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NORWAY 2004 - DIARY
Egersund - Måløy - Flåm - Egersund
10.06. - 23.08.2004
Notes: Stojan Deprato
Translation: Janice Forster
Click on the map or the photo to enlarge!
1st day - 10.06.2002 - Thursday: San Maurizio (I) - Kappel (CH) - 436 km
Today at 10.00 my wife Carla and I (77) left San Maurizio Canavese (TO) again in direction north, for our fourth trip to Norway. It was our intention to leave five or six days earlier but, as our daughter Jasmine got married to Cataldo, we had to put off our departure. The camper we travelled in is always the same one we used in our previous trips (1995, 1999 and 2002). To be honest, it has already done 101.661 km, but it is still going strong. When it isn't travelling it sleeps peacefully under a roof, protected from the bad weather and the damp. It never comes out of its shelter in winter. We look after it well!
Our travel plan for Norway this year was to follow this itinerary: Egersund - Haugesund - Tittelsness - Bergen - Straume - Straumsnes - Førde - Florø - Maløy - Vestkapp - Sandane - Søgndal - Flåm - Voss - Tittelsness - Egersund. In Norway we expected to cover about 3000 km, with an average of about 60-65 km a day. The total distance of the trip going and coming back should be about 7000 km. We would come back from Norway after 75 days!!! All the places, the islands, the fiords and so on with the names written in red in the diary, can be found on the accompanying maps.
Yesterday was very hot, +33°C in the shade. We hope the weather will stay the same during the journey. The day started with no clouds or wind - really beautiful.
We stopped at the service station in Bellinzona for lunch. It was still very hot. On the radio they said it was 35°C in Milan.
We arrived at Kappel (Switzerland) where our son Davor lives at about 16.00. Everyone was there: Davor with his wife Michelle and their sons Tobias and Fabian. In a field behind his house Davor has a little swimming pool - very nice so, of course, I didn't miss the opportunity to jump in! Carla didn't, however. Who knows when we will have another possibility to have a swim? We had a delicious barbecue for dinner and then chatted until 23.00. We slept in the camper in front of the house in a very quiet and hot night.
2nd day - 11.06.2004 - Friday: Kappel (CH) - Lutter am Barenberge (D) - 707/1143 km
We got up at about 8.00. Nobody was in the house, they had all disappeared, one to school, the others to work. It was cloudy and not as hot as yesterday but ideal conditions for travelling.
We set off from the house at about 9.20, stopping almost immediately at the COOP to buy a few things (we always forget something) and at about 10.00 we were really on our way. After a couple of kilometres we drove into rain and this stayed with us up to the German border at Basel. Once in Germany we followed the motorway in the direction of Frankfurt. It was cloudy with the occasional shower but, fortunately, there wasn't much traffic. We ate lunch during the journey and at 14.30 we stopped at Steinberg near Offenbach at the home of Carla's aunt Ursula (uncle Werner wasn't at home). We had a coffee and a chat then, at about 17.00 we got back on the motorway, direction north.
Near Seesen we left the motorway and reached the little town of Lutter am Barenberge, which is situated on the edge of the Harz National Park. The weather was good! We found a lovely parking place in the middle of the town in a little square in front of a bank. Tomorrow is Saturday, the bank will be closed and for us this means silence, nobody will wake us up. What could be better! At 21.00 we ate dinner in a restaurant in the square. The dinner was very good and abundant, so much so that I couldn't eat it all!? The dinner for two with beer cost €20 - not much! Immediately after dinner we went to bed. It was starting to rain.
3rd day - Saturday: Lutter am Barenberge (D) - Braunshweig (D) - 64/1207 km
When we woke up it was already 7.00. The weather was good again. We watched the news on the RAI (Italian television) while we ate breakfast. It was election day in Italy and the rest of Europe.
We had our digital camera CASIO again. This had given us a lot of trouble during our last trip in 2002 but, after a good repair job, we hope it will now permit us to take home some great photos.
It's nice to have our antenna (Kathrein 50x50, BAS 60) for satellite TV so we can see Italian news during the journey. It isn't possible to listen to Italian radio in Norway and during our first two trips in 1995 and 1999, without TV, we were practically cut off from the world for two months. Now we can always get the news from Italy and the world but we certainly don't intend to spend a lot of time in front of the television. Just once or twice a day for the news and eventually some sport. We can see the transmissions very well, the German ones are better via Astra than the Italian ones via Eutelsat. Two years ago we could see the transmissions very well up to the extreme point of the Lofoten.
This time we haven't brought the WAECO freezer, type CC-18, which caused us so many problems during the last trip and completely spoiled our holiday. The WAECO showed no interest in helping us! After we returned from Norway in 2002 and also this year before leaving, I tried to find a remedy to our problem with the company that produced it but in vain! So we decided to leave this expensive but useless appliance at home to rot. We don't recommend it to anybody!
This time we took with us a small rubber dinghy ZODIAC, only 2,60m long without a rigid base that can be inflated or deflated in 5 minutes. We also had an outboard motor YAMAHA 3CV. The dinghy and the outboard motor are very light and we can put them in the big storage space on the roof of the camper. As last time we would have liked to go fishing in deep sea water and not always from the coast, this year we can try with our ZODIAC. We think that the further you go from the coast, the bigger the fish will be. Well, maybe.
Let's get back to our journey! At 9.20 we left Lutter for Mahlum (9km) where we got on the motorway and continued north in the direction of Braunschweig. Near Salzgitter we were overwhelmed by an extremely heavy downpour which we got through with great ability!
We arrived at Braunschweig at 10.20 and parked in front of Johanna's house (Carla's aunt), who keeps very well despite her age (82). She lives in a lovely house, very tastefully furnished with a little garden that is very well cared for. Johanna is a widow so she lives alone and still drives her Mercedes. She doesn't just drive round the house. Every year she sets off on her own and drives her faithful vehicle to Spain where she passes the six winter months in the sun, then she returns home all by herself! An exceptional woman! Over 3000km! Incredible!
4th day - 13.06.2004 - Sunday: Braunschweig (D) - Pinneberg (D) - 220/1427 km
The morning was cloudy. All three of us went for a walk along the Mittellandkanal which passes at a kilometre from Johanna's house. It's a navigable canal that starts in Holland, near Amsterdam, cuts across all Germany and finishes at Magdeburg or perhaps a bit further on. Despite the fact that it was Sunday, there was quite a lot of traffic going up and down and big barges were passing by.
After lunch I watch the GT motorbike race in Barcelona: Valentino Rossi won while Biaggi only came eighth. Very good! At about 15.00 we set off for Pinneberg. It was sunny and the weather was good despite the wind. In ten minutes we were on the motorway, heading for Hannover. The traffic was very heavy and it was completely blocked at the entrance to Hannover. Fortunately, a hundred metres before the start of the traffic jam we had to turn right in the direction of Hamburg: There wasn't much traffic on this road. As it was Sunday, there weren't any lorries but in the southbound lane there was a queue of traffic at least 20 km long.
We arrived at Pinneberg, where Carla's cousin Rotraut lives, at 18.00. At 18.30 Waldemar and I were in front of the television to follow the Monte Carlo Grande Prix. The Ferrari won with Schumacher. After dinner we all looked at the photos of Jasmine's wedding then we went to bed at about 23.30
5th day - 14.06.2004 -. Monday: Pinneberg (D) - Aabenraa (DK) - 186/1713 km
The sky was cloudy. With Rotraut and Waldemar we went to Ellerhoop to visit a beautiful botanical garden "Arboretum-Baumpark". The garden was very neat and well-cared for, instructive and rich of every type of vegetation from trees to flowers, aquatic plants and little lakes with gigantic carps!
At 18.20 we said goodbye to Rotraut and Waldemar and set off towards the north in the direction of Denmark. We went through Quickborn and got onto the motorway going towards Flensburg. Once again, as in 2002, from this side of the motorway a very strong lateral wind was blowing and it stayed with us all the way. At 20.20 we crossed the Danish border and after 30 km we left the motorway and entered Aabenraa where we stopped in a beautiful, big parking place directly by the sea and near the marina. Parking is free with connections for electricity and water. The wind was still strong and gave our camper a good shaking. Apart from that the night passed peacefully.
6th day - 15.06.2004 - Tuesday: Aabenraa (DK) - Glyngøre (DK) - 286/1999 km
A strong, cold wind shook the camper all night but inside it was all very comfortable. We got up at 8.30. The sky was cloudy and it was cold outside. It started to drizzle. We filled up with water and set off towards Fredericia where we were to meet Sabine, an old school friend of Carla's, who now lives in Copenhagen (see Scandinavia 1995). We had an appointment with her at the Fredericia railway station, where her train, was due to arrive at 11.03.
By mistake we left the motorway near Kolding. We went back, losing time but finally we arrived at Fredericia. We were saved by the town map which we had downloaded from the Internet (www.viamichelin.it) and used to arrive at the station in time.
With Sabine we went to a very nice parking place, quiet and near the sea, of course, (good also to pass the night), with a beautiful beach (1). We drank coffee and then had lunch. After lunch we went for a walk, first in the town (2) and then on the beach (3). The weather was better, the sun had come out but it was still windy and a bit cold.
we left the motorway and followed the 13 that goes to Viborg and from there the 25 for Glyngøre where we arrived at 20.00. We parked in the same parking place as in 2002 (4), near a little port with sports facilities (5). The wind was till blowing strongly but it wasn't raining (6).
7th day – 16.06.2004 – Wednesday: Glyngøre (DK) – Hanstholm (DK) – 102/2101km
We woke up at 7.00 to sun and a strong wind, the same as yesterday. All the night it had shaken us without a break. The sea was full of white breakers (1).
We went to a market to buy food. When we got to the cash desk they wouldn’t accept any of our credit cards. They told us to go and change our euro in a bank. In the bank for 15 euros they gave 100 DKR and asked immediately 30 DKR commission. That meant a commission of 30%! A robbery!! We abandoned the bank and at 10.15 we left Glyngøre. Without food!
At 11.30 we arrived at Hanstholm (2). The sea greeted us with gigantic waves. The wind was very strong. We immediately went to the Fjord Lines to get our tickets for Egersund which we had already booked. We booked from Italy in March through the agency Karl Geuther GmbH & Co. KG, email@example.com. An agency in Bremen (D) very well organised, kind and helpful.
The ticket price for Hanstholm – Egersund – Hanstholm return was 1990.00 DKR or 254.00 €. The price included the camper (up to 6m) and five people.
We got our tickets for the ferry boat which was due to leave the next day at 8.30 and went off in our camper for a little ride towards the south along a road by the sea. We stopped after about 2km in a car park near a big dune which stood between us and a beautiful, long beach. Carla went for a walk along the beach while I stayed in the camper to update this diary but I soon joined her. The wind was very strong (I estimated about 100 to 120km/h) so much so as to make it impossible to enjoy the walk. The waves were very big (3). We went back to the camper where we found sand everywhere! All the windows were closed, only the one in the roof was open a little! The wind lifted the sand from the dune and made it beat against our camper with great force!
At 13.30 we went back to the port of Hanstholm to wander around a little among the fishing boats (4, 5, 6). Later we went to a market to buy food. Also here they wouldn’t accept Visa but at least they accepted payment in euros at the normal exchange rate and without commission! We went back and moved to our parking place of 2002 above the port (7). Carla read and I wrote my diary and we passed the day in this way. We watched the enormous waves breaking over the sea wall. In the afternoon we watched the manoeuvres of a big ferry boat that was leaving the port to go to England. It had to go against the waves and, despite the fact that it was very big, its prow plunged into the water then leapt up into the air with the next wave. After a while it turned towards the south and now the waves hit its side and it rolled about like a big barrel. The fishing boats didn’t go out! We watched this force of nature and asked ourselves what fun our crossing to Norway would be the next day. And it only lasts seven hours! When the sea is calm!
In the evening the wind was still strong, despite the fact that it had dropped a little. The night passed in absolute silence. We weren’t disturbed by imbeciles on motorbikes as we were in 2002 when three of them arrived in the middle of the night to wake us up and ride round our parking place.
8th day – 17.06.2004 – Thursday: Hanstholm (DK) – Egersund (N) – Skudeneshavn – 114/2215km
We were up at 5.30 and in the queue for the boarding cards at 6.30. The sky was cloudy. During the night the wind had dropped completely. The sea had calmed and just a little swell remained.
Our ferryboat M/S “Fjord Norway” didn’t arrive from Norway until 8.45, that is an hour late (1). This ship is a bit bigger than the M/S “Bergen” which plied this route before and with which we had already done this trip three times. The ship M/S “Fjord Norway” has the following characteristics: L=161 m, B=27.6 m, draught 6.20 m, 31.35 BRT, maximum speed 19 miles/hour. It has 10 decks, 501 cabins and the capacity to swallow 1460 passengers, 450 cars and 75 trucks (2). It was built in 1986 at Bremerhaven (D) and reconstructed in 2003 (3). Today there were relatively few vehicles boarding, perhaps because it was the first day of higher fares (today was the start of the high season).
We set sail at 9.15, 45 minutes late (4). There was no shortage of places on the ship to make ourselves comfortable. Up to half way through the voyage it was cloudy but then the sun came out. The sea was very calm, sometimes as smooth as glass (5) so we took our seats outside to enjoy the good weather (6, 7, 8). We docked at Egersund at 16.15, seven hours after the departure.
The customs control was very fast. Immediately after we went to another dock, near some very big silos on the other side of the port where we had fished a lot of fish in 2002. We wanted to fill our fridge immediately but the access to the dock, which had been open two years before, was now closed with a high wire net fence. Later it was explained to us that these measures had been taken with all constructions of a certain size for fear of terrorist attacks.
The only thing we could do was to turn round and get onto the 44 in the direction of Stavanger. After Sirevåg we noticed a road sign for a camp site where there was also a place to empty chemical toilets. We stopped but the reception asked 30 NOK for this service, that is nearly 4 euros! The exchanged rate was about 1 euro to 8 NOK. Of course we didn’t accept! Later we stopped in the very nice car park of the Orresanden museum where we ate dinner and went for a pleasant walk along a beautiful, long beach. Before leaving we emptied our toilet into the toilet of the car park. We were careful to leave everything clean as we had found it. And all free!
We went on to the port of Mekjarvik, near Randaberg. We had to cross the outskirts of Stavanger where, normally you must pay a toll, but after 19.00 it seems you can pass through free. At 22.15 we arrived at the port of Mekjarvik still in the sunshine! Carla managed to quickly wash the camper windscreen (9) and we soon boarded the ferry for Skudeneshavn. The ferry cost 187NOK (143 + 2x22 = camper + 2 people). The sea was calm as we crossed (10)! We stopped briefly at the island of Kvitsøy. At 23.30 we arrived at Skudeneshavn and found a place to sleep in a little side street, with a view of the sea (11). How peaceful!
We recommend that everybody who goes to Norway by camper buys the road atlas “Stort bilatlas Norge 2003/2005 Cappelen kart CK 14”, in the scale 1:325.000. It’s possible to buy it in Italy. For more detailed information consult the site: http://www.cappelen.no/main/kart.aspx.
If you want to see the real Norway, if you want to enjoy Norwegian nature you must leave the fast roads and go into the little towns, the fishing villages, visit the little islands and travel on narrow side streets. The vast majority of camperists arrive in Norway with road maps in the scale 1:800.000 or even bigger. Of course, in maps like this the little towns are not shown and the little roads are not even indicated. Orientation can only be very approximate and it’s very difficult to make a detailed plan of the trip.
9th day – 18.06.2004 – Friday: Skudeneshavn – Moster – 104/2319km
We woke up at 7.00 after a night passed in absolute silence. We went for a short walk along the quay and then left for Syre with the 862 in the direction of Åkrahamn. We stopped near a beautiful bay (1) with the Sandvesanden beach and had breakfast. There is a very big car park near the beach which, on this occasion, was completely empty (2). Summer had not yet arrived. The car park has a toilet with water. The beach is about 70m from the car park. After breakfast we sunbathed (3), walked along the beach (4), and on the surrounding hills (5, 6, 7). Really, really beautiful.
At 15.15 we went on our way. We stopped at Åkrahamn to go to the local market and buy some food. Here we managed to pay (in the COOP Prix) with the Visa card without any problems. We went on to Haugesund where we went to visit Antonio Piscopo, who we only knew through the Internet. Antonio has lived here for 36 years. He is married to a Norwegian woman and they have two adult sons and a daughter and some grandchildren: They have a lovely house with a lovely camper in front of it. Antonio is a Norwegian citizen and has a good job. We met through the Forum for tourists on touring holidays (www.turismoitinerante.com) a site for camperists. It’s a very competent site with lots of columns, advice, forums etc. Antonio is an endless mine of information too for camperists who want to visit Norway.
We chatted and drank coffee then, at 19.00 we set off for Moster, 60km to the north. Antonio and his wife came with their car and we with our camper. Near Valevåg we went into a long tunnel which passed underwater towards Leirvik. The deepest point is 250m below sea level. The toll was 80NOK. We came out of the tunnel and immediately turned left towards the island of Bømlo. After two beautiful bridges we arrived on the island of Moster.
Here on Moster Antonio has a little house for the weekends situated above the sea and a little port. He has a motorboat with a cabin there about 7 m long with a Volvo Penta motor, 20 HP. On the boat he has an echo sounder, which helps him a lot when he’s looking for fish. Near the port there was a little space of free land where we could park our camper (8). We were alone and isolated, there were neither houses nor the noise of people. From the camper we could enjoy the magnificent view of Børøyfjorden. It was all very silent except for the seagulls and the weather was beautiful. Carla went out to pick some flowers (9), which were growing everywhere.
We went out immediately with Antonio in his boat to pull up two lobster pots that had been lying there for some time. Antonio thought we would only find dead fish, probably already eaten by the crabs but, instead in one of the pots we found a nice fish called torsk (white cod) and another fish similar to sole called skrubbe (plaice or flounder). In the other pot there was only a small torsk, in all, 1.5kg of fish
The night passed in marvellous silence. We were alone, not a living soul.
In the morning at 9.30 we went out fishing in the boat with Antonio and his granddaughter. The weather was good. We fished with a line that had five hooks on the end of it, one under the other and then a lead weight that was quite heavy. Only Carla and I fished and in two hours we caught a little torsk and 18 sei (Coalfish, sea salmon, black cod). No big fish, they were all under a kilo and altogether there were about 5kg. I was convinced that fishing from a boat, in deeper water I would have found bigger fish, but I didn’t. We threw four sej back into the sea because they were too small. They were immediately eaten by the seagulls who were swimming round the boat waiting just for that! The fish hadn’t hit the water before they were in the mouths of the seagulls who swallowed them down in one gulp. Its amazing that these birds can swallow such big prey without any problems!
Antonio wasn’t interested in fish and left them all to us. Our fridge was already full to overflowing.
In the afternoon we visited Antonio in his lovely little house and in the early evening he took us out in his boat to show us the beauties of this fjord (1). We went out of the little port and headed north (2) towards Røyksund, following the channel that separates the island and the town of Moster from the island of Bømlo. This channel is only 3-4 metres wide in some places (3)! Coming out of the channel we turned again towards north, sailing around the island of Spyssøy (4), passing under two beautiful bridges and then going back towards our little port (5). It seems that the Norwegians have succeeded in connecting many inhabited islands with bridges (quite high so that even big ships can pass under them) this reduces the need for ferryboats and speeds up transport, making it cheaper. We went back along the channel and returned home. The weather was beautiful, the nature and the sea marvellous.
There is something interesting to say about Norway, according to Antonio! In this country it isn’t necessary to have a nautical licence to drive a boat. You buy the boat you can afford, take the helm, turn on the engine (2x200HP?) and off you go! Nobody checks if you know how to steer, hold a course, dock, manoeuvre in reverse, if you know the rules for sailing, how to avoid collisions at sea, if you know navigation lights – nothing. There are many boats, motorboats, sail boats and they are all sailing around. I have seen 10-year-old “children” steering rubber dinghies and motorboats with engines over 10 HP. And they go very fast in the fjords, which often are not very wide and where big ships sail too. To sail a boat up to 25 tons it isn’t compulsory to have a licence. There are courses to learn the basic rules of navigation but they are not compulsory. It’s unbelievable if you think about Italian laws!
The same freedom exists for fishing. You can fish from the shore or from a boat. You can use every type of hook and bait, you can put down lobster pots, every kind of net, trawl nets and similar equipment. You can fish underwater and use air cylinders. And all this without special permission! It’s not allowed to fish lobsters from January to August and they mustn’t be caught if they are under 24cm. In this period the lobsters are thrown back into the sea or you must pay a heavy fine! That’s all! It’s necessary to have permission for lakes and rivers.
The night was tranquil again, a fabulous peace!
11th day – 20.06.2004 – Sunday: Moster – 0/2319km
In the morning I went out in the boat with Antonio again to lift up the lobster pots. They were empty! The weather was beautiful (1). For 14.00 Antonio had prepared a big meal in his house. His youngest son was 30 years old. He invited about twenty people including Carla and I (2, 3). Antonio had prepared and offered us an excellent barbecue (4, 5). Meat, sausages, skewer meats, shrimps. All the people were very nice, open and friendly despite the fact that conversation in Norwegian was a problem for us. But almost everyone speaks English. The party was very simple and pleasant, with a warm welcome from everyone.
At about 19.00 we went back to our little abode and at 21.00 Antonio and his wife came to say goodbye. They were going back to Haugesund, the next day was a working day and the following Saturday he was going with his wife and daughter to Italy for the holidays, for a month, with the camper, of course. We were staying the next day and could stay longer if we wanted.
The weather deteriorated and in the evening it started to rain.
12th day – 22.06.2004 – Monday: Moster – 0/2319km
We stayed all the day in our parking place. It was damp, raining a little but not heavily, the sun came out from time to time. It was rainy more often than it was sunny, unfortunately! We tried going for a walk. We didn’t get far, after about twenty minutes of annoying rain we hurried back in.
I tried fishing from a little quay but it seemed to be the Dead Sea!
Day 13 – 22.06.2004 – Tuesday: Moster – Solheim 46/2365km
It stopped raining during the night, but in the morning it was raining heavily. At about midday the weather began to improve and we decided to leave after lunch. After a short walk through Moster and a few photos (1) we set off at about 15.00, finally in the sun. We crossed the bridge over the Røyksund channel and went on along the 542 north. Up to Svortland the road is very good and wide. At Svortland we filled up at 8.58 NOK while at Haugesund it was only 7.90 NOK but unfortunately we didn‘t stop there?
We went by Svortland and stopped at Urangsvåg (2, 3). at the port to fill up with water. We set off again along a very narrow road northwards and arrived at Brandasund (4), which is the northernmost point of the archipelago and also where the road ends. Brandasund is a small and picturesque fishing village where the road drops down steeply to the port and comes to an end. With the camper it was dangerous to go down and even more difficult to turn round on the narrow shore (5), in addition we had to face the extremely steep slope to go back as, alas! There was no place to park so we were obliged to turn round and abandon then idea of stopping there. We stopped instead under a big bridge where we tried to fish but the current was too strong and we could hear nothing!
We went back to Solheim (6) and found a lovely parking place again only one and a half metres from the sea (7). It seemed to be private land and Carla knocked on the door of a house on the other side of the street where the owner lived to ask politely for permission to stay the night. We always ask for permission to park and, up to now, we have always received affirmative answers.
Also here, like at Moster, all these little islands which were around us are connected by bridges (8, 9). There are no more ferryboats. People arrive more easily across the bridges, they buy land and build houses because it’s easier to transport construction material and cheaper. And here the nature is very beautiful!
We tried fishing, without success! Spaghetti for dinner! Not much fish was left in the fridge and what remained we left for tomorrow.
After dinner we watched the Football Championship match Italy – Bulgaria. Only on German TV, of course The Italian TV (RAI) is coded and it isn’t possible to watch it! Shame on the RAI! We won but it’s not enough because Denmark and Sweden did well in the other matches and so we went out of the championship with our heads down: Italy played badly like two years before – in South Korea, I think: That time it was the referee’s fault, this time we don’t know whose fault it is? Only one thing is sure, both times the coach was Trapattoni, who created with great “success” our team, with a game that was flat and mostly defensive. A good coach means a good team and good results!
14th day – 23.06 2004 – Wednesday: Solheim – 0/2365km
In the morning we decided to stay where we were for another day because today (23 June) bonfires are lit (1) in all Norway to celebrate the arrival of summer - Midsummer night (2, 3). It was a beautiful day and we didn’t get up until 9.00. In the morning we went for a walk around the town (4), all of 300m (going and coming back)! We also did a bit of rock climbing on the rocks near the sea, under the bridge (5).
After lunch we went fishing and pulled up 1 mackerel and 5 sei (we threw 3 back into the sea because they were too small). It seemed that also the weather was celebrating the arrival of summer, it was a day full of sun and in only half an hour my face was a little sunburnt. We fished on a little quay (6), property of the same person who had given us permission to park. Here on the quay they run a little restaurant/bar, rent rooms and boats for fishing. Near the road they have a beautiful house. In front of the house there is a small lawn where two rabbits were running about (one light brown, the other black and white) of a strange race (7) with very long ears hanging down, completely different from our rabbits.
It was strange too because the lawn had no fence or hedge on the street side so the rabbits could cross the road freely and come as far as our camper where they played around before going home. Fortunately there isn’t a lot of traffic. If a car goes through the town its speed is much reduced and the driver proceeds with much attention. In all of Norway, where there is a road sign indicating a speed limit of 60, people drive at a maximum of 60 and where 50 is indicated, no faster than 50. Very rigorously! Paying much attention to the animals on the road. Alcohol is consumed in the evening, at home, when people know that they will not be driving. The vast majority ot Norwegians behave in this way. The amount of alcohol permitted in the blood is up to 0.2% in a thousand. A bit more than zero!
Our camper was parked at the edge of the piece of land, near the sea. The shore edge was composed of big rocks, amongst which there were large holes where little minks lived, dark brown in colour with a long tail 50-60cm. They ran around the rocks near our camper and they weren’t afraid. We offered them a slice of bread and they took it immediately into their den. They are good swimmers, like rats.
In the early evening it started to rain. The festival was ruined! For dinner we ate a lot of fish. We took all that we had caught in Moster out of the fridge. For tomorrow there will be only what we caught today. After dinner the rain stopped and at 21.30 the bonfires were lit (8) but the celebrations were flat. The people standing in the road stared at the bonfires with their eyes wide open (9). Some of them had brought little grills and started grilling meat or sausages for their families along the roadside. We expected singing, some joyfulness or beer drinking! Nothing! So we went back to our camper to play cards. We followed the Czech Republic – Germany match too which ended 2:1. So great Germany was eliminated too and followed the destiny of Italy and Spain:
Later the rain started again and beat down all night.
15th day – 24.06.2004 – Thursday: Solheim – Bruntveit – 107/2472km
It wasn’t raining in the morning, it was a bit cloudy. In the main port we found a shop with a little bar and in the adjoining house there were also two shower cabins where sailors but also travellers like us could have a shower. We could buy tokens in the shop for 5 NOK and for a good shower two tokens are needed. It was modest but clean.
At 11.00 the weather improved and at 12.00 we set off again with the sun in the direction of Svortland. After two kilometres we turned left and dropped down into Austvik Kai. Here the port was once active with ferryboats but now with everywhere linked by bridges, the port is no longer used. We launched the spinner two or three times but no luck! At about 40 m from the port and probably 2 m above sea level there is a little lake completely full of beautiful white water-lilies (1, 2). A sweet water lake which exists so close to the sea. Incredible!
At 13.00 we were back on the road we had taken before and this time we turned right. We arrived in the little village of Katla where the road ends and where we tried fishing again. A lovely bay but, unfortunately, the water level was too low. And in low water, no fish! About turn! We went down the road to Hello and, near a little sports port, Carla prepared a good lunch: a big mackerel and two sej.
After lunch we finally went back and arrived in Svortland where we bought food and fuel. We went on and crossed the bridge for Leirvik near Moster, another toll of 80 NOK despite the fact that this time we had not gone through the tunnel: We had already paid 80 NOK two days before on the outward journey. So, to get to Leirvik we paid a total of 160 NOK while the people who don‘t stop at Moster but continue directly from Haugesund to Leirvik, crossing the tunnel and the bridge in one go, only pay 80 NOK. We entered Leirvik and found a place at the ESSO petrol station, to empty our toilet.
From Leirvik we continued on the E30 as far as Jektevik where, at 18.15, we got the ferry (3) for Hodnanes, 66NOK (44+19). We left the ferry and continued on the 49 along the west coast of Tysnesøy island. Near Uggdalseidet we turned left onto a very narrow road in the direction of the little island of Reksteren. After the bridge we turned left again and went down to Sunde, where we stopped on a little quay and ate dinner. We tried fishing too but it was useless! At first we thought we would stop here but parking is forbidden because the lorries that take away waste must turn round here and we took up too much space. So, after dinner, we pulled up the anchor again and at about 21.30 we arrived at Bruntveit, where we found a lovely parking place on a big quay (4) in the ferry port, now in disuse. We slept in complete silence, lulled by the sound of light rain which fell all night on our roof.
It was still raining on and off in the morning but not heavily. No fish to be seen or heard. Carla didn’t give up however and before lunch she caught a nice sei. I caught one too but 10cm from the water it broke free! That was all the excitement we had! Carla went into a shop, not far from the port to buy food. There wasn’t much choice!
At 15.00 we set off again with sunshine. We passed near Sunde and arrived at a crossroads near Uggdalseidet and this time we turned north. After 25km we stopped at Tysnes and bought food, spinners (10 NOK/piece) and we got nafta. We spent 8.68 NOK/litre, while on the road we had seen it for 8.78 NOK. When we came to Norway for the first time (1995) the Diesel oil was very expensive for us. It cost a bit more than 1900 Lit. While in Italy it was about 1300 Lit., that is, it was 50% more expensive. Now the price is more or less the same as in Italy, not because the price has gone down in Norway but because in Italy, with the introduction of the Euro, the price of Diesel oil has gone up and we have succeeded in reaching the price in Norway. An exceptional sporting success! We are really clever.
We continued (1) with the intention of arriving at Godøysund, a little village on a little island only 20 km from Tysnes to pass the night there. There is the open sea there and we hoped for some good fishing. The road to the island took us to a lovely bridge. The last 30 m leading to it were steep and narrow and ended in a tight bend of 90°. When we arrived in front of the bridge we saw that it was very narrow and didn’t seem strong enough for us. Probably cars can go across but I don’t think lorries or campers can. It seemed too narrow and fragile! There was nothing to say there was no access, in fact the weight limit indicated 7.5 t. We could only see this once we arrived in front of the bridge and we didn’t feel convinced to cross it. We had to turn round and there wasn’t much room for that. We turned our camper round on that tight bend, high up without a parapet. A bit frightening but we managed to do it!
We went back on the 49 (2) northwards and, after Malkenes, we crossed a bridge which passed very high up over a marine canal that divides the island of Tysnesøy from the mainland. We went into a tunnel and, immediately after we came out, we turned left onto the 549, a very nice road. Two km further on we stopped before Sundvor, near a bridge which passes over the fiord and we tried fishing. There was a problem, a strong wind had started blowing and we managed to catch only one sei, but it was a good one. We had fished here exactly 5 years before (see 25.06.1999). Continuing northwards we took the 48 and after about 35 km we arrived in a nice parking place at Eikelandsosen, where a couple of campers were already parked, one of them Italian. Near the parking place there was a little supermarket, a bar with a terrace and also an installation for emptying our toilet. The parking place was amongst the trees, a metre from the sea. It was covered with grass, very beautiful and silent and also free!
For dinner we had our two sei and for dessert: tyttebær with kefir. The Norwegians produce a special jam from berries called “syltetoy”, which is different from normal jam because the berries remain practically whole, not squashed. The syltetoy made from cranberries is called tyttebær and from blueberries blåbaer, from raspberries bringebær, from blackberries solbær and from strawberries jordbær etc. All these syltetoy taste very good but our favourites are tyttebær and bringebær. Our typical breakfast in Norway is composed in this way: in a bowl we put two handfuls of Cornflakes, we add kefir and syltetoy. Food for the gods! You can buy syltetoy in all the supermarkets, the prices often differ, but we buy a plastic tub of one kg of tyttebær for 15 NOK and 600 g of bringebær for 9.5 NOK
After dinner we watched the match Greece-France 1:0 another surprise!
The wind here was light and the night very silent again. We slept really well!
17th day – 26.06 2004 – Saturday: Eikelandsosen – Straume – 112/2685km
In the morning the weather was uncertain. We tried throwing a line and Carla caught a mackerel (in Norwegian makrell), very nice. We went shopping in the nearby supermarket and at 13.30 we were on the 48 for Tysse. Near Haga we went onto the E39 and drove towards the west. We passed over Bergen but we didn’t go in as we know the town well. We bought Diesel oil on the road above Bergen which only cost 7.59 NOK. Later, near Knarvik, we found a petrol station where it cost only 7.48 NOK, less than €1, less than in Italy!
On a big long bridge we passed over Osterfjorden to Knarvik (1). Toll 45 NOK. We continued along the 565 (2) in front of the Fosnstraumbrua bridge, near Straume (see map 18.06.), we turned left and arrived at our old parking place (3) at 15.40. We were starving as we hadn’t eaten lunch yet because we wanted to get to ‘our’ bay as soon as possible to eat something while we admired the view from our panoramic window. It was a quick lunch but the view of the sea was more magical than a dinner ‘Chez Maxim’s’ (4).
The weather was beautiful and hot, the sky clear and sunny. After lunch Carla sat on a rock above the sea to clean and wash shrimps (5, 6), that we had bought from a street vendor on the road above Bergen. We knew this place well, it was already the third time that we had been there. The camper was parked on the quay at not more than half a metre from the water and we could fish from the window (7)! This time the quay was empty. Not even a car and the nearest house was in the village half a kilometre from here. We were alone! Completely alone! Unfortunately there weren’t any fish. In previous years the water was full of them, this time there were very few. Carla tried fishing too (8, 9) but we only caught three sei and a lyr (pollack).
With the mackerel from the morning we consumed a rich dinner at 20.30: fried fish, green salad, wine, beer and strawberries for dessert (10). Like on Olympus!
The sun went down behind an island at 23.00 (11). The sky was completely clear, the night quiet.
18th day – 27.06 2004 – Sunday: Straume – 0/2685km
It was very cloudy in the morning but not raining. We got up late, after 9.00. Before lunch we went for a walk, enjoying the nature (1). Carla picked some flowers (2). We passed under the Fosnstraumbrua bridge too, where Carla had fun collecting shells for a change.
We went back to the parking place. We went fishing and caught a sei, a second one got away when I’d already pulled it out of the water. After that not even the shadow of a fish, not even a ripple! Two years before and also in 1999 we fished so many fish here that Carla protested “That’s enough! Stop! Where are we going to put all these fish?”. This year there don’t seem to be any fish here.
For lunch Carla cooked a delicious risotto with the shrimps (3) that we had bought above Bergen. For dessert: tyttebær with kefir. Food for the gods again!
In the afternoon a Norwegian man arrived with a boy and a girl, dressed in wet suits for scuba diving and they went into the water to fish (4). When they came back, after an hour they brought their booty with them: a medium-sized torsk and two big crabs! Nothing special! We gave up the idea of putting our rubber dinghy in the water for fishing for the moment. We had already seen (with Antonio) that you don’t fish any better from the boat than from the coast and now we had seen that even with a scuba diver’s harpoon it wasn’t any better! Up to then we had fished enough to eat abundantly and, as they say in my country “don’t look for bread on top of the cakes”!
At 17.30 we went back to the strait, under the bridge, to fish. This strait, Fosnstraumen, is known as a good place to fish because of the very strong currents (Straumen) caused by the high and low tides. Fish from the open sea, which isn’t very far away, arrive with these currents. Something similar happens at Saltstraumen (see Norway 2002 – 02.07). According to the tourist information notices in the parking place, this territory has been well known for its abundance of fish since the Stone Age (about 10,000 years before the Modern Age). Normally the strait is full of boats that follow the currents and fish and fish! Like mad! But this year nothing, there aren’t any fish and there aren’t any boats either!
In the afternoon the weather improved (5), the sun came out and it wasn’t cold I managed to catch one sei and, as usual, another got away already out of the water and – stop! Like a bad spell. Two Norwegians arrived, we could see they were experienced fishermen: one caught two nice sei immediately while another two got away, already out of the water and – stop! Just like us! One of them hooked a starfish, unfortunately. It was very beautiful and different from the ones we knew. It was bright red, the centre part of the body was very wide (about 11 cm) from which came out six very short arms (about 4 cm). The man was going to throw it back into the sea but, instead, he gave it to Carla who immediately turned into a surgeon and cleaned out the interior part. I managed to catch another three sej, they weren’t big and, in the end, we got fed up and went back to the camper. Later the two Norwegians joined us as we had invited them to come and drink a glass of wine with us, and they made us a present of two nice sei that they had caught. For dinner that evening we had the five sei “in brodetto” and we had these other two sei for the next day – more than enough. For brodetto I mean fish first fried and then cooked a little more in a thick tomato sauce – a Dalmatian recipe.
In the evening, at 23.30, we took photographs of the sunset (6, 7, 8), that had marvellous colours. This thrilling spectacle lasted about half an hour (9, 10, 11, 12, 13). On the other side of our little bay we had a wonderful picture of the little houses of the fishing village (14) with the shadow of the waves projected onto the walls (15). At 24.00, as usual, we started playing cards. The night was full of silence (16).
19th day – 28.06.2004 – Monday: Straume – 0/2685km
In the early morning it wasn’t very promising, the sky was quite cloudy, but towards 10.00 it changed and became very sunny. At 11.15 with good weather, sunny and hot we set off on foot up a nearby hill (1) above the opposite side of our bay (2, 3). We thought we would find paths but only found those made by the cows going to pasture. These were muddy (the ground was swampy) and full of cow excrement, soft and damp! How horrible! But we didn’t give up, we fought our way through the bushes, we wanted to arrive at the lighthouse which wasn’t far away!
When we found swampy ground we tried to walk round it. The beauty of it was that we had set off in sandals, leaving our boots behind in the camper!?! After walking for 45 minutes we managed to climb up a nearby hill (4) but it was impossible to get to the lighthouse. The land was impenetrable. We took some photos and then went back. After lunch we sunbathed, in the camper, near the windows! Later a strong wind started blowing from the north, bringing clouds.
At about 18.30 we went back to the strait. We tried launching our spinners but the fish weren’t biting. The strong wind prevented us from fishing and after half an hour we gave up. We found it very strange that there weren’t any fish this year. Despite this fact we have them on our table every day!
At dinner we enjoyed our two sei and some good wine with appetite. After dinner we played cards and went to bed at 23.30. The wind blew hard and without a break for all the night but the camper was turned against the wind and we slept well.
20th day – 29.06.2004 – Tuesday: Straume – Oksnes – 38/2723km
It was quite cold in the morning, cloudy and windy. At 11.00 we set off northwards in a very cold wind. We stopped briefly at a really cute bus stop, the shelter was protected from the wind by a roof covered with earth where grass and a little pine tree were growing (1). We went on along the road for a couple of kilometres when Carla realised that we had lost our lovely starfish, which we had put to dry on the bonnet of the engine and which we had forgotten to take before setting off. We went back, crossing the big bridge again, and finally we found it at the side of the road, where it had slipped off the bonnet. Fortunately it had fallen, not in the middle of the road but a bit to one side so it hadn’t been run over. Two of the points were a little damaged but not much. We were happy to have found it because Carla had worked hard to clean it and, above all, it was really beautiful
On our way again we arrived in the little village of Solesjøen. The weather had much improved, the sky was partially clear, with sun rays coming through but it was still windy. We parked on a little quay (2). Nearby there was little beach which we think must get very crowded in summer as it has a car park and toilet but in that moment there wasn’t a living soul there! There were cars parked in front of the houses but we couldn’t see anyone in them through the closed windows. We already noticed in our previous visits to Norway that the local people don’t seem very interested if someone arrives in their town, goes for walks along their roads or parks on their quays. They don’t watch from their windows or behind their curtains. When they are in their yards, they get on with their work and don’t pay any attention to who is passing in the street but if we ask them for information, they are very kind and polite.
We tried fishing from the quay and finally caught a very nice lyr (3) of about 1 kg (4). Our journey continued after lunch. We stopped at Årås, bought food and filled the water tank at a petrol station. We filled a tank with 20 litres of hot water too!
At 17.00 we arrived at Øksnes (5), a little fishing village on the northern part of the island of Fosnøy. We parked again at half a metre from the sea (6) in a little port.
Carla did the washing with the hot water while I tied a cord between two posts. The washing dried almost instantly in the sun. We went for a long walk along the coast to the end of a peninsula. We came back part of the way through a wood and ended up at a little port, well protected from the wind and the waves (7) where we found a strange wild duck (8) with his companion (9). They weren’t afraid of us at all and let us get close up to them to take photographs.
The night passed quietly.
21st day – 30.06.2004 – Wednesday: Øksnes – Krossøy – 20/2743
We woke up to a sunny day, completely without wind, dead calm. We got in our dry washing, had breakfast and at 11.00 we set off. We got onto the 56 again in the direction of Baløy. We stopped immediately near the first Bro bridge (1) and went down to the water’s edge. After a few minutes Carla caught a lovely torsk of about 1.8 kg with her hook and I caught a mackerel of about 1 kg (2) and that was all. At 12.45 we went on towards Baløy. The little village of Baløy is all of two houses (3) with a big roundabout at the end of the road and a quay! We went back and turned left for Krossøy. The road joins little islands one to the other with a series of little bridges. Very picturesque! At 14.00 we arrived at the end of the road where a roundabout permits buses and lorries to manoeuvre. We parked in front of an incredible view of the sea. We had already been in this place in1999, we had wanted to go back in 2002 too, but that day it was pouring with rain and we had to give up. Today, instead, the weather was perfect.
For lunch we had the magnificent example of lyr we had caught the day before and which disappeared in a flash. After lunch we climbed up a nearby hill from where there was a fantastic view of the little archipelago (4, 5) and the great ocean (6). We lay in the sun, half-naked. It was hot.
After dinner we went fishing under the bridge and managed to catch a nice sei. Today was a success. We caught about 3kg of fish, the fridge was full again! Later we went back up the hill to enjoy the colours of the sunset for a long time. Spectacular!
22nd day – 01.07.2004 – Thursday: Krossøy – Mjømna – 77/2820km
After the previous day, full of sun and success in fishing and ending with a wonderful, red sunset, today threatened rain from early on. Four days had passed without rain, a record! Later we went for a walk, in a light drizzle through the houses of Krossøy. All together in 500m there is all Krossøy. The nature is beautiful but there aren’t any paths for walks, a pity!
At about 12.00 we took the road back in the direction of Årås. During the journey we stopped in the open countryside (1) near a house, very isolated and very beautiful, situated in a stupendous position (2). It had a roof covered with earth, full of grass and flowers and was above a little gulf/marina, very well protected from the wind and waves (3).
When we arrived at Årås we bought food and filled up with water again at the petrol station. And the sun came out again! We left for Toftegård and parked near a little quay (4) for lunch we cooked two big torsk steaks. To lick your chops! Carla went fishing to amuse herself and caught a little sei (5). It was sunny and warm again.
We set off again at 16.00. Before Leirvåg we stopped in an “F” bay and Carla tried all her fishing skills (6) but didn’t catch anything. Later we drove through a heavy downpour and at about 17.20, at the port of Leirvåg, we got on the ferry for Sløvåg and Skipavik: 83 NOK (60 + 23). Exactly like in 2002. the crossing took place in a baptism of water. From Sløvåg we went on, on the same ferry, to Skipavik, where we got off on the island of Sandøy. It had stopped raining. We immediately set off to look for a fishing village, small but pretty, with the intention of stopping for a couple of days.
6 km further on, in front of a big bridge, we turned right in the direction of Skjerjehamn. After about a kilometre the asphalt disappeared and only a narrow dirt road remained. We went back, crossed the bridge and arrived at the island of Mjømna, then further on, the island of Byrknasøy and finally we arrived at the village of Byrknes which is really on the edge of the ocean. Here we hoped to stop and find a good place for fishing, but we couldn’t find any parking places near the sea. We didn’t like the village much either so we decided to leave. We turned left immediately and set off northwards to the little island of Grima. All these islands are now connected by beautiful, modern bridges. At the end of the road we finally arrived at a strait with the island of Køkksøy where we found a nice parking place but full of cars and people. Everyone parks here then sets off in their little boats for the islands of Køkksøy and Kvørsøy, where there aren’t any connections with bridges yet. The cars arrive full of shopping done in the supermarkets. They load it onto their little boats. All this noise and confusion made us flee again to look for something better and more silent.
Disappointed, we went back to the island of Mjømna. We turned northwards. Carla wasn’t in agreement because she thought that there couldn’t be anything interesting. On the map we saw that the road ended with a church so I decided to try it. In Norway there is always a cemetery near a church and a car park. And so there was! When we got to the town of Mjømna, at the end of the road, we found the church, a nice car park near a little wooden quay, where the worshipers, when they went to church, could park their cars or tie up their boats. We parked, as usual, half a metre from the sea! There was a fantastic view of the fiord, the silence was absolute and there wasn’t a living soul. Wonderful!
Of course, I immediately tried fishing and caught a lovely example of lyr of more than 2 kg (7, 8, 9). For dinner Carla prepared an excellent fish broth, obtained by cooking the big torsk and lyr heads. After dinner we watched the semi final: Czech Republic – Greece, where the Czechs unfortunately lost at the last minute. During the night it started to rain but we were in our beautiful parking place in our comfortable, little house, in an excellent position for fishing so we didn’t care if it rained. Rain as much as you want!
23rd day – 02.07.2004 – Friday: Mjømna – 0/2820km
In the morning it rained until 10.00 then began to brighten up. From the quay I caught a little lyr. Later a grandfather arrived with his two grandsons of about 10 years old (one of the two little ones was coloured) and they started fishing. The boys fished like mad and the grandfather cleaned the fish. After a while Carla prepared Wasa crackers covered with Nutella for the two fishers, which they accepted happily with broad smiles. Before leaving the grandfather came with six tasty-looking fish fillets. We didn’t know what to say, could we refuse? We invited them all into the camper, offered fruit juice and sat and chatted. The boys spoke English well as they had learned it at school and they translated for the grandfather. The grandfather went away with a litre of wine, he was surely happier than us. And “poor” us – we were as rich as kings with fish.
At about 13.00 Carla had the idea of fishing (again?!) near an abandoned quarry, at about 250 m from our parking place. She didn’t manage to catch anything while I caught a torsk, a lange (ling), which is similar to an eel but of a lighter colour (1) and a bergylt. In total about 2kg of fish (2).
In the afternoon after tucking away the six fillets, the sun came out and we went for a nice walk around our car park (3). We climbed about a bit on the rocks, walked on the fields full of flowers (Aaron’s rod, mullein) which seemed cotton buds (4). In the end we went to the town, arriving at a quay (5) where the small but very fast ships moor, that connect various islands with Ålesund in the north and Bergen in the south. The town of Mjømna has probably about thirty houses, some of them very luxurious. All of them are in wood and very pretty.
When we got back we were busy filleting the fish and filling our mini freezer. For dinner we stuffed ourselves on fish again, but the fridge is always full. Carla soused (pickled) the big mackerel so it would keep for a long time even if it wasn’t in the fridge. In the evening I went fishing again and caught a nice torsk of about 1 kg. I freed it carefully from the hook and put it back into the sea. We didn’t know what to do with it. Later, towards 23.00 we fished again from our quay which was 8m from the camper and took a really nice lyr of about 1.5 kg. Fortunately, at that moment a group of young Norwegian students from Bergen arrived, visiting a friend. They were coming back from fishing for about one hour near the quarry and had caught between them 5 or 6 little fish (about half a kilo altogether). I made them a much appreciated present: the big lyr, I had just fished! They were very happy and we couldn’t believe it: we, inexpert fishers from the Adriatic, caught and made presents of fish to Norwegian fishermen to not leave them hungry?
Later we played cards until midnight and then off to bed. The night was peaceful, which is normal here!
24th day – 03.07.2004 – Saturday – Mjømna – 0/2820km
In the morning it started raining at about 8.00 and at about 9.00 a strong north wind blew up too. We got up at 10.30, when it had stopped raining and prepared breakfast for 11.00! An appalling lifestyle, perhaps a bit too tumultuous!! How many things in just 3 hours! Before lunch, which we planned for 14.00, I went out to fish. Again I caught a lyr of about 1 kg, which I immediately put back into the sea. Pulling it out hadn’t been easy, the poor beast thrashed about, loosing a lot of its strength so when I put it back, it didn’t show signs of life and started to sink slowly but then it started to move again, swim into the deeper water and disappear. This time we missed lunch and, at 15.00 we drank only some milk with coffee (1).
Outside all was quiet and the sea was dead calm, in the sky some little clouds and lots of sunshine. We wanted to do some rock climbing and went about 500 m down the coast (2). We wanted to climb a hill but it was impossible to get to it. The ground was swampy (3). We found a nice place among the rocks and, almost naked, sunbathed in the blazing sun. At 19.00 we went back home. Abundant fish for dinner (4), of course! After dinner we rested pleasantly near our panoramic window with a view of the sea (5,6). In the evening at about 23.00, when the tide was at its highest, I went out to fish on the quay.
First I caught a medium-sized sei and after I hooked a big fish, a torsk of more than 2 kg (7, 8). I struggled quite a lot to pull it out. I called Carla who arrived immediately with a landing-net and we got it. We filleted it immediately and put it in the fridge. With the enormous head and what was left after filleting, Carla will make a delicious broth tomorrow.
After cards to one o’clock at night.
25th day – 04.07.2004 – Sunday: Mjømna – 0/2820
We woke up at 9.00 to a lovely, sunny day (1). The wind had gone. Towards 10.00 cars started to arrive in the car park with worshipers. One family arrived in a motorboat and tied up at the quay. It seemed that there was a baptism that day. At 11.00 the mass started.
We went back to the rocks to sunbathe (2) like the day before only, this time, we had to find a sheltered place as a light wind started to blow and, although it was pleasant for people with clothes on, it wasn’t for those without clothes. At 14.00 we were back in our little home again and we followed the Grand Prix in France while enjoying the tasty torsk broth. Of course Ferrari won with Schumacher. After lunch we continued sunbathing inside the camper and towards evening we went for a walk to Mjømna. For dinner fish, sausage with mustard, wine and the final Greece – Portugal 1:0!!!
At 23.30 bed. Today was a strange day. We didn’t fish once, we didn’t even try!?! Crazy!!
26th day – 05.07.2004 – Monday: Mjømna - Furenes – 40/2860km
Today we woke up at 10.30!!! We are getting later and later, that is, we are always moving up the time to get up! The weather stayed nice. Today we had to get some fish because, in the afternoon we would continue our journey and we only had two fillets in the fridge. Beautiful but only two and also the pickled mackerel. In the freezer we still had 1.5 kg of frozen fish, but this was our reserve for the days when we would be in the internal part of Norway, where there aren’t any fish. We couldn’t be sure that we would be in a good place for fishing the next day, or not and therefore we had to be ready for every possibility.
We had the two fillets for lunch. At 14.00 I went fishing, that is, I went out of the camper, walked for two metres and launched the spinner. In half an hour I caught three lovely lyr in the order 1.0, 0.75, and finally 1.5 kg (1, 2, 3). The total weight was 3.25 kg (4)! We cut them into fillets immediately and put them in the fridge. The left-over were for the broth. Our fridge was full again!
At 17.00 we left Mjømna, at 17.39 we arrived at Skipavik and at 18.40 we took the ferry for Sløvåg, 60 NOK (42+18). We followed the route for the Hatlevik camp site about 6 km further on, which we had noticed in 1999 (see 12.07.1999) for its good position in a little fiord, when we passed on the road above the camp site. In 2002 we had planned to stop at the camp site for 4 days but when we got off the ferry at Sløvåg then, it was pouring with rain and we weren’t very enthusiastic about camping on the wet ground and soggy earth. Today, instead, it was a beautiful day and we hoped to go onto the water with our little rubber dinghy as the camp site was situated in a pretty little fiord that was well protected, in other words, on a sheet of water without waves.
We parked in front of the camp site and went to check out the situation. The camp site wasn’t very big but it was completely full of big caravans, which seemed to be there to be rented, surely not at a low price. Many were without wheels and all of them had beautiful, big terraces, made of wood, with a wonderful view of the fiord. Many were empty and just taking up space, perhaps they had been booked and paid for in advance. But they occupied any place that we might have taken so we didn’t know where to put ourselves. Perhaps we could have found a place but far from the water and without a view. That didn’t interest us at all, our free parking places are 100 times better and are more beautiful. The price to camp was 120 NOK/night and renting a boat with an outboard motor was 130 NOK/day. We spoke to a German couple who had camped there already 3 weeks. They had come to Norway every year for 20 years. They had a rubber dinghy with an outboard motor and went fishing but, they said that this year there weren’t any fish in the fiord. We decided to go and look for a parking place, an isolated place, with no noise and a nice view of the sea. It would surely be better than this place!
We set off northwards on the 57, in front of Eidsbotn in Eidsfjorden, we turned left and at 20.00 we arrived at Furenes (5), a small but pretty fishing village with beautiful houses, some of them very big and old. It was clean and quiet, situated on the long and beautiful Brandangersund strait.
We parked near the sea, of course (6). We met an old local man, Einar Austgulen, (www.scandio.no/article/articlprint/961/-1/178/), who invited us into his little private museum full of everything, old and new, a bit kitsch. A very warm and friendly man. We invited him to drink a glass of good Istrian grappa with the inevitable: Skol!
At 21.15 Carla began to prepare dinner and at 22.00 we ate a fabulous “brodetto” with “polenta”. After dinner we went for a walk to the town, or more precisely on a hill overlooking the bay. We were in bed before 24.00. A profound silence.
27th day – 06.07.2004 – Tuesday: Furenes – Solleibotn – 49/2909km
During the night, at about 4.00, it started to rain and at 9.00, when we got up the weather was cloudy (1) but it wasn’t raining. In the morning we visited the town again (2) and the port. In the port we met a young couple from Bergen with an eight-year old son. They had bought an old fishing boat, restored it (3) and now they were travelling from Bergen northwards along the Atlantic coast. The boat was very nice and seemed very robust in order to support even heavy seas (a good fishing boat!). They had made it spacious and comfortable with a good motor, probably not very fast but not a big consumer of fuel either. A fantastic craft!
We set off at 11.45, first towards the north to Selvåg and then we wanted to go on to Brandanger, but the road was bad so we turned back. We stopped at Eidsbotn. At the petrol station there was a supermarket that was well-stocked so we bought some food. They accepted Visa without problems. We went on northwards and, near Nordgulen, we turned left to Solleibotn. We stopped on a little car park on the side of the road a bit before Eivindvik and ate two of the delicious lyr fillets from yesterday. There were more in the fridge!
We crossed Eivindvik and, at 14.45, we arrived at Solleibotn, in our old parking place from 2002, near the quay. A little surprise: the car park was full of cars (4), which are parked here, it seems, from Monday to Friday, when the owners come back from Bergen, or some other place. Two years before a car or two came to the quay only when the ships arrived, which weren’t many and at night time it was empty. We drank a coffee and Carla went to pick blueberries, she can’t live without picking them! We tried fishing and I caught two little sei. That’s interesting – the fish that wasn’t!
For dinner, for a change, we ate eggs and bacon and sausage. The weather was rather cloudy but without rain. In the evening a small goods ship arrived to unload two wood beams. Unfortunately it remained tied up to the dock all the night. Its generator rumbled all the night, not very loudly, but at only 20 m from us. There was nothing we could do! We survived!
28th day – 07.07.2004 – Wednesday: Solleibotn – 0/2909km
It started raining during the night and went on and off tormenting us for the rest of the day. At 8.00 the ship cast off and silence returned. For lunch two lyr fillets, delicacies for the gods! After lunch I tried fishing and managed to get three little sei. Two years before we had caught a lot of fish from this quay and the sea was full of fish (see Norway 2002 – 16.6.). Today it was almost sterile! We discovered that the cause was the traffic of the passenger ships. Every day, 5 or 6 times, very fast passenger ships of the jet catamaran type with a speed of about 30 miles/h moor here. We never saw them two years before. During their arrivals and departures, these ships with their powerful jets (1, 2, 3) mix the water very strongly down to the sea floor, making the fish disappear (4). We saw people fishing all the morning from a boat. Despite the fact that they changed position continuously, it seemed that they didn’t catch anything much.
With pleasant sunshine Carla and I went for a walk to Eivindvik. Half way there I said goodbye to Carla and went back because I saw a black cloud arriving and, of course, I hadn’t got my umbrella. Carla had a rain jacket and continued (in Eivindvik she bought tomatoes for 20 NOK). I managed to get to the camper and escape the rain on the last minute, but it soon stopped raining again.
In the evening, after the excellent fish fillets, we admired the beautiful colours of the clouds (5) that were created during the sunset and Carla photographed them. It didn’t rain and the colours were fantastic (6, 7)!
29th day – 08.07.2004 – Thursday: Solleibotn – Rysjedalsvika – 38/2947km
We woke up in the morning to sunshine, a blue sky and white clouds. Finally it was a bit hot. I was outside on the quay bare-chested. Near the car park there is an attractive building with an office for the ships which make a shuttle service between here and other localities. The building is practically always empty, only when a ship arrives or leaves can passengers or a clerk busy with the paperwork for boarding be seen. At that moment nobody was there. In the waiting room there is a toilet and also a small room reserved for mothers with babies (to clean them and change nappies etc.). It was all very clean and in order. We used a little of the hot water to wash our hair. The sun was our hairdryer.
At 12.00 we set off towards the 57 with really beautiful weather. After 3 km we stopped in Eivindvik and went shopping in the SPAR supermarket (paying with Visa), we loaded up with water and continued to Rutledal. Here, at 13.25, we took the ferry for Rysjedalsvika, 89 NOK (65 + 24). We got off again after 100 m and turned left onto a very narrow road, fortunately asphalted, but only 3.2 m wide, in the direction of Sognes.
Such narrow roads are not rare in Norway. Often you find, even on state roads, short stretches that are so narrow that two vehicles cannot pass, one beside the other, even if they go at a minimum speed. These roads have a wider space along them from time to time 8100 – 200 m), where one of the vehicles must go to let the other pass. Considering the not very intense traffic in Norway, on the side roads that lead to small villages, but also on more important roads in mountainous areas, the Norwegians have found a solution that helps them to save: build very narrow roads, but with these wider points. In compensation, almost all Norwegian roads have a very good asphalted surface, they are straight and without holes.
After about 2 km we stopped on one of these wider places (1) immediately above the sea and here, with a lovely hot sun, a stupendous view and in absolute silence, we ate lunch (2). Carla prepared pasta with a tasty sauce and I went fishing but there weren’t any fish, the sea was too low. So I went to pick blueberries which were growing everywhere. I picked two good portions for the after lunch dessert (3). Good, very good!
At 15.40 we went on our way (4). We passed the villages of Nesje and Sætevik and reached the end of the road, which finishes in the yard of a little farm in the village of Sognes. We thought that Sognes was near the sea but, instead it is quite high up and far from the sea, in addition a strong wind was blowing from the west (5). The weather was still very good but with a wind like that it was rather cold high up. We went back. We stopped near a little floating quay facing the port of Rysjedalsvika and parked on the side of the road. With the wheels in the canal to leave space for other vehicles to pass, but leaning a bit too much to one side. Unfortunately here there were no wider spaces along the road.
Carla went out to pick blueberries and I went onto the quay to fish. For a start I pulled two small torsk out of the water, followed by two lyr and then another torsk, after that a lyr of about 1 kg, then I hooked a bergylt (6) of about 1.5 kg and finally an enormous torsk weighing more than 2.5 kg (7). Altogether more than 7 kg of fish in 45 minutes (8). I stopped fishing as I already had a lot and went to look for Carla. She had picked one and a half litres of blueberries! We started cleaning and filleting the fish. The fridge was full to bursting again!
We move the camper from the road and went onto an open space above our quay, small but flat (9). We decided to pass the night there. With the big heads and the left-over of the cleaning Carla prepared a tasty broth for dinner. It was still sunny.
The night again was silent.
30th day – 09.07.2004 – Friday: Rysjedalsvika – Fure – 71/3018km
We got up at 9.00. The weather was good again, very sunny and hot. (1). I realised that the fridge wasn’t working well and was very worried for all the fish we had in it. Probably the day before, when we had parked the camper for two hours in a very inclined position, something happened to the fridge. I checked everything and managed to put everything to rights! It was very hot, I walked around the camper without a shirt, bare-chested despite the wind!
At 12.00 we set off along the 607. We stopped at Hyllestad, bought food and paid with Visa, the same as in 2002. It’s a small town with a very nice, well-stocked supermarket where you can pay with a credit card! They are really very good! Near the supermarket in this little place, though not exactly a village, there is also a sports stadium, without stands, of course but with a ground covered with artificial grass. Very clean, soft and beautiful, a great sight to see!
We went on and got Diesel oil at Sørbøvag then continued immediately on our way. We stopped again for lunch on an open space along the road after Bjørnestad, above a fiord. Unlimited fish again! In the fiord there was a little station with a hydroplane that went round and made a lot of noise. At 15.00 we were off again. We crossed Sellevoll (were we stopped to pick blueberries – lots) and Folkestad (2). We arrived at Våge and turned south towards Korssund where the road ends in a camping place, not very crowded and right next to the sea. We turned back and went to Lammetun where we reached another camp site, very nice and green, where there were 5-6 caravans but not a living soul to be seen. On the hill above the camp site we visited the remains of a German fortress (3) from the Second World War (there was a bunker and the base for a cannon).
We went back again and went on to Fure where we parked finally in the nice car park for the ferry boats at the port, at 19.30. The car park is very big, relatively empty and with a lovely view of the sea. We decided to stay there for the night and go on the next day. For dinner the pickled mackerel from Krossøy. Another beautiful sunset on the horizon, all the western sky a mix of colours (4) that went from pink to dark red (5, 6). Carla took mountains of photos again, she can’t resist pink clouds at the moment the sun goes down (7).
Carla di nuovo scatta una marea di foto, il suo debole sono le nuvole rosa nel momento del tramonto (7).
Later TV, cards and bed at 24.00. A tranquil night.
31st day – 10.07.2004 – Saturday: Fure – Straumsnes 19/3037km
The morning was sunny and calm. I got up and went to change the gas cylinder which was empty. It had lasted a month. I changed it with a partially empty one (40% full) that I had kept as a reserve in the trunk on the roof because it was lighter. There was another full one in the gas compartment. I took this partially empty one to guarantee the 75-day journey. Will we reach Italy with this reserve? We must save gas from today. We must do the washing up in cold water from now on!
In the car park we met Pierre a young Frenchman from Grenoble. He was travelling by bicycle. He was waiting for the ferry to go to Askvoll. He arrived by air from France to Bergen and intended to get to Tromsø in 4 weeks. According to the Michelin Guide there are about 1750 km following the faster roads inland but following the coast he will do more kilometres. It won’t be easy, the roads aren’t flat. From Tromsø he will go back by air via Oslo, Frankfurt and Lyon. How brave! He slept in camp sites, every day a different one, in his tent. Carla offered him hot tea with biscuits which he accepted willingly!
At 11.45 we left going east for Straumsnes. After 10 km we got onto the 607 and here, on the road near Hellevik, we found a well-stocked supermarket. We bought food and paid with Visa! We went on, before Tysse we turned left and at 12.15 we arrived in our old parking place in Straumsnes. We parked on the dock (1), again half a metre from the sea, it was possible to fish from the window! The weather was really beautiful. We asked at the only house near the dock if we could park there. OK, of course!
After lunch (fillets of lyr and bergylt) we watched the news on TV. At 16.30 we set off for the mountain, like two years before. This time we took a different path (2) reaching a height of 250 m. The nature was fantastic, the view of the sea and the ocean unforgettable (3). We went back by another path (4) through a wood (5, 6) via Åsnes. The sky was cloudless, it was hot, we were wearing only T-shirts. During the walk we did a total of 6,5 km but half of it was climbing up, very steeply. We wanted to go up again the next day and hoped to reach the top of the mountain at about 450 m.
We went back at 19.15
For dinner Carla cooked a delicious fish “brodetto” (7, 8). The night was calm, without traffic and without people. Nearby a couple of sea birds (black and white with long, thin, red beaks, that when they fly low over the surface of the water cry: quik, quik...) seemed to have built a nest and now they were taking their little one around giving him life lessons. During the night they flew onto the dock, walked about and made a concert, right when we were sleeping so nicely.
In the morning we woke up to a big surprise: the sky was cloudy. Low clouds. The peaks of all the mountains around us were covered with clouds! Fortunately, at about 10.00 the weather started to improve and at 12.00 it was beautiful again, sunny and hot, but windy. I tried fishing from the dock and managed to catch a small lyr. Under the dock were passing a large number of mackerel. It was the first time I had seen them this year but they didn’t seem interested in my spinner. Every year we have fished large numbers of mackerel from the first day of our arrival in Norway, but they haven’t arrived this year yet. Here and there we managed to fish one but we haven’t had a good catch yet. Two years before we fished mackerel like mad and we had to stop because we were catching too many. This year nothing! The local people said they hadn’t arrived yet and couldn’t understand why.
Two big fillets of torsk for lunch (1). After lunch the Grand Prix from Silverstone. The Ferrari and Schumacher were first again. At 15.50 we went back to the mountain and our climb (2). Today we took a steeper path than yesterday, because we wanted to get higher up, to the top of the mountain. We found the dried out tree we had photographed two years before and we found the stone bench too, with a fantastic view of the ocean and the signs for the paths (3) where the climb finished two years before. This time we went through a very thick wood, came out into a clearing, walked on for another ten minutes and, after 2.5 hours, we arrived at the top (4, 5, 6) of Sylvsteinheia (414 m). All around us was covered with blueberries (7).
We decided to go on to another mountain top. We had to go down first into a valley and then climb up again. As we were going down, in a steep place, I put my foot down badly, slipped and twisted my foot a little, it started to hurt and I had to go down carefully. Climbing up again wasn’t a problem. After 45 minutes we arrived at the second peak Arsteinheia – 440 m (8, 9). We rested for a little then went on along another path which turned out to be little used by alpinists and also badly indicated. Finally, after crossing quite swampy ground and a wood, we arrived at our stone bench with wet feet (we had set off again in sandals). Carla was ahead of me and saw a roe deer, which disappeared into the wood in a second. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to see it.
We rested on the bench for 5 minutes then going on was child’s play! We went down a nice path. and got home at 20.45 (10) after 5 hours. We were tired but happy because we had done what we had wanted to do. Fortunately the weather was very good. Our home was waiting for us on the dock. For dinner Carla prepared pasta and the remains of the pickled fish. We ate with a fabulous view of the sea before us with a couple of dolphins going round hunting fish.
During the night the birds organised another concert on the dock so that at 5.30 I was obliged to go out of the camper and chase them away.
33rd day – 12.07 2004 – Monday: Straumsnes – Askvoll – 58/3095km
We got up at 9.30, it was cloudy again. At about 12.00 some rays of sun managed to break through the clouds and we pulled up the anchor (1). We took the 607 and near Flekke we turned left onto the 57 for Dale, a very nice road. At Dale, in the Spar supermarket we bought food and paid with VISA! At 15.45 we took the ferry for Elkenes (2), 86 NOK (60 + 23). We stopped at Holmedal on a lovely big, free car park near the sea and a church (3), exactly on the opposite side of the Straumsnes fiord (4). In the photo, on the right side a white house is visible. This is the house on the dock where we were parked (1). On the left you can see the mountain where we had been climbing the previous two days.
We went for a short walk up to a quay in front of a cutlery factory. In a short time a west wind blew up, rather strong. Our parking place was right in the direction of the wind, which wasn’t very nice. We went on, crossing Askvoll in the direction of Follevåg. We stopped halfway because Carla wanted to pick blueberries and she got a large quantity for dinner. We went on, hoping to find a quay suitable for parking and fishing, but, at Follevåg, the road ended in a farmyard again. We were far from the sea and could only go back (5) to Askvoll (6) where we found a parking place near a church, below the road straight by the sea (7).
The parking place was very nice and grassy. There was some traffic on the nearby road but we hoped it would be quieter during the night. The wind was still rather strong, the sky only partially clear of clouds and quite cold. It hadn’t rained for 6days. For dinner we had “wurstels” with mustard and potato salad. After that blueberries for dessert. All Norwegian products. We had decided to have just a quick snack for lunch, rather than a complete meal. We had put on weight and we could also save gas! What an excuse!
The night was calm, without traffic, except for the birds that held a concert from time to time. Five minutes of peace, two of concert.
34th day – 13.07.2004 – Tuesday: Askvoll – Forde 102/3197km
The weather was quite good in the morning, we could see clouds in a blue sky, the wind had dropped a little. At 11.00 we bought food then set off on the 609 northwards. Near Stongfjorden we turned left onto a narrow road in the direction of Holevik. The scenery was very beautiful and the weather pleasant.
At Stavenes we visited the remains of old tombs that were really big piles of stones arranged in circles of about two metres. Here we found some inscriptions on the rocks. But all the explanations that were written on numerous signboards, and which probably explained these remains were not there anymore and so it wasn’t possible to find anything out about them. The path that leads from one group of remains to another was quite long, about 800mt and it’s really a pity that the explanations had disappeared. Near the path which ran parallel with the coast at a distance of about 30 m from the sea, we also found the carcass of a whale about 6 m long, already decomposing. Carla took the bone of the tail fin as a souvenir.
We arrived at Holevik and a surprise was waiting for us again. The road ended in a very small bay, not deep, with three houses round it and no way out. We stopped 100 m before and tried fishing. We were on the open sea again but it wasn’t rough. There were no good positions for fishing here. The coast was very steep with big rocks, it was hard to get down to the water and there was a lot of seaweed in the water. The big ones with very long leaves are a problem when pulling the spinner out of the water. There is the danger that it ends up in the seaweed with only a small possibility of recuperating it.
We went back to Stongfjorden continuing north and, at Vagane we turned left again in the direction of Stavestrand. We found a very narrow road and the sea very shallow (1) and all the coast full of seaweed. After 3 km we gave up and went back. We went on along the east coast of the Førdefjorden, we visited the small but pretty village of Flokenes and after 10 km we turned left again (2). We went down steep, tight bends to Kvammen, a pretty village. We found a parking place near an old quay, there wasn’t a living soul there. We tried fishing and caught 2 lyr and 1 bergylt. Altogether more than 1 kg. A lovely torsk got free from the hook when it was already out of the water.
In the end we decided not to sleep there because the next morning we had to meet at Førde our friend Francesco Macri from Taranto. He had got in touch with us today from the Briksdal glacier and tomorrow he would arrive in Førde. It was better to go there and find a parking place in the evening as in the morning it would be full of traffic and finding a good parking place wouldn’t be easy. I met Francesco on the Internet. Now he was returning from the north, from Saltstraumen, and was going home after having toured around Norway a little.
We arrived at Førde, 30 km from Kvammen, at 19.00 and parked near the river, behind the commercial houses and with a lovely view of the river and the hills (3). For dinner there was so much fish, it was difficult to eat it all. For dessert strawberries and blueberries.
At about 22.00 it started to rain (after 7 days!), light at first but heavy during the night!
35th day – 14.07.2004 – Wednesday: Førde – Veiesund – 68/3265km
The morning was cloudy but without rain. At 10.00 Francesco, Annamaria and their son Emanuele arrived. Finally we could really meet them because, up to yesterday, we only knew each other virtually, via e-mail. We went to the supermarket to do some shopping then left on the 5 in the direction of Florø: The weather was improving. Near Naustdal we turned left onto the 611. We stopped near Vevring and tried fishing. Francesco managed to catch a torsk, a bit small (1), otherwise nothing! We went on and dropped down into the beautiful town of Stavang with a lovely port and car park. We only stayed a few minutes then went on. Immediately after the Hellevik bridge we went down to the sea, parked under the bridge and tried fishing but there was no trace of fish.
Finally we arrived at Veiesund, the most western point of the island of Stavøy. A fantastic sun accompanied us, the wind had almost disappeared and it was hot. We found a great, empty car park at 50m from the port where campers were not allowed to enter.
We went fishing from the quay. Emanuele immediately caught a torsk (2) and after him, Carla caught a lyr (3). I was left empty-handed in the port so I moved onto the rocks and managed to catch two torsk, one weighing more than a kilo.
In the evening Annamaria prepared a super dinner. Pasta with aubergines (egg plant), meat, green and carrot salad and, at the end a cake with blueberries and strawberries. All accompanied by a good red wine brought by Francesco and a friendly chat. Before bed a walk along the shore (4). The night was silent.
36th day – 15.07.2004 – Thursday: Veiesund – Eikefjord – 52/3317km
In the morning the weather was bad, cloudy with a strong wind. At 10.30 it started to rain. And with all this rain we went fishing! Carla caught a little torsk. It was cold and damp on the quay – we hurried back to the camper. We put all in order and set off again. We stopped under the Hellevik bridge again where there was neither wind nor rain. Finally Francesco gave us the proof that he was a true fisherman pulling out of the water a beautiful lyr of about 2 kg (1). In the meantime Annamaria prepared another fantastic meal: “pappardelle” and pizza and Carla prepared prawn cocktail in mayonnaise with tomatoes for starters. During lunch it started to rain quite heavily.
At 16.00 we said goodbye and Francesco took the road to Førde and Bergen, while we headed northeast, in the direction of Eikefjord. Heavy rain accompanied us during the journey. At Eikefjord we found a nice car park near a supermarket, on a little quay near a sports port, behind a petrol station. The rain got on our nerves, all the evening and all the night. At 23.00, during a short break in the rain, I went fishing and brought back a torsk. The night was OK!
37th day – 16.07.2004 - Friday: Eikefjord – Florø – Krokane – 28/3345km
The night passed quietly but we were woken already at 7.00 in the morning by the lorries that arrived, one after the other until 8.30. They brought goods to the SPAR supermarket where we bought food (they wouldn't accept Visa) and Diesel oil (they accepted Visa)!?? Carla went fishing in the port and caught a sei so dinner was assured. We had been completely without fish because we had given all we had to Francesco. He had to travel quickly to Bergen and then Denmark and probably wouldn't have time to go fishing. Now they had some fish in their fridge that would last for a few days. We had time to find some more.
At 11.00 we left on the 5 for Florø, which was only 30 km away. Florø is a small, pretty town where we had been in 1999 but from which we had had to flee because we didn’t find a place to park. Today it was the same story, it was only possible to park for an hour, paying for it. We found a parking place outside the town centre but we weren’t sure we could park there.
After a walk round the town and the port we had lunch then fled at 17.00 to the Krokane camp site which is 2 km from Florø. It has quite a nice position by the sea. The price was 100 NOK a day. We went there because Carla wanted to do the washing and here we had washing machines and driers at our disposition. It cost 10 NOK to use them. We wanted to have a nice shower too. A shower for 6 minutes: 10 NOK. It was also possible to rent a motorboat: 120 NOK an hour, 250 NOK/4 hours and 300 NOK/24 hours. We weren’t interested in this. The weather was good again, fair, sunny and hot. After dinner at 22.30 we went onto the rocks inside the camp site and in half an hour Carla caught a torsk of about 1kg and I caught a little sei. The sea was dead calm.
The night was tranquil.
38th day – 17.07.2004 – Saturday: Krokane – Florø – Botnane – 102/3447km
The morning started immediately with the rain beating on our roof. Quite unexpectedly because in the night at 24.00 the sky was clear and starry. We got up at 9.00.
After such a long time a long shower was obviously much appreciated. The weather started improving and at about 11.00 we left the camp site in the direction of Florø where we posted some postcards. In the early afternoon, towards 14.00 we went on in the direction of Grov where we left the 5 turning left onto the 614 northwards. We wanted to stop in a nice place near the sea but we didn’t find anything suitable. We knew this road well from 1999. We went through a tunnel that was 4 km long, came out on the other side of the mountain and near Myklebust we turned left on a narrow side road in the direction of Botnane. There was one fiord after another and we had to drive with great care because the road was really narrow and with treacherous bends. After Botnane we stopped (1) in a lay by “P” and Carla cooked fish for dinner. We were very hungry and ate till we burst! Later on TV there was the Tour de France. In an hour, on the road near us no more than 3 cars passed by. We amused ourselves picking blueberries.
At about 18.00 we went on towards the south. The weather was bad again and it was raining lightly when we reached the end of the road on a quay in the little village of Årebrot. The last three kilometres weren’t asphalted but the road was in good condition. It was our intention to pass the night there but, unfortunately, we didn’t find a place free. On the quay there were two enormous camper buses of American make with www.usawohnmobile.ch written on them, then there were two or three campers or caravans and a terrible disorder. It seemed like a nomad camp. All the vehicles had Swiss number plates?! They told us that they were on private land (the quay?) and that they could stay there because they had the permission of the owner?! Bah, we turned round and went back to Botnane where, at the end of a bay, we found another quay and parked. During the night a very strong wind blew up, similar to the wind “bora” (Trieste) with gusts and accompanied by rain. Unfortunately our camper was facing the wind so that during the night, the wind blew out the flame of the fridge. A very windy night, rocking us to sleep – more or less!
39th day – 18.07.2004 – Sunday: Botnane – 8/3455km
In the morning the “bora” disappeared and the rain with it. I turned the fridge on again. Carla picked blueberries. I went to talk to a fisherman who had arrived on the quay to clean his nets of seaweed and crabs that were caught in them. It seems that he had pulled out his nets a couple of days ago and left them in a plastic container. Probably he had taken only the fish and taken them home and had decided to leave the crabs as they were not easy to extract from the net. It was really a pity because there were a lot of them and some were very big, up to a kilo but today they were already smelly. They could only be thrown back into the sea, at least twenty kilos!
Later we went back to the lay by “P” of the day before (1). In the meantime the weather had become very nice and sunny. I went fishing. Getting to the sea wasn’t easy, the ground was swampy and in sandals it was hard. It was difficult to fish from the rocks because of the heavy swell. Near the shore there was a lot of seaweed and it was difficult to pull out the spinner without getting hooked up in it. I gave up and went back to the camper. In the meantime Carla had prepared a good broth with her cod and during the meal we watched the German Motor Prix (Biaggi first, Rossi, unfortunately, only sixth). After lunch Carla went back picking blueberries and I amused myself watching the Tour de France. Later I went to pick blueberries too and in the end we had about 3 kg (2). Carla made lots of jam with the blueberries, thinking it would also be a nice present for our friends. It was time to do the washing and it began to look like a gypsy camp around our camper (3).
At 20.00 we went back to Botnane, to Nordre Botnen, to be precise, where we found a parking place in the little port, of course, very close to the sea again (4). We realised that it was private land and went to ask permission and, of course, it was OK!
We were happy, we had passed a day entirely dedicated to blueberries, in full immersion in the nature, far away from everything and everybody. After dinner we played cards. We love playing a game with 104 cards, without jokers, called Tris, or otherwise Machiavelli. Something between rummy and bridge but with the advantage that it isn’t boring if only played by two, not like rummy. At 23.00 we went to bed. During the night the “bora” wind blew up again but this time the camper was turned against the wind so we didn’t have any surprises from the fridge.
40th day – 19.07.2004 – Monday: Botnane – Svelgen – 45/3500km
We woke up to clouds but it wasn’t raining. The wind was still very strong. Carla went out to photograph our overnight parking place (1). This night we had slept peacefully. We set off at about 12.00 in a good mood, we couldn’t remotely imagine what was waiting for us!
Near Gulstøa we saw a flock of wild geese resting, squatting on the rocks near the sea. Here in the fjord the wind had dropped quite a lot. We stopped in a place - “X” (see the map) which seemed suitable for fishing. The road passed about 20m above the sea and, even if it wasn’t easy to go down to the water, we decided to try. The slope was covered with enormous blocks of rocks which were created during the excavation and construction of the road. These rocks have very large surfaces, straight and smooth, they seem to have been polished and are dangerous to climb over but they were dry and we managed to get down to the sea without problems.
When we reached the sea we found that also here there was a wide band of seaweed and no possibility to fish. We decided to go back and at the same time rain clouds approached. I started to climb up and at the same time, all of a sudden, it started to rain quite heavily. I was holding my landing net in one hand and in the other I had two fishing rods and, like this, I tried to climb over the blocks that were now wet. I was standing too much straight up, I couldn’t bend forwards, I had to try to keep my balance and, as my hands were occupied, I couldn’t use them to hold on as I climbed up the very steep slope. On a shaky block I lost my balance, slipped and fell backwards down onto my back, hitting my head (the crown) against another block! Luckily it was smooth and didn’t have any bumps or sharp edges, because if it had, today I wouldn’t be among the inhabitants of the earth.
In my head I heard a thousand drums beating together with many bells ringing and in that moment I had the sensation that my head was broken and it was the end! I let out a cry of pain and Carla, who was looking for shells and had not seen the scene, hearing my cry, ran immediately to help me. Fortunately, I managed to get up immediately, by myself, I dropped the rods and everything else and I climbed up on all fours now that my hands were free, like an ibex and, in the wink of an eye, I was on the road. I thought only of climbing up and getting to the road as quickly as possible because, if I lost my senses down there, who could get me up from those blocks to the road? I could see nothing, or very badly because my glasses and face were full of blood. I begged Carla to take a photo of my hard and bloody head but, unfortunately, she refused. We went into the camper and Carla washed and cleaned the wound as best as she could and covered it with gauze.
We decided to go immediately to Svelgen, a town about 40 km away where we supposed there would be a hospital, a surgery or first-aid station. Fortunately I didn't have any problems with my sight or dizziness or any other kind so I decided to drive the camper there, as the road was very narrow and full of dangerous bends. It was some time that Carla didn't drive the camper anymore, especially on roads like that. I drove very slowly and carefully, with a hand always on the hand brake to be able to pull it immediately if I felt ill or dizzy.
We soon found a surgery at Svelgen, the hospital is at Førde. A young, Danish, lady doctor Martensen received me immediately, I didn’t have to wait. Her operation began with cutting away the hair full of coagulated blood with scissors which, unfortunately, didn’t cut and which pulled out the hair rather than cut it. This was followed by an injection of local anaesthetic in order to stitch the cut which was 10cm long, with 8 stitches. She gave me an ant tetanus and was of the opinion that there wouldn’t be any complications (if up to then I hadn’t had any). She suggested that I stayed in the area just in case, you never know! She also gave me a prescription for analgesics against possible pain. We bought them in a chemist’s but the packet remained unopened. We stayed parked in a nice car park in front of the surgery, which was overlooking the sea. In the afternoon I managed to sleep for half an hour, dirtying the pillow with blood, but I felt well!
It seems that all my luck lies in the fact that I fell on my hard head because, if I had fallen on my side, I could have broken an arm or my leg! I was born under a lucky star!
In the evening we went for a walk in the town.
The night passed peacefully.
41st day – 20.07.2004 – Tuesday: Svelgen – Rugsund – 90/3590km
In the morning we were saluted by a bright sun and white clouds in a blue sky. At about 11.30, after loading up with water in the sports port, we set off, following the north coast of the Nordgulen fiord, in the direction of the little village of Nesbø. As usual, we found ourselves on a narrow and rather dangerous road. The right speed was 30 km/hour! Up to half way, about 5 km, there was space for traffic both ways, but in the second part, the narrowest part, this was possible only in a few points. Nesbø is a village composed of 5 houses built along the road but not near to each other and without a square or side roads. Suddenly the asphalt ended and also the road (1)! We couldn’t go any further! We managed to turn the camper round and go back. After 500 m we turned right on a little road that was not much more than a path (2) and which led us to an abandoned quay (3), where we parked and had lunch. The weather was good, despite the fact that it had rained a little a couple of times. I tried fishing and caught a lovely torsk of about 1kg and a little sei. What more could you want!
In the end we decided that we didn’t like this place. There weren’t any blueberries for Carla, we couldn’t go for a walk because the space was very limited so we decided to go back to Svelgen where we arrived after 18.00 and continued immediately north-east along the 614 in the direction of Isane. We found a nice, wide road and finally the camper could go into fifth gear, despite the fact that we were going slightly uphill. The nature was very beautiful, before our eyes there opened out the panorama of a big mountain lake with a dam, beautiful forests and a little national park. Before 19.00 we were at Isane. We took the ferry for Stårheim here in 1999, on the road to Måløy. This time we only stopped for 10 minutes.
I cast my line twice and caught a little torsk then we set off again immediately towards the west, along the south cost of the Nordefjord. The weather was beautiful again, sunny and hot. After Isane the road was narrower. Up to Davik it was relatively wide then it became much narrower with a surface that wasn’t flat and full of bumps. Strange for Norway!
At 21.00 we arrived at Rugsund and stopped in a little parking place between the road and the port (4). We had passed by a big car park lovely and empty near the church but we wanted to be near the sea! Otherwise it’s not OK for us!
In the sea, in front of the port there was a salmon fish farm. There were big enclosed pools floating on big barrels. The sides and the bottom of the pools were formed of nets so that the water could flow through but the salmon couldn’t get out. Their food was dispensed by spraying it through a tube and the salmon fought with each other to get to it, leaping in a flash out of the water (5). In front of the coast there was a special ship that drained the water out of the pools, together with the salmon and poured it into the hull of another ship, or its own (6,7), in the second case, I suppose for the fish market.
At Rugsund there is a strait in the sea, Rugsundet (8), very narrow and long and this made us guess that there should be a strong current (Straume) which brings fish! At 23.00 we reached the strait and Carla immediately caught a big sei of about 1.5 kg followed by half a dozen more of the same type. We threw three back into the sea because they were too small but there was one of about 1 kg (9). We decided to stop fishing as we had about 3.5 kg of fish and we didn’t know where to put it all. We went back to the camper and started cleaning and filleting the fish. A job that took us until one o’clock in the night. We finished by celebrating with beer and the cards until 2.00. The weather was still very good. The night was silent, only the seagulls......
42nd day – 21.07.2004 – Tuesday: Rugsund – Oldeide – 37/3627km
It was a wonderful day again, hot and sunny. I, with my hard head, felt well, the wound was closing (1). Every now and again it itched but this was a good sign that it was healing!
At 11.00 we went down to fish on the Straume strait. We caught 4 sej but we threw them back into the sea as they weren’t big enough: I was fishing in my undervest, it was really hot. We went back to the camper and got ready to leave. In that moment a car arrived at the car park, it stopped in front of us at about two metres from the main road. It was driven by a young woman with a little girl of about one and a half. The little girl got out of the car completely naked, ran round the car, played on the asphalt and probably enjoyed the sun. The mother stayed in the car, perhaps watching that the little girl didn’t end up on the road but she didn’t get out. Incredible, not one person turned their heads!
At 12.00 we went on, this time towards the south (2, 3) and we stopped just before the big bridge that goes to the island of Rugsundsøy. Here we found a vast car park (4), very beautiful and empty with a little sports port but, for the moment, without toilets. We parked, had lunch and went for a walk (5). Carla went to pick blueberries and I followed the Tour on the TV. We received the picture very well, better with Astra than with Eutelsat.
At 17.30 we set off for Leirgulen (2 km), where we planned to stay the night but we couldn’t find the smallest place to park. We went back and crossed the bridge and, after about 1 km we stopped in a nice car park with facilities including water and a very clean toilet (6). Further on we passed from the island of Rugsundsøy to a bigger island, the Bremangerlandet, passing through an underwater tunnel that was opened to traffic in 2002. It was a beautiful tunnel, that passed 80 m under the Skatestraumen strait.
Coming out of the tunnel, after about 3 km we turned left and went through another tunnel, rather narrow, long, not illuminated and ugly, going towards the village of Berle. Leaving this horrid tunnel we were met by a lovely road and a stupendous fiord, but we couldn’t find anywhere to park. We went back, passing through the tunnel again and when we came out we turned left and continued along a nice, but rather narrow road, to the ferry port of Oldeide where we parked. This is the dock from where the ferryboats leave for Måløy, but we, for the moment, didn’t have this intention. First we wanted to visit all the island of Bremangerlandet. We decided to pass the night there. The ferryboats came and went and nobody asked us anything. In Norway the car parks are for parking but if you want to stay overnight, you can do it.
For dinner fish, of course. At 22.00 we went to fish on the dock. Carla caught two nice mackerel and I got a sei and a lyr. After we played cards a little and then went to bed.
The night passed very quietly.
43rd day – 22.07.2004 – Thursday: Oldeide – Smørhamn – 47/3674km
Another sunny day. We got up, as usual, at 9.00 for breakfast (1). We didn’t set off until 11.00 southwards on the 616 with the intention of exploring all the island of Bremangerlandet. From Oldeide the road climbs up a mountain, goes through a tunnel and comes out on the southern side of the mountains in beautiful and pleasant countryside (2). We went down towards Bremanger and here we turned right. In the pretty tourist town of Hauge we bought food and paid with Visa. We went on as far as Grotle, where the road ends in a big, sandy beach. It cost 30 NOK to park there.
Thanks to the wonderful, sunny weather, the beach was full of bathers, big and small. Unfortunately the wind was blowing from the west, from the ocean and the beach was exposed directly to the wind. We didn’t feel a great desire to take our clothes off and even less to go for a swim. We went back about 1 km where we found a nice car park along the road, we stopped for lunch and, at 100 m from the car park, we found another beach, very small but sheltered from the wind. We went to sunbathe, here it was very hot (3, 4) and we were alone. Very quiet! Carla decided to go for a swim in her birthday suit (5, 6).
At about 18.00 we decided to leave. Before we left Carla walked as far as the big beach to take some photos. The beach had emptied (7), the wind had done its work, but it was also rather late (8). As we set off we immediately realised that the roof window over the bathroom was loose. We stopped in the car park of a church and with a new screw and a little silicon we resolved the problem. On the road again we arrived at the southernmost point of the island at Kalvåg, a little tourist town, full of life (9) where the little port was full of luxury yachts (10) and restaurants along the quay, very chic. The only flaw, there was only one car park, small and completely full. The weather remained good.
I gave in to Carla’s insistence. She wanted to go to Nesje on the little island of Frøya. We got there along an extremely narrow road without one wider part for cars to pass?? We didn’t find anywhere to park, the place seemed deserted and the sea level was low. We went back and went to the ferry port at Smørhamn where, once again, we found a nice car park in the port.
After a very abundant fish dinner we went fishing on the dock at 22.00. We were met by millions of irritating gnats who attacked us and bit like mosquito’s. We rubbed lots of Autan anti mosquito cream on our hands and faces and began to fish. Carla caught an enormous lyr of about 2kg (11) and I caught two sei (one of which we threw back into the sea) and two very nice mackerel. It seemed that finally the mackerel were arriving. A German man who arrived later in his Mercedes from fishing gave us another lyr and a mackerel. He lived nearby and wasn’t interested in fish (but he likes fishing!) so we went back to the camper with a booty of more than 4 kg.
Once again we cleaned fish until one in the night, filleting it all and putting it into the fridge which was now so full that we couldn’t put it all in. Carla had to pickle the mackerel the next day and cook the rest for lunch before it went off.
At 1.45 finally rest. A quiet night.
44th day – 23.07.2004 . Friday: Smørhamn – Kannensteinen – 35/3709km
It was cloudy in the morning but not raining. It was hot. Breakfast, as usual, at 9.00. We watched the ferryboats that came and went (1). At midday Carla prepared the fish (2) and fried the mackerel, ready to pickle them (3).
At 15.00 we set off and stopped briefly at Ryland at the home of the German man, who had given us the fish the day before. He is from Itzehoe, near Hamburg and is a pensioner. He bought some land near the sea at a good price and built a lovely, comfortable house on one floor, painting it a pretty shade of blue. He passes 6 months of the year there and the other six months in Germany. With the land he also bought a piece of coast with a little bay, very sheltered and safe and where he was starting to build his own, exclusive port.
At 16.00 we reached the port of Oldeide where we had passed the other night. Today the weather was very different, we were on the northern part of the island and a decidedly cold wind was blowing from the north. It started to rain. At 17.00 we got on a ferry for Måløy: 93 NOK (68 + 25). At 17.47 we arrived at Måløy in the rain. There was nowhere to park, it was all 30 Zone, the parking places had parking meters. We decided to go to the north-west part of the island (Måløy is on the island of Vågsøy) to the town of Oppedal. We stopped at the end of the road on an isolated car park near Kannensteinen. This is a magnificent, enormous block of stone (4), smoothed by the sea in thousands of centauries. It is below the car park near the sea and has the form of a flower or a whale’s tail. We were here in 1999 and we remembered that it was a sunny day, now it was raining lightly. There was already a German camper in the car park and we decided to pass the night here.
This time we were already in bed at 22.00!
45th day – 24.07.2004 – Saturday: Kannensteinen – Raudeberg – 31/3740km
The rained stopped during the night so when we got up at 10.00 it was only cloudy but finally it cleared up and the sun came out. In the morning the car park filled up with campers and cars. At twelve o’clock we went down to the big Kannensteinen rock (1) which is indicated on the geographic maps of Norway, we wanted to admire this marvellous natural artefact (2, 3, 4) which we believe is protected by law. In this place we met a nice couple called Karin and Knut who had arrived from Saalfeld in Germany (5). We immortalized everything with photos, chatted, and in the end, Carla invited them for a meal based on fish. They were travelling in a VW-Transporter. They didn’t have a kitchen in their vehicle and usually ate dry food so our invitation was accepted very enthusiastically. We ate much and well. We still had 6 big fillets and about 2 kilos of pickled mackerel left.
In the conversation, our new friends told us of their misadventure. Two days before they had visited the old church of Borgund and had passed the night in the big car park in front of the church where 5 other campers were parked. They were happy not to be alone and felt more secure. In the night they were woken by cries coming from a camper where thieves had broken in. The owner had woken up too late and managed only to see a red van getting away. Soon after the other 5 owners (including Knut) found that they had been robbed without hearing anything. Knut’s car locks with a remote control and they must have opened the door with some kind of electronic device that damaged the lock. Now they couldn’t close it with the key but fortunately the remote control still worked. This happened in the beautiful and secure Norway!
Knut and Karin left at 17.15 going north. The weather had become cloudy and cold. In the camper the gas ran out and I attached the last bottle. Would it last until we got home? We still had another 30 days in front of us. At 18.00 we left, going in the direction of Måløy but we stopped before at Vågsvåg on a quay. We had the intention of filling our fridge. After a while Carla caught a lovely lyr of more than 1.5 kg which didn’t put up a fight and on the quay gave little sign of life. On its skin we found two little worms so we threw it back into the sea without hesitation. What a pity but there wasn’t another choice! It floated on the surface with its white belly up for a while then it shook itself two or three times and disappeared into the deep. Carla managed to catch a sei and another lyr (all sound) and I finally hooked something substantial. It was big, quite heavy because it pulled to the left and to the right and then down but slowly, with technique, I managed to bring it to the surface. It was a huge lyr. Carla helped me with the landing net and we took it and lay it on the quay. It was an enormous lyr, it was 62 cm long and weighed more than 2 kg. I wonderful specimen (6)! We went back to the camper and filleted the fish. Now we had, once again, a lot to eat. For Sunday, the following day, we had lunch and dinner.
We continued our journey. It started to rain again. We went through Måløy and entered Raudeberg but we couldn’t find a parking place. We went on towards Vedvik and arrived at the beautiful Refvik beach. There we found a camp site but it wasn’t our intention to spend 80 NOK only to pass the night. On the camp site there was only a toilet and nothing else. Only a field, without paths but with the grass soaking with rain!
We went back to Raudeberg and found a parking place near the SPAR supermarket, 15 m above the sea and with a lovely view of the port. At about 22.00 Carla fried the remains of our previous fishing trip and we ate dinner washing it all down with a glass of wine. We chatted and enjoyed the pleasant view of the port. It was raining lightly. The night passed in absolute silence, despite the fact that we were near not only the port but also a factory. Tomorrow is Sunday and everyone is resting!
46th day – 25.07.2004 – Sunday: Raudeberg – Måløy – 16/3756km
We got up at 9.30 and at 11.00 the sun came out. At 12.00 we went to the Refvik beach and parked there (1, 2). The weather was very changeable, a little sun but a lot of clouds, often with rain and wind. For lunch Carla prepared pasta with tomato sauce. After that we watched the Grand Prix at Hockenheim (Schumacher and Ferrari were first) and then, on schedule, the motorbike Grand Prix in England (Rossi 1st, Biaggi 12th). We went for a walk on the beach (3, 4) but the weather tormented us.
We went back to Måløy for 18.00 and finally found a nice parking place on the road above the main street. A quiet place with a view of the port and the big bridge, which we would cross the nest day on our last lap towards the north and from where we would begin our return journey. We had arrived here three days in advance of our programme, we had expected to arrive on 28.07.
Dinner was composed of to big fillets of lyr washed down with wine. Fabulous! After, cards and chatting until 23.30. The night was silent, only the rain, sometimes quite heavy, fell for all the night. No sound of the city or traffic.
47th day – 26.07.2004 – Monday: Måløy – Selje – 49/3805 km
It was raining in the morning when we woke up, but towards 10.30 it stopped. For 12.00 we went onto the main street and parked in front of the SPAR supermarket, where we did our shopping and paid with the Visa card. When this operation was finished we crossed the big bridge and continued on the 5, a little before Eldevik we turned left onto the 618.
The road followed the marine coast for all its length. I think the scenery must be very beautiful but today, thanks to the mist and rain, the visibility was limited and we weren’t able to fully appreciate all this beauty. We got into Selje in the middle of a torrential downpour. Selje is a little tourist town with a lovely, sandy beach. We parked as we had done in 1999 in a nice car park near a church and had lunch. After lunch the rain stopped and we went to see an art exhibition that was advertised all over the town. In reality the paintings were for sale in a couple of little boutiques selling ceramics or costume jewellery but if you wanted to go into these boutiques you had to pay to see what the artist calls an art exhibition. Bluff!
We went back and went down to a quay, on a nice car park in front of a supermarket. At the entrance was a notice saying it was prohibited to park there but probably what they mean is during the night. Other campers arrived. I tried fishing and caught a little lyr of 0.5 kg. Later we went for a pleasant walk along the beach.
At about 19.00 we went back to our parking place near the church. We ate fillets fried with great expertise by Carla for dinner. A five star restaurant! After dinner we watched a film on TV, then at 23.00 we went to bed. The rain had stopped completely but the clouds were still there. Silence reigned supreme during the night.
48th day – 27.07.2004 – Tuesday: Selje – Sandane – 101/3906km
The morning was cloudy but dry. At 11.00 we set off. Today we started our return journey home. It started raining lightly at first but then heavier and heavier. Following our programme we should have taken the 620 as far as Vestkapp, already a lap of our previous journey in 1999 and it should have been the northernmost point we would have touched in our travels this year. We hoped that the weather would improve but the rain came down heavier than ever so we decided to turn right near Kjøde for Åheim. We followed the 61 towards the south on the beginning of our return journey. Accompanied by heavy drizzle we skirted beautiful lakes, crossed mountain passes with ski lifts and, near Maurstad, came out onto the Nordfjord. At the crossroads we turned left in the direction of Nordfjordeid. Later, near Naustdal, we went onto a quay where we confirmed my theory that fishing at the bottom end of the fiords, far from the sea is a waste of time. Three Norwegians were on the quay too, trying their luck and equipped with good fishing gear but, like us, they didn’t catch one little fish. After our lack of success in fishing, we consoled ourselves with a good plate of pasta with broccoli, prepared by Carla.
We went on to Nordfjordeid where we went into the REMA supermarket. Here we noticed something rather interesting. Norway has enormous reserves of sweet water, thousands of rivers and lakes but we found bottles of 1.5 litres of water on sale for 8 NOK, that is more than 1 €. In Italy, which does not have this enormous reserve of sweet water, a bottle of mineral water of 1.5 litres is sold starting from about 0.10 €, which is only 10% of the Norwegian price! In this same store where 1.5 litres of mineral water costs 8-10 NOK we paid only 4 NOK for a litre of 100% pure orange juice. The oranges must be imported, transported and processed. They have as much water as they could want under their noses. And the orange juice costs the half of the water? Incomprehensible! The only possible reason could be that it is a question of monopoly, in fact all the bottles of mineral water have the same label, therefore the same producer (that’s what we found in this supermarket), while in Italy you can find at least 30 different kinds of water (probably many more) and this is an indication of competition. I knew that wine was rather expensive in Norway but I would never have imagined that water was!!??
We went on, now with good weather, to Lote and at 17.50 we got on a ferry (1) for Anda, 60 NOK (41+19). After disembarking we continued immediately and after 12 km we arrived at Sandane, a small and pretty town that we knew already from 2002. On the western outskirts of the town we found the very large and empty car park of a factory where there was already one camper parked (2). Ludwig and Nicole, the owners of the camper, were a Belgian couple, together with their children Matthias and Miek (3). Carla started chatting with them, I caught a fish which is called hyse here (haddock). For dinner we ate the two last remaining fish. In reality the freezer (small) was still full and we also had a big box full of pickled mackerel!
After dinner Nicole and Ludwig came to visit us and chatting with wine went on until late. The weather was good.
49th day – 28.07.2004 – Wednesday: Sandane – Gaupne – 169/4075km
At 9.30 Ludwig and Nicole raised their anchor to go to the Byrkjelo camp site. We were still in bed so we didn’t see them. Their camper had a big problem, it seemed that the gear box was out of use or almost. They would go back to Belgium by air after a few more days and the insurance would see to bringing back the camper in 15 days.
We set off at 11.30 with magnificent weather, very sunny and hot. There wasn’t the smallest cloud in the sky. We followed the E39 for Byrkjelo where we bought Diesel oil and visited the camp site, just to say goodbye to Ludwig and Nicole. From Byrkjelo we went south towards Skei.
Along the way we stopped, or it would be better to say we had to stop in a valley which we were crossing for the third time and every time, in this point we find goats on the road (1, 2). They were quite indifferent, lying on the asphalt or walking along the road, not caring about the traffic which slowed down until it was blocked. The cars, buses, lorries, all stop (3, 4) or proceed very slowly, with great care not to hit them or hurt them. There was no goatherd! In Norway it is unthinkable that a driver tries to frighten the animals with his horn or tries to chase them off the road in some way. Here everyone respects the animals, both domestic and wild, as, for example, the seagulls.
We arrived at Skei and stopped in a big car park near the sea where we ate lunch. We then went on along the 5 in a south-west direction skirting the beautiful Kjøsnesfjorden (5). The road winds through a couple of tunnels and at the exit of one of these, we found a large herd of goats, who had taken refuge from the heat in the tunnel. They completely occupied the right-hand lane (6). The cars and buses proceeded patiently (7) and everything went smoothly!
The view of the fiord was an incomparable spectacle (8). The sea was a fantastic colour of emerald green, it was completely calm, there wasn’t a breath of wind. The mountains, covered with snow were reflected in the water (9) and the shadows of the mountains stretched out across the sea forming a singular and suggestive picture of beautiful and uncontaminated nature (10).
After the village of Ripe (11) we went into a tunnel that was 8 km long, always climbing up, which crossed the mountain, passing under an enormous glacier. We stopped at the exit of the tunnel (12, 13) so we could admire the Bøyabreen glacier (14). This glacier is only a part of the enormous Jostedalsbreen glacier (see the map). It is the biggest glacier in northern Europe (www.jostedal.com).
We started going down on a road that was very good but full of tunnels. The toll was no joke either: 150 NOK! We passed above the beautiful Fjærlandsfjorden, still half illuminated by the sun (15). We arrived at Sogndal on the Sogndalsfjorden, where we turned right onto the 55 and continued for about 10km to the village of Slinde to fish but, apart from a little sei, we didn’t find anything. There, another confirmation of my theory about fishing at the bottom end of a fiord! We made a present of the sei to a little mink that was looking out between the rocks of the quay, where it lived. We ate dinner on this quay then went back to Sogndal with the intention of passing the night there, but we couldn’t find any place that was suitable. It is true that there are parking places and during the night, they are free, but only until 8.00 in the morning. At that time we are still sleeping and risk paying a fine. For this reason we continued along the 55, this time northwards and, after 30 km, we arrived at Gaupne. We parked on a little hill, near an old church, a metre in front of the cemetery.
All day the weather had been splendid, hot and sunny and without clouds. A real summer! Up to now, despite the fact that we were travelling also on wide roads, we hadn’t met one camper coming from Italy, while we met at least 10 campers coming from Germany every day. The only Italian we had met was Francesco at Førde, but we had organised this meeting.
The night passed in a divine peacefulness. Silent, like a cemetery!
50th day – 29.07.2004 – Thursday: Gaupne – Turtagrø - 78/4153km
It was our intention to get up early to make the most of the day, if the weather was good. And it was a beautiful day! But, as usual, we woke up at 9.15 (1) and when we set off it was already 11.00. Before leaving we went for a walk as far as the new church where there is a lovely car park, but it was being resurfaced and therefore inaccessible.
Today we continued our journey on the 55 northwards along the coast of the beautiful Lustrafjorden (2), which is actually an arm of the Sognefjorden and constitutes its final part. The Sognefjorden is 250 km long and at the Lustrafjorden, 40 km long, is the end of it. In the sun the water of the sea in the fiord reflected a fantastic shade of turquoise green, a beauty impossible to describe, dead calm and as smooth as glass. The boats tied up along the coast seemed to be floating in the air (3).
The road was very narrow but also full of lovely details (4). There were many bends and I had to drive carefully. To let other cars pass, that were coming towards us we had to stop often in the wider spaces to leave the road free. Near Skjolden at the bottom end of the fiord we saw dolphins swimming about and hunting fish. We wondered why a dolphin should travel 250 km from the open sea to arrive here? The Sognefjorden is very deep, up to 1300 m and it isn’t a problem for the dolphins to wander as far as here. We asked ourselves if they couldn’t find better fish in the open sea. It was fascinating to see their dorsal fins on the surface of the sea, as smooth as glass.
Immediately after Skjolden we turned right, towards the south, on the opposite side of the fiord. We went in the direction of Ornes (30 km) where there is the oldest church in Norway and where there is a very high waterfall half way there. For the first 10 km the road is quite good. Despite the fact that it is narrow, it is possible for two vehicles to pass comfortably. From Sande it gets narrower and is not much wider than our camper. We prayed to God that we wouldn’t meet another vehicle coming the other way. We didn’t dare to imagine what could have happened if we had met the bus that follows this route (we saw the Bus stop signs). It seems it only passes rarely, for our good luck.
We finally arrived at Feigum, half way between Skjolden and Ornes and we decided not to go on. It was too narrow and could be dangerous! We found a nice parking place near the sea. There were other cars but no campers. They probably fear that the road is too narrow. We went to visit the Feigumfoss waterfall (5). The walk took 45 minutes following a path (6, 7). The waterfall has a free fall of 212 m and should be the fourth highest in Norway. When we arrived at the waterfall we stopped on a panoramic point about 100 m from it (8). It is a beautiful waterfall but not very wide. We went back to the camper (9) at about 14.30 and had lunch where we were parked. Pickled mackerel for lunch (very good!!!) and fresh strawberries for dessert. Carla went fishing and caught a torsk then she went back to picking wild strawberries. I went round the camper bare-chested, it was very hot.
At 17.00 we went back. We arrived at Skjolden where we turned right to climb up to Lom. It was a very steep climb but the worst problem was the tight bends, very close to each other, very sharp and getting steeper and steeper. In 8km of road we climbed up 800m above sea level. We were always in first or second gear, there wasn’t enough road to increase speed and get into third gear because we arrived immediately at another bend and had to reduce gear again. Our poor camper! We finally arrived at Turtagrø and parked on a round car park in front of a hotel. There was a magnificent panorama of the mountains (10). All around it was full of alpinists who bivouacked in their tents on the hills and set off from here on their excursions.
It was our intention the next day to climb up to 1300 m then drop down as far as Øvre Årdal to visit the highest waterfall in Norway, the Vettisfossen (a free fall of 271m). However Carla discovered a more interesting excursion: climbing onto the Nigardsbreen glacier. So we decided for the next day to go back down to Skjolden and go on to Gaupne and the day after, visit the glacier. I don’t know why we tortured our camper to climb up there, we could have gone directly to Gaupne this afternoon.
For dinner we had pasta with Bolognese sauce and strawberries and blueberries for dessert. The night was so quiet!
51st day – 30.07.2004 – Friday: Turtagrø – Nigardsbreen – 79/4232km
In the morning the weather was good, very sunny and without wind, very pleasant. We set off, as usual, only at 11.00 and went down to Skjolden. On this side we could see the signs saying how steep it was: 12%. It was now clear why we couldn’t go into third gear before in the short distance between bends!
From Skjolden we went on without stopping to Gaupne. We knew the road, it was the same as yesterday, the weather was marvellous. There was little traffic and we could fully enjoy the beauty of the fiord, now going in the opposite direction. We stopped just before Gaupne, right in front of the first house, on a little car park by the sea, where there was also a little quay. Here, at 40 m from the shore, a very strong spring of sweet water (1) came up from the bottom of the sea, probably coming from a hydroelectric power station on the mountain. Wild ducks were swimming happily around this spring. There were lots of branches and pieces of wood floating around the spring which had probably come down from the mountain. We saw a seal too! It’s incredible how it arrived here, so far from the open sea!
We thought that there could be fish here and in fact our fishing went well, only the fish were small. We caught two small torsk and 14 hyse (haddock). In total about 2 kg of fish (2). Carla went out again to look for raspberries and she picked about 1 litre.
At about 13.00 we went on our way and as we were leaving Gaupne, we turned right and with the 604 we went on towards north. The weather stayed good, full of sun and the road was wide and pleasant to drive on. There were no steep climbs and we travelled in fourth or fifth gear. The last 6km were on a narrow, asphalted road (3), where you must pay a toll (25 NOK)
We arrived at the Nigardsbreen glacier before 15.00 and stopped on a big car park, on the banks of a lovely lake (4). We put off our excursion on the glacier until tomorrow. The Nigardsbreen glacier which comes down here, forming the lake, is a small arm of the enormous Jostedalsbreen glacier (5) which I had already mentioned two days before. You reach the glacier from here on a little motorboat that carries up to 20 people. We tried to get there on foot today (about 1.5 km) but we had to climb up without a path, over big rocks that were smooth and very slippery. We decided that it was too dangerous and gave up the attempt (6). We had set off again with only sandals on our feet and the soles were completely smooth. Seeing as they had already been a great help to me in cracking my head we thought it was better to abandon this enterprise and avoid doing anything foolish.
In the evening the car park started to empty, but we stayed despite the fact that at the reception (6km further back) they had advised us that we could not pass the night on the car park. Slowly the night fell and the colour of the glacier began to change, passing from white to an intense dark blue (7). At the same time the snow on the mountain remained white. For dinner, needless to say: fish! On the car park there were only us and two young Germans in a Renault-Twingo, who had decided to sleep in their car. For this night we four were the only guests. The girls came to visit us after dinner. And they only drank mineral water!
The night was very silent!
52nd day – 31.07.2004 – Saturday: Nigardsbreen – Gaupne – 41/4273
What a beautiful day! Still, without a breath of wind. We got up at 9.15 (by now it had become a habit). The lake was completely calm and smooth like a mirror (0). Everything around us breathed calmness and, apart from us, there wasn’t a living soul. The young German girls had disappeared and any new visitors were late in arriving. We were alone in the company of the great glacier (1).
At 11.10 we climbed onto (2) the little boat (2x20 NOK) that would take us to a tiny quay on the right side of the lake (3) where ordinary mortals got off, not having any vain alpinistica desires, but having only the desire to know the glacier at close quarters and take some photos, or make a film. After we had got off, the boat went to the left side of the lake, which could only be reached by boat and where the real alpinists, equipped with ice picks, ropes and crampons got off promptly (4). Time was at a minimum: an hour to see the glacier, that is, to walk on a path already cleared of snow (5). The ticket for the excusion:150 NOK. The walk can also go on for longer and, of course, the price changes! There must always be a guide with the group, it isn’t possible to go on the glacier without one! We had no wish to climb up on it.
After getting off the boat we set off for the glacier (6), this time following a path that ended on a smooth rock. This time we had more suitable footwear, remembering our previous experiences. I was wearing my fishing boots which have a very moulded sole and Carla had her mountain boots (7). The Nigardsbreen glacier is imposing (8) and is more majestic than the Briksdalsbreen which we had visited in 1995 and 2002. The Briksdalsbreen is also an arm of the Jostedalsbreen but situated on the opposite side, that is, on the western side. Today this enormous glacier is much smaller than it once was. We read on information boards around the car park that in the 18th Century during the “little European ice age” (?), in the year 1715 the Nigardsbreen glacier covered all the surface of the lake which didn’t exist then. That means that the glacier was about 2 km longer then, than it is now (9).
We didn’t know there had been a little ice age in Europe in the 18th Century !??
We wandered around in front of the glacier, taking photos (10, 11), we ate a sandwich (12) and we enjoyed the sun (13). A light wind but cold wind was blowing out from the glacier, it was all very fascinating (14). The glacier is constantly melting and enormous quantities of water flow out from three openings under the beautiful azure-coloured ice (15, 16). We met a young mother, perhaps English, who was walking all alone over the rocks around the glacier, carrying a little girl of about one and a half years on her back. This little girl had as a hat, a little parasol mounted on a headpiece (17). Original and amusing but rather dangerous!
We went back with the boat (18, 19) and at 13.30 we were back in the camper. We ate lunch quickly and set off for Gaupne. We had to hurry because the next day was Sunday and the supermarkets would be closed but we still had to do our shopping. Having done this we went back to the sea to the place we had been in the day before, and we went fishing again. We caught a torsk and 11 hyse. The seal turned up again too, appearing not once but 4 times, once just twenty metres from the sea shore. She came with her head out of the water to observe us with her big, black eyes, round and shiny, then to draw back into the water. I say draw back because she didn’t go down into the water with a forwards movement, but with a backwards movement.
Also here little minks live near the quay. Carla spread all the leftovers from dinner along the sea shore, all the fish bones. The minks came out without fear, cleaned up everything and watched us until we moved. They crushed the fishbones with satisfaction. We were sat on a big rock near the quay and we observed them carefully. Suddenly a mink came out of the bushes near us, climbed onto the rock where Carla was sitting and licked the plate she had left on the rock and on which there remained some residual pieces of fish. Incredible!
A few clouds arrived in the evening and we moved onto the big parking place on the dock to pass the night, where we found a German family preparing for the night.
At dawn the seagulls sang their screeching concert and, of course, they woke us up. Otherwise there was silence!
53rd day – 01.08.2004 – Sunday: Gaupne – Aurland – 166/4339 km
The morning was without wind, calm and hot. We got up at 9.30 for breakfast. The window was wide open with a beautiful view of the fiord where the dolphins had showed up again. At 10.30 we left taking the 55 southwards. At Sogndal we turned left onto the E5, crossed a bridge and drove east. At Mannheller, at 12.00 we got on a ferry (1, 2) for Fodnes. The price was 119 (89 + 30) NOK. The sea was dead calm (3). We got off at Lærdal, turned left onto the E16 and went to Borgund (4) at 25km to visit the ancient church from the 12th Century (5).
The church was beautiful, interesting (6) and completely built in wood (7). It is in a good state of conservation (8, 9). The ticket to go in cost 50 NOK, rather expensive if you consider that there isn’t much to see inside. It is interesting that the space inside the church is very, very small and without a pew. The faithful had to all stand up! All that is interesting to see are the incisions and wood sculptures and the pagoda-like roof and this you can see outside – without a ticket! We took some photos (10, 11, 12, 13). We had been to this place before in 1995 and we had made a film. At the car park we remembered Knut and his misadventure with the thieves.
We set off again and parked before Lærdal behind a petrol station, near a hotel. We found a nice bench with a table (14) near a little lake and we ate outside with the blazing sun, perhaps a bit too hot! For lunch we had sausages, bean salad washed down with cold beer and finishing with fresh raspberries for dessert.
We set off again but made a big mistake in evaluating the situation, not going on through the tunnel for Aurland. It’s the longest tunnel in Europe, 25.5 km and inside there are three rooms with a virtual sky. Thinking that there would be a rather expensive toll and having been informed that the road over the mountain was very good, we decided to take this road, which, in 15 km, climbs up to a height of 1300 m. The road was narrow from the start and wound on full of curves and hairpin bends, not too steep at first. Higher up it was raining and we could see piles of snow on the sides of the road (15, 16, 17). In the last 5-6 km the road is breakneck steep and drops down towards Aurland (18). It is very narrow without lay-bys for passing, full of bends and it was necessary to brake all the time, even in second gear. When we arrived in Aurland we drew a sigh of relief: I, Carla and the brakes. We vigorously warn everyone not to take this road. It’s a thousand times better to take the tunnel, even if you have to pay!
At Aurland we found good weather again (19). We stopped in the big car park at the mouth of a little river. For the next day we planned a trip on a train from Flåm to Myrdal (about 20km) and back. On the tourist information brochures it was stongly advised to take this trip for its beauty with steep climbs, bends and tunnels. And we arrived here only to get on this train. Now we couldn’t possibly miss this appointment.
After a while two more campers arrived, this time from Italy. Finally! They were going north. Romeo, one of the camperists told us sadly that he had been with his family on the train trip to Myrdal and back and had come back very disappointed. He said this trip didn’t offer anything apart from a very expensive ticket.
I tried to fish but nothing doing. There was a fellow who went around all the evening on his motorboat, going very slowly fishing with a tow net. He didn’t pull one fish out! We were at the bottom end of the fiord!
For dinner fish, of course. A German camper arrived on the car park. The night was peaceful.
54th Day – 02.08.2004 – Monday: Aurland – Ålvik – 148/4587 km
We woke up to sunshine. We found ourselves alone in the car park, all the others had gone. Later a camper arrived from Austria with a friendly married couple. They tried fishing too but, of course, not one bite. She was interested in receipts for cooking fish. Carla let her taste her pickled fish and she was enthusiastic. They went on the train trip to Myrdal yesterday too and were disappointed. Their judgement: very expensive to see nothing.
At about 11.00 we set off for Flåm on a good road through many tunnels. Despite what Romeo and the Austrian couple had told us about the train trip not being very exceptional, not counting the expensive ticket, we decided just the same to evaluate this much longed-for trip, but in a different way, that is, what we had heard from Knut (24.07)! It is described in the book “Richard Schulz. Mit dem Wohnmobil nach Sud Norwegen” (South Norway in Camper), Skandinavien, Band 15, Edition der Wohnmobil-Verlag Wo-Mo, http://www.womo.de/bestellen.htm.
At Flam we went into (1) the railway station (2) from where the train left. The return price for two people was 600 NOK, that is €80 for 40 km! It seemed rather dear to us
We decided to do it our way, with the camper, following the road to Myrdal with the intention of arriving as far as Berekvam 11 km away and a little more than half way. The map showed the route for campers in red, the train in blue, and on foot in green.
After 3 km from Flam the road became much smaller, narrow for campers and prohibited for caravans. We managed to arrive at Berekvam and fortunately, along the way we only met bicycles, no car or camper. We left our faithful camper in the station car park in the company of 3 German campers and 4 cars. The weather was fantastic, very hot. Here, at Berekvam the asphalted road ends, continuing only as a dirt road for another 7-8 km. This road goes only as far as the hairpin bends 2 km before Myrdal. Its impossible for cars to pass them.
In the station at Berekvam they told us that they didn’t sell train tickets, we could buy them on the train (3). The train arrived and we got on but there was nowhere to sit (4). Completely full. It was very hot in the train and there was no air conditioning. The train went into one tunnel after another and we could see hardly anything. It stopped in front of a pretty waterfall (5) and here a big wooden platform had been built. All the passengers got out to admire the waterfall and take photos. You can find thousands of waterfalls like this in all of Norway and even more beautiful ones. Suddenly we heard music coming from above the waterfall and at about 60-70m from us, at the side of the waterfall appeared a boy in a folkloristic costume who executed a “dance” for us. Altogether it was very kitsch but the usual, innumerable and ever-present Japanese tourists took photos like mad. The little show went on for 5-10 minutes, then everyone got back into the train.
We decided to get off at the next station Vatnahalsen. We were on top of the hairpin bends and went down into the valley in the direction of Berekvam. The train had gone on for another kilometre to Myrdal where, apart from the station, there was nothing else and soon we saw it coming back. And this trip with its little show cost “only” €40. The publicity is exaggerated. You can see very little, practically nothing from the sweltering and uncomfortable train, the trip is not worth half its price and we strongly advise everyone not to take it.
We had to do 9 km on foot. Going down the bends was very steep (6), you need mountain boots because the road is full of holes and dangerous also for mountain bikes. We finally got down to the valley and the way was much better (7). The nature here is fantastic. We found a place where they raised goats and chamois (8). The sun was strong and bright but after 5 km suddenly it began to get cloudy and light rain accompanied us as far as the station of Berekvam. This walk was very beautiful, studded with green landscapes, little waterfalls and rapids, what a pity that the rain spoilt it a little. We weren’t the only ones who had decided to come back on foot, the road was full of tourists who had had the same idea. Many had bought only a single ticket to Myrdal and returned to Flam on foot (20 km), or on bicycles that they rented from the train company. We were very pleased that we had opted for this variation of the trip as it was very beautiful, while on the train we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy all this beautiful scenery. We just had to find the courage to drive with the camper as far as Berekvam because the road is really dangerous.
At the car park we found three new German campers, the ones that had been there before had disappeared, it seems that the people already know the system! We returned smoothly to Flåm and went on immediately on the E16 for Voss (46 km). We went through two very long tunnels of 5.0 and 11.0 km, without tolls and, just before Voss we drove into a heavy downpour. It had been our intention to stay the night at Voss but, because of this rain, we decided to go on. We turned onto the 13 in the direction Hardangerfjorden. We stopped at Kvanndal in the ferry port, parked near the sea and had dinner. We had missed lunch today during our trip to Myrdal and had eaten only sandwiches and fruit. Fish for dinner, of course. After dinner we went on our way and arrived at Ålvik where, before entering the town, we found a good car park by the sea (9). Since we had left Voss the weather had quickly improved and now it was good again. At 22.00 the youth of the village arrived (boys and girls of about 18) and they went for a swim in the sea, like they were in the middle of summer on the Mediterranean. They dived off a diving board and stayed in the water up to half an hour.
The night was peaceful.
55th Day – 03.08.2004 – Tuesday: Ålvik – Ølve – 108/4695km
We woke up already at 8.30 and had breakfast with the big panoramic window thrown completely open. I was bare-chested. The sun was brilliant, the sky was without clouds and it was hot, despite the fact that a north wind was blowing with strong gusts just like the Bora wind in the Adriatic. We were 7-8 m from the shore and the wind brought healthy air, full of the strong smell of the sea. Our car park was between the road and the sea. It was small but had a bathroom with hot water where we could wash our hair.
We went on our way at 10.30 on the 7 and we stopped at Øystese where we bought food. It was sunny and hot! We parked in an area near a hotel and where there were chalets for rent, we had parked there in 1999. That time we had caught a lot of fish from a small platform-quay. We went to see if we could fish there but there was already a Bulgarian man who worked at the hotel trying to catch something, without success. The little beach was already getting crowded so we went on our way. A few kilometres further on we turned left onto the 49.
At 13.30 we stopped near Oddland on a small, low quay made of stone and we both went for a swim in the sea (1). The temperature of the water was about 21-22°C, we felt cold only at the first impact (2) and it was crystal clear. Out of the water it was hot, a real summer! After the swim we had lunch. For lunch: pasta with a sauce of olives and tomatoes (Barilla sauce to be precise) and for dessert, bananas covered with fresh raspberries. All this with a view of the sea from the panoramic window of our “restaurant” (3, 4)!! After lunch we took our coffee on the quay in our bathing costumes!
We went on at 16.00, we wanted a place to fish but the sea level was low, full of seaweed, and there was nowhere to park. We went past the Oma beach, particularly mentioned on the map as a beach for swimming but we only found an excuse for a beach full of ugly stones and above all, full of seaweed. How depressing! We went down to Gjermundshamn with the intention of fishing from the dock of the ferry port but we didn’t find anywhere to park. Near Åsen we turned left onto a narrow road in the direction of Ulvanes, hoping to reach the sea. We ended up on Skarvatun hill where the road magically turned into a footpath and we had a lot of trouble to turn the camper which almost fell into a ditch.
We went back to the 49 and decided not to take anymore chances with these risky trips. Finally we arrived at Ølve where we parked on a big, well-paved car park near a church and cemetery (5) where we had slept already in 1999. The car park is for the faithful who come to the church or for a funeral, at night time it is completely free, without a living soul (6). There were only us and the dead of the cemetery. Perfect silence!
The weather was still very good. For dinner fantastic pickled mackerel, a walk, a game of cards then off to bed!
56th day – 04.08.2004 – Tuesday: Ølve – Nymark – 43/4738
We got up late, as usual. The sky was cloudy (1) and it was raining in the distance. After about an hour it started raining on us too, but it didn’t last long. We set off at about 11.00, got some Diesel oil and went to the Sundvor bridge. We had fished very well here in 1999 (see 25.06.1999) and not very well this year (see 25.06.2004). The sun came out and it got hot again but there was no trace of fish. Carla gave up fishing and picked a litre of raspberries while I finally caught a lyr then we set off again.
We went back onto the 49, went over the bridge, which is very high, and arrived at the island of Tysnesøy. We went down to Malkenes and parked on the dock. Carla prepared two tasty pork chops for lunch (slightly smoked) and with vegetables. We tasted meat again after a long time (not counting the sausages). While Carla was preparing lunch I went fishing on the dock and caught two lyr. After lunch and coffee I had a quick nap. At about 18.00 a passenger ship arrived (2), small but very fast. When the ship left (3) we left too and, unfortunately, forgot on the dock our landing-net, with which, during this trip, we had caught so many fine examples of fish! Now the end of our journey was drawing close and we had hoped to catch a few more big fish. How sad!
Near the town of Lunde we turned left onto the road that follows the east coast of the island towards the south. We crossed a mountainous area, arrived at the sea and at the first crossroads we turned left for Nymark (1 km). Here we parked again at a few metres from the sea, behind a house that once was probably the seat of the port authority or something similar. Now it is rented to Germans for the holiday period with the use of a motorboat. We had the excellent pickled mackerel for dinner again.
The weather was rainy again. We played cards until 24.00 and then went to bed. At a certain point during the night the rain was beating down really hard on our roof.
57th day – 05.08.2004 – Thursday: Nymark – Tittelsnes – 120/4858 km
It was cloudy in the morning, the clouds were so low (1) that we couldn’t see the tops of the hills near us. Today we set off before 10.00. Only a couple of kilometres and the weather improved! We careful avoided new adventures and kept away from narrow side roads. We got to Hodnanes quite quickly to take the ferry for Jektevik (2). Here there was already sun and it was hot and beautiful. The ferry went first to the port of Nordhuglo (3) where it stopped for a couple of minutes, unloaded then loaded a couple of vehicles, a tractor with wood on it and a lorry then, finally set sail for Jektevik (4, 5). The price was fortunately the same as what we had paid two months earlier to go in the opposite direction: 66 (47+19) NOK
When we arrived at Jektevik we decided to follow the E39 northwards and cross all the island along the west coast with the hope of finding places suitable for fishing. We arrived, following a good, wide road, to the northernmost point of the island at the port of Sandvikvåg. We found the port very crowded so we went away immediately on the 545 going towards the south. After two kilometres we turned right onto a narrow road in the direction of Skumsnes, but 3 km further on the road ended and there was no sign of the sea. We went back onto the 545 and continued south. After about 20 km we turned right again towards Dåfjordeid with the same result: the end of the road was far from the sea. Going back we stopped near a lovely bridge and tried fishing, first on one side, then on the other. There was the strait and the current, only the fish were missing. It started to rain. We had the two lyr and sausages for lunch at 15.00. After lunch we gave up the idea of fishing to go directly to Tittelsnes. We went into Leirvik to do some shopping but our navigator, that is Carla, took us in the wrong direction and we ended up in the industrial part of the town and the port. It was raining, we were fed up so we decided to go to Tittelsnes and buy what we needed there.
We went through the underwater tunnel again. It’s 8 km long and the lowest part is 260 m below sea level with a slope of 9%. The toll is 80 NOK. Before Tittelsnes we stopped at a shop to buy flowers for Mrs. Ingrid. She welcomed us very warmly, as she had done two years before. We parked on the quay at half a metre from the sea (6) with the permission to stay as long as we wanted. We went for a walk as soon as we could because it hadn’t rained here (!) and came back with an abundant litre of raspberries (we had eaten as much while we were picking them). We fished on the quay and caught a lyr each, but Carla, insatiable, caught a small, very nice mackerel too. In total more than 1.5 kg of fish.
Noodles for dinner and after cards. Outside it rained on and off. The night was peaceful!
58th day – 06.08.2004 – Saturday: Tittelsnes – 0/4858 km
It rained in the morning but not for long. After a while the weather changed to fine (1). Carla went fishing and caught two lovely lyr of 0.5kg each. Good! I stayed in the camper to transfer the photos from the camera to the laptop, to be sure they were safe. Up to today I had taken 888 photos. This time the Casio hadn’t let me down, evidently the last time it was repaired it was done by expert hands, not like two years before when the same problem came out again after I had taken only thirty photos.
The temperature was pleasant for us, not too hot, but it seems to us that Norwegians have a different concept from us of what is hot. Mrs Ingrid, 82 years old, went into the sea at 13.00 like she was getting into her bathtub and swam calmly round the port. She said that the temperature of the water was about 20°C. We invited her to lunch, pasta and Italian wine. She seemed to enjoy it.
After a nap, at about 18.00, we went for a walk and brought back with us over two litres of raspberries. Carla made jam (2)! I went fishing and hooked a blue-yellow fish of the type that live near the coast but, removing the hook, to throw it back into the sea, it pricked me, leaving a thorn-like splinter in my little finger. (This splinter still torments my finger now in the Autumn of 2006!)
A mackerel and two lyr for dinner. Later, at 21.30, we went for a walk on the hills around Tittelsnes. There are beautiful houses and villas. We went home, played cards a bit then went to bed at around 24.00.
The weather was fine, no rain.
59th day – 07.08.2004 – Sunday: Tittelsnes – Valevåg – Tittelsnes – 27/4885km
The weather was good in the morning, the sun was shining. At about 11.00 we went to Valevåg, where once we took the ferry to Leirvik. The port was now empty because there is the underwater tunnel and the ferry boats have stopped running. Fortunately, there was still the market, where we bought food. We took the E39 in the direction of Førde. After two kilometres there is a car park where it is possible to empty the toilet (+). Then we went back to Tittelsnes.
After lunch (we polished off all the pickled mackerel) we went for a walk as far as the Holsvik beach. (ca. 2.5 km) to have a swim (1). There were about twenty bathers already there, mostly children. The temperature of the water was about 20°C and this is not a problem for them, they splashed about in the water for more than half an hour at a time. The sea was very clean, limpid, here and there seaweed was growing like long lianas. It seemed to us that the people who lived in the villas nearby and have a lot of boats, had cleaned the sea, because we noticed a lot of small, white jellyfish on the sand, already half decomposed. There weren’t any brown-coloured ones and this is a good sign because they are the ones that sting, if you touch them, leaving a painful, burning feeling. It was a beautiful day, very sunny and hot.
We went back to our lovely car park on the dock (2). On our way back we picked another large quantity of raspberries. We had fillets of lyr for dinner. After dinner we tried fishing and, at 22.00, the mackerel started biting. Both of us caught one of about half a kilo and I finished by catching a lyr. At 23.00 we finished cleaning the fish then we played cards and at midnight we went to bed. A peaceful, hot night!
60th day – 08.08.2004 – Sunday: Tittelsnes – 0/4885 km
It was fine and sunny again in the morning. Wild ducks came swimming under our window every morning. There was a mother with her five baby ducklings. We threw little pieces of bread out of the window and the little ones rushed at it like mini hydrofoils, each one trying to get there first. How cute!
We had decided to leave on Tuesday 10.08 for Egersund to try to find tickets for the ferry to Hanstholm for 12.08. We had booked for the 20.08 but this date was not OK for us. We had to be in Kempten for 22.08 (Carla’s mother was celebrating her birthday) and we wanted to stop a day in Pinneberg and another in Braunschweig.
We sent an SMS to Antonio telling him we would be happy to meet him again at Haugesund on our way to Hanstholm. In no time at all the answer came back telling us that he was on his boat, fishing in Bømlefjord and that within an hour, he would be at Tittelsnes. He arrived at 12.30 and we had lunch together, lyr fillets with a bean salad. Chatting together the time passed quickly. He too lamented the fact that the fish were scarce this year! At 14.00 he had to go back to Moster because they were celebrating his grandson’s birthday that day. He had the same name: Antonio Piscopo.
After Antonio had left we went to swim and sunbathe in a nearby bay (1), opposite our dock. The sea was very inviting, we swam in the water (2), it was very pleasant, swimming about. The sun was very hot. Our ducks came to visit us too and, even if they were wild, they weren’t afraid of us at all (3). It was a magnificent day, without clouds and without wind (4). After dinner at about 22.00 the mackerel came back into the port and we caught about 2 kg of various fish. Carla started frying the mackerel to pickle them. We had a new stock of about 2.5 kg of fish.
We played cards for half an hour then went to bed. As usual, the night was very silent and it was very hot.
61st day – 09.08.2004 – Monday: Tittelsnes – 0/4885 km
The morning was cloudless again, hot, really summer. We slept without bedcovers at night. Carla did the cooking to prepare the pickled mackerel. We had fish for lunch.
At 15.00 we went back to the Holsvik beach (1). It was beautiful and very sunny. The water must have been over 21°C (2). We had a great swim (3, 4). I swam in the water and under the water, collecting beautiful shells. I stayed in the water for at least half an hour without feeling cold.
On our way back home we found a snake, probably a viper because the head had the characteristic triangular shape. I hadn’t expected to meet one in Norway.
For dinner a tasty plate of pasta. Just as we were finishing eating, a Norwegian who had a house twenty metres from the dock, invited me to go with him, in his boat to fish for mackerel. It was a lovely boat, very fast with a 30 PS outboard motor. We went out but didn’t have much success. We tried in different places but only once we spotted, deep down, under the boat, a shoal of mackerel. I caught one (fishing with a rod), while he caught four in one go. He had a line with five hooks with artificial bait (plastic threads) and a lead weight at the end. He shook the line up and down when it was in the deep water. After those five mackerel, we didn’t find anything else.
We went back. We had been out fishing about 40 minutes in all. Above us, very high in the sky, we saw a very big formation of birds, about thirty, probably wild geese, who were going south. The migration had started. The summer was ending!
We went back to the port and found Carla fishing from the dock! She had already caught a nice mackerel, she caught another and that was all. The mackerel came into the port on the other side of then bay then turned towards our side, where we were waiting for them. This evening we noticed when they entered (we could see them jumping out of the water) but they didn’t come to our side and so it wasn’t possible to fish that evening.
The evening was limpid and hot. It had been 30°C during the day. As usual, deep silence during the night:
62nd day – 10.08.2004 – Tuesday: Tittelsnes – Egersund – 188/8073 km
The beautiful, hot weather was still holding. During breakfast I saw from our window that on the opposite side of the port, in front of us, a man was pulling a net out of the water, probably a net with three levels. He pulled it half a metre at a time out of the water and cleaned the fish he had caught (1). A large number of seagulls were swimming round his boat, for food. I got my telescope and saw that the part of the net that was out of the water at the prow of the boat, was full of mackerel. Now it was clear to me why, yesterday evening, all the mackerel that had entered the port on that side of the bay, had never arrived on our side. They had all ended up in that net. I informed my fishing companion of the previous evening what was happening there and he immediately took his boat and went to have a look. He came back saying the boat of the other fisherman was full of mackerel, probably more than 200. That is why we only caught two mackerel, who were under the illusion, poor things, to have escaped danger.
At 10.30 we said goodbye to Ingrid (2) and set of towards the south on the E39 then, after Haukas, we turned onto the 47. We crossed Haugesund, continued along the 47, passed Kopervik and reached the Sandvesanden beach, which we had already visited at the beginning of our trip on 18.06, that is, two months ago. There were cars everywhere so this time we parked on a field at about 150m from the sea. A young man of about 30, very quick and smart, had transformed this field into a car park. You go in without a ticket but at the entrance there is a box, similar to our post boxes with “Entrance 20 NOK” written on it. Everybody entered and parked their cars. The young man helped them to park in a certain order, and when they went out to go to the beach, they threw the money into the box. While Carla prepared lunch, I observed everyone who went out with curiosity, because the young man didn’t seem interested at all and completely occupied with the organization of the car park. Everybody stopped near that box and threw money into it. Nobody went out without paying and I think they put in what was asked of them. No control. When we went out I dropped in 10 NOK and from the sound it made I could understand that the box was nearly full. There were about 100 vehicles on the field, some had already left, others would arrive and this means that every day, when the weather is good, the minimum earnings is 2000 NOK, that is €250. Not bad! Without too much effort!
Two months before the beach was empty, now it was full to overflowing. The sea was full of bathers, the water was very clean and limpid. The temperature of the water was about 21°C, perhaps more. The children never came out of the water, as if it was 28°C. The sea was dead calm, without wind, only a little swell. We had a swim and sunbathed (3) until 17.45 then we hurried to the port of Skudeneshavn where we got on a ferry for Mekjarvik at 18.20, 187 (143 + 44) NOK.
We stopped at the island of Kvitsøy (4). A long line of sailing boats and motorboats was going out of the port. They seemed to be coming back from a regatta or something similar and were going back to Stavanger. Beautiful seascapes opened before us: we passed the sail boats (5), there was little or no wind, the fast motorboats passed us (6). The sea seemed to be boiling with the wake of the boats! We arrived at Mekjarvik at 19.40. Tied to the dock in the port, we saw an enormous floating crane (7000 t) of the Italian company Saipem (7). It probably works mounting the platforms for oil extraction (8).
We got off the ferry and continued immediately on the E39. We didn’t have to pay a toll this time, either, when we entered Stavanger. It seems that after 19.00 you don’t have to pay anymore. We appreciated the fact that it was pleasant to drive on the E39 after all the narrow roads we had followed in Norway. At 10 km before Egersund we turned right onto the 42 and, at 21.00 we were in our old parking place at Egersund near the little sports port. For dinner Carla quickly prepared sausages with mustard and, at 23.00, after the news, we went to bed.
The night was relatively silent but far from the silence that reigns at Tittelsnes. During the night some cars passed along the road (30 m from us), but after 7.00 there were queues of traffic on the road and the car park began to fill up. It’s curious how well you can hear and how much it disturbs you, the banging of car doors, when you are in bed and want to sleep. During the day you hardly notice this sound, but when you are in bed, every blow seems like a hammer hitting your head. At Tittelsnes we didn’t hear cars until 11.00 and after that hour there was no more than one every hour.
63rd day – 11.08.2004 – Wednesday: Egersund – 27/5100 km
The weather was good again in the morning – high summer! At 10.00 we went to the Fjord Line and a miracle happened, we found a place for the next day at 16.00 on the ferry for Hanstholm. With the ticket in our pocket we went to our beach from 1999 and 2002 near Skadberg. It was a perfect day for sunbathing and swimming. At 15.40 We went back to the car park. My back was burning a bit! The sun was too strong! Here too the sea was 20°C but for the local children it was so warm, they never wanted to come out.
In the evening we went for a walk around the town, which we know so well. The sky was partially covered with clouds and on the TV the German news said that bad weather was arriving from the north. The sea may be agitated tomorrow! Mackerel for dinner! At that moment we had 6 fish fillets in the freezer and the pickled mackerel (2.5 kg). Not bad!
The night was calm.
64th day – 12.08.2004 – Thursday: Egersund (N) – Glyngøre (DK) – 73/5173 km
In the morning the sky was free of clouds. Jasmine informed us (by SMS) that at San Maurizio it was raining every day. And here, in the newspapers, on the front page the headline was “Record Temperatures!”
At 12.30 we were in the check-in queue and at 13.00 they opened the office and we found ourselves immediately lined up to board the ferry. We wanted to go and fish from the dock, as we had done in other years, but this year it was prohibited. It wasn’t allowed to go near the side and fishing was absolutely impossible. They were antiterrorism measures!
At 15.45 the ferryboat “MS Fjord Norway”, the same that we had arrived with from Denmark (1) slowly entered the port and was tied up to the dock (2). They started unloading her holds (3) and we prepared to board (4). At precisely 16.00 we boarded the ship (5). At 16.30 (6) we were already leaving the port of Egersund (7).
All the way to Denmark the sea was as smooth as glass, the sky was clear. We rested at the stern on comfortable armchairs (in plastic), sitting in the sun (8), enjoying the voyage (9). I was bare-chested, it was hot. We admired the sea (10), the colours (11), the sunset (12). Several flocks of wild geese passed quickly round us, keeping close to the surface of the sea, going south. It was a wonderful voyage. We stayed on the deck until late, we only went inside the ship at 22.00 when a rather fresh wind started to blow. At 22.35 we entered the port of Hanstholm, got off the ship and went along the 11 for Glyngøre, where we parked once again on our car park near the sports port and near the sea.
At 24.20, after dinner we went to bed. The night was very silent!
65th day – 13.08.2004 – Friday: Glyngøre (DK) – Pinneberg (D) – 467/5640 km
We woke up after 8.00. There was fog on the sea. There was a little wind, as usual in this corner, but not strong, the sea was not choppy. We set off at 10.00. Along our way we met a lot of rain. We went back along the same road we had followed on our outward journey. On the 26 as far as Viborg and after with the 13 as far as Vejle, where we stopped for lunch. It was raining. We got onto the E20 motorway and went towards Kolding. Near Flensburg we entered Germany and continued for Hamburg. The rain that had accompanied us up to the German border, stopped. We arrived at Pinneberg at about 18.30 with good weather and we stopped, as always, at Waldemar and Rotraut. We parked in front of their house. Carla prepared dinner for all of us: Pasta Bolognese. We chatted with good wine until late at night.
66th day – 14.08.2004 – Saturday: Pinneberg (D) – 0/5640 km
In the morning I went to the Pinneberg hospital with Waldemar, where a doctor removed the stitches from the wound on my head. I think I had been rather negligent about the time, I should have had them removed seven days or, at the most, two weeks after they had been put in and, instead, 26 days had passed by.
In the afternoon a walk with Carla and Waldemar along the banks of the Elbe with beautiful weather. The banks were full of people on foot or on bicycles. The lovely paths for walks along the river were bordered by bramble bushes full to overflowing with juicy blackberries. Here the Elbe is very wide and flows very slowly. There were lots of sailing boats, big and small, but not many motor boats. These days it is rare that big merchant ships pass by. Tomorrow would be Sunday and they prefer to remain anchored off the coast, to avoid paying the expensive port tariffs, if they don’t have to unload.
67th day – 15.08.2004 – Sunday: Pinneberg (D) – Braunschweig (D) – 157/5797 km
It was again a lovely, sunny day. At 11.00 we said goodbye to Waldemar and Rotraut and set off for Braunschweig. The sky clouded over.
Before Soltau we found a long queue on the motorway so we decided to leave it and take the state road 3 in the direction of Celle. It’s a very good, fast road. We stopped in a little village, before Bergen (we weren’t in Norway!) and had lunch. We went on and, after Celle, we took the 214 where the traffic was also very smooth-flowing.
At 17.30 we arrived in Braunschweig, at Johanna’s and parked, like the last time, in front of the house. It was impossible to go to bed before midnight because the neighbours were celebrating a birthday but after 1.00 a.m. finally it was silent.
68th day – 16.08.2004 - Monday: Braunschweig (D) – 0/5797 km
In the morning we went for a short walk in Braunschweig, after lunch we went by car to Celle. A lovely, sunny day.
69th day – 17.08.2004 – Tuesday: Braunschweig (D) – Kempten (D) – 647/6444 km
A lovely morning, slightly cloudy, ideal for driving. At 10.00 we said goodbye to Johanna and set off towards the south. The motorway took us past Kassel, Würzburg, Ulm and Memmingen. During the journey it rained a lot and sometimes the downpour was really heavy. At 18.00 we arrived at Kempten where Carla’s parents live.
We parked and passed the night in front of their house. All was peaceful.
70/74th days – 18/22.08.2004 – Kempten (D) – 85/6529 km
75th day – 23.08.2004 – Monday: Kempten (D) – San Maurizio Canavese (I) – 550/7079 km
We have reached the end of our journey. After five days passed at Kempten where the day before we celebrated the 82nd birthday of Carla’s mother (1, 2), today, crossing Bregenz, Lugano and Milan, we arrived happily at our home in San Maurizio Canavese. The gas lasted until the end, in fact there was enough left over for another ten days. I had made more than 900 photos with the Casio which had functioned fantastically.
Our journey had lasted all together 75 days. We had done almost 7000 km (see table)
We fished 270 fish for a total weight of 87kg. It’s hard to believe but we ate them all, just we two. It’s true that we gave some away but we also received some as a present so it evens out. An excellent therapy against cholesterol. The fishing went really well, especially if you think that my first experience of fishing with a rod I had during my first visit to Norway in 1995 (see Scandinavia 1995 – 11th day). Before Norway I had never fished with a rod and after, only during my visits to Norway! Once I went fishing a lot underwater and participated in contests but with the rod – never! Here I was just a beginner and Carla too!
Our shopping: food €576, Diesel oil €723 (824 litres), ferries and tolls €515, various expenses €51, in total we had spent €1865, in two, for two and a half months! We went on a camp site only once! In the four journeys we have made up to now in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark (and across Switzerland and Germany) during in all 232 days, we stayed overnight on a camp site only three times.
Our camper sleeps peacefully now, again in its shelter and we, after 75 days, sleep in our beds. That’s not bad either! But we always dream of the wonderful days we passed in beautiful Norway. And if our health permits, we will go back again soon!