Norway (June 2019)

 

We decided to quit our jobs again and go traveling. This time we chose to do the trip with a car. We sold our current car and bought a 26 year old VW T4 van which is suitable to sleep in it as well as to travel with 4 people. At our first destination our friends Kirsty and Freddy from Australia joined us.
We left Imst at the end of May, did some family visits on the way north and took the ferry from Hirtshals to Kristiansand at the beginning of June. We continued driving to Bergen in two days and there we met our friends. Bergen is considered to be one of the rainiest cities Europe (with an average of 248 rain days per year) but we experienced this charming little city with blue sky and lots of sunshine!

blue sky and sunshine in Bergen!

The next two days  it rained quite heavily. We had to stick around Bergen; our friends luggage did not make it from Ireland to Norway – it got lost not once but twice. After what must have been a million phone calls the luggage eventually arrived in Bergen and we could finally hit the road. The weather was also improving and we headed to a hike a friend had recommended to us. The first packing of our backpacks for an overnight hike took us about 3 hours 🙂 (don’t worry – we got slightly quicker the next times).
We started hiking to Kiellandbu Hut. The view from up there is amazing and this hike was one of our highlights in Norway. The next day we spontaneously extended our overnight hike in the mountains for one more night because we enjoyed it so much up there.

Kiellandbu hut with a great view into a fjord

Our next stop was Runde island where we were really exited to see some adorable Puffins again. We had wonderful weather which made our stay even nicer.

Puffins on Runde

We continued driving further north via Alesund, the Atlantic Road and Kristansund to our next hiking destination in the Trollheimen National Park. We drove to the Innerdalen Valley and packed our bags again. We hiked for 2.5 days and did not see a single person. As it was still rather early in the seasons (middle of June) we still had to cross a lot of snow fields and it took us rather long to to make some distance.

Langvatnet

After the hike we had two rather relaxing days in / near Trondheim. As the weather was rather bad for the next two days we decided to use the bad weather for “driving days” and made some progress heading north. On one long ferry drive we crossed the arctic circle. As it was middle of June from now on the sun did not set anymore. We continued to Rago National Park where we had a very nice but also very wet day hike to a beautiful lake embedded in the mountains.

one of our most scenic hikes was up to this lake in Rago National Park

Our next destination were the Lofoten islands. We spent some days in the famous south region of the Lofoten but unfortunately we had rather bad and wet weather there. We also felt a bit stressed by the huge amount of people in the south so we decided to head to the less crowded north and drove to Andenes. It really was much less crowded there and also the weather got better. The campground “Midnattsol” lived up to its name and for the first time the weather was so clear that we saw the midnight sun. It was a surreal and very happy feeling standing at the beach at midnight while enjoying the sunshine. Near Andenes we also did two nice hikes and we even had a dip in the (admittedly cold) ocean before we continued to Senja.

midnight sun at Bleik beach

Unfortunately when we arrived on Senja Kirsty got really sick. Understandably the two of them decided to leave to Tromsø to recover – it is very hard to recover while camping in rainy, cold weather.

From then we travelled alone. We stayed almost one week on Senja. In the beginning the weather was still unstable but then it got very very nice and we could do several hikes, including one overnight hike to enjoy the midnight sun on a mountain peak.

As nice as it was to have no rain there was a downside to it: as soon as it got sunny and especially windstill it got really bad with the flies, mosquitoes and midges…
The midnight-sun-on-a-peak-hike turned out to be both our favorite but also most challenging one… in the lower half of the hike we were eaten alive by the mosquitoes while hiking in a huge cloud of flies… Verena almost lost it and was close to abandoning… what saved the hike was that we were able to very quickly pitch our inner tent, rush into it and cool down (both temperature and morale-wise). Some wild reindeers passed right by our tent and soon the annoying flies were forgotten…

wild reindeers right next to our tent
enjoying the view at midnight sun

Our last stop in Norway was on Lyngen where we did a very nice hike to an intensely blue lake. On Lyngen we rather spontaneously decided that on our way back to the south we would visit the Baltic so the next day we started driving through Finland for two days and took a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn.

 

NOTES & ANECDOTES

Norwegians don’t say “hi” – they say “hi hi”

in the south we heard a Cuckoo near every camp spot

Norwegians build roundabouts inside tunnels

we were surprised how close the written Norwegian language is to German. We could understand many written words.

our favorite town name: Å

we saw very few police cars (probably 3 police cars in 5 weeks)

our car mirror got hit by reckless oncoming motorhomes twice. Lots of the motorhome drivers seemed to have no control over their (probably rented) vehicles

only counts for Verena and Edgar: we slept with our sleeping mask on every single night

sugary drinks (like Coke) are ridiculously expensive. After a while we learned that the reason for it is that there is a sugar tax in Norway

when you are used to tunnels in middle European then tunnels in Norway can be very basic; narrow, windy road and no illumination at all

although it rained quite a bit we were able to put up the tent without rain every (!) single night

 

NUMBERS

we spent 5 weeks in Norway

we slept
– 1 night in an AirBnB
– 14 nights on paid campgrounds
– 20 nights for free

average Diesel price was 1,42€ (14,50 NOK) per liter

we drove 4325km in Norway. Plus 1650km to get from Imst to southern Norway (with a detour to Edgar’s parents and his brother). Plus 1280km back south to Helsinki.

we spent 25 Euros per person per day