24 August 2017

Day 07 - A Purple Finish.

23 Aug

Last night didn't get properly dark until around the same time I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. I did wake to peer into the darkness and saw a couple of stars from the warmth and comfort of bed.

Speaking of beds, there's something different about the bedding here. The mattresses are soft yet supportive. There is a bottom sheet to cover the double mattress and we have a single doona each. Strange but effective at thwarting the blanket thief.

Today didn't have anything in particular planned. It was what we call a transport day. There was bound to be some scenery somewhere along the way. The trip included a ferry ride from Oppendal to Lavik. 
Approaching Oppendal
Charleen takes the chance to clean the windscreen

Once we were off the ferry and out of the traffic, Clint convinced me that we were on a major road and it would be a good place for me to have a drive of the Volvo. We swapped over and It was my opportunity to feel the driver assist functions. Thankfully when the road narrowed I didn't have any oncoming trucks to complicate matters. I drove as far as Huldefossen where we pulled up to have a look at a waterfall. It was fun driving and it gave Clint a chance to have a better look around. Maybe I'll have another attempt soon.
The suffix fossen means waterfall. So the water falls from lake Hulde.

Way past being mown.

It probably stays quite damp.  Yep, that's an outhouse complete with heart on the door.  But there's only sheep in the larger hut.
The GPS wasn't set on scenic, but it still managed to take us away from the main road. We drove through villages, beside fjords and mountain streams. The colour of the water in the streams was an opaque icy green that looked cold. One mountain stream looked appealing to Clint to get some more practice with Minerva. I wandered off with my camera to see what I could find.
Found a spider

One part of the track was down a very twisty road into Utik where the road was being repaired. Our detour took us almost through the backyards of some of the villagers’ homes.
We were making good time to arrive at our destination, that was until we spied the Skylift at Loen.

We couldn't resist. The gondola ride takes 5-7 minutes each way.  The top is at 1,011m. We could see paragliders launching themselves from up there. We took our time having a good look around.
The inevitable Selfie - note the paraglider.

Can you see the cruise ship?

Have to be one of the better locations for gliding

Feeling on top of the world

If the GPS had stayed on the main highway, we wouldn't have found the beauty that we saw today.

We arrived at First Hotel Raftevold in Grodas and have a room with a view to lake Hornindalsvatnet. The decorator seems to have a liking for velour furniture. In the lobby there are two single seats and a lounge all covered in beautiful velour prints. Our room has a purple chair and footstool. Maybe the desk clerk knew something when he gave us this room. 

23 August 2017

Day 06 - Best Scenery Yet

Since being in Norway we've been seeing lots of different electric vehicles including Teslas. We’ve had a bit of sport trying to identify the different makes. Norwegian government offers a substantial incentive for the ownership of electric vehicles.

This morning started with a bit of peak hour driving and then on to a ferry for the Mortavika- Arsvagen line. The ferry had forward and aft openings so it was a case of drive on, park and then drive off. Nowhere near as daunting as yesterday’s experience on the big catamaran.
First ferry for the day 
Once we were off the ferry, Clint decided to pull out of the train of traffic. It was here we met up with a movie maker who also had a drone the same as Clint’s. He is filming material for a TV series about a famous Norwegian cold case murder mystery. The series is based on the book “Hvem drepte Birgitte Tengs?” or "Who killed Birgitte Tengs?" It’s due for release in Norway in August 2018. Hopefully for the film maker, it will be sold internationally. It may be picked up by SBS.Having seen Clint flying Minerva, gave him ideas for his own filming. Who would have thought a couple of holidaying Aussies would have had such influence. It could end up on the cutting room floor, anyway.

Two Mavic Pilots discussing drones.  They even drove a Volvo!
We left to let the crew to do their work and headed a little further down the road. 

Must check online to see if there's anything worth looking at around here.
Soon, we came upon a lake where the reflections were just perfect. We pulled into the roadside rest area and again unleashed Minerva. I took a few stills. While the reflections weren't quite as perfect, there certainly was plenty of subject matter.
The blue dot is our location.

Minerva gives us the bird's eye view.

The roads today have been tunnels and narrow in places. Understandably, there have been some small delays due to roadworks. But overall our travel time has been good, albeit a few camera stops. That is until the sighting of our first glacier.
Find a place to turn around!!!
It's important for Clint to be able to have a good look without the pressure of driving.
Our first glacier - at a distance

On lovely Lake Sandvevatnet

With the inevitable selfie to keep Facebook happy.

Our second ferry of the day took us on a fjord. 
From the ferry on Hardanger Fjord

The S90 on deck.

The first of a series of tunnels started with one 7410m long. The inside finish to the tunnels vary from rough hewn rock to smooth concrete.

One of our target points was Steinesdalsfossen, a waterfall that can be walked under. There weren't a lot of people around. We did see a coach drive off as we arrived. It was lovely to have the place almost to ourselves.

From there it was to our accommodation for the night. We had booked a room in a mountain lodge. Turned out here is nothing else around, so it was a drive back into the nearest town with a supermarket to get some food for dinner.
The room is very different from last night’s. There aren't any slopping ceilings for me to hit my head, for starters.
Maybe tonight will be a good night to do a bit of star gazing of the celestial kind, not the ones I saw when I hit my head. 

22 August 2017

Day 05 - Happy Birthday in Norway

21 August 2017

Charleen turns %&! today. So we are off to Norway, the target of our trip.

The daylight starts early in these parts and we woke early as well.  So seeing as the wind had died down from yesterday afternoon, we thought it was time to take Minerva out for a fly.  Down to the beach and after a few false starts, we got a couple of aerial shots of our lodgings and us on the beach.
Munchs Hotel, Tornby Strand.  Nice spot

Wave hello for a selfie.

The ferry was not due to leave until 11:45am so we had a slow start, packing up is becoming pretty much automatic.  Then it was go for a bit of a drive through the local town of Hjorring which recently celebrated it's 750th birthday.  Those numbers are mind blowing for us.  There are still quite a few old buildings on cobblestone streets which gradually merge out to more modern buildings then further out to things like Maccas, car dealers and giant hardware stores.

Time for a brekky at the local Hirtshals servo - just coffee and a hot dog.  The menus are a bit bewildering.  If you struggle with that as a breakfast, the guy two tables over was tucking in to a huge plate of chips and deep fried sausage accompanied by a large Carlsberg.  No french petit-déjeuner here.

On to the ferry terminal and line up for half an hour or so before they started to load.  It was fun to watch the big motorhomes having to reverse up the ramp and squeeze in.  Then it was our turn.  On forwards at least, but there were lots of twists and turns down in to the bowels of the ship and the big Volvo was not enjoying it.  Proximity alarms going off on every turn.  Finally slotted in we went upstairs to sit out the 3 hour journey.
Here comes our boat

Once we were all on, this poor bugger had to reverse his coach on board.

Big boathouse.

The big cat ferry throws lots of water out the back.

An easy passage through customs - just one officer sternly eyeing everyone off.  I gave her a big smile but got nothing in return.

Then we were in Norway. Yay.  And it is every bit as beautiful as I imagined.  Huge mountains and lake-filled valleys everywhere.  Just point the camera and click, you can't go wrong.
Just beautiful.

We had a few hundred kays to go to Stavenger and our booked accommodation for the night but the country speed limit is 80kph with lots of 70 and 60 sections, so it was a long slow trip.  A couple of roadworks didn't help, although we were lucky enough to be arriving just as they were letting 50 or so vehicles through.  It's a major highway so plenty of semi-trailers - just singles - and heavy traffic with many tunnels between the scenic spots.  Lets hope it thins out as we go north.

Our digs in Stavenger is a small apartment complete with kitchen.  But small is the operative word.  We booked it because it boasted a washing machine but it doesn't seem to work so we are hand washing and using the dryer.
Our street.  No room for a Volvo. Ours is third on the left.

Yep it's tiny.