Summer in Norway
By Claus Ulstrup

Day 1
The day started with panic, The gate to the garage where I park would not open and I was standing there 6:30 and wanted to get on the move. After some investigation I could see a wire going to the gate partial was broken over. By joining the two parts and hold them together I managed to get the gate open enough so I could get in. Then again after many attempts I managed to get the gate completely open. Afterward I pressed emergency stop just to be sure it would stay open and to protect the hardware.

Then I finally was able to get going. With a cruise speed I reached the border between Sweden and Norway.

 I had expected a long line and semi chaos. But in reality there was only one polish car in front of me. The border patrol quickly looked at my new passport and then I was on the move again. I guess it only took like 60 seconds.

I reached the mountainside around 6 pm. It turned out to be a quickly fail. Just before the lakes the road was blocked by a lot of deep snow – like more than 2 meters. There was nothing else to do than set camp around 400 after a small mountain cabin, but which had an outside “toilet” in wooden hut – which I became very fond of.

As the rain came down I almost was crying by disappointment as I set up the tent on this unplanned location. Thankfully the tent was quickly up due my practice at home. I already hated the tent, but I must admit, it was nice to be able to stand up and sit in a chair. I eat around 9 and then off to bed.

Day 2

I slept like shit. I had a memory about waking in the middle of the night screaming because of some sort of nightmare. I think I must have been awake least 20 times. It was really hard to get my shit together and get out of the sleeping bag. Around 8 I finally got up. The weather forecast had predicted okay weather. I decided to begin the trip going up a mountainside nearby my campsite. The total high was 1.545 meters, but I was already at 1.120 meters. I had some motivation problems. But I persuaded myself into doing the hike.

It turned out to be a fantastic hike. I was at the peak around 12 where I eat my lunch. At the same time I wrote some friends at home. It must have been a cold spring even for Norway. There were still tons of snow everywhere. Much of the down trip was on snow which it kind of tricky and dangerous. As the day went by, the weather got better and better. I even got sunburned. As I wrote these lines it was blue skies. Time for visit the shit house and then a quick bath in a nearby river. Off with all the clothes and with bare ass into the river. The water was so cold that I got a headache. But my ass smelled bad and needed to get washed.

The rest of the day was rest’ish until 40 min. later, where I got tent fever and decided to try and dig my way through the snow blocking the road. I guess I managed 4 meters out of 50 meters! But it was nice to use the last of my strength before dinner – this was a long and good day.

Day 3
This night I slept fine. The time was still past 8 am before I like a teenager pulled myself together and got up. Yet again I had a motivation problem. Yesterday I thought it would be at good hike another nearby peak called “Fugleleikhøa” 1.376 meters. It was less than yesterday. I have to be careful not to burn myself out the first days – a lesson from the past years.

 It was a pleasant, easy and manageable hike. On the top I meet three elderly Norwegian on skies – interesting choice! On my way down I took a detour by the snow blocking the road.

It had become a little bit smaller – but still huge. After that I visit the shithouse and once again took a quick bath in the nearby river. I spoiled myself with a powernap. I have already decided that tomorrow is going to be a rest day.

The big question mark is about the weather and if I am going to make up a plan B. The weather forecast is very bad. But still – if I drive more north the weather still have to be okay to be able to hike. Lest see, what tomorrow brings

Day 4

It was a very cold night. In the morning I could hear ice slide off the tent. When the sun is out, it gets fairly hot inside the tent. But as soon I go outside it is freezing cold. I can really feel that the temperature now is less than 10 degrees. Even just a little breeze makes it even colder. The weather forecast says it should get even colder the next days – crap.

The doubt began to bother me. Don’t get me wrong – I love to hike. But not for 2 whole weeks when it is only 5 degrees. Therefore I began to look into the options on driving even more north. At least driving home was not an option.

The weather north was the same as here, just a little more warm. If I drove on day 5, I could have three nights at Honningsvaag near North Cape. That would give me two whole days up there. The only thing missing was the decision and a lot of booking.

After some thoughts I decided to take the chance of the unknown and go for this monster road trip – at least I would be inside a warm car.

I book all of the Scandic hotels via their app and Rognan Hotel via their homepage. Then WTF – all my Scandic booking began to disappear in the app! One by one they were all gone! I was not in the mood for fun. I then had to call Scandic and check my bookings. Then I had to do it all over again via their homepage. I was finish around 11 pm and my hands were cold and I was monster tired.

I was so afraid to fuck it up, that I wrote down the plan in my travel book. Checked and rechecked and then just booked it. Then check and recheck the mail conformations. That was not a fun day.

The coming travel plan:


Day 5

I didn’t sleep that much. I was just lying there thinking and hoping that all would work as planned and it was very cold. My phone rang at 7 am and it felt like I just had fallen asleep. But up I went and began packing the car. Thankfully it had not rained at night. There was only a little dew on the tent. Everything went fast as soon as the tent was cleaned out I had some breakfast aka dry frozen muesli.

The weather suddenly changed and dark clouds began forming along the mountain side. I quickly took down the tent and packed it in the car even that it still was a little moist. 15 minutes after I was done it began to rain/snow heavily. Then a trip to nearby river for a quick wash and gone I was. As I drove down the mountain 9:15 even more rain/ice/snow came down. I arrived at Scandic Rock City around 4 pm. I was pretty tired. I paid extra for a Superior Extra room with a bathtub – that was nice.

Day 6

The phone rang at 6:15 – up in bath and make ready for departure. At 7 am I check out of the hotel. Because of the Chinese Corona there was no breakfast buffet. Instead I got a lunch bag which I eat by the waterline. It was a big minus that they had put the Nutella in the fridge!!

I only had to drive 7 hours. I could take everything nice and easy and even have breaks on the way. I found a rest area where I had a beautiful view and for once blue skies for lunch. I even found a gas service station who only took 12 Nkr. pr. liter. It drank 42 litres and I paid 47 Euros. At most gas stations the liter price was around 16 kr. – that was a good save. Mostly you can save money by leaving the main road a little.

I also crossed the polar circle on my way north. Just before 4 pm I arrived at Rognan Hotell. This turned out to be a fantastic hotel and a super cool layout – but long away. I wrote Tina that we should consider this hotel at some point in the future. Last night I slept perfect for the first time since I left Denmark.

Day 7

Yet another wonderful night’s sleep where I got to sleep through. The breakfast was just perfect and I was quickly on the move again. On my way up to the ferry (Bognes->Skarberget) I hit a bird which just came out of nothing. I could feel it under the right front wheel – bye bye bird.

I was a little nervous at the ferry because I didn’t really knew how I should to pay for the ticket. But I though a solution would come at some point - and it did. I Norway all ferries are paid via autopass and in this case my license plate. I knew in advanced, that there would be road work at the Forså tunnel. The whole road would be blocked until between 11:30 and 12:30, where there would be convoy driving though the roadwork.

As I sat there, I was happy I was on my way north. The line south was pretty long and it would build up at the ferry too and have taken a lot of ferry crossings. I am not very good sitting in line and I can be very impatient. I should consider taking another way south.

I had no hotel booked for this day, so I just went north. There was this Inn (Inn Hotel Lyngskroa) I wanted to check out. But when I came by it was too early and even though they had a sign saying “open” it looked pretty deserted. My backup plan was to find a camping ground, where they rented out small huts.

On my way further north I came by several campgrounds – but most of them look very large and too many people. Then I reached Skibotn Camping. I small and pleasant camping ground which has 10 small huts right down to the water. I rented a very basic hut with four beds, a table, some chairs, refrigerator and a electric hob. At dinner I just went up to the shared kitchen. After I went for a short walk, then saw a movie on my tablet and went to bed in my sleeping bag.

Day 8

Somehow I had turned up the electric heater to insane hot – so I woke up half sweating. Not one else was up at 7. I had it all for myself – even the toilets. I have had some “brown rain” the last couple of days. I took what we In Denmark call a “trucker wash”. Then I cleaned the hut and off I was.

This last driving day turned out to be the most beautiful of them all. I got everything like rain (of cause), blue skies, mountainsides and reindeers. This was a really cool drive which I should film some of on my way home.

I arrived at Honningsvåg and the Scandic Hotel not that late. I did a walk through town, but it was like totally dead. My plan is something like this the next two days:
Monday – 2 x 16 km to Helnes Lighthouse
Tuesday – North Cap and maybe a museum.

I saw yet another movie and relaxed – my stomach is still a little offset which is not good, when you want to do a 32 km. hike.

Day 9

Day nine began nice and easy with breakfast including pancakes with nutella. Afterward I packed my bag back and began the walk to Helnes Lighthouse. The weather was acceptably however completely cloudy and a little wet. It was a long hike in a hilly terrain. Thankfully there was this line of old power poles which went all the way to the lighthouse. I could feel it in my legs that the hike went up and down between 200 and 300 meters. Even the little “you can turn around” devil managed to come out. But luck there – I really wanted to complete this hike. It was a good tactics to find at point much further ahead and then walk toward it. The hike was very wet and at time some light rain came down. Some of the way was rock, but it was easier to walk in the flooded moss.

The clock was around 3 pm before I arrived at the lighthouse. It was kind of surprise that it was so late. I had no worries as the sun doesn’t go down because I was so much north and because of the midnight sun.

It was very interesting to walk around the old abandon buildings with so much history. Most of all it looked like a scene from Battle Royal. Then it was time for lunch!

I was very happy for choosing this hike and that I did all the way out. Now I only had to do the boring walk back again. Right away I could see that the cloud cover had come all the way down to the mountainsides. I think the visibility must have been between 70-100 meters. For the first time in my life, I became very much dependent on my hiking GPS and I was very happy for the old power poles. It was very uncomfortable and difficult to as judge progress and to take the easy and smart way. Usually when I reach on pole, I could see the next one, except those who were missing.

To keep up the good spirit I began to count power poles I passed – this way I was sure I had progress. But I began to feel tired, both because it was a long hike and because I was taking the safe but harder way back. For each 50 power pole I look on the GPS and that was around 3-4 km. At some point I left the poles and followed my own track on the GPS because I remembered something about it was easier and not so much walking up and down. When I finally saw a pole again, I gave myself 5 bonus poles. Yes I had great fun about the poles. That was must better that worrying about the whole situation I had put myself in. As I reached pole 130 I was safe and reach a clear path down to the outer town. I didn’t want to cross the last hilltop again as I could see shit and my legs had begun to hurt. That meant a 5.4 km walk around the hill to the hotel aka 1 hour more. But it was still much better than being on the mountainside with no visibility. Also my arms and chest had begun hurting because I was very much using my walking sticks active. In the end it became a 35 km long walk.

I was back at the hotel just after 10 pm. I went directly in bath with all my clothes and rain jacket and pants. I was just so dirty. Then in bed however I could not sleep. I think it must have been around 3 or 4 before I fell in sleep. I didn’t even sleep well.

I have uploaded the hike to Viewranger.

Day 10

I finally got out at bed around 9 still tried, old and already worn out. The breakfast was infinitely wonderful. Then back in my room hanging out around the bed. Around 1 I finally pulled my shit together and went for a walk around town and to buy something for Tina. There was not much to choose from. I bought a fur pillow and a red heart some glass’ish.

 Later in the evening I took the road to the absolute north of Europe – North cape. The weather was still rainy, cloudy and very windy. At times the whole place was covered in low clouds. No midnight sun for me on this trip. It was kind of lucky as I was pretty tired and most of all just wanted to drive back to the hotel and sleep.

I sense this will not be my last visit here anyway. It would be nice to come back with Tina at some point in our life.

Day 11

For the first time I got an almost normal sleep in this bed. I could most likely have slept longer but the long trip home awaited. I was out of the hotel 7:30 and began to drive toward Vollans Gjestestue.

As always, regardless of weather, the drive was beautiful – I even had the camera in the windshield some of the way. To compensate for the lag of good sleep I went early to bed. Tomorrow I will leave early – latest around 7. I am going to take the ferry Lødingen-Bognes to avoid the buildup of cars on E6 at Forså tunnel.

Just before I went to bed I did a short walk. The seagulls were strange and acted like kamikaze pilots just to turn off in the last minute. Thankfully they didn’t shit on people.

Day 12

The timer rang at 5:50. Breakfast at 6:30 and off to the ferry. My plan was to take the ferry at 11. But I could see that I actually could reach the ferry at 11:30. I drove a little “fresh” overtaking people not doing the speed limit. To Norwegians didn’t like me overtaking them. He flashed his lights and I decided to see what was up and stopped. Yes he was pissed off I had overtaken him higher that the speed limit. However I was a pretty clean overtake and how that is done. Actually I think he wanted to do a fight in the middle of the road – what a stupid guy! And just because he didn’t like Danes overtaking him? Anyway I told him to be happy instead of angry – kind of helped. Just after the stop they did themselves 90 in a 70 zone – what a pair of morons but nice conflict handling from my side. Thankfully they turned off soon after.

At the ferry I once again was clueless about how to pay. I hoped it was like last time and via the license plate. However this time they didn’t scan my plate on my way onto the ferry. The ferry was cool and afterward I soon arrived at the hotel. I had booked the cheapest room and got exactly that. Not view but then not road noise or anything else.

The thing about the ferry bothered me as I didn’t want to cheat paying a ferry ticked. I found this official page saying, that because of the chinese Corona it was the law that you paid via the license plate. I guess they scanned all the plates as the ferry was sailing. Afterward I could see both ferry tickets on my bank statement.

I finished the day with a movie on my tablet and fall at sleep.

Day 13

I slept fantastic and only woke at 7 because of the alarm clock. Then even more driving south home. As closer I get home the more boring the drive feels. I decided to film the trip over Saltfjeldet. One section I had to drive twice because the camera ran out of battery – that was extra 30 minutes. I had once again booked Scandic Rock City.

At the hotel I had expected a similar room as last time – an extra superior room. But this time it was totally different. I ended up at the eighth floor and a bed formed as a guitar – so cool. I guess sleeping is going to be interesting – but first a trip in the bathtub and some dinner.

Day 14

I slept wonderful in the guitar. It was a little short, so I had to lie across the bed. The timer rang a 6:15 and off I was on my way to Scandic Lillehammer.

I had a great laugh as I drove behind an orange old muscle car. It had something hanging beneath the car. In the beginning I kept my distance as I didn’t want to be hit by something. However there also came a lot of feathers from below the car. I guess it must have been a bird hanging there beneath the car.

Instead of just taking the E6 south I took route 29 to Folldal and then route 27 east around Rondane. That was a cool choice as the traffic on E6 was kind of dense and slow. There was almost no one on 29 and 27 and the view was just so awesome.

At the Scandic hotel at Lillehammer I got a handicap room with all this handicap equipment. No worries – only downside was that it was a very large hotel with a lot of children making noise. Even the orderly Norwegians did totally parking anarchy.

I went early to bed and ordered a breakfast packed at 6:00 the next morning.

Day 15 - Epilogue

Went up early and left before all the children woke up. The rest was just boring driving back home to little Denmark and the usual everyday life.