4 June, 2014 – Let’s go to Bergen, the gateway to the fjords! Here we also feel, for the first time, the downside of the camper: Suitable for the big city, it is not! For car parks the camper is too high and the few free parking spaces are too small. From helpful Norwegians we learn that there are extra parking spaces for caravans. The first in the vicinity, near the center of town, is no longer active. So we have to go to Bergenshallen parking; unfortunately, a bit out of the way. There we can also stay overnight and as we lost so much time searching for parking, we decide to do just that. The tram runs close by and after a 15-minute drive we are finally in the city center, at the fairground.
And in the rainiest city in Europe, the sky is overcast but it is dry. 🙂 We stroll through the shopping street, Torgalmenningen, to the fish market at the harbour. In large crowds, we marvel at the variety of fresh fish.
After refreshments, we go to the funicular railway, Fløibanen which takes us up the mountain Fløyen. From there we have a great view of the city and the sky even clears up a bit.
Thereafter we storm on Starbucks. Yeah, civilization! With coffee in hand, we explore the old Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf. In the small colorful wooden houses, souvenir and small craft shops are housed.
At Bergenhus Castle we are welcomed by small drummers. Ok granted, they were not waiting for us, but for 100 invitational guests. 😉 Also, Prince Haakon is there, which is why we are not allowed to visit Haakon’s hall. We explore the grounds and join the statue of Haakon VII to watch the cruise ships cast off.
St Mary’s Church is unfortunately being restored and allows no one to have a look inside. So we visit the Cathedral and the cannonball of 1665 located by the outer wall. In the evening we have some pizza at the harbor before we then go back, by tram, to Bergenshallen.
5 June, 2014 – The next morning we drive to the close lying, Fantoft stave church. Spontaneously we also still add the Heddal stave church, the largest stave church in Norway, to our itinerary and then drive further. Our destination is the good 200 km away, Stavanger. The rainy ride on the E39 is interrupted by 2 ferry rides.
Ferry excursions: All ferries in Norway ran smoothly. In general, the ferries run every 30 minutes during the day and often hourly in the evening and at night. It is expensive! 🙂 Just the ferries between Bergen and Stavanger cost 75 and 55 euro; for a 40 and a 25-minute crossing. One can try to cheat a little about the vehicle length. 😉 However, since probably many have tried, there are markings on the floor.
Once we arrive in Stavanger, we have a look at the Sverd i Fjell – Swords in Rock. Three huge swords which commemorate the Hafrsfjord battle. Then we “finish work early” 😉 and look for a secluded parking space along the water and cook, read, walk and play cards. Tomorrow we will hit downtown Stavanger.
And because it has been almost too nice and so far everything has gone so smoothly, on this evening, our gas goes out. 🙁 We had two 11kg gas cylinders and according to information from the owner “they are more than enough”. Of course, in the high north we had to heat up thoroughly, but the destination was well known. Our Internet search reveals that there are gas bottles at almost all petrol stations, but they have a Norwegian connector, which is not compatible. Secondly, at LPG stations, one can probably refill German gas bottles, but, not on the weekend; and it is Friday evening. In addition, there are plenty of LPG stations in Norway, only just not around Stavanger. Oh, and on Monday is of course also a holiday (Pentecost Monday) and LPG stations will also be closed. Finally, we use the second bottle of our friends and this lasts until the end of the trip. Conclusion: take enough gas cylinders along and ensure that they are also completely filled up.
6 June, 2014 – In Stavanger there is ample parking at the harbour, also for campers. From the Oil Museum at the harbor we pass through the small shopping streets to St. Petri Church and then on to the beautifully landscaped city park with a small lake. There we visit the cathedral.
In the tourist office we again confirm our findings in respect to gas and get information on Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), our next big goal. Then we go over the marketplace to the old town. In Øvre Strandgate we enjoy the white-painted wooden houses, which are listed as conservation buildings. In the courtyard of one of the houses there is a coffee shop and you can see the earlier establishment of the houses. At the harbour we enjoy the nice weather for a bit and the view and then it is already back to the camper. We want to come as close as possible to Pulpit Rock’s parking space, so that the next morning we can start early.
From Stavanger there are two ferries and routes to Preikestolen: The cheap option is to drive first onto the E39 and then on the Rv13 up to Lauvvika. There you take the ferry to Oanes and drive a small distance further on the RV13 until you turn onto the Fv529 (Preikestolvegen). Since it’s Friday night, it is a little jammed at the ferry.
From the tourist office, we already know that we are not allowed to stay overnight at Preikestolen car park, but we drive up to get ourselves a nice picture of the location. Left and right are then also more parking restriction signs on the road. At the hotel at Preikestolen car park the nice receptionist reveals that we could stand on the slip road to Preikestolen (ie. on one of the small gravel parking’s on the roadside), but not where a no parking sign stands and of course without blocking the road. We find a suitable place, which we share with 100,000 small vicious mosquitoes.
7 June, 2014 – Whooo feels like walking … Let’s go to Preikestolen! We drive the short distance to the car park, which costs 100 NOK. Then start with ample water in the backpack. The ascent takes 2 hours and 350 meters needs to be overcome over stone and rubble. At a few places, it is also sometimes narrow and since it is Saturday, there is also a large amount of traffic. Now surely everyone wonders what our youngest is doing: She gets carried! 🙂
Then we are finally there! All hardships are forgotten because this view you just MUST-see! Phenomenal!
Whacked but happy we arrive back at the parking lot. And how practical, we have our shower with us. 🙂 Then we drive back to the E93 and look for a camping space on the route to Kristiansand. We land in Feda at Svindland camping, but there is certainly also something better.
8 June, 2014 – After a short drive we arrive in Kristiansand. To stroll on a Sunday through a town is of course only half as fun, but for that we get to park for free. 😉 We walk through the old quarter of Posebyen to the cathedral and then along the shopping street, Markens gate, to the fish market (Fiskebrygga). And this section is really well laid out. In a small harbour, is a market hall and several restaurants with numerous tables in the outside area.
We then drive up to Notodden and where we overnight. We do not take the designated campsite, but instead place ourselves close by, at a free parking space at a small boat harbor.
9 June, 2014 – The Heddal stave church near Notodden on the E134 is the largest preserved triple nave stave church in Norway. For 60 NOK entry fee we may also visit the inside of the somewhat gloomy church and get loads of information from a nice staff member, in perfect English.
Toll: In Norway there are toll roads. We registered in advance with our license plate and credit card. We could then drive through the toll stations without stopping and the toll fee was automatically deducted, so we had no fear of getting a fine, in the event that we overlooked a tollbooth. Information and registration can be found on www.autopass.no.
After an almost 2 hour drive we arrive in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. As we learned from Bergen, we immediately look for a parking space outside the city. Situated on the famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump, there are numerous free parking spaces and a metro station is also close by. The ride into town is not quite so simple, as you have to change to the tram at the station Majorette, which is quite narrow for a stroller and on top of that, the crowd is quite large. But our North Cape baby is, as throughout the whole trip, totally relaxed and so we have a lot of fun on the train trip. 🙂
From Parliament we start our sightseeing tour towards Akershus Festning, from where one has a great view of the harbour. Then along the harbour, we head towards town hall square with the town hall. Well, it’s not exactly nice. We make a short trip to the Nobel Peace Center, to then walk to the newly built and remodeled waterfront Aker Brygge. Here are restaurants and bars wonderfully situated on the waterfront. Even a kind of small city pool is there, with showers and access to the Oslofjord. Then we head pass the National Theatre to the castle and castle park.
We then stroll along the most popular shopping street of Oslo, Karl Johans gate. Since it is Pentecost Monday, the shops are closed. But a true friend of our trips – the Hard Rock Café – is of course open and so it’s American food on our last night in Norway.
Phew! Our after-dinner walk takes us to Karl Johans gate, to Stortorget with a large flower market and the cathedral. From the main train station we then also go to the new opera house, which is well worth the long journey. The façade is made of white marble and can be walked, so you have access to the roof of the Opera. With the tram and metro we then head back to Holmenkollen.
10 June, 2014 – In the morning we visit the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. We could already see it clearly in the mountains from downtown yesterday. For 120 NOK you can visit the ski museum and take an elevator to the top. From there you have a fantastic view of Oslo and the Oslo Fjord.
We then say goodbye to Norway and are back in Sweden. The end is near. From Oslo to Gothenburg, on the motorway, it’s a 3 hour drive. In Gothenburg we park centrally at the bus station of Heden. Also because there happens to be a Hard Rock Café… 🙂 we move our city walk to the next day. We drive back out of Gothenburg to seek out a quiet place for the night.
11 June, 2014 – We park again in the parking lot at Heden and first walk pass the State Library in the direction of Götaplatsen, where the state theater, art museum and concert hall are located. The Poseidon fountain is unfortunately dry but has a lot of nice details. Then we walk along the whole boulevard, Kungsportsavenyn, to Kungstorget. There you will also find the tourist information center. From here, I like it much more. Through small alleys with shops we come to Central Station and Nordstan, the largest shopping mall in Sweden. From Gustav Adolfs Torg, with the town hall, we continue to Kronhus, the oldest house of Gothenburg. There small artisan shops are housed. Among other things, a chocolate shop where we try Swedish sweets. Pass the cathedral we continuing to Feskekörka (fish church), the Fish Market. Here you can also buy prepared fish. Along the channel we start our way back to the camper.
From Gothenburg it is still 3 hours to Trelleborg where, the next morning, our ferry to Rostock starts. At a caravan parking near the ferry terminal we enjoy a BBQ, one last time, and then go to bed early as the ferry leaves at 7am. It is then the return trip to Dresden and the clearing and cleaning of the campers, before we need to return it in the morning of June 13th.
Thank you for reading. 🙂
Now a short conclusion: The destination was perfect for a Caravan tour and even for us, as absolute Caravan newcomers. What would we do differently next time? We would probably drive the route the other way around. Then the change of the dreamlike Norwegian landscape can bee seen more clearly, until you suddenly land in the superior North Cape. Traveling in pre-season left us ultimately with no regrets. To have the North Cape to ourselves in the evenings and be able to take pictures freely, is priceless.
Disposal stations: I do not want to make any big statements on the disposal of the campers’ toilet. As newcomer, we drove almost every evening to a campsite, in the first part of our trip. When we reached Norway – along with the relatively high prices – we often camped “wild”. Also, only then comes the real feeling of freedom. In Norway there are free disposal stations that are signposted. (A mobile home with a downward arrow. I unfortunately failed to take a picture.) At these disposal stations you can fill up with water, drain, and at most, also clean the toilet. In Sweden, fresh water can be refilled at any gas station and at many toilets in the rest areas there is also a separate option to empty the camper toilet.
On this trip the following cups landed in our luggage.
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