very damp. We went back and after Myre, looking for trouble again, we turned into a small side street in the direction of Alsvåg. Of course, after a few kilometres, the asphalt gave out, the road became difficult and it started to rain. Shit! After Haugen we finally arrived on the 821, and continued to Sortland, we crossed the big bridge for Strand and decided to take the 82 and head north towards the last island Andøy, at the extreme northern point of the Lofoten islands where there is the town of Andenes. After about 20 km we parked near the road (+) and had lunch then went to bed. I couldn’t drive anymore as I was tired of staring at the midnight sun and it was still raining very heavily. We slept until 19.30 then continued our journey. It was still raining. We stopped at Risøyhamn, after the bridge to the island Andøy, to look for a place to sleep but we didn’t find anything so we decided to go on to Andenes, still on the 82, following the eastern coast of the island.
Rain, water everywhere, depressing scenery, gloomy, perhaps also because of the weather and, suddenly an impulse to almost want to give up and go back home. Cataldo would be operated on 16.07, and so would leave hospital after 7 or 14 days so we thought it would be the best thing, in addition to the bad weather, to go back. It was my idea, but in two minutes it became a decision. Before it hadn’t crossed our minds to go back and Jasminka had thought it wasn’t necessary either.
At 21.30 we finally arrived at Andenes and parked in the parking place in the centre of the town near a big lighthouse. The night passed peacefully except for the usual rain....
43rd day - 13.07.2002 - Saturday: Andenes - Fauske – 343/5544 km
It poured with rain for all the night. In the morning other campers arrived and an stupid with a camper registered in Germany, parked his camper at only 0.5 m from ours, almost stopping us from opening our door and blocking our view. And there was lots of space in all the parking place! After, we had got up we started the engine and moved to the shore, near the sea to have breakfast with a better view.
The weather had not improved. It was still raining lightly. We went for a walk along the shore (1) and reached the lighthouse (2). We visited the museum dedicated to whale fishing. It was very interesting. In front of the entrance an enormous jaw bone of a whale was on display (3). Unbelievable! It was about two meters long and one meter high! We went to the post office, then bought food and Diesel oil.
At 13.45 we started our return journey. We had no intention of stopping anywhere for a long time, we wanted to be home in the shortest time possible. We decided also to not follow coastal roads, but to follow the E6 which crosses the interior of Norway and is relatively fast.
For this day we chose the road along the west coast of the island by way of Stave, towards Nordmela.
The road was much more pleasant than one we had followed the day before (82) with few bends, a god surface, possibility to drive quite fast and the scenery was much more interesting. We crossed Risøyhamn and joined the 82 again. The weather was good, just a little rain around Forfjord. We passed the Strand – Sortland bridge and continued along the E10 to Lødingen, where we arrived at 16.00. We waited for the ferry, while Carla prepared lunch. At 17.15 we set off with the ferry for Bognes (4), the price was 168 NOK.
From Bognes we continued towards south along a good road. There are many galleries. The nature was really amazing, beautiful scenery. The great mountain which seems a monolith (5), a lovely mountain chain (6). We stopped to rest near the sea. I tried fishing but caught nothing! It didn’t matter, the next day we would be at Saltstraumen, where fishing will be abundant.
We reached Fauske at 23.00 after travelling 343 km! We found a good parking place near the sea. Beautiful and silent!
44th day - 14.07.2002 - Sunday: Fauske - Saltstraumen – 60/5604 km
We woke up to a beautiful morning, very sunny. At 11.15 we left for Saltstraumen. We wanted to catch a lot of fish that day because after we would be making a long journey inland, across Norway.
At about 12.30 we arrived at our destination and parked in our usual place (P). Carla prepared lunch and, after eating, she went to pick blueberries, while I watched the motorcycle race (Rossi).
In the afternoon we went fishing. I caught 10 sei, about 3.5 kg altogether. I decided to go the next day to a place we knew along the strait at about 200 m from the bridge, towards the ocean, where there is a big rock in the water, on which it should be possible to climb about 20 minutes before the current changes direction, after which there is about an hour of time for fishing before the current becomes too strong and the spinner starts riding the surface of the water like a hydrofoil.
In the tourist office you can get a leaflet with a table on which are indicated, exactly to the minute, all the changes of currents in one or another direction, for each day from April to December. This table is also on the Internet at the address: www.bodoe.com, so everyone can programme the hours of their fishing trips. Descriptions of the Saltstraumen strait and the surrounding territory of Bodø can be found at the same address.
Our greatest problem was where to put all this fish. We had our “WAECO” freezer, bat I wasn’t at all satisfied with it. It didn’t work well and, in my opinion, it wasn’t constructed well. The space for freezing had a cavity at the bottom of about 4 litres. When the box was full, the fish in the cavity started to defreeze and become soft. Obviously this fish could not be conserved for a long time and began to give off an unpleasant smell. Probably the “WAECO” didn’t have the coil for freezing mounted around this cavity so the freezer didn’t manage to reach very low temperatures and the fish that was initially frozen started to defreeze! In the top part the fish was perfectly frozen and hard as a rock! In the cavity blood was running! I must protest with the “WAECO” company because, apart form the expense, they had spoilt my holiday.
45th day - 15.07.2002 - Monday: Saltstraumen - Laksfossen – 355/5959 km
I got up at 6.30 and at about 7.00 I was already down at the strait, near the rock. I had to roll up my trousers and wade into the water up to my knees to get to the desired place. I climbed up the rocks and was on “my little island”, 6-8 metres square in all. An this moment the water was not moving, it was high, but after only a few minutes it started to draw back towards the ocean. In an hour I caught 17 sej, two little ones which I put back into their watery home, a total about 6.0 kg. A satisfactory fishing trip. It had been difficult, keeping my balance on the slippery rock, pulling the fish out of the water, removing the bait and trying not to fall into the sea. If I had been with another person instead of alone, the catch would have been 50% more (1). On my way back I gave 10 fish to some German campers while the remaining 7 were destined to be pickled. There was no more room in the fridge. When I got back to the camper, Carla was still sleeping.
At 11.45 finally we set off, crossing the great bridge across the strait and heading south. After the bridge, we turned left onto the 812 (Map 1). After about 70 km from Saltstraumen, we arrived, near Medby (Map 2), at the wide E6 and after another 80 km we stopped in a parking place (Map 3), which corresponded with the Polar Circle (2). Nearby there is a monument to Yugoslavian prisoners, kept there in a concentration camp during the Second World War. The inscription was in Croatian and Norwegian (3). Carla had an ice cream, from the Polar Circle (4). Is it colder than ours?
When we passed the polar circle (66°33’) in 1995 (20.06) it was a sunny day, but everywhere was covered with snow. This year there was no sign of snow (it’s true that in 1995 we were there 25 days earlier), but it seemed to me that summer had arrived early in Norway. When we were on the Lofoten Islands in 1995 we had noticed that the framework for drying the fish was full, but this year they were all empty! It was explained to us that, as it had been very hot, it had dried the torsk quickly and they had already been stored away.
At 15.30 we stopped near Hjartåsen (5) near a little river where we had eaten lunch seven years before, in a pause on our journey to the north. Than we went to the south. Carla had prepared sei, which we did not know then, for our lunch. We had fished them only later at the Lofoten.
We passed the towns of Mo I Rana and Mosjøen (Map 4) and at 21.00 we were before the unimaginable beauty of the Laksfossen waterfall. It is very wide but not so high, an enormous quantity of water. We saw salmon (the usual ones, not the sea salmon=sei) leaping in the water. There were a lot of them and they have given their name to Laksfossen (laks=salmon, fossen=waterfall). Nearby there was a restaurant and parking place, naturally with campers and buses, but we went on for another 100 m where there was nothing, but peace and a privileged view of the waterfall. This day we had travelled 355 km, fortunately in beautiful weather, sunny and pleasant for driving. The night passed peacefully, the sound of the waterfall didn’t disturb us.
46th day - 16.07.2002 - Tuesday: Laksfossen - Stjørdalshalsen – 373/6332 km
In the morning the sky was a bit cloudy (1). I took my camera and started: the waterfall (2), the boats below it (3), the flowers and, suddenly, the camera began to play tricks. I changed the battery and succeeded in taking a few more photos but, unfortunately I lost many beautiful photographs. What a pity!
At 11.00 we set off towards south (Map 1), always on the E6. The road up to Majavatn (about 60 km) is full of bends and dangerous for driving. We stopped after another 60 km (Map 2), at Trones and parked on a field in front on the entrance to a “Familiepark”. Lots of cars arrived, visitors with children. We ate our lunch in peace and quiet, it was a mild, very sunny day. We stopped again at Grong and bought food then went on towards the picturesque lake of Snåsvatnet then on again along the west coast.
After Steinkjer we turned right onto the 761 (Map 3) and went on to the little village of Inderøy. After about two kilometres, on the open road, we hit an artificial hump hard. It wasn’t indicated and was far from any houses. Fortunately I wasn’t driving fast, about 40 km/h, but we flew literally into the air. A car travelling at 40 km/h would pass over without any problems, but a camper with cupboards full of plates, glasses and pans ...?
We arrived at Inderøy. We had decided to go there because on the map we had seen the word “Straume”, strait, which meant current and, for us, fish. But we only found a little bridge over a strait that was half a meter deep, suitable perhaps for ducks. All the bay was the same, no use to us.
We went on along the E6 (Map 4) and, at about 21.00, we reached Stjørdalshalsen. It seemed to be a very industrialized town. We found a place on the dock, to the north of the town and stopped there. This dock surrounded a little, desolate port, where only one sailing boat was anchored and nobody to be seen. The weather had been good during the day but it was windy and cloudy where we had stopped. Nearby, across the bay, there was an airport and while we ate dinner, we watched the planes take off and land. A quiet night.
47th day - 17.07.2002 - Wednesday: Stjørdalshalsen - Bygdin – 386/6718 km
We woke up to rain. After breakfast we continued southwards. I called the Karl Geuther company in Bremen, Germany, and booked a place for us on the Egersund – Hanstholm ferry for 23.07. at 16.15.
We arrived at Trondheim quite quickly, it’s a beautiful city (we knew it from 1995), but rather expensive. At least it seemed to us as we entered it. The ticket for entering the town was 15 NOK. We had to pay an automatic machine. I put in 20 NOK but didn’t get any change. Oh well, that’s how it goes, 20 NOK to enter the town. That’s strange in Norway.
We continued along the E6. Beautiful scenery, but always the same, a bit monotonous. We missed the sea and the fjords. We crossed Støren e Berkåk and we arrived in Oppdal, where we got some Diesel oil then continued on our way, accompanied by the rain. We crossed the Dovrefjell Nasjonalpark in what seemed to be a lunar landscape. We went past Hjerkinn and we arrived at Dombås and went on trough Otta, then, near Sjoa we turned right onto the 257 in the direction of Randsverk.
Here the scenery changed and we saw beautiful canyons with lots of people in kayaks on the water. The rain didn’t make any difference to them! We stopped near Heidal and noticed an attractive church and picturesque cemetery attached to it (1), so we decided to capture its image in a photo to remember it. Miraculously the camera was working that day.
Arriving at Randsverk, we turned left in the direction of Fagernes. The landscape changed again. It seemed like a desert, the woods were of low, small bushes and the ground was covered all over with white lichen, which made us think it was covered with snow (2). The road climbed up continuously until we came to a plateau (1380 m above sea level), here tall poles planted in the ground indicated the depth of the snow in winter (3). We went down to the delightful lake Bygdin. What a pity that it was still raining, the panorama in the sun would have much more meaning (4). We decided to sleep here, hoping for sun the following day. We parked near the lake, behind a restaurant. An hour after our arrival the rain stopped and a timid sun came out from behind the clouds so I was able to take some snaps (5). But then it started raining again.
We phoned Jasminka. Cataldo had been operated. The operation had lasted 16 hours (not the 6 hours they had expected). That didn’t sound very good.
48th day - 18.07.2002 – Thursday: Bygdin - Odda – 329/7047 km
Today the weather was with us. The sun was in the blue sky amongst white clouds. At 9.45 a small ship arrived (1), carrying a group of tourists and, later, set off with another group. The lake Bygdin is more than 20 km long and is about 1050 m above sea level.
We went back along the road we had come by the day before and after about 1 km, we photographed the lake in the sun as we had imagined it the day before (2). It was worth waiting a night! We continued our journey and stopped near an “improvised” kiosk to photograph a reindeer (3). Carla tried to attract it with biscuits, bread, salt and sugar but it didn’t want to know (4) and seemed to prefer the grass that was growing with difficulty there (5).
We continued on our way, the road went up steeply and new, noteworthy scenes appeared before our eyes. From Bygdin we found that tourism was more developed with hotels and camp sites. We went past Fagernes and continued towards Gol, always on the 51. Going over a mountain pass we found snow and improvised a sleigh with a plastic bag. I took some great photos, but my CASIO QW 3500 let me down again and cancelled the ones that I had taken.
On the highest pass on a little hill opposite a restaurant (+), we buried our dear mascot Mushrumeri (Mushroomaäri). A little troll from Finland (1995) made from bracket fungus (a mushroom that grows on tress) and reindeer skin, very dear to us. He had accompanied us on our travels in our camper, in front of the windscreen, but with time he had started to loose his hair and fall to bits. So we buried him here with all honours, surrounded by nature, under a little pile of stones.
At Gol we went down the wide E7 and turned towards the west in the direction of Bergen. After about 70 km we stopped on the edge of lake Ustevatn near Haugastøl and here we finally ate lunch in our sunlit restaurant with a panoramic view (6). We continued along the road and stopped again, after 50 km, near the beautiful Vøringsfossen waterfall, which we had already visited in 1999. The waterfall is enormous, more than 100 m high. Three years before we had followed the goat path that leads under the waterfall and we resumed everything with the video camera (VHS). This day, with such fine weather, we would have photographed it again if it hadn’t been for my CASIO with didn’t what to work so, disappointed, we went on. What a pity!
We went down hairpin bends and trough numerous tunnels to Eidfjorden and then Sørfjorden on the 13. We knew this area well and knew where to pass the night. We arrived at Odda, a small, pleasant town, at about 22.00. Here, when the night came, it became dark; we were already far from the Artic Circle. We parked on the dock, very near the sea, we had dinner and I succeeded in taking some photos (7, 8). But by then the light had gone and it was time to go to bed.
49th day - 19.07.2002 - Friday: Odda - Tittelsnes – 159/7206 km
At 6.00 terrible racket woke us up. Yesterday we had parked near the entrance to a big store, or factory yard, and in the morning: lorries, elevator trucks and buses on the dock were all making a terrible noise. The only solution was to run away to our parking place of 1999, where we slept in peace until 9.40. The morning sky was cloudy bat it wasn’t raining. At 11.00 the sun came out and at 12.00 we set off along the 13, southwards.
We stopped near a beautiful waterfall Låtefossen (1) to take some photos. Here there are really two waterfalls (2), which meet under a bridge to become one and to flow peacefully (3, 4, 5, 7) towards Odda. We had visited it three years before but it was worth it to go back and admire such beauty one again! We drove on and, after Skare, we turned right onto the E14 and the road was very good to Åkrafjorden, where we stopped on a dock to fish. Two more campers arrived. They were from Italy and had just arrived in Norway and were heading north as we were heading south. We went on and had to pay a toll before the Langfoss waterfall (8) of 40 NOK. I took photographs of the waterfall but the CASIO began to seriously play tricks on me again: it took the images in the negative!
Going on, we crossed Etne and after Ølen, towards the end of the fiord, in Lundeneset, we saw an enormous shipyard, where they build the sea platforms for extracting petroleum (9). We saw two platforms, but probably they were there for maintenance as salt and shell fish had already left their signs on them. With the E134 we arrived at Våg where we turned right onto the E39 to go on to Tittelsnes, this time in a northerly direction. The weather had been fine all day from Odda to Tittelsnes.
We parked on the old lady’s dock, where we had parked before. Carla went harvesting and gathered a box full of blueberries, while I fished 7 beautiful mackerel. It was wonderfully peaceful while we slept.
50th day - 20.07.2002 - Saturday: Tittelsnes - Førde – 18/7224 km
We woke up at 9.30, it was a lovely day. Still lying in bed I could see from the window (1) that the fish had arrived in front of the dock so, of course, I went immediately. In 30 minutes I caught 6 mackerel, two of which weighed more than half a kilo. Carla went again for a walk near the coast. She took photographs and gathered a large quantity of blueberries again. After lunch we went for a walk together. There were raspberries everywhere, we filled three boxes and also our stomachs with them.
When we got back we found many boats in the little harbour. A celebration, music party or something similar was to be held on a nearby hill and many of the people invited arrived in motorboats, yachts and some in cars. The dock was very crowded with people who arrived by sea or by land and we, with our camper, were in the middle of all this confusion (2). It was rather noisy with music everywhere, everyone drinking beer and some already rather drunk. We decided to get away as there was no knowing what would happen during the night.
After a brief fishing trip (3 mackerel), we set off and went to Førde where we found a small, narrow parking place, but only three meters from the sea (3) and here there were only us. I went fishing again and caught also a lyr that weighed more than a kilo. Carla will make pickled mackerel the next day, we had about 4 kg and there isn’t anymore room in the freezer (which, you remember wasn’t functioning well), but the pickled fish can be conserved for a long time also in the fridge.
It had been a beautiful day and the night was calm.
51st day - 21.07.2002 - Sunday: Førde - Tananger – 105/7329 km
The morning weather was good, the Førdespollen gulf was shrouded in mist but it didn’t last long. We got up earlier at 8.00 because Carla wanted to fry the mackerel before pickling them. At 8.30 I went to try my luck and in an hour I pulled out the water a lyr of about 1 kg, a good sei and three mackerel. Altogether more than three kilos. At 10.20 we set off towards the south and after a few kilometres we turned right onto the 47 for Haugesund, a lovely town with a picturesque port and pleasant walks along the sea front. It was Sunday and we couldn’t see any of the inhabitants, where were they?
We went on, in this fine day, on the 47 to Kopervik where we took the 511 which leads to the east coast of Karmøy island and to the town of Skudenshavn, to the south. Before arriving in the town, we stopped for lunch near Falnes lighthouse (1, 2). The menu for the day proposed the famous 1 kg lyr which I had caught the day before. It was so good that soon there was nothing left. We watched the Grand Prix in France on TV.
Then the weather started to get worse and a cold wind started to blow so we decided to go to the port of Skudenshavn to get the ferry at 18.20. We were early for boarding the ship so Carla had time to do pickling that she hadn’t done in the morning! We paid 107 NOK for the ferry but probably there was a mistake as, according to my information, it should have cost about 180 NOK. We accepted this discount without protest!
We left and the ferry stopped halfway in the port of the little island of Kvitsøy. I think it is a base of the Norwegian navy because it is dotted all over with enormous antennas. The complete crossing took 1.20 h. We got off at Mekjarvik and crossed the suburbs of Stavanger (we visited the town in 1999). We should have paid a toll also here to enter the town but fortunately it’s free on Sunday.
We reached Tananger, a very nice, small town, probably a holiday resort with many pretty villas in the midst of greenery. There weren’t many parking places but we were lucky enough to find one near the sea, right in the middle of the town with a fantastic view of the bay. In the evening, while we were eating dinner, we watched the sea swallows dive vertically into the sea to catch their prey. The sun came out together with a rainbow and suddenly everything was suffused with marvellous colours (3). This was the last photograph of our journey in Norway because after this the CASIO stopped working completely. I hoped to get it repaired in Turin.
52nd day - 22.07.2002 - Monday: Tananger - Egersund – 108/7437 km
The morning was cloudy and windy. At about 10.30 we set off in the direction of Egersund following the coast road. The ocean was very agitated with big waves and we could feel the fresh air. At 12.00 we arrived in Egersund, we bought some food and went to the shop were we had got one gas bottle to give it back and we got back the deposit of 580 NOK. We parked in our usual place, near the little pleasure port.
Later we went fishing, near the factory where we had fished already on our first day in Norway; the blustery wind and strong current didn’t promise any good results, but Carla managed to pull two sei out of the sea.
For dinner we ate delicious crêpes with raspberries and nutella. Enough to make you lick your lips!
53rd day - 23.07.2002 - Tuesday: Egersund (N) - Glyngøre (DK) – 76/7513 km
At 12.00 we wet to the port, to the Fjord Line to check-in. Fortunately we arrived early as it seemed that the place we had reserved in Trondheim had not been registered, but our good fortune found us a place on the ship for that day. Immediately we got in the queue to get on the ship, we didn’t want to risk that someone would change their minds! We had to wait a long time (until 16.00) so we passed the time fishing. Carla caught a little torsk but we put it back in the water. I caught a sei and a nice big torsk then, suddenly, I felt something really big on my line. I began to pull slowly and the head of an enormous torsk, more than two kilos in weight, emerged from the water. I had to pull it onto the dock which was more than two meters high but I didn’t have a landing-net to get hold of it. Carla was in the camper. Many people gathered round me as I tried to pull it out of the water. There was no other way. The torsk didn’t try to escape. It was a dead weight. I had pulled its head about 30 cm out of the water when something broke, my prey fell back into the water and rapidly disappeared. Probably it wasn’t attached so well to the hook, perhaps it had torn a piece of its lip so I lost it. What a disappointment!
With this last, unlucky performance our fortunate and profitable fishing trip in Norway ended. In the 45 days that we stayed in Norway Carla and I caught 271 fish for a total weight of about 87 kg. That’s not bad at all for two amateurs!
At 16.45 we boarded the M/S “BERGEN”. The sea was quite choppy and it was windy, near the Norwegian coast it rained a bit too. We arrived at Hanstholm at 23.30. We went on immediately for Glyngøre, where we arrived at 1.30 and parked near the beach where we had stopped on 6th June, a month and a half ago.
The night passed quietly again.
54th day - 24.07.2002 - Wednesday: Glyngøre (DK) - Pinneberg (D) – 442/7955 km
In the morning a strong wind was shaking our little home and at 8.00 we were already having breakfast and before 9.00 we were on our way towards Hamburg. With the 26 we went to Viborg but we didn’t continue to Århus which we had passed on our way out, we turned left onto the 13, in the direction of Vejle. The road to Vejle is practicable and fast. At Vejle we went onto the motorway (E45). At 50 km from the German frontier we left the motorway and went to Aabenraa where we found a nice parking place reserved for campers, near the sea. It was sunny, but we preferred to rest a bit as we hadn’t slept much the night before.
A t 18.00 we arrived at Pinneberg at the home of Rotraut and Waldemar. We dined again in the Greek restaurant and then at home we showed them our photos (more than 600) of Norway.
55th day - 25.07.2002 - Thursday: Pinneberg (D) - Hammelburg (D) – 626/8581 km
We left at 11.30 and followed the motorway by way of Hannover and Hildesheim and arriving finally at the Harz National Park. We toured around the park for three hours but, after the beauty of Norway, it didn’t seem so wonderful to our eyes. We lost a lot of time, but finally we found ourselves on the motorway again and went on by way of Kassel and Fulda towards Würzburg. 40 km from Würzburg we left the motorway, it was already late at night and we found a place to park in the little town of Hammelburg. All day the weather had been fine and the night was calm.
56th day - 26.07.2002 - Friday: Hammelburg (D) - Kempten (D) – 335/8916 km
We got up at Eight o’clock as the traffic started moving around us coming and going, as we were parked right in the centre of the town. It was raining lightly. Nobody seemed to notice us or object to where we had parked. We left and noticed on the other side of the street a nice parking place reserved for campers. We hadn’t seen it in the night.
We went on our way along the motorway towards the south by way of Würzburg, Ulm and Memmingen. We arrived at Kempten at 13.30 at the home of Carla’s parents. As usual, we parked right in front of their house. We found the usual peace and quiet.
57th day - 27.07.2002 - Saturday: Kempten (D) - San Maurizio (I) – 528/9444 km
Before lunch we set off and, by way of Lindau, Chur, San Bernardino, Chiasso and Milan we arrived in the evening at our home in San Maurizio Canavese.
We were happy and satisfied with our journey which had filled us with enthusiasm. I think that Norway is, with its many natural attractions, the most spell-binding of the European states (I haven’t been to Portugal, England of Ireland). A journey here is like going back to Mother Earth and, in addition, the Norwegian people are very polite, hospitable and friendly. We did an unbelievable amount of fishing which turned these notes from the diary of a journey to the diary of a fishing trip. That’s alright for us!
We had sun, rain and cold days but we never turned on our gas heater, we didn’t find it necessary. We parked only once in a camp site, at Saltstraumen.
In 57 days, almost two months, we covered a total of 9500 km. (Table) The average consumption of Diesel oil was: 10,57 litres/100 km. The total cost was 2140 €, there from: Diesel 810 €, transport costs - motorways, 20 ferries, parking, tunnels, bridges, city tolls and the camp site - 670 €, food and other expenses 660 €.
In another 10 day’s time we planed to be again at the sea side, but this time to swim in the sea and soak up the sun in our lovely, warm Adriatic Sea (1), we would stay at our usual camping place “FKK Kažela” (2, 3), at Medulin in Istra, Croatian.
And Norway? It was already in our plans for 2004, perhaps to the Lofoten, in the moment that we decided to interrupt our wanderings to return home, and we thought we would never go back there.
A mention of the only two “black spots” that have indelibly stained our adventure.
The first: the CASIO photo camera which let me down, fortunately only in the last days. I had it repaired in Turin for an electronic defect, after only six months, it let me down again in Granada, at the Alhambra where, unfortunately, I could only entrust to my memory the vision of the wonderful places and views.
The second: the WAECO CCF-18 freezer is not suitable for freezing. For this function it is very inefficient and the construction is wrong. As a freezer, I cannot recommend it to anyone. I protested with the Waeco Company and in answer, instead of showing themselves ready to help me they informed me that:
- The evaporator does not go down to the bottom, but only halfway down the box (as I suspected) and for this reason the box was not suitable for the purpose for which I had used it (?). I had used it to freeze food! In the WAECO catalogue is written: box for freezing from +5°C to –15°C with a capacity of 18 litres. Not for 8 or 10 litres. Obviously it was not specified anywhere for what it was or wasn’t suitable! Neither was it pointed out that it froze only in the upper part of the box, thus reducing its capacity to half of 18 litres!
- They add that I could eventually resolve the problem by leaving air spaces between the frozen food in order to freeze down to the bottom. But, they say: eventually? I think that it isn’t so easy, perhaps I should consult an architect to resolve the problem? And the capacity of 18 litres?
- And conclusion: We hope this information is useful to you: Thank you!
The WAECO box is a big black mark and a great disappointment, not to mention the rapport between the company and it customers. Unfortunately!