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04-10-2013, 09:03 AM
Scandinavia - Finland & Baltic States Tour 2013


As winter slips away along hopefully with the snow, we are setting off our next ‘Adventure’ to Scandinavia & Finland via a different route from our previous trip with new places to see, while combining it with a first visit through The Baltic States as we make our way back.

However there is a planned diversion that we are really looking forward to, so you will have to keep your eyes open if you don’t want to miss it!

Firstly: A few details about this ‘Adventure’

The calculated distance: 7000 Miles (11000Km) over 86 nights

Second: Is a test of how well you know your Country Flags as they have been placed in the order that we will be travelling through them, but how many of them do YOU recognise?


Third: The Route Map for the Outward Journey through Europe


Fourth: The Route Map for our Return Journey


So if you are still with us, and would like to come along, then climb in the ‘Third Seat’ and Buckle Up or should that be “Belt Up” in case you fancy being a Back Seat Driver! :D

Then with the assistance of ‘Flamenco Red’ who is always keen for the long challenging trips and the ‘Tin Tent’ off we go! [thumbup]

I will say up front: As we might not have Internet Access that frequently then Blog updates will be as and when we do, so bear with us if we are not that fast.

04-10-2013, 09:46 AM
Wow, that's wonderful news! I could use a vacation, although the weather in NJ today is nice and sunny. I bet Flamenco Red will be very pleased to be on the road again Enjoy and I look forward to travelling with you~ betty!

04-10-2013, 05:28 PM
Looking forward to the trip. When are we leaving:) Don't want to head north to early in the year. We are still fighting winter here, snowed on the weekend.

Tin tent is all fixed up? I know that at one point you were worried about being able to repair.

04-10-2013, 08:25 PM
I could only imagine this adventure!

I couldn't fathom the logistics of such a trek! :eek:

Six more days than Phileas Fogg's famous trip- I bid you safe travels and happiness on your journey, and will be watching for updates.

Also, nice job on the "Streets and Trips" map from Navteq.

04-11-2013, 01:46 AM
Hi Folks!


The logistics were quite simple really after getting Microsoft AutoRoute to work out work out which way after I punched in the places we wanted to get to, but we are now on version 35 of the original plan!

Thanks for your good wishes.
P.S. There are not many British Electrical Components manufactured now, what I think you are smelling are the ones made in the Far East!


While we set off this coming weekend, we have been keeping an eye on the weather and were quite relieved when we saw that the 'Jet Stream' has responded to our pleas and started moving North again, so hopefully there will not be much snow when we get 'Up North' but if there is then we will get you some good pictures!

Meanwhile the 'Tin Tent' is half fixed. The accident that happened in Morocco has been sorted out but the other work on the offside upper section of the side panel will be done hopefully when we get back as I have still not had a repair date advised or confirmed by the repair workshop!


'Flamenco Red' knew there was something going on when I got out the washing and polishing kit and spent a whole morning cleaning inside and out as well as the engine compartment!
The we loaded the luggage compartment and went over to the 'Tin Tent' to start loading up while 'Flamenco Red' sat there 'smiling' from one side of the grill to the other! :D:D

I think once we get going we will get some nice pictures from this tour! [thumbup]

04-11-2013, 06:16 PM
Glad that the Tin Tent accident damage is repaired. Hopefully the other stuff does not cause issues.

I asked about the weather as we are still getting this.

http://i1282.photobucket.com/albums/a521/ssicarman/IMAG0058_zps6b211df2.jpg (http://s1282.photobucket.com/user/ssicarman/media/IMAG0058_zps6b211df2.jpg.html)

http://i1282.photobucket.com/albums/a521/ssicarman/IMAG0057_zpsaa6d998a.jpg (http://s1282.photobucket.com/user/ssicarman/media/IMAG0057_zpsaa6d998a.jpg.html)

Hopefully you miss out on any of the white stuff as you go north.

04-12-2013, 02:59 AM
Hi 'ssicarman'

While looking on a couple of web cameras at locations we will be passing through, the Snow there is still over 3 feet deep! :D
Having said that we will not be there for a couple of weeks and it seems to be melting quite quickly since the 'Jet Stream' got back on course and moved North.

Must admit though that when I saw your pictures I thought it was something called 'Dandruff' coming out of the head of hair from the Giant in Jack & The Beanstalk! :D:D:D

04-12-2013, 08:23 AM
Very nice trip. I was there ( Nordkapp ) in the 1993 in June with a old ( 1977) Ford Transit with beds or similar ......

04-12-2013, 06:03 PM
Hi 'ssicarman'

While looking on a couple of web cameras at locations we will be passing through, the Snow there is still over 3 feet deep! :D
Having said that we will not be there for a couple of weeks and it seems to be melting quite quickly since the 'Jet Stream' got back on course and moved North.

Must admit though that when I saw your pictures I thought it was something called 'Dandruff' coming out of the head of hair from the Giant in Jack & The Beanstalk! :D:D:D

3 feet of snow is a lot. Hope the Jet stream works fast for you.
My pictures were taken before the Dandruff started coming in horizontal. It didn't stick around though. What will stick around is this weekend, we are supposed to get 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) of 'Dandruff' by Sunday.

I would assume that you are getting real spring weather in your part of the world.

Working slowly on the flags.

Wales, UK, and Germany so far. Will need to find a good map for the rest.

04-12-2013, 10:26 PM
3 feet of snow is a lot. Hope the Jet stream works fast for you.
My pictures were taken before the Dandruff started coming in horizontal. It didn't stick around though. What will stick around is this weekend, we are supposed to get 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) of 'Dandruff' by Sunday.

I would assume that you are getting real spring weather in your part of the world.

Working slowly on the flags.

Wales, UK, and Germany so far. Will need to find a good map for the rest.

Hi ssicarman,

Yes the Jet Stream has shoved the temperatures up into double figures which is rather nice while a conversation with a friend in Finland yesterday told us that during the day the 'Dandruff' is melting rapidly but is freezing again at night, so the roads are like a skating rink first thing in the morning!

Nice to see someone is up for the challenge on the flags, but Oops! you missed a couple between UK & Germany. I guess to save paper and any expenditure you could always try Googling them?

Well must go and get breakfast before we finish off packing Flamenco Red then go and hitch up the Tin Tent for the off! [thumbup]

04-13-2013, 06:48 AM
Very cool. Hopefully you have timed your trip to coincide the mid summer solstice Scandinavia, from a culture perspective it is amazing to watch how wild and crazy such reserved and polite the people can become on a day that never ends.

Drive safe!

04-13-2013, 08:51 AM
Obviously my knowledge of flags is lacking. :o Did a fast guess on what I saw of your route on posted map. Apparently I did not look close enough.

Lets try again:
Wales, UK, France, Belgium (I thought that I had it in there as I had to verify my spelling but it would appear I did not put it in[mad2]), Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and then the repeats back to Wales. Who knew this would be so educational.

Enjoy the journey. Looking forward to your travelogue.

04-17-2013, 04:18 AM
Obviously my knowledge of flags is lacking. :o Did a fast guess on what I saw of your route on posted map. Apparently I did not look close enough.

Lets try again:
Wales, UK, France, Belgium (I thought that I had it in there as I had to verify my spelling but it would appear I did not put it in[mad2]), Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and then the repeats back to Wales. Who knew this would be so educational.

Enjoy the journey. Looking forward to your travelogue.

Brilliant 10 out of 10 when I get to your part of the world then a Pint of Beer will be on me! :D[thumbup]:D[thumbup]

04-17-2013, 04:20 AM
Stage 1 UK – Calais (214 Miles)

As our previous ‘Adventure’ our first stage will be through the UK.
Well let’s face it when you live on an Island you don’t have a lot of choice in which direction you can go to get off!

Still at least we remembered to pack the 8Kg of ‘Porridge Oats’ for Breakfast!

So once again we are heading across country this time in the pouring rain to hop on the Eurotunnel Train, then as we exit ‘Le Manche’ 40 minutes later we are in France!

Over we go on the Second Severn Crossing
When I get on this Bridge it reminds me of the Oresund Bridge that we crossed on our Arctic Circle Tour in 2010 but it is a lot shorter in length so when I summon up The Ride of The Valkyrie’s’ the music is too long for the short trip across, so we have to speed the music up!



A short ‘Pit Stop’ for a sandwich and then to check Dinner in the Slow Cooker that I forgot to switch on as we left the secure compound having hitched up to the Tin Tent.
This time it’s a Beef Curry!


I kid you not the 20Amp Outlet in ‘Flamenco Reds’ “Posterior” combined with a Slow Cooker and 600W Inverter beats anything for cooking when ‘On the road’ and it has been very interesting to hear about other folks copying this method of ‘Meals on Wheels’!

Not much further finds us traversing the M25 reputedly the ‘World’s Largest Car Park’ as this Motorway goes right around the outer perimeter of London and gets absolutely jam packed at certain times with traffic that can be stationary for quite some time, thankfully today it kept moving!


After a few more miles and a bit more time passing the various road signs…


We arrive at ‘Le Manche’ and start the check in process.

Checked in now and Flamenco Red is patiently waiting for the train, while the Slow Cooker has a short rest to let the juices soak into the meat!

While making a comfort break in the waiting room I spotted this picture which was taken when the Tunnellers that worked from the UK and the other team that worked from France finally met at some point under the English Channel.
I remember reading that they had broken through within a very close distance of side to side position of the two tunnels which was a fantastic achievement at the time.


While after the noticeboard announces ‘Departure’ for our slot we get passed the Police and Customs check as well as a quick verification that the LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) Bottles are turned off and we are in the lane for boarding.
As we get the ‘Green’ boarding light we make our way around to the train, crawl onboard and 45 minutes later we are through and into….


Next stop is one of the Carrefour Markets in Calais where we can give ‘Flamenco Red’ a good drink of that wonderful thing called ‘Gazole’ before we get tucked into a nicely cooked dinner, and quiet night before setting off quite early for the next stage that will see us way up North in Germany.

Bonne nuit! (Good night!)

04-17-2013, 04:23 AM
Stage 2 Calais – Rheda Weidenbrück (320 Miles)


After a rather wet & windy night, it was up and away by 06:45 this morning for the stage that took us through France, Belgium & The Netherlands into Germany and our next stop at Rheda (Weidenbrück is on the other side of the Motorway)!

1st From France into Belgium….


With a miserable grey sky but temperature was not too bad at 12C


With some rather interesting buildings as we travelled along the motorway!


Followed by a nicely decorated wall that was painted on both sides looking onto the road


While next up was a short trip near Antwerp through the Kennedy Tunnel



Then a bit further down the road we spot this cloud formation that looks like a Mogul Skiing Field where we expected to see images in white with halos and a pair of wings come flying down or across and whooping it up!



Pushing on it wasn’t long before we came to the Dutch Border…


While it wasn’t much further to the German Border but interestingly the only ‘Euro’ sign was 800 meters before you got to it, so all we got was…


With a few places that looked different to what you normally see…





It wasn’t long before we reached our ‘Night Halt’ in the town of Rheda.


Quick spot of lunch after getting set up and it was then off into Rheda for a look around which is a rather nice ‘Old’ town…


One of the entrances to ‘Schloss Rheda’







This is ‘Schloss Rheda’ which is still occupied and so is private…




Then from there we made our way into the town centre passed the Maypole…







While as you get a bit further on you come to this slab concrete monolith of a ‘Town Hall’ that for me does absolutely nothing but look hideous surrounded by some really nice old houses….


Late on this afternoon we saw the Sunshine while the temperature got up to 20C!
It was almost ‘sunbathing weather’.

Here tonight, gone tomorrow for the next leg up to Fehmarn Burg!

Guten Nacht (Good night!)

04-17-2013, 04:26 AM
Stage 3 Rheda Weidenbrück – Fehmarn Burg (260 Miles)

Guten Morgen! (Good Morning!)

Nice bit of a lie in this morning as the trip is a bit shorter!

While it was back on the Autobahn and into the Monday traffic which was quite heavy at times with some drivers travelling way over the 120Kmph limit!



The results of the ‘speeding’ was found in a couple of places where the ‘accidents’ took place leading to rather long tailbacks while the mess was cleared up!


One of the Autobahn Bridges near Hamburg…


While in another ‘accident tailback’ it gave us a chance to see this rather interesting machine…


Water Tower and ‘Bug’ hanging on for dear life on the windscreen!


Then after a a couple of rest breaks we get to the signs for the Puttgarden Ferry and our next night halt!


While we didn’t expect to see any of this, this far South and with temperature of 21C today it was an even bigger surprise!


A complete roof of Solar Panels, sadly no good for the overnight halt!


‘Rastplatz’ just before Fehmarn…


While looking across the bay to the bridge that connects Fehmarn Burg & Puttgarden to the mainland…


Which after leaving the ‘Rastplatz’ we make our way around to…


And over…


Then after leaving the ‘Autobahn’ we make our way into the town of Fehmarn Burg with this rather nice church that we came back to have a closer look at after we found the main carpark and paid the appropriate fee for our stay…€2 x 2Hrs




While off into the town centre…



‘Rathaus’ (Town Hall) and this one was more in keeping with the other town buildings..



Spotted this house in the town that has been around for a bit of time…



While the horse statue in front of this hotel & restaurant had been decorated by schoolchildren….


Although our ferry is booked for tomorrow we went to see if we could sail a day early, but as the company wanted to charge us the same price again making our ticket double the price we declined their kind offer and went off to spend the night down by the seashore before coming back for the correct ferry tomorrow, so we are now listening to all the birds and waiting for the rabbits to appear as the banks are full of burrows!


Next stage is into Denmark…tomorrow.

Guten Nacht (Good night!)

04-17-2013, 04:34 AM
Stage 4 Fehmarn Burg - Rastplats Farø (50 Miles)

Guten Morgen! (Good Morning!)

Well the rain hammered down last night followed at 03:00 this morning by the fog horns of which I think there are 3 off them sounding off along the coast, still it was a fairly decent night’s rest with an 07:30 start for the ferry to Denmark while outside the ‘Tin Tent’ the day started like this, the bright ball in the centre is the sun!…


Off to the ferry gave us a misty road for starters…


Then after a short run we arrived at the check in gates…


While the man on check in read the wrong details until I asked him to turn the page over, then we were OK and he actually smiled! I had used the piece of paper to record the two reservations, one for this part and the other for Helsinki – Tallin which comes later….

We then got the confirmation paper that also included this superb offer that resulted in quite a number of people trying to consume their 20 Cigarettes during the 45 minute crossing which we thought was rather stupid!


When we got called forward to embark going up onto the upper deck, because I was not quick enough for ‘Mr Grumpy’ who was controlling the embarkation I got a very dour look along with a mouthful from a really unhappy man, which was a good start and pleasant way of advertising the ferry company for NO repeat business, ‘Customer Friendly?’ he was not!!

On board and gate is closed, embarkation took all of 10 minutes for everyone!


Upper ‘roadway/ramp’ is hoisted away from the ferry…


Bow or Stern, not sure which as they are both ‘pointed’ starts to come down and seal off the front or back as we pull away from the dockside…




All closed up and off into the mist…


Passing by the outer harbour wall…


With a couple of pictures of the upper deck and inside…




45 minutes later it’s ‘roll off’ time as we have arrived in Denmark, and the sea was like a millpond…


Still misty so the Denmark Border sign is not that clear!


Oops! For a minute we thought we had somehow been transferred to Holland when we saw this along the roadside?


Not much further and we are at the Rastplats with the bridge just emerging out of the mist as it gets burnt off….


Then as the temperature climbed to 20C by just after midday the rest of the area came into view…



Next stage is into Sweden…tomorrow.

Good night! (Don’t know the Danish for Good Night!)

04-17-2013, 09:29 AM
Stage 5 Rastplats Farø – Angelholm (110 Miles)

Good Morning!

Well after a rather nice day, the dark clouds once again formed up and just after dinner the heavens opened once again and the rain hammered down!
Thankfully it did not last and having started off around 6C it slowly got warmer and reached 20C as we made our way North…

It was not long before we started to see the signs for the HelsingØr – Helsingborg Ferry…


While a short while after there it was…


Arriving at the check in gate with the booking paper the correct way around it was a couple of minutes and we were in Lane 8 ready for boarding which happened a short while after as there are 3 of these ferries providing a more or less continuous service across this stretch of water with a 20 minute journey time from one side to the other …



As we made our way around to the ferry there was just time for a quick picture of this rather nice building….


Then we found ourselves a bit like Jonah going into the mouth of the whale!


While a few minutes later having loaded the Trucks we were off to the other side…





Then 20 minutes later we are across waiting for the barrier to rise so we can drive off…


As we pass through the ferry complex and get outside we see the welcome sign for the city..


Then manage to pass through a little bit of the ‘Centrum’ before we head out to the Toll Free Motorway…






After a very short trip on the Motorway we reached our next planned halt but found that it was a bit tight for space for us, so decided to push on to a place called Angelholm as we had planned to call into a Lidl Supermarket for a bit of shopping, and found that they have an excellent carpark while just across the road is this rather nice thatched building…


Having then asked a young lady in Lidl how far the city centre was and told it was about 20 minutes walking, however she offered us a lift as she had an appointment so we accepted and set off with a nice conversation taking place along the way…

Having then been dropped off we made our way past the city hospital…


Crossing one of several bridges that cross a meandering river at different points around the city…




We found the town square with the Tourist Office….


With a couple of views around the square…



Before we made our way down to the railway station passing this rather nice old building on the way…


Then the town ‘Kyrke’…



And this rather interesting headstone on one of the graves with the Roman Legionnaires Helmet and Sword but Nils Arvid Biure who is buried there was a Major in the Skanska Dragon Regiment….


Back over another bridge….


Then we get to the Railway Station…



Could not help be impressed by the number of bicycles that people use to part commute with before getting the train…


However I have never seen a railway station that provided a Tyre Inflation facility like the one we saw here!


That’s it for today….

Further North tomorrow.

Good night! (Don’t know the Swedish for Good Night either but will find out!)

04-17-2013, 07:42 PM
Green grass and flowers!

Thanks for the pictures. I enjoy the shots all of the old buildings, just something that we don't see here. We seem to have a culture here of if it is old it needs to be torn down.
The three wheel car was interesting. The motor home with mural of the American southwest was a surprise.

After a very short trip on the Motorway we reached our next planned halt but found that it was a bit tight for space for us, so decided to push on to a place called Angelholm as we had planned to call into a Lidl Supermarket for a bit of shopping, and found that they have an excellent carpark while just across the road is this rather nice thatched building…

When you say "carpark" do you mean this is where you overnighted/camped?

04-20-2013, 09:48 AM
Green grass and flowers!

Thanks for the pictures. I enjoy the shots all of the old buildings, just something that we don't see here. We seem to have a culture here of if it is old it needs to be torn down.
The three wheel car was interesting. The motor home with mural of the American southwest was a surprise.

When you say "carpark" do you mean this is where you overnighted/camped?

Hi ssicarman.
'Yes', we were mixed in the with the overnight 'Truckers' as there were no campsites in the area open until the 1st May!

04-20-2013, 10:00 AM
Couple of upload 'problems' with the Picture Host are stopping me from getting the next couple of stages in so will try in 24 hours...

04-20-2013, 11:36 AM
Couple of upload 'problems' with the Picture Host are stopping me from getting the next couple of stages in so will try in 24 hours...

I was thinking earlier in the week how strange it was that in Morocco you had (and were expecting) what turned out to be a relatively good internet connection considering the area and now in Europe you are expecting issues. Now you get trouble with the picture host site. Might be time to go to a try it and say to heck with it method. Gives you more time to enjoy the sites. :) As I found out sometimes the photo site just does not like you.

All that said I have to say. Here I sit in the kitchen doing taxes (taking a break from the doom and gloom) watching the snow come down (YET AGAIN) thinking that we would be on the road with warm weather and greenery. :(

Hope you two are enjoying the trip so far.

Hi ssicarman.
'Yes', we were mixed in the with the overnight 'Truckers' as there were no campsites in the area open until the 1st May!

I used to do this kind of thing on trips in the US when I was single. My gun ho point A to B driving style gave late nights with over night stops in the Interstate rest stops. I would camp out in the back of the truck and hit the road when I woke up. My wife broke me of that in a hurry.
I hope that you don't end up doing much more of that kind of camping.

04-21-2013, 01:43 AM
I was thinking earlier in the week how strange it was that in Morocco you had (and were expecting) what turned out to be a relatively good internet connection considering the area and now in Europe you are expecting issues. Now you get trouble with the picture host site. Might be time to go to a try it and say to heck with it method. Gives you more time to enjoy the sites. :) As I found out sometimes the photo site just does not like you.

All that said I have to say. Here I sit in the kitchen doing taxes (taking a break from the doom and gloom) watching the snow come down (YET AGAIN) thinking that we would be on the road with warm weather and greenery. :(

Hope you two are enjoying the trip so far.

I used to do this kind of thing on trips in the US when I was single. My gun ho point A to B driving style gave late nights with over night stops in the Interstate rest stops. I would camp out in the back of the truck and hit the road when I woke up. My wife broke me of that in a hurry.
I hope that you don't end up doing much more of that kind of camping.

The Picture 'problem' was connection speed which I didn't fancy spending another 5 or 6 hours trying to upload some pictures so I quit and we went out to do some sightseeing!

While we have campsites planned in we are also finding places we can stay overnight with instead of being surrounded by seasonal units, we are overlooking a large beautiful scene of a frozen lake watching the ducks, geese and birds come and go with a small stream nearby running into the lake! Beautiful!![thumbup]

04-21-2013, 01:46 AM
Stage 6 Angelholm - Rastplats Sandsjöbacka (117 Miles)

Godmorgon! (Good Morning)

Mixed night last night between the weather and some bad news from home!
We got a call from my good lady’s sister to let us know that our gate to the rear garden that was securely locked had been ripped off its upper hinge, while the gatepost on the other side was snapped off, with the garden fence panel that was next to the post, being found at the bottom of the garden.
However thanks to a fabulous couple (Wife’s Sister and her Husband) the damage is being made good so we can continue this ‘Adventure’

Meanwhile those darn clouds came over again last which gave us another dose of rain and even more during our trip today, but by mid-morning it had stopped with a little bit of sunshine.

While making our way to our next overnight halt we took a diversion to a place called ‘Båstad' which is really a summer beach resort where the shops don’t open till 10:00 all year around!


On the far side of town we found a very large parking area with plenty of room, and the little white building was a WC with HOT Water, Soap & Hand drying facilities while also being very clean inside…


There is one main road running through the town with narrower roads running off at 90 degrees either down to the sea or back inland where the houses are found …



Making our way down to the seafront you find the wooden boardwalks across and around the front….



While this boardwalk took you down to the ‘Cold Water Plunge’ which you could use even now as a guest of the hotel you can see in the previous and next picture, as they opened at 11:00 and the receptionist was already in place waiting for hotel guests!



Then to look after the people on the beach there were a few Canons spread along and the date I think reads 1788 – 1926, after that you are presumably on your own!


Making our way further along we come to the small harbour with it’s little huts which in summer are cafes, takeaway’s and bric-a-brac shops…


With this rather nice hut at the entrance with presumably the names of boats that used to be in the little harbour


Back up to the main road and we see a Estate Agent (Realtor)…
Very nice this looked but at 11,500,000 SEK (£1,373,955) ($2,060,932) I think we will give it a miss.


After a couple of stops at McDonalds to pick up any news from home we reached our next overnight halt, so after a bit of a restless night last night it was time for 40 winks’.

Tomorrow is the day for our ‘planned diversion’ but more of that after it has taken place!

But that’s it for today….

Godnatt! (Good Night)

04-24-2013, 05:01 AM
Stage 7 Sandsjöbacka – Karossvägen 2, 405 31 Göteborg - Bralanda (117 Miles)

Godmorgon! (Good Morning)

We left Sandsjöbacka this morning in ‘Rush Hour’ traffic on our way to meet up with a person whom I had been in contact with since the beginning of December 2012 in Sweden…

So off we went in the traffic…




Having made a wrong turn we finally got to the correct place, which was the Volvo Visitor Centre from where they run Factory Tours in ‘The Blue Train’ and it was a good job we set off a bit earlier otherwise we might have still been trying to get there!


But firstly let me give you a bit of background….

At the beginning of December 2012 as we were either in or making our way to Morocco I contacted Volvo Cars in Gothenburg as I understood that you could go on a ‘Blue Train Tour’ of the production facility to see how their cars are made, however because we have had such reliable, safe and comfortable service so far from ‘Flamenco Red’ since taking it out of the showroom of the dealer in South Wales I thought it would be nice if we could say ‘Thank You’ to a couple of the Production Line Employees who put it together, as I believe they never get to meet the ‘Customers’.

Little did I realise what was going to take place today, but the initial reply as I asked if it would be possible to say ‘Thank You’ to a representative of the team who built Flamenco Red from the Volvo Visitor Centre was one of ‘Sorry but we are unable to assist with your request’.

However unknown to me as I had also spoken to a young man by the name of ‘Jonas’ at the facility who asked me to provide some information about Flamenco Red which I did, as he did not think it was impossible to find the people who had built Flamenco Red, he then passed my email to a young lady whose name is ‘Sandra’.
She is the manager of Volvo Internal Communications, and sent me an email as she thought it was a wonderful idea to be able to meet some of the team & say ‘Thank You’ to the employees directly, she in turn put the request to Bjarne the Plant’s Communications Manager who found the ‘Team’ who built the car!!

While I was stunned & at the same time overcome emotionally I was immensely overjoyed at the thought of being able to say ‘Thank You’ to some of the people who had put the effort in to giving us a great car, & so the planning started for the visit.

Just as we were about to depart I got the itinerary for the visit which I thought was fabulous as we were going to be given, as Magnus the Production Manager described it when the Blue Train passed us as we were on the Production line….‘The Kings Tour’ which was a walking tour ‘up close and personal’ of how the cars are assembled! WOW!!!
This was to be followed by lunch with the representatives of the team who built Flamenco Red and then a visit to the Volvo Museum.

As we arrived a bit early at the Visitor Centre, we parked up in the ‘Bus Parking’


Then after setting up the ‘Tin Tent’ my good lady and I went inside the building and were advised that our host would be over to meet us shortly.

We then saw this 40 Years ‘Old’ Volvo 1800ES from 1973 that has a little story to it….

“The car was delivered to a man in the USA who didn’t like the colour and put it in his garage unused from new, it was ‘found’ by a Norwegian and brought back to Sweden and todate it has only covered 284 Miles (460Km) and has not yet been driven in all gears”


While on the other side of the Visitor Centre was the latest Volvo to be built in Torslanda…
The ‘Volvo V60 Diesel Hybrid’


“Under the Bonnet & Inside”


Other views.
Note there is no spare wheel and very little room to hold or accommodate one!
The ‘coolant’ I think has something to do with the Hybrid Battery.


A short while after being able to have a look at the latest Volvo we were met by ‘Sandra’ who also had a photographer by the name of Dick who was allowed to take photographs as we went around the factory as due to security requirements members of the public are not allowed any cameras inside the plant, so firstly we had to get a picture of the “Thank You” certificate that I created for the occasion…


We then proceeded to make our way over to the main production facility where the assembly takes place as there is also the body-shop where all the welding of the body then the paint shop where all the paint spraying takes place but due to health & safety requirements we did not visit those shops.

Upon arrival in the production/assembly facility we were introduced to ‘Bjarne’ & ‘Jon’ who was one of the people who assembled the car.
After then signing in, we proceed upstairs and start walking along the longest office corridor in Europe which is over 1Km long, but we didn’t have far to go before it was ‘left turn’ and into a room to be kitted out with a Volvo Blue Coat and very comfortable ‘Safety Shoes’ that I nearly forgot to give back!!!

Then it was time for the walking tour on which we were introduced to the other two representatives ‘Goran’ & ‘Niina’ who had a part in building Flamenco Red, and as we went further along Magnus the Production Manager joined us.

On the assembly line with Magnus…


The walking tour took over 1 hour to complete and was absolutely fascinating as you see different models proceed along the assembly line behind each other.

All the cars are built in 2 halves, NO not back and front “DUH!” but Upper & Lower sections that come together at what is nicely called the “Marriage Point”

While as the ‘Marriage Point’ seemed a good place…..


Then we got to meet the 3 “Goteborg Heroes” who are members of a bigger team who assembled ‘Flamenco Red’!


After lunch and wishing all the folks we had met sincere best wishes for a wonderful visit that would give us both some great memories, it was time to give back our very comfortable safety shoes and blue coats then sign out & make our way to the Volvo Museum…


As we went through the doors the founders of Volvo Cars were just inside Mr Gustaf Larson and Mr Assar Gabrielsson but as they were in discussion with each other we did not like to interrupt, as we think they were talking about yet another new model Volvo!


We then moved into a corridor that took us to the office laid out as it was when the two founders were discussing company business…


Further along was this car that is a bit older than me but looks to be in better condition, but it was made for the King of Sweden….



Then we found something that we were not aware of…Volvo’s Jet Engine!




Then in another section we see this Plastic P1900 Volvo that never made it into production…


While just around the corner was a ‘Volvo Cop Car’!


A Volvo Electrically Controlled Overdrive Gearbox…


Cutaway concept S80…


Another ‘Concept’ XC60 and it looked like the tyres were solid rubber as there are no valves in the wheels!



A variety of Engines….


With a rather LARGE ‘Hybrid Bus Engine’


Volvo’s Ocean Racing Support…


Volvo’s Truck section


With finally the ‘Old Boys’ section where we expected to see a couple of machine guns stuck out of the windows!


When it came to finally get back to Flamenco Red & the Tin Tent and head off, it was not surprising to find that we were running around 1.5hours late, but what a fabulous day it had been, far exceeding what we hoped would happen, and really required a very BIG ‘Tak Tak’ to everyone whom we met during the day for making it really special.

Godnatt! (Good Night)

04-24-2013, 05:04 AM
Stage 8 South of Arvika - Arvika (183 Miles)

Godmorgon! (Good Morning!)

Well after the fabulous time we had yesterday it took us a very long time to get to sleep last night and in a way it was just as well, as we found that the campsite we planned to stop at had closed down!

We then found ourselves travelling another 50+ miles to find an alternative overnight halt, making use of the McDonalds Wi-Fi in a place called Säffle combined with a warming cup of Cappuccino while trying to identify a campsite that was open, with no luck!

Somewhat strangely ‘Up North/West’ was still quite light at 21:45hrs and as luck would have it we found ourselves a place with this view as the sun came up this morning….



While the front of Flamenco Red looked a bit like an Strawberry Ice Cream with the ice on the window and roof…


Then after a bit of breakfast we set decided to head to the next halt via a Lidl Supermarket for a bit of shopping in a town called Arvika, although we were now ahead of ourselves.

Travelling along the road we passed this rather nice little cottage…


Having arrived and completed the shopping in Lidl we decided to head off into the centre of town as it was Saturday to see what it looked like, and spotted a number of RV’s/Campers parked down by the waterfront, so we went to join them….


While this was the view from the left hand side of the ‘Tin Tent’ looking out over the frozen lake…


Then the view looking from the right hand side…


Making our way from our parking place which was to also become our overnight halt for Saturday night into the town we pass this rather nice converted warehouse which is now a Restaurant and group of workshops


Cross over the railway which saw several trains come through with literally thousands of Tree Logs on the carriages…

Spot the Music School & Town Logo…


This building caught your eye which was a hotel with other businesses around the outside on the ground floor…


While just over in the small town square was a Saturday Market…



At the top end of the market was this rather ‘open’ modern art sculpture of a reclining man, whose ‘privates’ appeared to have been polished or were being used by the townsfolk as a ‘Good Luck’ symbol!


Even the children took to climbing on the poor guy.


Moving along…


Then around the next corner…


While at the top of the next street….


Down in the small park were these structures which we could imagine would be very pleasant to walk through when in flower and all bouquet from the flowers is in the air, but we were a bit early for that.



While the town hall was rather nice with its very tall tower behind



After making our way back to the lake front for the evening it was unfortunate to find that as there is nothing for the teenagers to do in the town, they take to driving around in their cars, the majority of which are ‘modified’ with BIG exhausts and also have very large speakers fitted so they sound like a BOOM BOX on wheels, result was that between the Red Bull keeping the drivers awake and the music keeping us and the other people who were staying there awake for the night, we finally got to sleep at 04:30 this morning!

Would we go back? Yes, but definitely not on a Saturday night!!!

But that’s it for today….

Into Norway tomorrow!

Godnatt! (Goodnight)

04-24-2013, 05:07 AM
Stage 9 Arvika – Hunderfossen, Norway (182 Miles)

Godmorgon! (Good Morning!)

Well after a rather fitful night in Arvika and for us, a late start we got on the road to our next planned halt which was to be ‘Morokulien Rastplats’.
We did not realise this was just over the border in Norway, while it was not long before we were there, with these views along the way…




Coming to the town of Charlottenburg we called into a McDonalds to have a quick check of email and found that the shopping centre was open and being inundated with Norwegians as food and clothing is around 20% cheaper than in Norway along with fuel…


While this rather large Soldier keeps watch over the town and the war memorial.


Very soon after we come to the Swedish – Norwegian Border…


“Welcome to Norway” Land of the Mountains and the 700Gram £3.50 Loaf of Bread!



Then spot this grass roofed restaurant in the Morokulien Rastplats…


While across the road is this Troll keeping an eye on things….


Although the Rastplats was supposed to be able to accommodate ‘Tin Tents’ the speces were on the very small size, so we decided to push on to Lillehammer as it was not that much further…

So it was off again past the frozen lakes & rivers, around a traffic island to find that the road was closed…




Turned around, made our way across the bridge and past the town gates before we turned left…


With a couple more interesting traffic islands along the diversion road



Passing an old church on the other side of the river…


We continue to make our way to Lillehammer….





Then we get behind this rather old American car which is in really nice condition and must have been out for a ‘Sunday Run’
Could not quite make out the make and model as we did not get close enough to see…



Not much further and we are close to Lillehammer…






After passing through Lillehammer then a few miles up the E6 we turn off to go to the campsite at Hunderfossen…


Campsite checkin at the hotel…


While this is the Summer Campsite Reception point as well as the entrance to the campsite…



Then having checked in and paid for our stay we find that there has been no Wi-Fi for the last 12 months although it is still being advertised as available, while nothing has been done to sort out the ‘problem’!
We have a train line just behind which is in use at all hours day and night, and only the women’s side of the WC/Showers are open in Low Season!

Enough said, and I am rather glad we only opted for 2 nights instead of our earlier plan….

God natt! (Goodnight)

04-24-2013, 05:10 AM
Stage 9A “A day in Lillehammer”

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

OK so another day started early as the first train went through the campsite at 04:30 this morning, but managed to roll over and get another couple of hours sleep before a call of nature forced me out of bed “Bah Humbug”!

As we are about 10 Miles (16Km) from Lillehammer we decided to go and have a look around but firstly had to see the rather LARGE Troll who lives in the ‘Familie Park’ which is on the other side of the railway line at the back of the campsite, and here he is…


As you exit the campsite at Hundfossen the Hydro Electric Dam is on the left with one of the Water Propellers outside which are quite large…


While just over to the right is supposedly the Hundfossen Waterfall which is a bit of a joke as it is not natural and relies on water coming over the top of the Hydro dam and sliding down the manmade concrete wall!


After the short drive to Lillehammer we managed to find a parking space that was not going to cost us £4 ($6) for 3 hours, as it was in the next road up the hill where parking was free and all day if you wanted…

While walking down the hill into town we see this rather nice old house having a new roof fitted…


Then making our way into the town centre we see this nice logo in the bridge railings….


Main Street which is pedestrianized…



While in the next picture I am still trying to figure out how the action is achieved?


Then wandering around we see these rather nice views in the town…












A visit to Lillehammer would not be complete without seeing the Olympic Ski Jump up close, so off we went…..


As we got to what we thought was the top of the ski jump on the road and walked into the area having found a parking spot we see all these old skis being used in the wooden fence, but they are Langlauf and not the wide ski jump skis…


While a bit further on we get to the view and the Ski Jump!!!


While the shorter ski jump is on the left, you can just see the ‘white strip’ running down inside the ‘wooden wall’ on the higher ski jump on the right, where that ends is where you ‘Take Off’ and either fly or flop, and it looks very scary indeed, nothing like what you see on the Television…



But that’s it for today as I try to get my stomach back in order….

Up North East tomorrow!

God natt! (Goodnight)

04-24-2013, 05:14 AM
Stage 10 Hunderfossen – Sykkylven (276.8 Miles)

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

While it was our intention to get to a campsite at Geiranger Fjord things went pear shaped within the last 15 miles of the stage and suffice at this point to say we did not make it!

So after getting some ‘alternatives’ from the Tourist Information Service in a town called ‘Strym’ we ended up spending a quite night on the seafront at Sykkylven, before going off to the ferry to take us over to Magerholm and on the road to Ålesund …

Setting off from Hunderfossen in rather nice weather with the odd rain shower, we did not have a clue what we were in for later along the road!!!



While this bridge looks quite ‘rusty’ it was in places covered in wood!


Ski run, now closed for the ‘Summer’


Passing through Peer Gynt ‘Country’ as we were in ‘The Hall of a Mountain King’….


Little church in one of the small villages on the road…


Frozen Waterfall, and there were a few as we travelled along…


While the frozen river was breaking up with large chunks of ICE breaking off!



Small farm by the roadside…


While around the corner is another still frozen lake…


Where we pull in for a break and a hot drink…


Then we spot this ‘thing’ frozen in the ice and for a minute thing ‘The Loch Ness Monster’ has emigrated?


A bit further up the road is this old American car which was red but is now a nice shade of ‘Barbie Pink’!



Then as we get further along we see a change in the weather….


I do wonder who has the job of cutting the grass on the roof when it grows in Summer?








Then as we start climbing the Tverrfjellet Pass, and yes it did have the ‘Snow Chains’ sign at the bottom with an area for fitting them, but that was for earlier in the year although there were cars that still had studded tyres on…

The weather starts closing in with SNOW coming down quite thickly!!!


And it got worse!


Didn’t need to cover the number plate, Mother Nature did it for me…


Snow stopped falling for all of 10 minutes as the clouds moved over…


Then it came back with a bit of a vengeance…


All you could do was keep inbetween the vertical sticks which marked the road….


While off to our left in a break in the snowfall we see this house up to the roof in snow…


In the middle of the next picture you can just see the tarmac that had been cleared by a Snow Plough that passed us going the other way, while on the right of middle is a car across the road that we were supposed to take to Geiranger Fjord which was completely blocked and stays like that in Winter due to the possibility of Avalanches, so it was a definite ‘No-Go’


As we made our way forward hoping that maybe we could turn off a bit further along, we found ourselves entering a Tunnel that was having part of the walls lined with concrete to stop water coming through.

Seemingly the Tunnel is closed from 18:00hrs till 06:00hrs and in the 12 hours it is open because of the work traffic is taken through every 1.5hours in a convoy, so we had around 1 hour to wait before our side moved, which was just after the other side came through clearing the way for us to move…


Then after 5Km (3 Miles) we came out into a blinding whiteness from the snow…


Following each other down the mountain road to the town of Strym to see if we could get information on how to go on…



The town of Strym…


We found out from the Tourist Information that to get back on track we would need to take 2 ferries and in view of the unpredictability of the weather, we might have got there but not be able to get back out, so we decided to go to Ålesund as that was going to be our next stage after Geiranger, but our ‘problems’ were not yet over!

As we set off from Strym along the side of the Fjord….


It wasn’t long before we found ourselves ‘Hill Climbing’ again with Flamenco Red ‘growling’ nicely while the wheels stayed turning and sticking to the road even though the conditions underfoot left a hell of a lot to be desired!


As we rolled along we spot this wild animal scurrying across the road then went into the frozen stream running alongside the road, and finally scrabbled up the snow covered bank.

Sorry about the picture but it was the first wild Otter we have ever seen!


Little bit of ‘Snowless Road’ as we came out of another tunnel into this covered section…


Passing through a town called ‘Stranda’


While not long after we come to Sykkylven…


Then our ‘Night Halt’ with the Fjord just on the other side of the BIG Rocks.
The weather and wind at one point did make us think about moving away from the sea wall just in case the sea got rough, but we were OK while it was a quite peaceful night…


Next stop is after the ferry from here to Magerholm…

God natt! (Goodnight)

04-24-2013, 06:56 PM
Cue Willie Nelson to sing "On the Road Again".

Hope that you guys are keeping warm. Looks a little chilly.
The Volvo plant tour looking interesting. It was nice of the folks at Volvo to go above and beyond for you guys. I did a technicians tour of the Springhill TN Saturn plant in the late 90's and got the same no pictures rule. It was interesting seeing how they put them together. The museum tour was interesting as well.
As usual interesting pictures. Now all you need to do is see if you can find some better weather.

Did a bit of looking today for your yellow American car. It is a 1961-1964 Cadillac 6200.



04-24-2013, 11:54 PM
Cue Willie Nelson to sing "On the Road Again".

Hope that you guys are keeping warm. Looks a little chilly.
The Volvo plant tour looking interesting. It was nice of the folks at Volvo to go above and beyond for you guys. I did a technicians tour of the Springhill TN Saturn plant in the late 90's and got the same no pictures rule. It was interesting seeing how they put them together. The museum tour was interesting as well.
As usual interesting pictures. Now all you need to do is see if you can find some better weather.

Did a bit of looking today for your yellow American car. It is a 1961-1964 Cadillac 6200.



Must admit I was thinking of Johnny Cash and 'Walk the line' while we were doing the Volvo Tour! :D:D
I must admit that I am still getting over how the people at Volvo went out of their way for us, and it was truly fabulous to see all the stages of the assembly.

As far as the weather goes I think we might have a small problem until we get further inland as there is only one place seemingly in Norway that has worse weather than where we are and that amounts to 222 days of rain in the year! [nonono][nonono]

Thanks for digging up the information on the car, I did think because of the shape that it might have been a Plymouth Dart if there was such a vehicle?

04-24-2013, 11:58 PM
Stage 11 Sykkylven - Ålesund (16.8 Miles)

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

On the road again by 08:00 this morning, thinking that the ferry was another 17 Miles down the road, but I clean forgot that TomTom was programmed to include the ferry!

So after 1.5miles we arrived at the ferry terminal at Ørsneset…


Even though the lights were on there was no chance of a cup of coffee as the terminal building did not open till 10:00….


Then the ferry arrives and like ‘Moby Dick’ the massive jaws open to disgorge the traffic and passengers onto the dockside…


I nearly expected to see someone with the Grand Prix ‘Start Flag’ as the cars came off the ferry 3 abreast!


While a couple of minutes later we were making our way aboard….


A very short but smooth crossing...


Normally two ferries operate this run but in winter with less traffic they only use the one Roll On – Roll Off Ferry, the other ferry is anchored and out of service…



While extra vehicle spaces are also on the upper sections along each side of the ferry, the man on the left of the picture was standing outside his car talking to the next vehicle driver along…


Even TomTom was still functioning and recalculating as we travelled across the water, but I do wish ‘Jane’ (The TomTom Voice) would stop telling me “In 80 Yards turn left” I’m on a boat ‘dear’ and cannot presently get off!


As we neared Magerholm the mouth once again opened wide…


Then while the ferries engines kept us up against the landing stage off we came…



Following the directions from TomTom we made our way on a cold and dismal day to our next campsite ‘Volsdalen’ which is 2 miles from the centre of Ålesund…


Campsite entrance…


Reception on the left for checking in….


While just around the corner on a very nice camping pitch is this 8 Meter ‘Kabe Royal Hacienda’ which I would imagine is extremely luxurious inside...


We are on the right, and when the clouds clear away along with the rain this is part of our view…


Then looking a bit further left….


While looking at a booklet from the Tourist Office in Strym about Geiringer Fjord we would have to wait for around 4 weeks before we stood any chance of getting there by the road we had planned to use, not only that, the road out of the place is a quite expensive Toll Road and does not open up until the end of May, so as they say for us “The best laid plans of mice and men” just went down the tubes for that part of the ‘Adventure’, so I think we will stick to the roads identified on the map as being kept open all year.

Just now we have a Hailstone Shower going through, and the noise of it makes it difficult to think let alone speak!
While the weather forecast for the next few days does not look at all promising.

God natt! (Goodnight)

04-25-2013, 07:26 AM
Stage 11A “First Day in Ålesund”

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Oh what a nice quite night till the hailstones started at around 05:00hrs this morning, and after they had finished I did think there might be a good chance of a ‘mottled’ finish on the roof of the ‘Tin Tent’ a bit like the walls, but we are OK.
Interestingly the Barometer has started climbing and except for a couple of heavy showers it hasn’t been a bad day for sightseeing!

So after breakfast we went off to the most famous place in Ålesund that is called Aksla that has been photographed by visitors from all around the world.
It is a viewing point on top of a high hill that you can get to by either road or 418 steps from the centre of town.
However with the parking charges in the town centre of 13NOK/Hour (£1.60/Hour) ($2.40/Hour) we decided to drive up as the parking was free at the top of the hill, and the views were quite stunning even on a dull day…..







While any one causing a ‘problem’ was immediately fed to this hungry creature!


While this chap had a nice view, to me he was looking the wrong way…


From Aksla we could see a number of small islands like the one below..


Then inside the wall at the viewpoint we spotted a picture telling you how to get there, which was by a series of Tunnels, so we went off ‘Tunnelling’ between the islands…
The ‘3 Dotted lines’ in the picture below show the Tunnels which go down to 450feet below the Sea, and on two of them you go around in quite a tight circle, a bit like getting into or out of a multi storey carpark, to get to the depth before you go across to the ‘exit’…




While there is a bridge between the first and second Tunnel…


Making our way along we see the sign for a historic monument and make a small detour to find…


It turns out to be called ‘Hogstein’ and is a burial mound from early Roman times between 375 – 400AD and there are quite a few of them along the coast of Norway …


While a little further along was Hogstein Fyr (Lighthouse)…


With the Lighthouse Keeper and his staff’s houses that are still occupied today….



On our way to the next island we see this small passenger ferry making its way into the landing stage to collect one passenger before it sailed away rapidly to the next destination …


When we reach the next island we saw this rather large vessel and thought about the possibility of maybe being able to buy some fresh fish direct from the fishermen….


After finding a place to park I went off in search of an open door to ask the question.
Having found a man replacing a wheel on his fork lift truck I asked if there was any possibility of buying some fresh fish and was told that as the boats had not been able to put to sea because of the weather he only had frozen fish.

I was then asked “How much would you like?” and replied “About 1Kg”
I was asked to wait for a few minutes, he then drove off in his van, and came back with a plastic bag that contained a frozen full filleted side of a large Cod fish that he gave me and would not take any payment for!

Sincere thanks were given to a very kind gentleman.
It was then back to the campsite before the fish defrosted!



No need to tell you lot what’s on the menu for dinner tonight…

God natt! (Goodnight)

04-27-2013, 07:19 AM
Stage 11B “Second Day in Ålesund”

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

After our ‘Tunnel Hopping’ day and getting to see possibly the second best view in Norway called Aksla yesterday was spent doing the inevitable laundry and food shopping so we thought about a rather more leisurely day today going around the centre of Ålesund, so here are the results, and yes we found a safe place to leave ‘Flamenco Red’ that would not require a bank loan to get us back together as the weekend is free parking in town!

One of the main roads through town


One of the main churches in town, note the centre of the picture and the white pointed wall just in front of the church tower…


This is the image at the top of that white pointed wall in front of the church tower…


The church tower, however the church was all closed up…


While going further along into the centre of town…


Then in the centre of town…




While this next picture tells a little bit about the Fisherwoman…




Just a bit further is the Fisherman…


Some more town views…



While up one of the side streets we come to a very large school…



With another building in the same colour a bit further along the road…


Rather good ‘City Car’ not sure if it is Electric or not …


Some interesting items in the secondhand shop window….



While this lady looks out to sea for either the ship or person she is waiting for…


In 1904 a dramatic fire raged through Ålesund for 16 hours during which time 850 buildings were reduced to ashes and more than 10,000 people were made homeless. Miraculously only one person died as a result of the fire, and the town was rebuilt between 1904 and 1907.

Every year on 23rd January at 02:15 in the morning town fire enthusiasts from far and wide assemble to retrace the path of the fire.
The pictures below look like they have been defaced but the black lines are actually under a plastic coating as they are on outside stands down by the harbour…


Then as the rebuilding took place some of the new buildings had their re-build dates made in the walls…




While just pulling out of the harbour after dropping 1 passenger is the Hurtigruten ship ‘Lofoten’ which goes along the Norwegian coast from bottom to top and back again…



In the harbour we found a Fisherman selling his fish ‘Fresh Cod’ but you had to buy the whole fish and although it would have been excellent we did not have any room in either the fridge or freezer!


Life in days gone by…



If anyone can recall ‘Lombard Street’ in San Francisco that you can drive down then her is the Pedestrian version in Ålesund….


Meanwhile at the Bus Terminal you are offered a trip on….
With Return Tickets!


With a couple of last pictures across the water from the rear window of the ‘Tin Tent’



And finally what you expect to see in Norway as it would not be Norway without them…


‘On the road again’ tomorrow to Åndalsnes (Stage 12)

God natt! (Goodnight)

04-27-2013, 09:06 AM
Nice to see some blue sky again. I really like the second and third last pictures as well as the departing coastal ship. The pictures from the view point looking over the town are quite something as well.

04-28-2013, 03:14 AM
Nice to see some blue sky again. I really like the second and third last pictures as well as the departing coastal ship. The pictures from the view point looking over the town are quite something as well.

You will have to pardon the 'pun' but "We aim to please"!

04-28-2013, 07:13 AM
Stage 12 Ålesund - Åndalsnes (76.8 Miles)

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

As I was putting yesterdays ‘events’ onto the Blog a group of men came into reception at the campsite and it was a local Men’s Choir who were practising for a competition at a hotel in Ålesund yesterday evening…

Their two songs for the competition were ‘Yesterday’ & ‘The Sloop John B’
At the end of ‘Yesterday’ I gave them a clap and told them that as I came from Liverpool, Paul McCartney would be proud of them!

I then went and got my good lady to listen to the rest of their practice session that they very kindly finished off with the Liverpool Football Club Anthem ‘You’ll never walk alone’ by Gerry Marsden, with an even bigger ‘Thank you’ and best wishes for the competition we hope they did well.

Sorry about the quality of the picture it was taken by one of those 'things' made by Apple!


As we left Volsdalen Camping this morning at 08:30 there was no one in reception to be able to say ‘Thank You’ to as the hospitality given to us by ‘Harris’ was excellent.

I must also extend my thanks to ‘Svien’ who offered me a place in his small fishing boat, and although I did not catch any fish it was very nice to be able to get a different perspective of the town from the water!

Back on the road and it’s not long before we are rolling along and being so early the roads are virtually free of traffic…






A nicely preserved Steam Tractor from days gone by…




Across the middle of the next picture are the 6 Fish Farming Nets…



Off to the right the Traffik Organisation are cutting out a new tunnel as the next section of road we went along was rather twisty and very close to the Fjord!!!



Then a few miles further on we get into a tunnel that is….



Passing a bit further along a nice different little church…


As we reach the end of the next stage in the tour…


After a further 6 miles…




We arrive at the campsite to find that it is closed while the information in the camping directory says it is supposed to be open all year…
I think the Troll at the entrance says it all!


Hey Ho, time to find somewhere else that is open.

By going back into the town we find that Åndalsnes Camping & Motel AS is open so we pull in and are told to find a place and get set up as the warden will be along later, so we do and the views around the camp are wonderful even if the wind is very cutting and cold…



As it was still relatively early we decided to have a bit of lunch (Beans on Toast!) and go into the centre of Åndalsnes for a look around…

As we pull into the carpark we see this ‘Live In Roof Box’ that opens up and has a boat window in the top face and air vents at the back so you can sleep in it!



Then we stopped and turned around to admire the view…



Åndalsnes Railway Station…


With this monument telling us it was built between 1924 &1999


While next it’s a Volvo, but what sort of Volvo?…


I think it might be just a bit more thirsty than Flamenco Red and maybe not as comfortable…


Town centre…


A few more views around the town….







It was our intention to take a ferry on the next stage but it seems we will miss out on a ‘scenic route’ so have decided to give the ferry a miss and for the extra few miles we will see what the scenic route has to offer?
All will be revealed soon we hope!!!

God natt! (Goodnight)

04-28-2013, 01:03 PM
Nice sea side ! Have a nice trip !

04-28-2013, 06:54 PM
Interesting pictures again. Beginning to notice a yellow building theme.
Told 'Da boss' that her next Volvo was going to be a green one. Some one was not overly impressed when she saw the picture.

04-28-2013, 11:52 PM
Interesting pictures again. Beginning to notice a yellow building theme.
Told 'Da boss' that her next Volvo was going to be a green one. Some one was not overly impressed when she saw the picture.

Now there my good lady & 'Da Boss' differ as she wants one, specifically for shopping, as getting into and out of some of the supermarket spaces can be a bit difficult at times! :D[thumbup]:D[thumbup]

04-29-2013, 06:18 PM
Now there my good lady & 'Da Boss' differ as she wants one, specifically for shopping, as getting into and out of some of the supermarket spaces can be a bit difficult at times! :D[thumbup]:D[thumbup]

My better half would probably enjoy driving it for a bit but her S60 would call her back in a hurry. As a grocery getter it could be very interesting. No need to worry about door dings.

04-30-2013, 01:42 AM
Stage 13 Åndalsnes - Bud (119.5 Miles)

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Åndalsnes to Bud while not a long trip it is a bit of a diversion as we were intending to take a ferry from Åfarnes to Sølsnes but then found out there is a Scenic Drive going around the edge of a couple of Fjords.
The distance involved was doubling what we would travel when using the ferry but we fancied seeing the scenery along the way so off we go!

However before we left Åndalsnes Camping & Motel I was intrigued by what I saw in the ‘Campsite Facilities’ and while I have never included a picture of inside the Men’s WC, this one made me pause for thought!

In the middle of the picture up on shelf is a Radio, and while for us it was not turned on I did wonder if during the ‘normal season’ it was tuned in to a Classical Music Radio Station that maybe played the last part of the 1812 Overture with all those live canons going off?
I leave you to work out the rest of the puzzle!


Even though we departed at around 10:00 as it was a wonderfully peaceful night the clouds remained clinging to the sides of the mountains…







While at a slightly higher level we pass this still frozen lake!


Around the corner is the next Fjord which being open to the sea is not frozen over…


At Åfarnes we see the ferry we would have been taking had we not opted for the ‘scenic route’…


While the road got a bit narrower with little passing places just in case you met something coming towards you and it was BIG, which we did but the Norwegian Truck Drivers always seem to pull up and let you pass them?



Next ‘Fish Farm’ appears on the left hand side, with two men checking things over….


Up ahead we see a small village and find a Co-op in so stop to get a loaf of bread which cost 29NOK (£3.30) ($5)!


Then the road heads off into the Mountains with a 10% climb over 3 Miles to get to the top…





As we come over the top of the pass the view is wonderful…




We pull into a Garage/Co-op/Café that I saw on Google Earth last night and decide to have a coffee and 2 slices of cake.
I very nearly had to sit down in total shock when I worked out the exchange for the cost of NOK 130… £14.50 ($21.75)!!!
Rather glad we gave the ferry a miss…

Off again passing another small hillside farm…


Then it was back into the snow covered mountains…





Passing a small village church, and a few interesting houses along the road….






Next stop was in a little layby for a quick lunch while the ferry traffic to Molde passed by which was quite heavy…


Passing a building that does work for Oil & Gas Platforms we see these two ships in the Fjord nearby…


As we skirted around Molde for an extra 5kms by not going through the Toll Tunnel …



Then just before we get to the town of Bud we get to our next campsite called Blåhammer Camping that we find is not open, however the lady who looks after the campsite is on site getting it ready and agrees to let us stay for 4 nights as we are ‘self-contained’ although she turns on the electricity & her husband will get the fresh water sorted out tomorrow…
The campsite is in a superb location as you will see below…

Reception office…


‘Tin Tent’ set up….


Views from the Tin Tent back window!




God natt! (Goodnight)

04-30-2013, 10:12 AM
Stage 13A First Day In ‘Bud’

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Well what a morning to wake up to, after the nice warm temperature of yesterday the rain started last night and continued all night but as it got colder it turned to SNOW.
At 06:30 this morning I opened the window blind and saw about 1 inch of the white stuff outside while it continued to come down quite heavily.

Rolled over and when I got up a bit later it was already thawing helped by another rainstorm, but I managed to get this picture before it disappeared completely…


Early yesterday evening we saw 3 what we think were Roe Deer around the cabins on the campsite feeding on the grass…



While this morning as we were finishing breakfast this rather difficult to spot small yellow bird arrives to feed. Understand it is called a ‘Yellowhammer’…


The rain/sleet/snow persisted until mid-afternoon while depending on the temperature depended what you got and as it finally stopped we decided to stretch our legs and go and hav a look at the small village of Bud which along with two even smaller villages has a total population of 800!

Below is the panoramic picture of Bud…


With a couple of normal ones…



At the far end of the village on a little promontory is the Ergan Coastal Fort, built between 1941 & 1945 by Polish & Russian POW’s who had to be kept apart otherwise they ended up fighting, while the Tourist Information book tells us that the prisoners were treated like animals by their German captors!
Unfortunately the Museum does not open until June but you can walk around the outside exhibits…

On the left in the next picture is a large Searchlight while to the right is the entrance to the command bunker….


While just behind and on the right is this air raid shelter…



Sitting in a depression is one of possibly 3 guns ?


There are two other depressions with this gun mounting in but the gun has been removed…


While right up front is the observation post….


While just down from the Ergan Coastal Fort is the ‘Stone Park’ showing examples of the bedrock & stones found in the area….



Making our way back into the centre of Bud we see the church that had its Tower & Onion Dome removed during the occupation as it was directly in the line of fire for the Germans.
The church in 2017 years will be 300 Years old. It is built of logs of which the majority are the originals and has a capacity of 250…


As we could see that the lights were on we decided to go and take a look…



We then found that a group of children were expected for Choir Practice, so we asked if we could stay and listen and the Priest was more than happy for us to have a seat and listen…


The Priest is the one playing the piano and the singing from the children was very nice and
quite energetic at times as they introduced various hand movements to the songs…


Making our way back to the campsite we find that the Barometer is rising, so hopefully we can expect a better day tomorrow?

Oops! As I get to upload the pictures and update the Blog the heavens have opened up once again and we have Snowflakes coming down that are the size of a UK 50 Pence Piece which I would guess is bigger than a USA Quarter!

Hey Ho here endeth another day in a place now called ‘Cold Paradise’!

Dammit! Just stepped outside to fill the water container and ‘Plink Plink’ two bits fell off ME! [nonono]

God natt! (Goodnight)

05-01-2013, 10:57 AM
Stage 13B Second Day 'In the surrounding area from Bud'

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Well just as it stopped snowing last night and after I had run the update we saw for the second time the Hurtigruten Coastal Boat slip slowly across the rear window as it made its way to Molde to drop off and collect passengers and possibly freight.


After breakfast as it looked like the weather had improved we decided to head off with a trip along…



‘The Atlantic Highway’ which according to the Guardian newspaper is ‘The World’s most beautiful drive”

If we had flown over it this is what we would have seen. I borrowed this picture!


So off we go along a flat bit and over the first bridge…


Then a higher bridge…


Along a section of road with little islands off to both left and right of us…


While shortly in the distance we see…..


Getting closer…


Closer still…


Then you nearly freak out when you see the bend in the bridge you have to go over…


Here is the bridge name as we climb up and over!


Then down the other side…


A bit further on we stop to climb up a small hill to see what the bridge looks like from the other direction and see these little objects in the ground that are used to measure any movement or tremors in the earth as the traffic people don’t want this lot falling over…




Turning around at the top of the small hill we see…


With the view across the car park…


Then under the next bridge…


With some more of the little islands around, although there are larger islands that are still occupied and you can actually in Summer be taken by Viking Longship across to a rather expensive hotel to spend a night or two!


Onward we go!!!



To be advised in a short while that we are approaching the Toll Station, and you will need your Nose Clip & Ear Plugs for this bit as you are about to go under the Atlantic Ocean! :cool::cool:

I just hope the door seals in Flamenco Red are watertight! :D:D



OK so it’s another Tunnel, but it does go under the Atlantic Ocean and is over 3 miles long…




Finally after being down to 150 meters below the sea we come out the other end…



Finding our way to the city centre we call in for some fuel and get caught up in one of the May Day Parades…




After the parade passes we find a parking place and after a short walk come to this statue in a park that has been erected to remember the 18 Jewish citizens of Kristiansund who were deported to Auschwitz during WWII


The names of the 18 are etched in stones at the bottom of the monument, this was just one side…


Other views of the park…


With some views of the town centre…


While down on the waterfront we see the famous Klipfish Fisherwoman statue with the dried & heavily salted Klipfish in her right hand…


While the waterfront drain covers also show her popularity…


This next picture was of the only fishing boat on the waterfront…


While here we have the fishing boy and his catch of possible mackerel…


A reminder and memorial to all the Nowegian sailors lost during WW I & II with this monument…


Panoramic waterfront view…


We watched the Marine Ambulance come alongside the quay and a patient be taken off and into a waiting ambulance. This service is provided for the communities on the small outlying islands as well as a helicopter service if needed…


Walking back up through town I now know what happened to my old Thermal Vest!


With a couple more pictures of Kristiansund, it was time to head back to the campsite for dinner…



While putting the update on the Hurtigruten has just gone passed while the wind is rising and the 'Tin Tent' feels like it is going to take off any time soon!

God natt! (Goodnight)

05-02-2013, 11:37 AM
Stage 13C “Final day in Bud”

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Well what a last 48 hours we have had here! Very strong winds that at one point felt like the ‘Tin Tent’ was about to take off to the other side of the field or maybe even further! Then rain showers where the rain was coming horizontal and not vertical!
Even the campsite owners were concerned for us last night, but at least we made it through the night OK.
As I was trying to fill the water container in the ‘Tin Tent’ this morning the wind was blowing more sideways than was going in until I stood at the side which made it better.

So, there are not many pictures today to share with you the ‘problematic’ weather conditions we have currently, sorry but not all days go well!




The ‘white’ bits crawling up the rocks were the waves from the pounding sea!


After reading and looking at the short update today, can I share with you the music of a couple of London Boys who go by the names of Chas & Dave their music I think was brilliant and if you click on Track 14 you might just see why, especially if you enjoy sing-along music!:

Remember Track 14!!!!

Enjoy, we are and the wind is still blowing hard!

We move on tomorrow further North, but apart from the weather we have enjoyed our stay at Blåhammer Camping.
Thank you for allowing us to stop even though you were not officially open.

God natt! (Goodnight)

05-05-2013, 04:32 AM
Stage 14 Bud – Skatval (167.3 Miles)

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Just before 22:00hrs last night the wind dropped off although the weather forecast was giving the time as 03:00 this morning.

When we got up it was nice to see the peace and calm of the sea along with the green of the campsite, but little did we realise what had happened just over 3 miles down the road!

The conditions were like this….








As we travel along the side of the fjord we see another fish farm and they seem to get bigger with more nest the further north we go…


Up over another bridge that used to have a toll charge as it takes you into Kritiansund but the toll was removed last year, sadly the map in TomTom is not that fast when it comes to updates!


While having turned a sharp right hand turn to continue along the E39 there was noticeably less snow from here…




Next Ferry from Kanestraum to Halsa…




Nice to see they have a ‘backup plan’ should things not work out!


Meanwhile, downstairs in the ships lounge/café…
‘Yes’ you could try getting into the lifevest if you were so inclined, they even had chidren’s versions for them to try during the crossing…



Arrival in Halsa and up go the barriers to let us off…


Nearly missed it…”The Circus’ is in town!





This fishfarm even had their office ‘on site’!


After a short climb on the road we once again found ourselves travelling alongside a frozen lake…


Main road tree pruning. As the branches were cut back they were fed into the machine, shredded and shot back into the trees as compost….


The first of several tunnels, some of which were over 3 miles long, as we headed into and through Trondheim, however the tunnels and road around Trondheim itself is an Automatic Toll Road, where overhead cameras take a picture of your vehicle and send the invoice to your home address, or you can call into a Shell Garage and pay the charge there…

With all the roadworks around the city I think they should be paying you to make the effort to get through the place!



On the southern outskirts of the city


Then around 1 hour later we arrived at Skatval and get set up, no facilities, the fresh water had been turned off and from the sign in the hut window it wasn’t going to be turned on until June 1st. There is an earth WC, but you need to take a very deep breath before you go in, and breath out slowly while inside, but don’t breath in again until you get out! …


While the views across and around the fjord are really nice, there is a Castle…



There it is just across from where we are and accessible via the wooden bridge, but having then gone over to have a closer look, we find that it is locked up…


On the way over to have a look we see that the shore is covered in…


So as I am partial to nice fresh mussels I get a container and pick a few which made my starter for dinner last night, and they were delicious!


No plans to move on tomorrow, we will have a ‘R&R’ day here with some walking and exploring of the area….

God natt! (Goodnight)

05-05-2013, 04:36 AM
Stage 14A “A Day at Skatval”

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Fresh cooked Mussel starter was delicious…


While a bit later after dinner we watched a rainstorm pass along the other side of the fjord…


Then this morning after a very peaceful night, we woke to a nice blue sky, even though the temperature was only around 4C.


Having really enjoyed those Mussels last night and as the tide was out I decided to go and get some more, but having not brought any rubber boots with me I had really no choice.

It was either bare feet or crocs to wade in the sea and get a few of the larger ones….



Thankfully after around 30 minutes I had enough as well as thinking I had a block of ice attached to each of my legs, but while drying off and getting the toes warmed up again I was able to sit on the step and admire the view across the other side of the fjord…


Over to our right I spotted a Quay that seemed out of place as it looked very substantial in it’s construction, so decided to see if we could get a bit closer to it….


Making our way over and looking back…(make a note of the "Yellow House" getting a new roof!)



Then as we follow the pathway down to the Quay and turn a corner we spot this ‘building’ with very substantial steel doors on set into the hillside…


While around the corner are these small gauge railway tracks….



While I have some thoughts on what it was, on our way back we spot a lady outside the "Yellow House" in the picture as we looked back.
She speaks excellent English and tells us that along with another 29 or so others in the area the ‘building’ with the substantial steel doors were used to store explosives and munitions in during WW II, while the Quay was were the German Battleship ‘Terpitz’ came in and moored up when the British RAF tried to knock it out and failed but lost an aircraft, the wreckage of which is still up on the mountainside.

The fjord is Trondheimsfjorden that is quite deep and so could accommodate large ships.

God natt! (Goodnight)

05-05-2013, 08:37 AM
Stage 15 Skatval – Snåsa (99 Miles)

God morgen! (Good Morning!)

Well it was our intention to go to Sticklestad Camping today which was not very far away but as they say “The best laid plans of mice and men” once again came into play as when we got there no one was to be found even though the campsite was supposed to be open from 01 May, so as the overall conditions were not good with waterlogged ground all around although we could have stayed on the pathway we decided to move on and go to Snåsa Hotel & Camping were again we find that the campsite is ‘closed’ but the Hotel Reception Manager tells us to look around and if we are happy to stay then we can, so we did and we do…

Meanwhile to get there we have to go along a few roads….

With a nicely placed raindrop to send us on our way!


On yet another cold, wet and miserable day…


Just at the top of the Fjord that Tirpitz was in is this Mine Memorial that we were going to go around to and have a look but just as we were about to pull off the road we noticed a sign forbidding either Campers or Caravans from parking there. Seemed a bit daft to us!


As we come into the outskirts of Steinkjer we see these Oil Rig Legs at the end of the Fjord…


I must admit that having travelled along the E6 below Trondheim in 2010 and not seen what we call the ‘Tramlines/Rut problem’ considering that the Norwegians tell you they are the fourth richest country in Europe, I wish they would carry out some badly needed maintenance on their roads. :mad:

Quite a lot of the roads today show the same ‘problem’ that plays havoc with your steering as you try to keep the car going straight but the ‘Tramlines/Ruts’ try to pull the car over to the right or left depending how your tyres are sitting in the water in each depression, and you can see it in both lanes on the next picture! [cussing][cussing]


Even coming through the town centre the ‘Tramlines/Ruts’ where still there but not as pronounced…


Norwegian ‘Sunday’ and the ladies put on their National Costumes for going to Church, and that is the church entrance behind the people…


Traffic island decoration time…


Think the large amount of snow had been pushed off the road at this point…


Receding ice helped by more rain and a temperature of 5C…


Apologies that this next picture is fuzzy we were caught unawares by this old vehicle and driver as we came around a bend in the road….


Next rain shower a couple of miles further on…


As the country hopefully comes out of winter, the wood-saws have already been very busy cutting & stockpiling the fuel for the coming year and possibly next winter as we saw numerous places along the roads with all the cut up wood neatly bagged outside…


“Are we there yet?” Well we have just arrived at Snåsa Hotel & Camping…


Pitching up with our own little undercover picnic area alongside…


Meanwhile as we got set up we could hear all this noise and looking down to the lake (Snåsavatnet) we could see some large birds on the water….

It turns out that around 10,000 Geese come here every year for some time before then taking off and flying further north…
(We were told they are Canada Geese but they don’t have the long black necks)


While 3 Hooper Swans passed overhead but we didn’t have the camera ready!

Need to toddle off for some grocery shopping tomorrow so a bit of exploring around the area!

God natt! (Goodnight)

05-05-2013, 07:15 PM
As always thanks for the updates.

My condolences on the weather. I can't imagine why you are still getting snow. After all you are only at 64 degrees north or so. 2 degrees more than Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. 2 degrees shy of the Arctic Circle. :eek:

I am at about 51degrees. Sorry to tell you but we have finally seen a turn in the weather. The big tell is my Mayday tree is starting to get leaves coming out.

05-05-2013, 10:39 PM
As always thanks for the updates.

My condolences on the weather. I can't imagine why you are still getting snow. After all you are only at 64 degrees north or so. 2 degrees more than Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. 2 degrees shy of the Arctic Circle. :eek:

I am at about 51degrees. Sorry to tell you but we have finally seen a turn in the weather. The big tell is my Mayday tree is starting to get leaves coming out.

While a number of Norwegians whom we have spoken to south of here are also a bit puzzled, I think it was the son of the hotel/campsite we are currently at said that every 5 years the lake in front of the place freezes over but the thaw has not lasted this long as he thought the geese would not be staying as there was no water for them.

Everyone is saying Spring is very late while the trees are hardly moving when it comes to leaves sprouting, yet further East (Sweden & Finland) they are having glorious weather!

We were told that things are improving on Wednesday but looking at the weather forecast there is still a lot of rain coming in!
It's getting to the stage were you do not know who or what to believe! Bit like listening to Politicians really. :D:D