Travel Through Norway On a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Norway on a Harley (8/7/10 - 22/8/10)
Distance 2356 km (579104 km to 581460 km)

This is part of the sixteenth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from the Sweden or read our previous visit to Norway

8/8/10 Crossed back into the Nursing Home country of Norway, where the whole of Europe couldn't break the Viking Spirit hundreds of years ago but their own government has managed to tame its motorists with their restrictive speed limits, actively policed by a myriad of speed cameras, where the main roads pass through small towns at a crawling pace and freeways are almost non existent, and where blood alcoholIce cream lunch at Valldal is zero tolerance. But the scenery in this country is really great and the wild camping exceptional. Trondheim this Sunday morning, Dombas in the afternoon then wild camped in the forest along the road to Andalsnes.

9/8/10 More autumn sunshine as we arrived in Andalsnes, paid for a shower and clothes wash at the local caravan park before moving on to view the Stigfossen waterfall along the Trollstigen, one of Norway's most famous roads. It winds steeply up an almost cliff face, crossing the waterfall, topping out with views back down to the valley below. The clear day enhancing the scenery. Doing an out and back we arrived at Valldal, pigged out on a tub of ice cream fjordside before returning. A helicopter, nearGravel being helicoptered into a remote area the top of the pass, was taking advantage of the clear day to shuttle transport loads of gravel to a project off into the wilderness. We wild camp, in the mountains, near the pass, streamside, sheep our only companions.

10/8/10 It was a foggy morning, blown in up over the pass as we packed up and headed for the Art Nouveau town of Alesund. The town had burned to the ground in 1904 and needed to be rebuilt leaving a lasting legacy to that era. There must be more tunnels and more ferries in Norway than in any other country. Not a day goes by that we aren't in kilometre long tunnels, breaking out to stunning scenery. Today was no different, plus a ferry from Sulesund to Hareid along our route to Runde, a bird island, where over 200 species of water birds come to nest each spring, including 100,000 puffins, who unfortunately, have already left the area.

11/8/10 Our first night in an official campground, and it was busy, too busy for our liking,The road up Trollstigen, Trolls Path after the last two weeks of wild camping with space and quiet. The day started foggy. Runde is an outer island, outside the fjords and sea fogs blow in. When we had updated all our usual jobs by mid afternoon and the fog still hung over the hills it was time to go for a walk anyway. We saw little, the midges nibbled us, but between the blowing fog there were occasional bird sightings. The campground was busy again in the evening and whilst locals suggest that Norway, with its oil money, has largely avoided the current economic problems, and that seems borne out by the number of H-D riders we see on the road, and the numbers of motorhomes, the numbers of Norwegians travelling, the international tourists numbers are down.

12/8/10 Rain overnight to an almost clear morning. Our memories of Norway have always been of great scenery, which has been confirmed on this visit. We would even go as far as saying we think it is the worlds most scenic country, and todays riding, in sunshine, was the best of the best. Starting with arched bridges linking small islands, with smaller islands betweenMirror image lake on our way to Geiranger calm waters, followed by a ferry ride from Saebo to Lekneset, a ride through small farm villages alongside the fjord and a mountain pass to Hellesylt for lunch, with more fjord views. The afternoon was riding to Stryn then for many kilometres we travelled alongside a turquoise mirror lake, too many tunnels to count, and steeply down into the small town of Geiranger, where a cruise ship sat in harbour, enhancing our view. To finish the day we rode over to Eidsdal, returning halfway to wild camp on top of the pass with views down to Geiranger, after an incredible day of scenery.

13/8/10 The rest area was full when we awoke this morning, about a dozen motorhomes and another tent all taking advantage of the free camping rules in Norway. Fog was blowing up from the fjord, alternatingly clearing and hampering our view as we left. It had turned to light rain as we entered the lovely town of wood buildings, Lom. By mid afternoon we were back on the road, still in drizzle, taking another roadside camp near Gjerde.

Glacier winds its way down towards the road14/8/10 Mosquitoes, midges and sandflies drove us out of our campsite early, before breakfast, which had to wait till in sunshine we reached the Nigardsbreen (glacier), where dozens of much younger than us tourists, were preparing to walk on the ice, crampons and ice sticks in hand. It was twelve years ago, in the same area that I had taken a similar tour. Sogndal for shopping and lunch, then a couple more tunnels taking us from one fjord to the next, for a toll fee, and we emerged in Fjaerland, a lovely spot near a number of glaciers, of which we visited two in the afternoon.

15/8/10 With the sun still shining and at a lovely quiet campground, it was a day of jobs and relaxing in sunshine, washing, internet, planning a bit for the rest of the trip, just a couple of weeks to go.

16/8/10 With the endless magnificent scenery one day runs into the next and it is like living with a constant magnificent view, and after a while it is less seen, it becomesHaving breakfast near Nigardsbreen (glacier) almost normal. Took the long way round to Balestrand, on the fjord, a town of lovely old wooden buildings interspersed with orchards of apples. Ferried across the fjord to Vangsnes, over a mountain pass, and another lovely wild camp roadside, near the river. In early evening a local couple arrived for a swim, a swim in the almost freezing waters tumbling from the nearby mountains snow melt, a braver breed than us. We have taken to watching recorded TV shows on the laptop each evening now, a way of evening relaxing and time away from being outside continuously, particularly as darkness is again descending before bedtime. 

17/8/10 Another day another ferry. These charges add up, about 10 Euros each, and for us it is just a motorcycle, for motorhomes it is quite expensive. We have been on six Norwegian ferries, and three toll tunnels, more than 100 Euro for our visit but most tunnels are free, like today, with an out and back to Flam, we were inside tunnels for over 50 km's, not much scenery there. Flam is a small town, the end of the railway fromA wild camp below a switchback mountain road Bergen, the end of an arm of the Sognefjord, and a popular place for cruise ships, and an Italian one was in town today. The enormity of the ship dominated the town, and had many times more accommodation and facilities on board than ashore. The further south we head the more populated, the harder it is to find nice roadside camp spots and as evening and drizzle started we settled for a spot alongside a mountain lake past Horda, along route 13, which we have been following for the last couple of days. Though close to the road it turned out to be a pleasant spot beneath birch trees and surrounded by moss covered slopes and tall barren peaks.

18/8/10 We have been wild berry collecting each day. In the high mountains cloud berries, raspberries roadside at lower altitudes, blueberries and strawberries in the woodlands and today while waiting for roadworks, blasting work for a new road, it was roadside blackberries. Some types of berries are now finishing whilst others are just starting to ripen. A windstorm passed through the region overnight battering ourPicking wild rasberries roadside, a daily event tent, disturbing our sleep, and with rain in the area we moved on early arriving in Jossang, a fjordside campground, where most people come for the fishing, or to hike the nearby Preikestolen. Pretty much a normal day here, narrow road, ferry crossing, lots of tunnels, magnificent scenery, lakes, fjords, craggy cliffs, small farms, a normal days riding in Norway.

19/8/10 Our fjordside campground was almost full, despite the holiday season rapidly coming to an end. Honesty in Norway is quite unique. The campsite of about 100 sites does no checking of who has paid or who hasn't, who is staying another day or who has left. It is all up to the honesty of the campers to let the owners know and pay the charges. This is fairly common in Norway campgrounds, no boom gates, no tent tags, no vehicle checks, just honesty. When I asked the owners, they simply said most people are honest and they didn't want to spend their lives tracking down the dishonest ones. We joined the thousands of hikers who climb to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) each day, yes thousands. It is a flat toppedCrowds at the top of Pulpit Rock, Stavanger rock with almost a sheer drop to the fjord 600 metres below, a two hour walk each way, up and down, and today traffic on the path was bumper to bumper with bus loads of tourists determined to complete the climb. The actual "pulpit" was a little disappointing after the hanging lakes, bare granite mountains and fjord scenery along the way, but it was still spectacular in its reason for the walk. By mid afternoon we were back at the campground and heavy rain allowed us to relax in the camp kitchen, resting weary muscles.  

20/8/10 Our last days travelling in Norway, heading for Kristiansand for a ferry to Denmark. More stunning granite scenery, but today it drizzle rained for most of the 250km's in slow moving traffic, following trucks with few opportunities to overtake. The Kristiansand campground is in a magnificent location, nestled in hillocks next to the ocean but has been let to run down with the reception area closed and a basic kitchen with no seating, so nowhere to escape from the rain other than our tent. Already wet through we pitched the tent, picked some blackberries, made dinner, Pulpit Rock view of Lysefjordwatched a bit of recorded TV on the laptop and slept.

21/8/10 It rained all night and was still raining at 9am with prospects of a miserable day in a damp tent, but sunshine arrived and we managed to dry wet boots, gloves, helmets and wet weather gear along with our bags. Taking advantage of free time we listed items to be taken home, those to stay with the motorcycle, and those to bring back for the next trip as our memories are unlikely to span the eight months till we travel next.

22/8/10 A 5.30am rising for an early morning ferry, Color Line to Denmark. This visit to Norway confirmed it as the most scenic country in the world for us. From the cold north arctic to the western fjords to the small isolated farms the entire country is quite stunning scenery. Although expensive, by free camping and self catering it has remained within our budget and we travelled here for a similar cost to the rest of Europe. Many other travellers to the region also travel this way. For the crowdedDrying our gear at the Kristiansand campground flatland countries of Europe a visit to Norway seems almost a pilgrimage.
 



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