A Travellerspoint blog

Day 11~ Odd Time in Odda

Odda

overcast 19 °C
View To the South of the North 2022 on CariadJohn's travel map.

Not much of a write up tonight as we are both knackered! I went for a quick dip this morning, but in all honestly it was more of a dunk than a dip as the river had big boulders under the water and I was frightened of catching my legs on them.

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We left and got back on the road. We were hoping to head to Odda tonight, and we got there at about 3pm. The road was another typical Norwegian road, fast and not very wide. We stopped off at a couple of fantastic waterfalls and then stopped again at another high plateau, high in the mountains overlooking a massive lake. No idea of the name; what would be a huge tourist attraction in the UK is “just another lake” here. I made myself another cheese toastie, and Lyn sat outside cooking sausages with a view on his MSR stove. We ate lunch and hit the road again.

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Two huge tunnels on the way have been closed while they work on them, so we had to join convoy detours over the old roads. This took longer on steep, narrow, single track twisty roads, but we can’t complain as we look up at the snow capped mountains.

Coming down into the Odda Valley Lyn went to drive across a narrow bridge. The oncoming car wouldn’t stop and drove over too, with 4 cars following behind. We were now blocking the bridge! Lyn had to reverse, but the car behind him refused! He sat there beeping at Lyn.It was stalemate, no one could go anywhere! Lyn finally lost it, jumped out of the van, and stormed off to the car behind, using international sign language and swear words to convey his meaning. The car reversed pretty quickly and we all got moving again!

The Odda Valley was a delight to drive down, such a steep wooded V shaped valley, with huge waterfalls tumbling down into the fast flowing river below.Unfortunately there was just no space to stop.

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We drove into Odda and parked up. I needed a chemist to get some stuff for a painful mouth ulcer. £18 later I had a tiny tube of hopeful magic, and less money in my bank account! We quickly called in a supermarket and had a stroll around the town which didn’t take long. The fjord is amazing, but spoilt by a huge industrial plant nearby, sticking out like a blot on the landscape.

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We decided to drive on and found a gorgeous spot about 25 minutes out of Odda. We are right on the banks of the fjord, and I’ve already been in for a swim. The water is freezing, which is not surprising as there is snow on the mountains opposite! We cooked pizza for tea and are having another early night. These roads are proving tiring!

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Posted by CariadJohn 17:20 Archived in Norway Tagged norway Comments (1)

Day 10 ~ Top to Bottom of Lysebotn

Mykland~ EvjeLysebotn~ Valle ~Otra

rain 10 °C
View To the South of the North 2022 on CariadJohn's travel map.

Wow, today has been a long hard day! Not helped by the fact I woke naturally at 5.28am and knew that sunrise was in a few minutes, so I got out of bed for a sunrise dip. Lyn opted to catch up on his sleep, so I wandered down to the lake on my own, taking in the stillness and quiet. I don’t know how to describe it without sounding a bit OTT, but OMG it was sublime. The only sounds were from the fish jumping or the birds flapping. I could see fish swimming beneath me, and there wasn’t a ripple on the lake. The still water was the colour of molten gun metal. I swam out to the diving jetty and wished I could just freeze time. This is a moment I will keep in my Happy Bank, for when times get tough.

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I didn’t want to get out, but dragged myself out after about 30 minutes. Poor old Lyn was getting worried and putting his clothes on to come and look for me. I think he had visions of me face down and drifting! I stripped off and he got wrapped me up in a duvet and made me a hot chocolate. I think I like him and may keep him!

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We had breakfast (toast for me, avocado, egg and sausage for Lyn) and were on our way after a shower. We had a long day planned with lots of driving.

Our first stop was at this massive river, where I had to navigate over a big walkway made of uneven stones wearing flip flops! Fun! The water was so impressive.

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From there we carried on North and took on fuel and water, then we hit the highway, climbing quickly into an alpine area with lots of ski slopes and chalets. We carried on climbing on the road which was just wider than single track. Luckily the road was quite empty as we followed it for 46 miles, stopping to let other cars pass when we needed to. The road is a national scenic route, and I can see why! The Suleskardveien Route is amazing, with so many high alpine lakes, granite rocks, big rivers and sheep. Lot’s of defiant sheep.

We quickly got into a routine of me shouting “car” when I spotted one approaching. This allowed Lyn to work out whether he could pass, or should stop. This worked well, until one particular call came out in a really strange high pitched squeal which gave us both the giggles for about half an hour and did not help the difficult driving at all!

We passed quite close to one small roadside lake, with a buff naked man emerging full frontal. This is now forever known as Todger Lake!

At the highest point we passed a lovely open area where there were hundreds of cairns where people have balanced rocks and stones into towers.

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We then passed the huge car park for the start of the hike to Kjeragbolten, which is where you can see the famous chock stone.We had contemplated doing the hike but the weather was not good today to be ascending even higher into the mountains, as it was 10 degrees and rainy. We drove past the £24 car park, and onto the famous road down into Lysebotn.

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  • ** Disclaimer, these are stock photos of the hike! I did not, and would not pose a sheep there! **

Now this is the type of road my nightmares are made of. Imagine descending 1000m, 27 hairpin bends, a gradient of between 9% to 16% for 29km. A 1.1km tunnel with a 340 degree turn. It’s only open 5 months of the year. Oh, and it’s single track and Lyn is not in the correct driving position. Not fun at all. My heart was in my mouth, especially when the conversation consisted of Lyn saying “wow, look at that view” and me saying “no, look at the fucking road”, as well as shouting “car” in ever increasingly high pitched squeaks as we rounded corners! I was glad to get to the bottom, only to realise we then had to drive back up it!

Lysebotn is a beautiful fjord, with the tiny village at the end only accessible in the summer, and by that fucking awful road or by ferry. The views were amazing, but it was shrouded in clouds and mist. You get a sense of the mountains heading off into the distance, but I will never see them properly as I will never go down that road again!

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The journey up was even worse, as it was like the whole world had decided to drive it at 3pm today. We were like a Hymer salmon fighting it’s way upstream. Tensions rose inside the van, especially as some drivers just drove at us like they were at the Grand Prix and was awaiting the champagne at the end. At one point a white van (it had to be, didn’t it) clipped our wing mirror, my side. There was a hell of a bang, but luckily no damage. It really shook me up, as I was waiting to die anyway, so thought that my time was up right then. I contemplating crawling into the bed at the back of Harvey to escape the horrors, but realised Lyn needed my “car” squeaks!

It took forever for us to get up to the highest point, where I made myself a much needed toastie with Gruyère and onion to calm my nerves. Whiskey would have been even better, and I don’t even like whiskey. Eventually we made it back down and onto proper roads. We (Lyn) had driven 5 hours and 140 miles on the road to hell to spend 15 minutes looking at a misty fjord. Lyn says it’s it’s all about the journey not just the destination!

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We stopped as soon as we could to regain our sanity. Luckily this was by another amazing river, so we had a quick walk around to check our legs still worked.

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We drove on again so Lyn could find the camping spot he had earmarked for tonight’s stop. The boy has done good again, we are right next to another incredible river, perfect for dipping. Cooking chicken wrapped in prosciutto now for dinner, and gathering up my energy for a dip

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See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

Posted by CariadJohn 17:54 Archived in Norway Tagged mountains river fjords norway travelswithharvey lysebotn Comments (1)

Day 9 ~ Norway Bound

Stromstad~ Sandefjord~ Mykland

sunny 23 °C
View To the South of the North 2022 on CariadJohn's travel map.

The sunset last night was lovely, and many photos were taken. It was a good end to our brief stay in Sweden. We were last here in 2019, but on the Baltic coast on the East. We stopped in Stockholm for 3 days, then carried on up the coast to Lulea, then into Finland and up the Finnish/ Swedish border into Norway to visit the Lofoten Islands. (Blogged here….CariadJohn.Travellerspoint.com).

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We were up early again this morning, and on the road, stopping off at the local supermarket to get some food. £47 for 1 bag of food, namely 1 sliced loaf, 6 bread rolls, 2 packs of sausages, 2 bags of salad, 1 cucumber, 1 pack of tomatoes, pickled herrings, 2 packs of chicken, foil & foil containers. Not cheap!

We got to the ferry in plenty of time as it was just down the road, and parked up, the third Motorhome in our lane. We watched the Fjordline ferry come in, it was huge!

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We were the third vehicle on, and rushed upstairs to get a good seat. We needn’t have worried. It was one of the biggest ferries we had been on, and this was only a 2.5 hour crossing! We sat on the aft deck, (Below Deck jargon!), next to the huge glass windows, and settled down to watch the world go by. We had brought sarnies on board, but Lyn fancied an open salmon and egg sandwich that cost him £7. He raved about it, which is just as well! We both chilled and read, then I went off to explore Duty Free. It was the biggest Duty Free I had ever been in! It was on two floors and even had a meat market in there. The Norwegians were pushing trollies around. I sent Lyn in to have a look!

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We were one of the first to drive off, and were not stopped by customs. They have strict rules about the amount of alcohol that can be brought into the country. We drove for about 2.5 hours, up the busy E6 to start, and then onto quieter roads. We needed somewhere to sleep, so Lyn used his usual Spidey senses ( and Google Maps!) and found the perfect spot, about 6 miles off the main highway, then up a single track bumpy road.

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We arrived at heaven. A quiet spot in a pine forest with access onto the most beautiful lake with a diving jetty. We were in the water quicker than you could say “bloody hell that’s cold!”. We soon acclimatised and swum out to the diving jetty. I jumped in, because, hey, that’s what I do now! I had my happy time, not a soul to be seen other than my Lyn, no noise, just the waves lapping, blue sky and just incredible views in every direction. I am so lucky.

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We went back to the van to dry off and had food, wraps with halloumi, salad, avocado and mango. We walked back down to see the sunset, but the sun had already dipped beneath the trees. It won’t be a late night tonight.

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Posted by CariadJohn 19:31 Archived in Norway Tagged lake norway ferry roadtrip scandinavia hymer Comments (1)

Day 8 ~Kosterhavet Magic

Stromstad~Kosterhavet

sunny 22 °C
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So today was just one of those perfect days that come along all too rarely. We woke early and got up straight away. We had plans! Lyn cooked chocolate chip pancakes again, and we packed our rucksacks.

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We were off to the Kosterhavets National Park, a ferry ride away from Stromstad. This is the first national marine park in Sweden and one of Sweden’s most visited tourist destinations. It has cold water coral reefs, snorkel trails, brown algae forests and eelgrass meadows, but we would be on land not under sea, visiting the island of North Koster.

First we had to get to the ferry. This was just over a mile from the campsite, in the Norra Hamnen ferry port in Stromstad. We passed another ferry terminal on the way, and will be back there tomorrow to get our ferry to Norway.

We got to the ferry port and amazingly there was a ferry in, waiting to depart. We quickly bought tickets at the machine (by pressing the Union Jack button!) and £22 later we were on board and seated. It was a busy ferry. 30 minutes later we got off the first stop at North Koster, Vettnet.

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There are no cars on the island, so many people made use of the green carts at the quayside to transport their belongings. We just started walking. There are well marked trails over the island, but we wanted to find a dipping spot.

We came to the only campsite on the island. This obviously has only tents, and Lyn was impressed by the tarp artistry shown by some campers. I’m sure he was busy taking notes!

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We carried on through the campsite and was quickly at the beach. We walked on, and stopped for a while on some beautiful granite rocks. I quickly fell in love with this place. It is a peculiar mixture of Pembrokeshire, the Scillly Isles and and Seychelles. We sat for a while on some rocks and just watched the water. It was so amazingly clear and blue. Lyn took some photos.

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We walked on, over some rocks to another beautiful spot. This proved popular with others later on, but while we were there it was quiet. We found a spot by some rocks and changed into our swimming gear. Being Brits we did this modestly under towels, only to find later this is not the way of the uninhibited Swedes!

We were soon in the water. Itwas cold, but so beautiful, as long as you avoided the orange jellyfish. Luckily they were easy to spot. We hung out for a while, living our best lives.

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We dried off and changed, again without managing to show off our bits. We walked on over the granite rocks, and found our way onto the orange trail. This was simply beautiful. We passed through pine forests and over wooden boardwalks. The smell of pine was amazing. I had taken my Camino gear, so it was a good chance to give my gear another workout. Luckily all worked well.

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We were soon at the main port of Vasta Bryggan, and amazingly there was another ferry due in immediately. We jumped on, and sat outside on the top deck. We could see South Koster just across the channel, and the ferry called there quickly, then we travelled back to Stromstad.

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A quick call into a supermarket to get burgers for our first bbq, (£8 for 4 burgers!) and I did some battle with some kids to get at the pick n mix. I’m proud to say I won! It was back uphill then to our campsite, feeling tired from all the sea air and the 6.5 miles we had done.

We crashed out in the sunshine with a few drinks then Lyn cooked the world’s most expensive burgers. We prepped sarnies for tomorrow’s ferry journey and now await the sunset, hoping it will be a good one for our last day in Sweden

Posted by CariadJohn 18:34 Archived in Sweden Tagged sweden roadtrip hymer stromstad kosterhavet Comments (1)

Day 7 ~ Dipping Day

Stromstad

rain 24 °C

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

Well the rain did hold off, but we didn’t do a bbq. We took a little walk down to see the little beach on the campsite. It was lovely, with great forest views the other side of the inlet and a fabulous diving jetty. The water was cold and ink black. It was obviously deep from the height of the diving board. We wandered back over the granite rocks to get to a high view point to watch the sunset over the port. It’s not the Midnight Sun here, it’s too far south, so the sun set at about 9.30pm.

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We were up early this morning, with our dipping stuff ready. Quick coffee and we were at the jetty in our towelling dry robes by 9am and were the only ones there. Lyn was a bit apprehensive but I couldn’t wait to get in. I haven’t been swimming for a few months now. Life, work and Covid has got in the way, plus I prefer cold water to the sea in the heatwaves we’ve had.This was a great place to get back in, the scenery was amazing and the water calm, but with an obvious current running in the inlet.

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I lowered myself down one of the ladders. No way way I jumping! Lyn waded in. We were both surprised it wasn’t as bad as we expected. We spent about 15 minutes swimming about. I could have stayed there forever. This is what makes my heart sing. I got back up the ladder and knew I’d regret it if I didn’t jump in. Not from a board, that was a step too far, as I needed to pluck up all my courage to do it from the side. Once I’d done it I wanted to do it again, so I did. We showered on the way back to the van, and I cooked chocolate chip pancakes with peaches and lemon yogurt from breakfast. I was on a high.

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Today we were on a mission to get some washing done before the forecast rain returned. We walked down to the reception area and loaded the machine, only to find the tumble dryer was not working. This was going to be challenging, drying a weeks worth of clothes in the rain. We got our awning out and our washing line and settled back with our books waiting for the rain. Today was a chill day.

I took another sneaky nap mid afternoon and woke to torrential rain. Lyn got the washing in and we are now living in a van/laundry! The clothes are nearly dry so it’s not so bad. Chicken is cooking in the oven, and I’ve got underwear drying in the warm grill above it! Life on the road hey! Plans are made for our last full day here tomorrow when the forecast is better. Keeping everything crossed!

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Posted by CariadJohn 19:30 Archived in Sweden Tagged sweden stromstad dipping Comments (1)

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