Odda to Sand

We have overnighted at the quay in Sand, a lovely little village on the Sandsfjorden, as we return to our intended destination of Stavanger. The town lost its car ferry service in 2016 and is definitely showing the effects, with empty shop windows through the main street. Chief claim to fame is the ‘Sandsfossen’ an enormously powerful waterfall/rapid which empties the Sand river into the fjord. We spent a couple of hours watching salmon head upstream while hopeful fishermen cast their lines in the calm area below the falls. The strength of anything to move upstream through this weight of water, the turbulence, is simply awesome. When a huge salmon leaps clear of the water and you see its body torpedo up through the white cascades – wow!

Parking on the quay, Sand

We have done a 200km meander, a consequence of a bit of indecision on our part. We have a bit of time on our hands, so after leaving Bergen we decided to stick to the coastal road as we head south. I know it’s all coastal, but I mean the road running most coastal, over the islands rather than around the fjords. That took us over a completely different landscape, where glaciers have ground the hills flat, and the bedrock shows the earth’s skeleton. Stunning. So we overnighted at a lovely spot, level and protected from the wind, just off the beach at Rommetveit, then headed inland to Odda.

Ølen – heart of Norway’s gas & oil sector

Along the way we stopped at Langfossen – I’m sorry that any photo we took simply couldn’t do justice. The falls are huge, 612m, and we could only manage to capture sections of it, given the road crosses the lower section. We continued up to Odda, one-time carbide capital of the world, and overnighted at the Trolltunga Hotel. Following the pattern we set in the UK, we had a beer, made use of the internet, and had a great night looking over the lake to our left, waterfalls right next to us, and the Hardangerfiord to our right. Norway just pops up these amazing overnight opportunities almost on a daily basis.

Langfossen – but only the lower bits!

The drive down from Odda to Sand has been breath-taking. The road itself is generally good, albeit single lane width in many areas, but very light in traffic. Tunnel after tunnel, snow poles lining some sections – the poles are 3m high, and indicate just how much snow Norway’s premier ski region gets, steep climbs & descents – particularly in the tunnels (including a complete 360° drop) … We exited onto the road branching off towards Sand and things got even better! Lakes, cliffs, waterfalls … it just didn’t stop! Add to this that we were only doing 50km/h at best, and you end up with 2 hours of the most stunning scenery.

Road from Odda to Sand

Our overnight, on the quay at Sand, has bettered expectation. There is a small beach not 50 meters away, our spot looks out over the harbour, we have an authentic old time sailboat as a neighbour, the sun is shining and there’s not a breathe of wind. We did wake up to a new neighbour this morning, though, and she certainly was noisy. Niki not happy at being up before sunrise.

Niki’s beach
Water’s so cold swans use one foot only!

Oh yes, we are back to sunsets and sunrises! I’m writing this as the morning sun streams into our lounge – and it actually rose far from where it set! We again have an East and West. We have seen the moon twice in Norway in over 2 months – who would have thought that my star app would be so absolutely useless?

Noisy dawn neighbour



We are currently in a carpark alongside the main road to Bergen, which is about 150km away. Our original plan, to stay at the head of the Næroy fjord was scrapped when I looked past roadworks, a mining operation and through rain to a narrow, they-shall-not-pass kind of road, chickened out and turned back to the main road at Gudvangen. One of those afternoons – two Polish drivers were washing down their tourist bus, so I asked if we could use the hose to fill up our 120l fresh water tank, which was looking pretty low. Very helpful guys, gave me the hose plus their nozzle attachment, and waited patiently in the rain as I filled up. Turning the nozzle off, however … well, the thing came off, dropped to the bottom of the freshwater tank. My new Polish friends smiled, and politely offered to open the tank for me, which would have resulted in 120l of water flooding the bottom of the van. No problem though, I opened the bottom drain, they waited patiently in the rain, sharing helpful comments in Polish (I think the comments were helpful!). Drained all the water, scrabbled around and found the nozzle, filled up with water again, as my Polish friends waited in the rain …

IMG_4164We also travelled through the world’s longest motor tunnel … The journey was broken up with rest stops every 6km where you could pull into cut out areas, bathed in soothing coloured lights, before beginning the next section. For ourselves, 24km was long enough – we wanted out.

We’ve had a great two days since coming away from the glaciers. Last night we camped at the fjord, about 5km from Flåm. Very noisy, as it turned out, with trucks engine braking down the hill, or straining up it. Nevertheless, we watched huge cruise ships come up the fjord, there were waterfalls all around, and we spent the better part of an hour watching dolphins just a short way below us.

Today we got into Flåm early, got the bikes down and headed off towards Myrdal, 20km away, but with an 850m climb. Absolutely stunning ride. The road is in excellent condition, the gradient mostly gentle (8%) and very little traffic. The last 3km really goes uphill, at a fairly constant 15-18% and on gravel.  Heads turned as we flew up the inclines, thighs of steel … the Bosch motors were of some assistance.

Note: We’ve both got full suspension mountain bikes, but with a small Bosch motor, powered by a 500Ah battery, which gives us around 120km assistance on flat roads, around 50km when doing mountain trails. The slow 18% grind is exactly when we need a bit of help, now are getting older & more rotund. The bikes give as much as you do – you stop pedalling, no assistance. At 25km/h assistance cuts out. I saw a stat showing 70% of bike sales in Germany are now e-bikes. And they last – My son-in-law and I did 2600km last June, Geneva to Lisbon, and I’ve clocked over 10 000km now without a hiccup (holding thumbs).

Umpteen turns at 15-18%

Lots of people walking their bikes down this section. I’m happy to say that Swiss trails were a great training ground, and we swooped/fluttered/staggered around many steep corners, mostly in control. Video coming as soon as I get free WiFi.

On the way down we stopped at Kaupanger to see the Stave Church – a traditional style comprised of large wooden columns supporting the building, which has wooden cladding reminiscent of boat building styles. The church dates from the 12thC … and, like many churches we’ve stopped at, either closed or too expensive to view, or both!

Kaupanger Stave Church

Our current campsite is hard up against a river and then serious cliffs comprised of Anorthosite, in a layer 2km thick. The info board states that the next closest layer of similar size is … on the moon!! For myself, just happy to be here, warm, beef stew on the stove, rain absolutely tipping down – contented

Home sweet home, outside Gudvangen

Reine and, Aha, Å

We’ve had a wild and wet time of it in Reine as the weather closed in. On the upside, I’m very happy to say that the Russian invasion has progressed, with all members seen in Reine, albeit hobbling, shoulders bowed etc etc. That’s what carrying all of that Cola does to you.

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We are making the most of our slow saunter down the Lofotens, and the day’s trip was only 26km, followed by an even shorter drive of 6km from Reine to Moskenes, where we will overnight at the ferry port. Not the best location we’ve had, but it does save the €30 for the campsite 100m away.

We took the bikes down and cycled to Å (seriously! What a cool name!), which is literally the end of the road. From the headland we could see the Lofotens continuing, line astern, to the south – no roads though, so this is the end of our Lofoten trip. What a fortnight it’s been. It’s like taking your favourite stretch of coastline (Chapman’s Peak, South Africa?) and then stretching it over 280km, adding a dash more blue in the water, and a touch more height to the cliffs, and delightful harbours around every corner … We were expecting beautiful, but, on a daily basis, found we had not set our expectations high enough. We are looking forward to getting to Bodø tomorrow, but will miss the Lofotens.

We are also getting a bit more comfortable with finding overnight sites that we would previously have overlooked. This was a big question on our minds as there is no way any budget survives 365 days x €30 per night (I don’t even want to think what that number is), so we’ll be a bit judicious in our choices. Electricity and a washing machine every 10 days or so seems to be in order. Finding water and dumpsites every 3 days also takes some doing – made a little more difficult now that our data has run out. Oh, yes, Denmark. Buy an 80Gb data card, but only 4 available for use in the EU … AAARGH! Let’s skip that rant.


Ferry trip coming up, and I’m hoping the ferry guy acknowledges that our van is <6m. The cost is around 700NOK for a 3 hour trip, but 1700NOK for vans over 6m. OUCH. I have the official papers ready to show that we are 5.99m long – I know, but apparently that’s a really important centimetre. Niki’s a little uncertain of the crossing, given that the strait is notoriously rough … Will update soon.

A little ferry chaos …


Budget Realities

I’m really glad that we are keeping track of our expenses, and we’ll see how this informs our spending. Clearly, this year needs budgeting! So what’s the source for the budget? Other campers have been very kind in detailing their expenses, and I’ve used those sites to create an annual budget which, by comparison to others on the same type of journey, seems very generous. Continue reading


And the Norwegian experience just gets better! A very short drive saw us arrive at the start of the Lofoten Islands. We’ve made a short detour to Tengelsfiord, and what a good idea this was. Niki has again found an absolutely gorgeous stopover. It’s right next to the road, but a car comes by once an hour, so I’m not too worried about noise. Check this location:


We’re having tea outside, about 10 meters above the level of the water, when we hear these loud splashes – look down and through the water we see a shoal of salmon, which then sport about for the next half hour, leaping out of the water, tail-walking and doing great circles. Because the day can’t just be spent looking at nature’s wonders, we got the bikes down and cycled to the mouth of the fiord. Unbelievable to see the tidal race – really looking forward to Saltstraumen to see the big brother version of this. Having a bit of a rest (all trained athletes do) and a water break, looking across the fjord, which was really narrow at this point, and behold, an enormous cruise ship comes by, filled with people with nothing better to do than travel the Norwegian fjords… A 40km round trip seeing waterfalls, spectacular cliffs, really rugged landscape – and no camera. Well, we were told to enjoy the sights, not just record them!


Tomorrow is off to Lofoten proper. No idea yet where we’ll be staying, and hoping our luck last. At €25 per night for a campervan spot in a campsite, we are trying to avoid them as far as possible.

I’ve added some pictures as a slideshow, just to show a) how dirty the windscreen is, and b) some indication of the beauty of the landscape:

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