Lockdown: Week 9 – Places we’ve been (Part 2 – Sweden, Norway and Finland).

Albi in Norway 2019

We’re still in Lockdown, social-distancing and trying to keep busy. Reg still can not socialise, but he’s happy and we’ve been trying to fill our days, with some activities indoor and out. We’ve been on some bike rides, we’re trying to complete our circuit in different ways!

Reg has now had his full sets of vaccinations and can shortly socialise. We’re teaching him commands, slowly, and trying to keep him amused each day. He’s progressed from his basket to the dog trailer and has had a couple of trips in that.

In addition, we’ve been reminiscing about the places we’ve been to in the last year, this is part two and our trip around Sweden, Norway and Finland. We crossed the bridge from Denmark and headed up the Eastern Coast to the Norwegian Border, through Norway up to Nordkapp and over to the Russian Border, before heading through Finland to the Arctic Circle and back into Sweden, travelling down to Stockholm and back over to Finland by ferry.

Sweden

  • Malmö -We’ve had good and bad experiences in Malmö. Our first time here. we stayed at what felt like a pretty rundown site but it was quirky and we liked it. We set off to return here, but it has had a facelift and was FULL! We found another, but although we had a spot for the night on the edge of the sea, the facilities were not up to scratch and we chose to use those on board.
  • Halmstad – a lovely town on the edge of the river. The camperstop was just on the edge of the town right on the river and a short walk to the town centre and a bakery! There is a sculpture trail through the waterside gardens, too, complete with a Picasso!
  • Bua – this is one we don’t want to share! We loved it here, right on the marina, and with the wild coast on the other side of the road.
  • Henån – so good we came here twice! Seriously, we did like it here, another marina with a FREE laundry and town, walking distance away.
  • Gällivare – a ski resort in the winter, but a lovely town in the summer. We saw hares here on the morning walk (and picked up a Chinese takeaway)!
  • Moskosel – we stayed here at Ljuselforsens Rastplatz, by the side of the river. The views were stunning, but the river was very full and as newbie wild campers, was a little unnerving, but we survived and loved every minute of it.
  • Täfrea – we stopped here at the Kvarkenfisk Restaurant Stellplatz. It’s right on the sea with a fish restaurant and cabins (hytte). It was here we met new friends, Ana-Lund and Tommy, while sampling the Surströmming (stinky fish). Don’t be put off by the road to the restaurant – you are heading in the right direction!
  • Ramvik – we had not intended to stop here. but the effects of the stinky fish had started to take its toll and a night in a campsite was required. We headed off from here to the Motor Museum in Harnosands.
  • Galtstrom – we stopped in a wild camp site, next to the sea, with plenty of walks in the woods, a restaurant at the end of the road and the sea, where you can fish.
  • Angra – here we stopped at a campsite, where they will take you on a safari to see bears in the wild. We were joined by free-range chickens in the field, as we cooked. There is a river which runs through it too. Whilst out walking, we discovered there had be a forest fire nearby, and it had literally stopped at the campsite.
  • Nusnäs – home of the Dala Horse Factories, the carved painted horses traditional to Sweden.
  • Lesjöfors – wild camping spot with a toilet on the edge of a lake, with woodlands behind, and a sandy shoreline, perfect for the dog to run around on. It was a quiet place to stop, when we were there.
  • Karlstad – we headed for Karlstad as we had been craving a KFC and it didn’t disappoint.
  • Åmål – a campsite just on the edge of town, but beside Lake Vänern – the largest lake in European Union (and the third largest in Europe – the other two are in Russia).
  • Holsljunja – another Rastplatz, on the edge of another lake. We parked up behind an elderly Swedish couple, who were foraging mushrooms in the woods – not knowing our mushrooms from toadstools, we didn’t venture in too.
  • Solvesborg – we’d driven to a different campsite up the road a little, but it was so busy and the pitches weren’t all that great, so we drove on and found a little site on the edge of a lake.
  • Smålandet Markaryd alg safari – The Moose Safari. As we hadn’t been fortunate to see Moose in the wild we took Nortia on a trip through the Moose Safari Park, after our first circuit, we were fortunate to follow the train through and were able to see more Moose than we did on our own! The fact the train passengers are given food for the moose might have had something to do with it!
  • Tosteberga Hamn – a little Rastplatz on an archipelago. The spaces can be a little tight and not all have electricity but it was lovely. You can also pay in Euros (if like us you didn’t have cash!). They do have an app, but it didn’t recognise an English Bank Account.
  • Karlskrona – we drove into the town, there is a Stellplatz, in the centre of the town, but it was a hot day and the spaces are on tarmac, a bit too hot for the dog. There are a lot of sights to see here and you can get the ferry to Poland.
  • Bergkvara – we stayed on a nice grass pitch as the weather was quite hot. The site is close to the beach and the little town.
  • Öland Island – the second largest island in Sweden. We stayed here for two nights both on the sea. The first was at Grönhögens hamn, a small harbour town, we had a view of the sea and watched the coastguard sail up the coastline. We cycled out to Långe Jan the lighthouse on the southernmost point, through the nature reserve and marshland. The second stop after travelling up to the Northern Point and Långe Erik Lighthouse., was at Boda Hamn, and we had a spectacular thunder storm throughout the night.
  • Paskallaviks – we stopped here, originally for one night but stayed three, it was so nice. We travelled up to Oskarshamn, to see a vet, before heading on to Finland. The Stellplatz has a coded restroom and free laundry. There are two sides to the Rastplatz, so don’t be fooled by the fuller, EHU supplied left hand side! There are walks into the village and a pizza takeaway nearby. There were several locals who arrived to have a Birthday Party picnic tea on the benches laid out on the grass.
  • Valdermarsvik – located on the only fjord in Sweden. We stopped at the campsite on the beach (no dogs). The pitches are lovely and big and there is a restaurant, on site. We later discovered walking along the fjord, that there is a Stellplatz in the town on the edge of the fjord.
  • Oxelösund – stopping in another Stellplatz on the harbour. there is a restaurant on the end of the pier and it is a working port. We had another thunderstorm and lightning display.
  • Sollentuna – a lovely stop over just outside Stockholm and convenient for the Ferry to Finland. The site has access to the forest and lake.
  • Tallink Silja Galaxy – our overnight ferry to Finland, with dog friendly cabin and dog deck. We actually went on a pub crawl (3 bars – 3 drinks) and had a meal on board, before an incredibly early start (disembarkment – 06:00). Finland is 1 hour ahead of Sweden (2 hours ahead of the UK).

Norway

  • Oslo – Bogstad Camping, we made the mistake of expecting to be able to stop in a Rastplatz in Moss, on the edge of the harbour. When we got there it was full, the weather was perfect, as was the view. We continued on our journey and despite trying to find another couple, indicated on the app, we booked into Bogstad Camping. It is ideal to visit the city.
  • Notodden – Lystang Camping – this is one of our favourite camping spots. Our trip was slightly marred by the loss of our phone in a shop, which we did retrieve! The last time we stayed here we took a boat trip on the river, but we’d arrived in a heatwave and it was too hot this time. We relaxed by the motorhome, and cycled to the town.
  • Edland – we followed the Hardinger Scenic Route north to Edland and stopped in a campsite by a lake. While we were here, we (Ric) had to sort an Electricity failure on the campsite, caused by a faulty cable on a different Motorhome. It was solved with a lack of English and Norwegian but just sign language!
  • Taulen – heading further north, we stumbled across this lovely campsite, by the side of a river. It was fine until the middle of the night when the river sounded like rain!
  • Odda – We stopped in Odda for lunch, and after filling up with fuel, we spotted Thord from Ice Road Rescue, a programme we watch and were greeted with a wave.
  • Horndola – We followed Ditsy Daisy Sat Nav, further north and she managed to tell us that the road was closed and gave us a detour. After a lot of tunnels, including the Laerdal Tunnel, we found a place to stop in Horndola. Looking up the attractions nearby we found the Giftesteinen Stone. It is a large stone with a hole in the middle, with a myth attached. We popped up to see it early on a dog walk, and by 09:00 there were over 11 coaches, from the cruise liners.
  • Hellesylt – We continued to following Ditsy Daisy, having passed the point of no return and we found ourselves at the Cruise Ferry Terminal to Geiranger. Although a bit of an expense, we would probably spend the same retracing our journey back around. The cruise was lovely, the sun was shining and the scenery spectacular.
  • Geiranger – Disembarking in Geiranger, the campsites were full so instead we headed up the Eagles Road and on to the Trollsteigen Pass, stopping at the top of the Trollsteigen to complete our previous visit (we arrived in heavy snow and the path was closed).
  • Isfjord – Romsdalseggen Camping, Åndalsnes. We stopped here by the side of a ski resort in a very nice campsite behind a hostel.
  • Levanger – Gullberget Camping (outside Trondheim). We stumbled on this campsite by accident The one we had stayed at before, didn’t look as nice this time around, so we carried on and found this site, on the edge of a nature reserve and close to the main E6 heading north.
  • Mosjøen – we stopped here before on our way to the Arctic Circle and for the return back (the last trip we did was a three week holiday, so only just enough time to get there and back and back to work)! The campsite is close to the edge of town and has a some nice walking paths around. On our way up to Polarsirkelen, we stopped at Mo-I-Rana to fill with LPG.
  • Polarsirkelen – Arctic Circle Centre. As it wasn’t snowy, it looked a lot different to the last time we were here, and we expected crowds, but gratefully it wasn’t too bad. It is definitely somewhere to stop and be a tourist.
  • Saltstraumen – heading north we took a turn to the east and found ourselves at Saltstraumen, crossing over the bridge to the archipelago. On the dog walk, we discovered the saltstraumen tides. In the evening, there was no tide at all, it was as calm as anything , but the tide times said the tides we be high at 08:00 the following morning. The maelstrom is well, worth a visit.
  • Ballangen – continuing our journey north, we stopped on the edge of a fjord. The amenities in the campsite were amazing with a large kitchen for campers. There was so little darkness here, on our trip, that hearing the rain start at 03:30, and heading out to get the washing – it was as if it was 08:00 at home!
  • Tromsø – heading up the coast further north, we were greeted by reindeer walking down the road. The campsite was ok, but the real bonus was an Indian restaurant, nearby with an English app and delivery. It was possibly the most expensive Indian take-away we have ever had – but well worth it!
  • Storslett – Fosselv Camping, another great find on the edge of the fjord and an ideal fishing location. The views near here are amazing and we passed Karen and Myles from http://www.motoroaming.com
  • Russenes – at the end of the E6 and turning east again, we stopped here for the night before heading towards Nordkapp.
  • Honningsvag – we stopped here to get provisions before heading to Nordkapp. The cruise liner, TUI Mein Schieff 3, had just docked and we were amongst several tourists in the town
  • Nordkapp – on our arrival (and we didn’t exactly know what to expect), we were asked if we wanted to camp for the night – it’s included in the price of parking! Facilities are free to enter and open from 06:00 to 02:00. What’s also lovely is you can be there almost alone, once the cruise liner passengers have gone and before the next ones arrive. The views are spectacular and despite the cold, a must to see and do.
  • Ifjord – heading away from Nordkapp and on towards Finland and the Russian border, we stopped at a small campsite, which was in the process of being renovated but had potential. It’s not a part of Norway, regularly visited by English tourists, according to the campsite owners.
  • Kirkenes – the border town for Russia and Finland. The town was completely rebuilt after World War Two, when it was destroyed by bombing raids. We had hoped to view the Russian border, but Ditsy Daisy and Gloria Google Maps, couldn’t decide where the border was and we didn’t want to take a risk, especially with the dog.

Finland

  • Inari, our first stop in Finland. Having first discovered that there is a time difference between Norway and Finland. We had to pass through two border controls – one European and one for Russians entering Europe. The campsite was an idyllic typical Finnish campsite (but we didn’t see Moomins).
  • Rovaniemi – we stopped at a Rastplatz on our way to Santa Claus Village. The Rastplatz, was on the edge of a lake and beautiful.
  • Santa Claus Village – a must see tourist attraction, if you’re in this part of the world. However, listening to Christmas music in the sun in August was a little surreal! We put in a good word with Santa for the grandkids, before crossing back over the Arctic Circle again (we crossed it four times in total – once in Norway and Finland and twice in Sweden).
  • Ii – we stopped here on our way back to Sweden, just below the Arctic Circle. We might have stayed longer, but the weather changed, and we were in torrential rain, the following morning. The town, is supposed to be the greenest in Europe, we later found out. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct03ms
  • Merikarvia – heading back to Finland from Sweden, we discovered that the start of September is time for Finland to start closing down. We found this campsite by chance and headed off around the southern part of the country. It was here we were contacted about meeting in Riga, Latvia for our film shoot, in a week’s time!
  • Larsmo – After a lot of rain, we arrived in Larsmo, a municipality made up of 360 islands and islets, where there is a Sauna Boat you can hire on the waterway, from the campsite shop. This community is one of the few bilingual Swedish and Finnish speaking, Swedish was the only language spoken until 2014
  • Juva – We arrived in more rain (torrential and thunderstorms) and the campsite was in a woodland by the side of another lake. It was lovely and picturesque, especially as dawn broke, the rain stopped and the mist gathered. The footpaths had a large variety of mushrooms (toadstools?).
  • Helsinki – A city campsite, next to the Metro station. Remarkably quiet and secure. We were about to head out on the Metro, when yet more rain, and again torrential. We will definitely revisit if we’re back here again.

Week 9 – Sweden

After a lovely night’s stay at Tosteberga Hamn, we made a slow trip to Karlskrona. Karlskrona is a lovely town on the edge of the Baltic Sea and where the ferry leaves for Poland. We had a quick drive around and went up to see the Amiralitetklocksteplin. Originally built as the bell tower for the dock workers, it began life in the Admiralty Church as the bell tower in 1909.

We looked at the Stellplatz by the harbour but it was a very hot afternoon and the tarmac would have been unbearable for us and the dog! so we drove to a campsite just up the road a little way, where there were grass pitches, Dalskärs Camping. It was also close to the beach. The weather was so hot there though and in the morning the humidity was unbearable. After completing two laundry washes (which dried in the heat before we left!), two showers – human and dog wash we left!

We had decided to go to the Island of Öland. We took a leisurely drive towards Kalmar and went over the Ölandbrun (Bridge). We had a lovely lunch by the sea and then drove to a Stellplatz in Grönhögens Hamn (Hamn is Swedish for Harbour). We parked up facing out to sea and the Swedish Mainland looking for seals, whales or dolphins but we were unlucky – we did see the Coastguard vessel, which patrolled the sea all night!

While at Grönhögens Hamn, we decided to cycle to Öland’s Southernmost Point (Öland Södra Udde) or Långe Jon. Home to the tallest lighthouse in Scandinavia. It was only about 12 miles in total but the humidity had increased and towing a trailer with an excitable dog, who could see sheep all around was an added adventure! We arrived back in time to have something to eat and watch the sunset. Whoever said the sun sets slowly has never been here as it was so quick!

The following morning, we continued our tour of the Island heading up to Trollskogen and the twisted trees in the nature reserve and then on to Långe Erik at Öland Norra Udde. From here, we found another Stellplatz at Böda Hamn. While we were here the weather decided to change completely – it was sunny and warm with alot of humidity again, then the clouds started to form in strange patterns and then went dark. Over towards the East and Gotland and Finland a storm was picking up force and before long we had thunder and lightning. We were lovely and cosy inside Nortia the Motorhome with a chicken roasting in the oven. After about four hours the storm ceased and the weather improved.

From Böda, we headed back towards the mainland. We stopped to see Sandviks Kvarn (windmill). It is the largest Dutch style windmill outside of the Netherlands. We saw a little road which led to the beach and was bearly on our map but we love an adventure and decided to follow it. It took us to Knissa Mosse – a nature reserve which had been left until the 1900s, when the locals decided to reintroduce grazing. It is a different landscape to the rest of the Island and the road runs alongside the coastline. We stopped again to have a quick look at Borholm’s Schlott (Castle) and then headed back over the bridge to Kalmar and to see the Monument.

Our overnight stop was in another Harbour Stellplatz at Påskallaviks. The Gästhamn has some places for motorhomes with electricity or without. We chose a nice little place without electric and better views (in our opinion).

We had to find a vet to see Albi and found a very nice and accommodating one at Smådjurskliniken at Oskarshamn – the next town. I had read conflicting information about whether he needed to be treated again for tapeworm before entering Finland as it had been over 28 days since he was last seen by the vet to enter Norway. In the end I contacted the Finnish Authority and they replied stating he did ://www.ruokavirasto.fi/en/companies/import-and-export/eu-countries-norway-and-switzerland/animals/dogs-cats-and-ferrets/trade-of-dogs-cats-and-ferrets-from-eu-countries-to-finland-non-commercial-movement/

The vet clinic made us an appointment for later in the day and we had to go to the Chemist (Apotek) to buy the appropriate treatment – we were advised that Milbemax was suitable so purchased some – you then return to the Vets who check his Chip ID and monitor him taking the tablet and sign his passport. All sorted – he can travel!

While in Oskarshamn, we found a jet wash and were able to give Nortia a bit of a clean and tidy. We were trying to think where to go next but loved last night’s stop so much we went back to Påskallaviks Gästhamn. Just along the road was also a Pizza Restaurant and take-away so dinner was sorted too! It was Friday night after all!

We are still heading to Stockholm as we have a ferry booked to Finland next week, so heading eastwards we headed to Grännäs, just outside Valdemarksvik. We’d picked our spot and paid for it before we saw a nicer Stellplatz in Valdemarksvik. A lesson learnt that we will remember. The campsite is one one of the only Fjords on the Eastern side of Sweden. It has a lovely looking restaurant and beach (no dogs!)

Next we headed further east to Oxelösund and stayed at the Fiskarhamnen. We decided not to follow Ditsy Daisy Sat Nav – we’re sure she’s going to tell us off one day! We found a lovely country drive through crop fields and farmland, through trees and boulders and pine forests, alongside fjords and waterways and on a ferry or two. In Sweden the ferries are free as they are part of the road network. We had a little walk around the port – its a lively place with a yacht harbour and a commercial port – they were loading ships, it seems all day and night. Again here the weather changed and the rain fell, along with another thunderstorm. We were fine again and had roast chicken breast and roast potatoes all cooked in Nortia’s kitchen! We do actually eat more than just roast chicken!

Tomorrow we continue to Stockholm and the ferry to Finland. We’ll keep you posted of our exploits and what happens. We’ve got to find some LPG (CNG) as there isn’t any in Finland!

Thank you, as ever, for reading this – we’ll have more for you in a week or so – WiFi dependant. Have a great week, too.

Week 8: Sweden

Nortia meets the a Dala Horse at Nusnås, Sweden

After the trouble trying to get LPG, we succeeded on Monday – the LPG station was open and had the adaptor we needed, so happy days all sorted. We actually only needed to fill one cylinder and it cost the vast sum of £8.00! We know we’ll need to make sure we’re topped up before Finland as there are no filling stations there!

This week has been a week of rain and mishaps. Perhaps the two are linked or perhaps its just not as bad as it has seemed! On Monday we moved to a campsite, partially because we were craving a roast dinner – its easier on electric and with washing up facilities – our preference! When we arrived the sun was shining and the weather was perfect, then the heavens opened! Thankfully again the awning saved us and the day – it was too hot to have cooked roast potatoes and stuffing in the oven with the door closed, but the awning protected the interior of the MoHo from the rain. Also it meant we could still cook our chicken on the BBQ.

The campsite was also home to a lot of free range chickens who loved to torment Albi, walking just out of reach of him! We did feel a little guilty having a roast chicken dinner but….

In the morning when I walked the dog, I saw a notice which informed us that there had been a large forest fire last year just to the boundary of the campsite – when we left we saw the fire had been almost all around the campsite.

We then went to Nusnås, the home of the Dala Horse. These are the Swedish painted horses, which are traditionally hand carved and painted wooden statues of horses. Traditionally they we made as toys. They are beautiful and come in all sizes, as well as roosters! It had been on my list to go to, so I managed to navigate us there!

We then moved to another beautiful wild camping spot on the edge of a lake. The water felt warm enough to swim in and the people next door did have a bath there before leaving but we still couldn’t be convinced.


The next day we went to Karlstad – there was a big reason for taking this route – KFC. We had been asked what was so special about having a KFC that we needed to make this trip? In truth nothing except when you haven’t been able to have something that you enjoy for a length of time, it becomes an obsession and you have to give in to it! It was magnificent and well worth the two month wait!

From Karlstad we drove to another campsite on the edge of Lake Vånern – the third largest lake in Europe and the largest in Sweden. The campsite at Åmål, was right on the waters edge and although a lake – you can fish it – Ric tried but there was too much weed to get a proper cast, so still no breakfast!

From Åmål, we decided to drive to the Islands of Orust and Tjörn – mainly to the Sculpture Park. As we drove towards the islands the weather changed and it started raining. We headed onto the Island of Orust and had a feeling of déjà vu. It looked very familiar. As we drove to the village of Henån, it looked like somewhere we knew – it was! We had stayed here on our way up to Norway! I had managed to navigate us back to one of our original night stops – that said by this time the weather was terrible – the rain didn’t stop and the puddles were so deep my shoes were drenched! It is nice though sometimes to feel the familiarity of a place when the weather is bad – you don’t feel the need to explore and can stay dry!

We drove to the Sculpture Park, the weather when we set off wasn’t great but it was ok. The Sculpture Park is an open air walk and as we arrived the rain got worse so we stopped in the car park, took a couple of photos and moved on. It was disappointing but two wet humans and a wet dog in a Motorhome driving was not our idea of happy. We’ve added it to our list for things to do when back in Sweden!

Driving back towards Gothenburg we turned left and headed east. We found a lovely overnight spot – a Rastplats by the side of another lake, outside the village of Holsljunga. We’d arrived fairly early (for us) so took the time to settle in and cook a nice English classic – Cottage Pie. The sun did shine for a while in the evening which made everything just a little more lovely! When we’d arrived we had parked behind an older Swedish coupe who had been out foraging – a very Swedish custom and they returned with two small trugs of mushrooms!

When we awoke on Saturday, there were now eight motorhomes parked up for the night, It’s lovely to see these areas being used. We packed up and headed off again – this time towards Karlshamn. We’d found a campsite up in the hills and on paper it looked lovely. As the roads looked managable, after lunch in another (not so pleasant) Rastplats – the space was nice but the toilets….! I decided to have a little drive, all fine until we approached the campsite and had to pass over a narrow bridge, where of course I met two cars – not a car all day until here! We got safely though – thank heavens for decent wing mirrors and an excellent co-pilot. On arrival at the campsite – it was too busy and way too hot – the pitches left were just not us! We left and headed to the sea. There we found a lovely campsite, right by the edge of the Baltic sea. The sun was shining and it gave us the opportunity to dry out the awning after all that rain!

While here, we decided that if the moose won’t come to us – we would go to them and after a short back drive, we arrived at Smålandet Markaryds Älgsafari. Here we were able to see moose up close and they are magnificent looking beasts – we also saw Bison – not native to Sweden and looking a little hot! After two drives around the enclosure, we set off to our next overnight stop.

Again, we were a bit like Goldilocks looking for somewhere to stop – the first was too car park like, the second just too busy and the third just right – Tosteberga Hamn – a small harbour on the Baltic Sea between Karlshamn and Karlskrona. It was fairly busy with a few spaces remaining and we picked one right behind a wooden beach building (a bit bigger than a beach hut in England). We had no power, but Nortia is fully fitted for such a stay and she copes wonderfully. Luckily for us, you can pay in Euros as we didn’t have enough Swedish Krona and they don’t take a card! I had tried to convince them to take Norwegian Krone but that was a complete NO! In Sweden they use an app to pay for things called SWISH, but having downloaded it you then need to download a banking app – which needs to have all your banking details added and it doesn’t include English banks!

It was a perfect stop – the sun was still shining when we got up in the morning and what we get up to this week we’ll let you know soon! Thank you again for reading or as they say here, Tack! Sx

Week 7: Finland to Sweden

We did choose to leave Finland, but we will be back. The plan is to tour the southern part of Sweden and then get a Ferry to Finland and explore the Lakes. However, as you know, our plans do change!

We left Finland in search of a spot to spend a couple of days, we needed a rest and chores need to be caught up with. We drove a little further than we would have liked but the weather was appalling and the views were none existent, back over the border to Sweden and over the Arctic Circle (again) to Gällivare.

Gällivare is just below a ski resort used by lots of national teams due to its season length. We caught up with the laundry – the campsite gives you free access with a pre-booked time slot. Not quite enough to get it all dry but we hung it out in the shower and under the awning! We took a little walk into the town and discovered a Chinese restaurant- dinner sorted!

After a two day stop we headed south (crossing the Arctic Circle for a final time) and had a stopover at a Rastplats (an official overnight stop supplied by the Swedish Transport Administration). It was right next to the river, on the main highway- but so peaceful.

From here we continued south and stopped at a Stellplatz in Taftea. It was right outside a fish restaurant on the Bay of Bothnia – this is the area of sea between Sweden and Finland. It was so nice, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see if we could have a lovely meal.

The Kvarkenfisk Restaurant was having its inaugural Surstromming event and we were told we were welcome to join them for the buffet experience! So later, we returned and were shown how to eat the delicacy, by the chef and by one of the local ladies.

Surstromming is fermented herring. It has an odour that is unmistakable and a taste which is actually alright, at the time! If you ever have a tin, do not open it indoors and if you have thought about taking some home from Sweden – we were warned the tin could explode. Trust us, when we say having the smell of off milk in the Motorhome would be preferable! It also has a lingering odour the following day, which combined with a late night of hospitality with our new Swedish friends Anna and Tommy was not a good mix!

On Friday, we headed south, but not to the Motor Museum as planned, but to a campsite for a bit of rest. On the way, we went through the town of Örnsköldsvik, where the ski jump is in the middle of the town. Although it looks like you jump straight into the petrol station it is behind and over the top of it! The fish had taken its toll on us! After a good meal and rest we were ready to continue.

Saturday we got to the Motor Museum at Harnosands and it was a lovely surprise. There were cars of all ages and from Europe, England the US and Russia, including Mr Bean’s and Harry Potter’s.

We also went in search of LPG (CNG in Sweden) after finding an unexpected filling station but no adaptor. After a hunt around the town we knew we’d have to return on Monday to a manned station with the adaptor available.

We took a little trip down to the beach and found another free camping spot. This one was just so good, we stayed two nights – chatted to some English people we met, we’ve not met many on this trip so far!

We need to head on on Monday though in search of the elusive LPG – there are more stations in the southern part of Sweden so finding it from now on should be easier. We already know you can’t get it in Finland!

As always, thank you for reading – internet and WiFi have been a bit hit and miss this week – hence the late posting. We’ll try to do better next week…

Week 4: Bua, Sweden to Hornindal, Norway

Wow, what a week that was! (Apologies for the lateness of this posting but its been hot here in Norway and sitting writing inside was too much to consider, also WiFi has been intermittent!)

After Bua, we set of to see the vet in Gothenburg, so that Albi can enter Norway. Its no big deal and its the same as re-entering the UK, but you have to wait 24 hours minimum – not 12 (the maximum is 60 hours or 5 days). We’d made an appointment and arrived – first they check his weight and look at his passport, then scan his ID chip and check it matches – when he was a pup it used to move around but now its pretty constant, then he has to have the all important tapeworm tablet. At home this is not a problem, but in the vets where he has to be watched, he won’t take it – so you have to force it down! If he doesn’t have the stamp in his passport – he’s not allowed entry! Finally all ok!

We moved on to another Stellplatz in Henan, Sweden. It was a lovely stopover with great facilities and right next door to the local shopping centre, and despite the rain (more drizzle really) we enjoyed it until we were getting ready to leave.

Both our neighbours, from the previous night had left and people had started to arrive for the next day. Our new neighbours clearly wanted their friends next to them, but instead of asking whether we were leaving they stood at the front of our Motorhome staring in. I was in two minds to go and get another day ticket just because but didn’t!

We went on a slow trip to the Norway border, as we had 24 hours to wait! We also consulted the Norwegian Customs app regarding the amount of alcohol you can import, so we could stock up (not in the UK terms of the 1990’s). We knew we had to go through the red zone at the border!

Both of us have travelled long enough, and have friends and family in airport travel, security and customs to know how unsettling it can be to get it wrong at customs! We’ve all gone through the green channel knowing we might have miscalculated and suffer the consequences but this time it could be (from what we have heard) life or death (or a long stay in quarantine) for Albi. Not something we were prepared to gamble! So under the alcohol limit, within dates for the dog we turned right into the red zone. Now what? – no idea. We pulled up in front of the Customs building. I went in with our passports and the dog information. At Eurotunnel, you have to take the pet too, but… His passport was checked and off we went! All ok to travel! Both of us have travelled long enough, and have friends and family in airport travel, security and customs to know how unsettling it can be to get it wrong at customs! We’ve all gone through the green channel knowing we might have miscalculated and suffer the consequences but this time it could be (from what we have heard) life or death (or a long stay in quarantine) for Albi. Not something we were prepared to gamble! So under the alcohol limit, within dates for the dog we turned right into the red zone. Now what? – no idea.

Around the bend, another crossing point – the Border checkpoint. Here the Motorhome was weighed and we were questioned and the driver (Ric) breathalysed. Questions included who is the new British PM? What football team do you follow? We passed and were waved through to Norway. We headed for Moss, where a lovely Stellplatz on the harbour beckoned, but being quite late in the day it was full. A few hours later (and a few choice words at the sat nav – now named Ditzy Daisy) we booked online into a campsite in Oslo.

Bogstad Camping is enormous but close to the centre of the city, so well worth a look if you’re planning a visit. It is clean and friendly. A bus stop right outside will get you directly to the city centre. We had a quick look around Oslo on our way to one of our favourite campsites ever – Lystang Camping outside Notodden, in the Telemark region. We stayed two nights here. Bogstad Camping is enormous but close to the centre of the city, so well worth a look if you’re planning a visit. It is clean and friendly. A bus stop right outside will get you directly to the city centre.

Our first day was marred by the fact I lost our phone – it’s our lifeline! I went to the supermarket and managed to leave it at the till, but worse still we drove to the campsite and set up before I realised! The nice couple from next door phoned the phone to check it wasn’t hiding but no, so we rushed back to the supermarket and there it was – I am so grateful and lucky.

The following day, we cycled to Notodden- the temperature was 28°C, it was hot! Norway was at the start of a heatwave (we know these temperatures are not like the UK heatwave).

After Lystang, we started to head north, Bergen was out of the question as they had predicted a high of 33°C – too hot to drag the dog around! So we went up the coast to Edland, having followed the Hardinger Scenic Route. We stopped right on the edge of the lake, it was beautiful. There was also a problem here with the electric supply – so once an engineer always an engineer – Ric managed to sort it! One of the motorhomes had a bad lead -once disconnected all was great 🙂 No call-out fee these days!

From Edland, we still followed the roads north to Taulen, this campsite was next to a lovely river (noisy) but relaxing, although I did have to check a couple of times in the night that it wasn’t raining! On the way we stopped briefly in Odda, and we actually saw Thord, from Ice Road Rescue. He did give us a wave too – probably just used to waving but still it cheered us!

Further north still, we headed and on Sunday after Ditsy Daisy Sat Nav telling us there were road closures (we’re not convinced, as one detour had us pulling out in front of a caravan we’d followed before!), we arrived at a campsite in Horndola. Our trip had taken us through more tunnels than I could remember including the Laerdal Tunnel – the world’s longest road tunnel at over 24 Kilometers long. It is impressive but….

Horndola is in the mountains, it was very hot here as we were quite high up and outside the campsite was a tourist attraction – a stone! This stone is called Giftesteinen and there are a couple of local legends surrounding it. https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/the-marriage-stone-virgin-stone/3573/ the following morning from 08:00(ish) I counted 10 tourist buses!

The campsite is a gem – it has a little cafe and the best shower block we’ve seen for a while!

Next week beckons! We’ll update you with more tales of Ditzy Daisy Sat Nav, the heatwave and moving north to places new!

As always thank you for reading, we’ve got some more touring to do… Sx