Welcome to Norway

Before the alert that we’d be ok to travel into Norway (must have been the email I sent to their PM) we had continued south to and spent a few hours in Osterund. They have their own Loch monster here, Birger. Based up a series of children’s books written by a local, they have their own Birger exhibits all around town, painted by different people in different themes. We liked the skull holding ‘ToBe’ and ‘CyBirger’. Unlike Nessy, we didn’t see lots of tourist tat 😐

A wander around the reasonably affluent feeling town, being the sizeable winter sports centre of the area, before heading across the bridge to Frosen Island. Not to mistaken for a Disney set, Frosen is built primarily around the airport and military establishments. Much of the forested area being out of bounds. The parking spot was however on Lake Storsjon so an evening lake swim and an amazing sunset were in order. Watching the weather in the far distance Jigsaw meanwhile continued her mousing in blissful ignorance of the vista. The following day, we saw our first moose, actually we couldn’t miss it as it ran across the track only a few meters in front of us, on our bikes. We were lucky on more than one count! There’s a very unique church, Frosokyrka, said to be the most popular for marriages in Sweden, we can see why! From there an unplanned cycle, 7km around the edge of the forest over tree roots tested our skills somewhat! Bone shaken, a swim was in order before a chat with a young French couple with a cat on board 😸 See, we’re not the only ones!

We headed to a route we called The Wilderness Road’s little sister. A much quieter circuit but as spectacular. We found a fabulous Waffle House in Ljungdalen for breakfast. They’ve been making them there for 40 years in a building from the early 1700’s, such a treat! Uniquely shaped with cloudberry jam and cream and a pot of coffee, what’s not to like? Opposite was a elderly lady’s series of dioramas, reflecting her time living in the area from birth. The town has a population of c. 120 but grows vastly with tourists in winter especially, snowmobiling and skiing.

A large amount of this route is unmade road, winding through trees and waterfalls higher and higher before there were no trees, or shrubs and we found ourselves at the top of the highest road in Sweden at 976m. Barren is an understatement but plenty of Reindeer and fabulous views. Sweden’s most southerly glacier a distant dot and the perma frost hardy plants underfoot. It was here that we had our good news so once back at the van we knew what we had to do, drive woman drive!!

We successfully crossed the border one hour after it opened for Brits, all very easy, getting the ping we hoped for off the QR code scan. High fives all round (not with the guard 😂) We knew Lofoten was our primary destination, as it had always been, so we set out driving the 1000km back up in the direction of Narvik. We passed a fella who, although no doubt fit, wouldn’t get there as quickly as us. Arriving in Trondheim we parked up, with 80 other motor homes and went out into the town to celebrate. It’s clearly a stop off place for travelling. Mainly Norwegians but a scattering of other countries. Trondheim is a port town, the old town on the island was full of original buildings and felt reasonably prosperous. The regenerated wharf area was a buzz of life.

From Trondheim another long drive, passing The Road to Hell and re crossing into The Arctic Circle and we were at Laksforsen, a gorgeous overnight spot next to a stunning waterfall. We also became support crew, making some food for a guy who was walking from Tarifa to Nordcapp for charity (the cafe was shut) He’d left Tarifa in January , we thought we recognised him…. 🙂 Another long drive, avoiding the marauding reindeer and we made it to Bognes and as luck would have it, literally drove onto the waiting ferry over to Lodingen, we’d made it!

Sweden was a gorgeous country but that drive up through northern Norway knocked Sweden into touch. Mountains are on a different scale, roads alongside the edges of fjords, craggy sharp peaks, pockets of lingering snow, tumbling waterfalls and beautiful lakes. The roads meander through it all, interspersed with tunnels cutting through the rock. It reminded us of Yosemite in magnificence. We’ll take it in more when we retrace our steps but for now it’s into the Lofoten archipelago at last!

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