8th July – 14th July
We made a huge detour today so that we could venture down the Atlantic Ocean road, an 8km stretch of road that connects 17 islets using 8 bridges with the most spectacular being the Storseisundbrua which twists its way across the water. We had a walk on the suspended walkway that wraps around one of the islets before continuing on. The scenery along this stretch of road was lovely with little islands dotted along the coast. We are now parked near a sea container terminal with views once again over the water and small mountains across the bay and in the distance. We have had blue skies all day and spent a few hours in the afternoon enjoying the sunshine.
Our long journey today had us leaving the snow capped mountains and the high waterfalls. We drove on the Rv666 around the perimeter of the fjord before heading inland. The weather has changed again, back to wet and very cloudy. The valleys we drove through were shrouded in clouds but it didn’t detract from the beauty of the drive. The mountains appeared smaller under the cloud cover but the waterfalls were just as pretty. As we headed further north we hit the E6 which is the main road into Trondheim although we were bypassing it. Every road in to and out of Trondheim had tolls on them so no matter which way we went, we had to pay, four in total, ouch! Big cities were not the draw card in Norway so we continued on. We arrived at our home for the night just outside of Stjordal with views over the water and back into town. The sun was shining with no sign of rain although it was very windy and we sat in Tilly and watched a cameraman take a video of a bride and groom walking around the gardens.
Nordkapp here we come. We have a huge drive ahead of us approximately 1500kms to reach the northern most point in Norway. It’s the wrong time of year for the northern lights but we should get there for the midnight sun. We drove 328kms today through forests, past rivers and lakes and small mountains with patches of snow. I would imagine the scenery will remain the same until we get further north as we drive closer to the coast. We have stopped for the night at Laksforsen, where a 17m high waterfall has leaping salmon when in season. Behind the waterfall are small snow covered mountains and we have the river in front of us.
We were on the road again on a gloriously sunny day by 8.30 and for the first time since arriving in Norway, we saw a moose! He ran across the road and into the forest. We had another big day driving (400 kms) and for the first time in David and Linda’s grand tour history, I took the wheel. Now I have to say I was surprised at how difficult it was. The roads weren’t very wide and with the traffic coming the other way, it was a bit daunting, suffice to say after about 10 kms and Dave’s knuckles turning white, we swapped places. Our first stop where we had our lunch was the Arctic circle, a tourist mecca with cafe, souvenir shop and a monument to mark the spot. We had an array of scenery from the barren land of the arctic circle, pine forests and the snow covered mountains. Continuing on through more tunnels than I care to remember (the longest one being 8.6kms) as well as two more toll booths we had a coffee break along the Alpsfjord which was a gorgeous blue colour where Dave spotted two dolphins, a mother and her baby swimming below us. We watched them for a short while before driving to our overnight spot near Steigen alongside of some stone age petroglyphs. 9000 years old they are polished stone carvings of two reindeer. The walk down to them was along a pretty river where big rock walls rose above the waterline. A nice place to end the day.
An early start on our drive to the ferry from Bognes to Skarberger, the most expensive to date being $48.28 but it was the longest taking 25 mins. Another big drive, 340kms and no I didn’t get behind the wheel. Snow drifts on the massive mountain ranges with so many waterfalls tumbling down and the beautiful color of the fjords was our scenery again today. It’s amazing how many different shades of blue the water can be. We only had a few tunnels to contend with, one toll booth and lots of roadworks that all add to the adventure. Our wildcamp spot for the night is next to Storfjord with more snowy mountains surrounding us and a big waterfall on the mountain opposite us.
Low clouds covered the high peaks on our travels today although we were driving along the fjord for most of the way to Alta and that is always nice. Lots of waterfalls near the road, a few tunnels and no toll booths. We are still travelling on the E6 and there is a lot of roadworks on this road. Major tunnels are still being excavated and while the roadworks slowed us down a bit, there were no dramas. We saw three herds of reindeer grazing near the road, some brown and quite a number of white ones and a little further on we saw a huge stag. Once past Alta the scenery changed again to a barren arctic landscape, devoid of large trees and with walls of granite hugging the road. We travelled 438kms and are now only 97kms from Nordkapp. We have water views again of an ocean fjord and we are surrounded by rocky hills with a waterfall behind us.
We thought we saw a dolphin last night in the bay just in front of us and it was confirmed this morning while we were having breakfast. Three small dolphins we swimming less than 100 metres from where we were parked chasing their fish breakfast. We saw another pod of bigger dolphins swimming in another bay about 20 kms from our first sighting. On the final leg of our drive to Nordkapp the scenery was wild and rugged with one of the best coastal drives we have had. We passed a couple of herds of reindeer before reaching the Nordkapp tunnel, 6.8kms long on a 9% gradient down and then up again under the ocean! Thankfully the toll on this tunnel has been removed as it is now fully paid for, otherwise the cost would have been $100 each way. Once through the tunnel we had to stop to allow a reindeer to cross the road and several herds were grazing by the roadside. We parked at the Knivskjelloden carpark, 6kms from Nordkapp and after spending the last five days driving, we walked the rest of the way thus avoiding having to pay for parking, which was 520 kroner ($88!!!!!!!!) for Motorhomes with 2 people. There is a large souvenir shop, cafe and history centre as well as a cast iron globe out on the point 300 metres above sea level. Several rocky peninsulas were visible to our right and on our left was Knivskjelloden, said to be the true Nordkapp given this piece of land juts out 1457m further northward. It was very windy with some cloud around however we did manage to get a couple of great photos. The walk back was harder as the wind had increased in speed quite a bit and we were walking straight into it. The original plan was to stay here the night and do the 18km hike to Knivskjelloden however the weather for tomorrow is supposed to be more bleak than today so we have decided not to do that hike. It was so windy, we decided to head back down and find a more protected overnight spot. We ended up back where we were last night and on the journey back there we saw a lot more reindeer grazing by the roadside.