06/15/2017 Evadalen Norway

Thursday 15th June – Evadalen, Norway

Travelling again was really enjoyable as we travelled through a spectacular country side.  So beautiful at every corner.  We selected a great camp spot for the night and arrived there just before lunch.  .

Honnevje Rastplass was located beside a river with mountains all round.   Great facilities were provided all overlooking the sparkling water and the little walking bridge across to the other side.  Some brave folk swam in the water but didn’t stay in long.

The mountains here are sheer rock with little or no vegetation.  We are not far away from the ski fields now, so the countryside is beginning to reflect that.  The township of Valle was a short 2 km walk – all downhill.   After lunch, we took our backpacks and computers and walked down the hill and sat at a wifi hot spot for an hour or so and sent our parking ticket complaint to Son Kommune, did some research and then ventured back up the hill.

Typical buildings in this area – Valle – vegetation on the roof
Our lunch time spot in Ziggy

Rewarded ourselves with a drink (it was after all nearly 5pm).  Strangely all the motorhomes began leaving – we wondered why.   We checked our trusty campsite app and began translating some of the comments from past campers and found out that this site was changed not long ago to a rest place with no overnight parking permitted.  Didn’t want another fine, nor did we want to travel having consumed alcohol so set about trying to find somewhere close by to stay.

Only a few Klms away we found a grassy spot by a bridge and a babbling (or raging brook) just off the road and at the turnoff to Evadarlen – this will do nicely we thought – so toasted the find and relaxed for the evening.

It poured all night, but loved the sound on the roof.

Friday 16th June – Bryne, Norway

An amazing travel day today.  We climbed and climbed forever along some narrow windy roads that were barely wide enough for Ziggy – let alone other cars.  Had our heart in our hands worrying about cars coming from the other direction.  There were regular turnouts to allow for passing but there were times when we saw trucks reversing to a turnout to allow buses through – and then there were the blind corners.

We were lucky enough to travel directly behind a tourist bus so he led the way and we followed very closely behind.  Took a lot of pressure of us.

Safest way to travel – tuck in behind a bus or truck – that is a major road – just wide enough for 1 car

The scenery was more than spectacular as we passed by our first lot of snow roadside with still lots of snow on the mountains above us.   More mountains and valleys and lakes formed by the melting snow were at every corner.  Took heaps of photos but hard to find any that would do this scenery justice. Sadly another mixed day of rain, overcast and the occasional 10 minutes or so when the sun came out.

Dog tired after a gruelling 100 Klms plus of these sort of roads, we were more than happy to stop for the day and perched at Abobil in Bryne.  No view, but a safe, quiet night amongst a fleet of mobile homes.

Took the time to look at a range of mobile homes that are not available in Australia.  Very few of these cater for two people only and have so little dining and relaxing space.  Ziggy is so spacious and comfortable.

Saturday 17th June –     Lysefjord, Forsand, Norway

The town of Bryne is quite large but just another town much like anywhere else.  We left mid morning after filling up with water – compliments of Abobil, a motorhome dealership in Bryne.  They were absolutely wonderful and helpful and nothing was too much trouble – even provided electricity and grey and black water facilities. 

Plan today was to find Pulpit Rock – one of the major most visited spots in Norway.  Struck an unbelievable amount of roadworks along the way.  We started out looking for LPG gas before heading to these reasonably isolated places but drew a blank a few times which really ate into our day.  First stop, the gas pump did not work and was so antiquated that no one knew how to fix it.  Then in another town, there was a market next door and cars were parked in front of gas outlet. 

In frustration we abandoned the topping up of gas plan and headed toward Pulpit Rock.

Our 2 x 11 kg tanks of Autogas provides around 44 litres, which in the warmer weather should last us around 44 days, however when the weather is colder the time is considerably reduced as we run our gas heater on those days, plus it takes longer to heat up the water for showering.

Norway doesn’t use Autogas for cars anymore and therefore the number of stations stocking the product are getting harder and harder to find so we need to plan ahead to avoid outages.

From what we can find out there is no Autogas inFinland at all so we will need to fill right up before crossing from Norway into Finland, after visiting Nordkapp, of course (one of the areas at the top of our bucket list).

The trip again was slow with narrow winding roads, so took a long time to do a short distance.

We boarded a ferry for a short trip across Lysefjord to Forsand (around $36 AUD) for a five minute trip. A short ferry ride of around 5-10 minutes costs around 77NOK if your vehicle is under 6 metres long, however if it is 6.0 – 7 metres the price increases to around 197 NOK. This price includes the driver and there is a further fee of 33 NOK for each additional passenger – so our trip was 230NOK. If you are over 7 metres then the price increases again.

Overnight view from Ziggy at Forsand

About 500m from the ferry is where we are parked for the night.  The site allows for 5 motor homes only and we happily took spot 3.  Spots 4 & 5 were taken within 10 minutes of us arriving – lucky us – we needed something good to happen today.

Parking Oanes:  Our site for the night again is “to die for”.  Beautiful grassed area leading to the Fjord’s edge with views to homes on the other side which are scattered over the hills and behind them, mountains as far as you can see.

Relaxing with a book was the plan for this evening as we believe we have a challenging 4 hour return walk to Pulpit Rock.  Lots of rocks to climb over and a very steep climb.   We hope we do not have rain or high winds tomorrow otherwise will have to abandon this plan.

Sunday 18th June – Sand, Norway

Happy Birthday little brother – will be thinking of you today.

Woke up to thick fog and drizzle – ugh!    Decided to stay put until lunchtime at the latest to see if it would clear.  We don’t seem to be having much luck with the weather.

Our Dutch neighbours said that the weather would clear by 2pm.  Nope!!!   Still more drizzle so off we went in disgust – Pulpit Rock will never see the soles of our shoes or the terrified look on my best friend’s face.  He has a fear of heights and was been very apprehensive all last night about the climb today.

We set off in Ziggy and passed through a tunnel 4.8 kms long – and through many more after that.  The roads were a little better today and the scenery again was picture perfect (even though wet and overcast).  We will put in a serious request to the Man upstairs requesting some sunshine soon. 

Waterfalls were cascading down steep rock faces into the Fjord’s.  Mountains on both sides of the Fjord’s wore tufts of cotton wool perched high on the mountain tops.  Ferries busily darted back and forth across the Fjord’s to various islands.

Our journey today is to the little village of Sand, another one of the top places to see in Norway.  We needed to take another ferry across a Fjord and another $36+ dollars was added to the credit card.  Ferries are a necessity here in the land of Fjord’s.

Overnight view from Ziggy in Sand

Arrived around 5pm and Lady Luck was on our side as we took the last waterfront spot on the marina.  Front row tickets again!!!

Our next door German neighbour had wiped out the driver side of his $200k-$250k motorhome on an other vehicle on the narrow roads.

All the houses on the road level and waterfront were white planked timber with red roofs.  Almost as if a caveat was placed on building design.

Sand is a town on the junction of Nedstrandfjorden and Hylsfjorden.  This creates a natural maelstrom for salmon though we didn’t even sight the ones John West rejected.  Other travellers have been fortunate enough to watch this spectacle and even catch a salmon or two.  Believe they visited in September.

We took our umbrellas and did a quick walk around town – being Sunday, very little was open.

Monday & Tuesday 19th-20th June – Voss, Norway

Today was a brighter day with the occasional blue peeping through heavy dark clouds – though not for long.

We set off in Ziggy and saw sheep grazing in the green pastures and we even saw some sheep rock hopping through the mountain streams.

Again we were at levels where snow was still about higher up and the melting snow created some absolutely thunderous waterfalls right beside the highway (death defying road).   The spray from the waterfalls drenching some tourists who ventured too close.  We took advantage of one of the very few places provided in Norway where you could actually stop and take a photo.  The scenery is so beautiful here but the only way we could capture it was through Ziggys windscreen which most times was wet.  Some of our shots feature rain drops 🙂

Many of the roads are cut in to the sides of the mountains and therefore there is solid rock on one side and a drop to the water on the other. There aren’t many roads in Norway and therefore they always carry a lot of traffic – roads that are supposed to be “major roads” are in fact single lane roads – I don’t mean 1 lane in each direction, I mean 1 lane in total – so you need to be stopping all the time to move in to a turn out or reverse up in to the last turnout you passed so as the vehicle coming in the other direction can get passed you.

That is not so bad but when you come to blind corners it certainly gets the drivers attention as these roads carry some of the biggest trucks and semi-trailers I have ever seen because of all the road works under way.

The trip from Voss to Bergen is around 100klms and we must have spent nearly half that time in tunnels – some tunnels are good as they are wide and well lit, others are narrower but well lit some are not lit at all and you don’t realise that until you are in the tunnel – really scarey.

Coming out of an unlit tunnel

When in a tunnel of any length satellite navigation is usually lost and some tunnels have round-abouts in them with 3 or 4 exits whilst still in the tunnel so you only get caught once not knowing which way to go as after that you check out the planned exit prior to entering the tunnel.

Throw in driving in pouring rain and it all makes for a very exhausted driver at the end of the day – not much better for the navigator as she is either looking at a rock wall whizzing past 1 foot away on 1 side or a drop to the water on the other.

We said very little for the hundred or so kms we travelled today both of us feeling the pressure of what was around every corner.

I remember back when our kids were small and we set off on a Sunday afternoon to have a picnic by a babbling brook.  The elusive babbling brook was rarely found.  Here, around every corner there is the best spot you could ever find – only you can’t stop to enjoy it – the roads are so narrow and cut into such steep mountains that unfortunately there is nowhere to pull over to enjoy the scenery.

For the first time in our travels we came across an accident.  We came around one of those blind corners and found a Dutch motorhome off the bitumen with a front and back wheel in a ditch and leaning towards the mountain – no chance of getting back on the road without being towed out – fortunately no one was injured.  They had met a truck coming the other way and moved over too far to let it through and slipped off the edge – the truck kept going.  We offered assistance but they said that the towing service had already been phoned – we passed the tow truck a little further down the mountain.

We navigated through a section where major roadworks was taking place for around 10kms.  One lane only at a time could get through.

We took time out and stopped for lunch in the car park at the ski resort of Roldal.  Not sure if we had much appetite after seeing the accident but the scenery looking across the snow capped mountains was spectacular. The accident made us realise how easily these things can happen.

Lunch time at Roldal

We passed several motorhomes travelling in the opposite direction that had had their driver side mirrors wiped out – it is a common occurrence.

Didn’t have much luck with our camp spot selected at Granvin as it too was a construction zone so travelled another 25kms to Voss to a little off road cafe which provides spots for motorhomes.  We are right on the fjord again again with views to the snow capped mountains.  Our campsite is Torvhuset/Kavli a few kms out of town.

Overnight view from Ziggy

The end of one of the most stressful driving days we had so far and really happy to sit back and enjoy the rest of the day.

It rained through the night but we were surprised to see a total blue sky above in the morning.  Didn’t last long as within 15 minutes the black clouds came over. And down came the rain. 

We sat and read our emails and found out from some Aussie travellers who are in Norway and a couple of days behind us, that they have been waiting three days for the weather to change at Pulpit Rock.  So glad we didn’t wait for the weather to change.

We headed off to Bergen today to do some sightseeing.  We travelled all the way through constant rain but the motorway was excellent (left yesterday’s roads behind, thank goodness).  About 80% of the time we travelled through tunnels through the mountains (many in excess of 4kms long).   Most were well lit and wide enough but then we came across some really frightening ones with very little and in some cases, no light at all.   Very scary.

We arrived in Bergen around lunchtime and after scoring a park big enough for Ziggy, we filled up the parking meter with all the spare NOK we had and headed for Vetrelidsallmennyngen and Mt Floyen.  It had stopped raining just before we arrived so we were hopeful of getting a couple hours of sightseeing in before Mother Nature decided to open up the heavens again.

Iconic waterfront buildings in Bergen

Hard to describe, but this area is where the majority of boats leave and take tourists on every conceivable boat trip around the Fjord’s that you could desire.  The harbour was full of massive cruise ships and judging by the number of tourists there, they were all in port eating and drinking and gobbling up all the trinkets you could want as souvenirs- including the Troll.

Set around a massive harbour and surrounded by hills, houses and apartments (true Norwegian style buildings) dotted the landscape for as far as you could see.  The town centre was pretty much one big mall with statues, fountains and interesting buildings.  Sadly, construction everywhere trying to renovate a town that is getting a bit tired. 

Sadly many of the really old towns in Europe are just completely worn out

Only the main streets on the harbour were beautiful – go back one or two streets, it was a very different story.

We were so lucky that for the time we were in town, it did not rain, however as soon as we got back to Ziggy (and happy there was no infringement notice on the windscreen) it bucketted down again and continued until we got back to Voss.