Tuesday, October 25, 2022


Entering Norway

2 lanes. "Nothing to Declare" & "Something to Declare". I stop and declare. No one comes out. It's pouring rain. I can’t back up and just change lanes now that I’ve pulled into the “Something to Declare” line. There are cameras. I run in. They look at me with dismay. "Damn. Some golden heart is actually going to tell the truth?" They get the forms out. It took ten minutes and cost $12. Like Norway needs another $12. I had read that Norway is notorious for catching and fining people for bringing in undeclared liquor from Sweden. I wanted to avoid any trouble so I decided it’s best to disclose a little so they don’t tear me apart and find a lot. 

We stocked up in Sweden. When Norway makes Sweden look cheap... You know the next month is going to hurt.

Norwegian Taglines

“Norway... You won't run out of sunblock”

“Norway… Patagonia with money.”

“Norway… A very expensive way to get to know the inside of your camper”

“Norway... Scoured by glaciers”

Making Friends With the Locals

Here's how you can get the dirtiest look in Norway..."Excuse me - is this water safe to drink?" 

Man am I dumb. Everything is super clean. It is the first of the first world. The head of the line. The most expensive country on the most expensive continent complete with freshwater deliriums. The purest of aquifers in the midst of pristine fjords. The guy just stared at me. I realized my mistake. We didn’t exchange another word. I lost my posture. I turned. I left.

Norway Is A Lot Like Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a visual activity. It's not meant to be any effort at all, you just float along, passively looking at what there is to see. You’re not supposed to interact with anything. Don’t touch the coral, don’t harass the fish, don’t even stir up the silt. The diver is merely a voyeur just staring at a foreign environment. Substitute “Diver” for “Driver” and for us, Norway was exactly the same. We just came to look. We hardly interacted at all. We barely met anybody because we just drove through gawking at the landscape. The people are nice enough but it’s one of the richest nations on earth so unlike the developing world; which is constantly trying to capture the attention of all the tourists so they can eat tonight . . .the Weegies don’t really need you (In theory, due to their government oil fund, they are all millionaires on paper). They tolerate you because they are noble, not because they need to sell you something. And yes, it is completely permissible to refer to all Norwegians as Weegies. They appreciate the moniker. Use it at will, and you’re welcome. 

We Did Meet A Family

I’m a sucker for a cute dog and it’s an easy way to meet people as I accost their canine. I approached a family on a ferry and they told us about their island which was one more ferry ride away. The son tempted me with “There are red rocks and some monuments and a cave and the second largest Viking mound in Norway is actually on our property.” “Son – you should have led with the Viking mound. You couldn’t keep us away now.” 

We made plans to meet them the next day to see their Viking mound and museum. That evening we had one of our prettiest campsites yet.

The 2nd German Invasion

The last time there were this many Germans in Norway it was World War II, and they were trying to develop heavy water. Half of the license plates are from Germany. There are Germans everywhere. It's all Germans all the time. It’s hard to meet Weegies when the country is so saturated with Germans. Are there any Germans left in Germany? It was the same when we were in Croatia.

This was a Weegie bunker that the Germans enlarged after capturing it during WW2

Don’t Be A Hater

If it's a bad time to be a rich old white guy... It must suck to be Norwegian. On a global scale they are very rich and it is the part of the world where white people originated. However, based on the few that I met, I somehow think the old Norsk patriarchs are doing just fine and have avoided the loathing. They stand tall, are ruggedly handsome and have time to share.

Driving around Norway

You're not going to listen to a lot of podcasts. The scenery is too strikingly beautiful, and the roads are dangerously skinny. Driving in Norway demands active concentration. On more than a few stretches it becomes a 1 lane 2 direction skinny road with a “pull over passing place”. You speed up to pull over. Silly. If they are so rich, why don’t they build better roads?

Speed Trap Norway

Norway is well appointed with speeding cameras that love to give tickets when the only infraction is not being a mind reader and knowing what the speed is. They post zero signs designating the proper speed. That's not cool Norway.

“So What Did You Do There?”

More like – what didn’t we do there…We didn’t bungee jump or zipline or ride a gondola or river raft or pub crawl. Way too expensive. We ate only one meal in a restaurant and the mediocre pizza was $26 and the beer was $9. Our sole entertainment was that big movie screen of a windshield and the hikes we went on. It was enough. The visual feast that is Norway suffices the senses and quenches the adventure lust. 

Living In A Van Down By The Fjord

The Lofotens look like Halong bay and the Marquesas’ Islands had a love child while on vacation in Norway. It’s as if Santa granted a child’s dream of paradise and it was built by his elves while on summer break from the north pole.

This island chain has been on my bucket list for years and I’ve now bagged it. They were absolutely precious and if you never own a motorhome, you can still fly into Narvik rent a car and stay in hotels. It’ll be shockingly expensive but you too can do this trip, and you should. But if you get the motorhome don’t settle for just the Lofotens. Make sure you hit the chain above them as well.

The Vesteralen Island Chain

The Inca would have loved it here. It's a cold harsh environment with lots of megalithic stones for building. The Inca were at the top of the food chain and so were the Vikings. The Inca built roads and the Vikings built ships. With a coastline this long and punctuated with this many islands they were destined to be accomplished sailors. They went everywhere and they didn’t even have performance fleece. You have no excuses.

The requisite drone shot with the moho in the foreground

We Never Drive At Night

It’s a maxim that has evaporated because it never gets dark. We now drive at night, even late at night. As do others. Sometimes it's a bad thing because it's 11:30, you are trying to sleep, and somebody pulls up and parks next to you with doors opening and dogs being summoned. Damn overlanders. It didn't used to be the case because nobody would drive in the dark, but there's no more dark. In the normal world we would time our park up arrival for 5pm, in case our first choice turned out sour we’d then still have enough daylight to reach our backup spot. Now sometimes we start driving at 5pm because we know we have endless light in which to continually upgrade our parking spots. The long days are like ADHD for overlanders.

Good thing I never had kids

My non-existent children’s college fund went into the fuel tank. Fuel prices have never been higher, and I picked the most expensive country in the world in which to do a road trip. When paying only $9.73 per gallon of fuel it's a good idea to drive every road,

Everyone loves a hanging glacier

“What’s The Point?”

It is so distractingly gorgeous that while at some of the most scenic places I didn't even take a picture. Hell, I didn’t even take my phone out of my pocket. My lens can capture about 150 degrees of beauty before I have to admit defeat and use the panorama feature which is always a disappointing result. Norway broke the photographer within me. There's no way I can capture the three-dimensional experience of a place like this. It’s utterly spell binding, the way the sunlight attaches to the flat water and illuminates the adjoining gentle hills surrounding the drama of the fjord, and there, too small in the view finder for the scope of the landscape, sits someone’s perfect little pastural house they call home. Paradise.

Your man on point,


1 comment:

Steven Dempsey said...

Hi Bob and Aleja, it was lovely to finally meet you in Edinburgh. I’m glad Linda inspired you, she’s good that way. I hope our paths meet again soon - Steven

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