Overview - norkapp adventure

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Sundowners, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    6000 MILE NORDKAPP ADVENTURE
    Well to be exact it was 6042 miles in all, would have been more had we not changed our route.
    We did promise an overview of the whole trip, sorry it’s taken longer than we anticipated, but since we arrived back, we haven’t been stationery long enough to spend the time it needed to concentrate on it. So here it is:
    Back to the beginning – the original plan was to spend some time with Dave & Pat (Snowbird) fishing on the island of Senja. We had been motorhoming in Norway back in the eighties but it was late in the year so we did not venture too far north. Senja was quite a way up and our dream was always to get to The North Cape (Nordkapp) some day, so this was our golden opportunity. Unfortunately, Snowbird was unable to commit to a specific date, but our plan was to meet them at Flakstadvag on the island of Senja (which regrettably didn’t happen), we decided to make our way on our own, until we mentioned it in passing to our friend Garry (Flatpackchicken) that would he like to tag along as we knew it was always of dream of his to go to Norway on his retirement. He jumped at the chance. So it was onto Google looking for the best ferry deals and the most economical route to get to our destination.
    As our rig was over 3.5 tonnes with rear duals and Garry was towing a trailer we found that the bridge crossing in Denmark and the bridge from Denmark to Sweden was a no-no due the high cost. Using this route would have meant using the Harwich to Esbjerg crossing which meant we were compelled to pay for a cabin £130.00 each person on top of the fare which made it was a very expensive ferry. We were looking at the ferry deals from Germany direct to Sweden and it was on the advice of another Funster (Vera) that we got a good deal to take the ferry from Travemunde to Malmo. We purchased a one way ticket as between us we decided we might as well return back south through Finland and take a ferry to Estonia, then visit the concentration camps in Poland on our way back to the UK. The ticket from Finnlines cost us €103.00 and Garrys was €130.00 as he had a trailer. We got a discount using the Key Camping card we purchased, again on the advice of Vera, we found out later that we could have got a discount as we were members of ADAC breakdown. If we had purchased return tickets we would have got a 20% discount on the return leg of the crossing. As we eventually used this crossing again, this time we got an even better discount and ended up paying €78.00. To top this we had already got a good deal for our channel crossing using the NEC discount code made available on the Fun forum by a kind member (£48.00 return). See, you really do get your £10.00 membership fees worth.
    We booked our ferry from Dover to Dunkirk for the 20th May with a return date of 11th July, which was changeable on the ferry deal we got.
    On a visit from Garry we discussed routes etc and booked the ferry from Germany at the same time. It was then that a change to our original route was made. Our main objectives were to drive up through the middle of Sweden to get to Senja in Norway via Kiruna in Sweden, (Google maps shows the route north via Stockholm, but we do not do cities, motorways, toll roads unless we have to, and this was pointed out to Garry right from the start, as well as, we do not do earlies, now that we have retired), The North Cape and Kirkenes(the furthest town in Norway) and then return south through Sweden back to Malmo.
    After some discussion, we decided, as time was not an issue, we could drive back south through Finland/Estonia etc.
    We arrived at Dover a day earlier and in our minds had planned to sleep on Marine Parade that night, but we thought as we had tickets that could be changed we would try and get on the ferry that day. We filled up with fuel at Tescos at Folkestone only because it was £1.38 per litre and we both had 10p off vouchers.
    Got to the terminal at 3 p.m. and hey ho! no problem, we were on the ferry to France at 4 p.m.albeit to Calais instead of Dunkirk at no extra cost. We stayed the night on a nice little aire at Oye Plage just east of Calais. The ferry was nearly empty, a good trip over.
    Garry supplied some walkie talkies and at first we thought them to be a jokey thing, but we must say, we would not do another trip without them should we be travelling with others. Such a great asset – we had great fun with them.
    As our ferry from Germany was booked for the 23rd, we originally gave ourselves a good 3 days to cross Belgium, Germany and a part of Holland, but the extra day was great, allowing us to take our time, and thank goodness we did as we got into some horrific traffic jams on the motorways (Germany mainly), but they were even worse going in the opposite direction, and you think the M25 is bad.
    Making sure we filled the tanks with cheaper fuel before catching the ferry, we filled up at Lubeck where we spent the night before heading off to Travemunde, the weather was atrocious, we spent the rest of the day and that night in the car/truck park at the terminal waiting for our 10 a.m. ferry the next day. We sleep well, but if you are a light sleeper this is not recommended. We find that if we know what the noise is, it doesn’t bother us.
    This is a 9 hour crossing (not bad for €103.00), the boat was empty. When we were being parked up on the ferry, we were aware of a noise that did not belong and were not too concerned until we realised it was coming from our truck. There was an acrid smelling smoke coming from underneath, could not understand what it was as not seen anything like it before. Nigel got out to have a look and sure enough it was from us. Honestly thought that was the end of our trip which hadn’t really started as far as we were concerned. On investigation when lifting the bonnet, we found that the air conditioning system (which hadn’t worked for some time), had decided to freeze up. A plug was pulled out of the compressor and hey ho, back in business. The guy who was directing us said that where we were going we wouldn’t be needing the aircon anyway, Oh! how wrong could he be, we experienced temperatures in the 90’s, it would have been nice had it worked in the first place.
    Once again we almost had a ferry to ourselves – there didn’t seem to be very many passengers, more truck drivers than anything and there didn’t seem to be many of those either. We could have chosen anywhere we liked to sit and we found what at first seemed to be a VIP lounge. It was a long crossing, but it went quicker than we thought it would. After sailing under the Oresund bridge (from Denmark to Sweden) (what a sight to behold) we arrived at Malmo around 7 in the evening and only drove for about 17 miles to an aire we found in a book that Garry had, it was a lovely spot by the sea. No facilities, just a gorgeous stopping point. It was so nice we stopped a couple of nights before we were starting our run north through the centre of Sweden towards Stromsund, this is where The Wilderness Road starts, something we had planned to do on our way to Senja, even though it was a 300 mile detour.
    In Sweden we were told it is acceptable to wild camp and it is known as ‘Everymans right’, which allows you to camp anywhere as long as you are a certain distance from someones house, for a few days at a time, this is something we had dreamed of doing and so bought the kit prior to leaving England so that we could set up camp and experience campfire cooking. The Swedish maxim is ‘do not disturb, do not destroy’, in other words leave it as you find it and of course no litter to be left. We were amazed at how clean and litter free this country was along with Norway and Finland. We felt ashamed of the state of our country as far as litter is concerned.
    We believe the rest of our trip has been explained in our previous posts, but there are a few things we wanted to mention which might be of interest to anyone else contemplating such a fantastic journey.
    You need to get used to sleeping in daylight, if you have problems then make sure you have blackout blinds on the necessary windows/skylights, it started being light right through the night especially after we crossed the Arctic Circle, before that it was dusk only. It takes some getting used to, cause it never seems as though it is time to go to bed, so you tend to stay up later, but great for the solar panel.
    Currency is different for all three Scandinavian countries (excluding Denmark), we took £500 worth of Swedish and Norwegian Kroner, plus quite a bit of Euros, knowing that we were planning to come back through mainland Europe. It worked out just about right, until we decided to come back south through Sweden, we just drew another £100 out of the hole in the wall, the other money spent was by card, but please be aware, if filling up with fuel (they have a lot of automatic pumps where you pay by card and unfortunately, foreign cards are limited to 500Kr at a time). A lot of garages will take payment by card if you go into the kiosk and ask, but some are unmanned and it is those that you are definitely limited. Sometimes it’s possible to use it more than once, but we have been told it will take your card, so be careful.
    LPG is not as readily available as it is in the UK. There are several places to fill up in Sweden but only in the south. More in Norway, and prices not too bad. We have been told there is none in Finland, so be prepared if you go there.
    As we were over 3.5 tonnes and Garry towing a trailer, we were limited in all countries on the speed on the roads, it was 48 miles an hour in Sweden and 42 in Norway, we have since been told this is slighter higher so please do check before you get caught for speeding, especially in Norway as the penalty for this is very severe.
    When in the mountains you will encounter very narrow roads, us being 8’ wide caused us to breathe in on more than one occasion. Some other roads are also narrow, just keep an eye on the buses and trucks that travel these roads daily, they are a lot more confident than you and will hog the road and always seem to be in a hurry.
    We were surprised at how little you saw police on the roads, this was in all countries we visited. However, we did come across a radar speed camera hidden on the grass verge in Norway, we were OK as we religiously stuck to the limits as much as we could.
    We were also surprised how courteous the drivers were, unlike the bus and truck drivers, they never seemed to be in a hurry and pressing to overtake.
    You can see by the amount of logging trucks on the road, how timber is one of their main industries, what amused us was, you park up for the night and you will have a dozen or so logging trucks drive south and during that same time you will see a dozen going the other way, work that out!
    On our drive through the centre of Sweden it was so lush and green, lakes everywhere, and plenty of pines trees. Not so many wildflowers as we were a bit early, but on the way back, the roadsides were covered in them, all colours you could imagine.
    It doesn’t matter whether you are on major roads or the small roads, you don’t have to go far to find a picnic spot, they are everywhere, some with firepits, stacks of firewood already cut for your use, plus picnic benches. You must respect the use of these facilities and it is asked that you do not take the firewood to the next place, leave it where it is for the next person. This wood has been provided by the local community voluntarily. But of course you can find plenty of dead wood in amongst the forests.
    There are some lakes that you would not drink out of, but is of course OK to do your washing in, some have a light brown tinge but this is only the mineral in the water and has not been through some treatment plant to get it clear. However, water is readily available at the majority of garages, housed in a heated cupboard on the outside wall, they are more than happy for you to have it, but not sure if this is the case in Finland, having not travelled much of that country, we only know from experience that were asked to pay for it in the north, even after having filled the tank with diesel. Make sure you do not contaminate the lakes, remember everything that is dumped eventually ends up back in the lakes. This is especially so of long drop toilets, where it is possible to empty your cassettes, but you would not be highly thought of if you used chemicals. We found on some large laybys, toilet facilities that included a separate toilet called a Latrin which is for dumping caravan/motorhome black/grey waste. We even came across one that had piped music, lights and heated – whatever next!
    We found the people to very sociable and very willing to chat, very polite and what is also nice is that the majority of them speak English, not so much in the north in Lappland where the Samis or Lapps live.
    Fishing is allowed but you must buy licences which are available everywhere, but we found this a bit difficult, as you could have one very large lake, and you might need 5 licences to fish all of it, it might be owned by five different people, so you would need a licence for each section, penalties can be very severe. We also found out to our disappointment, that it also depends on the time of year you try, we went at the wrong time – boohoo! We thought we would be living on the fish we caught, but not so, wouldn’t buy it in the shops either as it was sooooo expensive, not only in Norway but Sweden too.
    Please don’t be put off going to Norway because it is expensive, it is not a very wide country, so if travelling north through it, just nip into Sweden, stock up with both fuel and provisions and then pop back. We did this in the north, by popping into Finland a couple of times, stocking up with everything then continue our travels.
    If any of you like to look around second hand/junk/courios shops, they are everywhere, people have them in their barns, you see signs everywhere ‘Loppis’. We bought a lovely frying pan from one for just £2.00, one that we could use on our campfire.
    We were so looking forward to seeing some wildlife on our trip, this was one of the most disappointing parts of the trip for us. Again it was probably the wrong time of the year, but we would have loved to have seen more, so please don’t go thinking there is plenty, enjoy it if you do see it. We were lucky enough to see a couple of moose, 2 sea eagles, an arctic fox, and plenty of reindeer. If you are ramblers/walkers it might be possible to see more, but don’t bank on it, then you won’t be as disappointed as us.
    The worst part of the wildlife, if you can call ‘m that, are the little blighters – mozzies. My god, we had been warned about them and went armed with the mosquito repellent and afterbite cream, but nothing prepares you for what you are about to experience. They were not too bad in Norway, we only got troubled with them one night on the road up to Nordkapp, but when we hit Finland, that was another matter. Can’t describe what they are like, it doesn’t matter how small the holes are in your fly screens, they get through, they are supposed to be at their worst in July and August, however this depends on the weather, and as we had had warm weather early, they came out sooner. How the locals can live with the chemicals they plaster on their bodies daily, we don’t know. Having said that, the bites did not linger and last like others we have known, it’s just that they are annoying, buzzing around your ears, especially in the night, eh Garry? It is said that they can turn a man insane, we can understand why now.
    We all came back with a tan, something we did not expect on this trip, the weather was amazing on the whole of the trip, we had rain and hail a few times but nothing to talk of, took loads of winter clothes with us as well. We have been told that it was exceptionally warm for the time of the year, it could have been so different, so make sure you are prepared, take a variety of clothes to wear in all temperatures.
    We did at times find it annoying that when we needed internet access, it was not always available, suppose it’s because we went out in the bush, so to speak, a lot of towns have their own public system, but this is so hit and miss and verrrrrry slow, that it was frustrating to use it, you needed a lot of patience. In future on our next trip, and yes, god willing, there will be a next trip, we will purchase a dongle. Again, good advice given by Vera (Sue and Steve), they reckon they paid about £10 for one months use, will be getting more details when they return from Sweden later this month. They have been a great mine of information for us, we are sure that if you needed to know more they would be more than willing to help. Also AlfandM (Alf and Marianne) who live in Sweden and are members of Fun, we are sure they would also be more than happy to guide you. We spent a great few days with them and have made friends for life.
    Telephone signals were really good, unfortunately, we lost our signal when were right up the north, however Garry had no problem with his network.
    Make no mistake, Sweden is THE place, it is a motorhomers paradise, we thought France was the tops, but we must confess we personally feel that Sweden is leaps and bounds above – in our opinion.
    We will definitely go back, when, who knows, watch this space. Next time we will probably visit in August and September.
    Will try and post some more pictures later, need to trail through the hundreds we took and pick a few interesting ones.
    Sorry for such a long winded overview, but didn’t want to miss anything out. We are more than happy to answer any questions if we can.
    Nigel and Pamala
     
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  2. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    Great review guys:thumb:
     
  3. the stig

    the stig Funster

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    and breathe... :Rofl1::Rofl1:

    nice one Pamela, look forward to reading what you previously put that I missed

    Andrea
    xx
     
  4. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Super revue as always. Am really miffed that we could not make it this year, but as ever life gets in the way of enjoyment. So glad you had a great time and am so jealous. See you at Malvern and we can swop stories.
     
  5. Pat4Neil

    Pat4Neil Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for posting a great review, giving people a taste of whats further a field out there. You make it sound so easy and great, I am sure there will be others eager to do the same.
     
  6. motorhomer

    motorhomer Read Only Funster

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    An excellent post.

    We went to Nordkapp last year and I am guilty of not doing a report like yours!

    I agree with all the superlatives. We did it a little differently, sailed to Esbjerg and then on to Norway from Hirtshalls. Drove up through Norway to the top, then down through Finland and Sweden back to Denmark.

    Of the 4 countries we preferred Norway, scenery was just out of this world, mile after mile. We were actually a little disappointed driving through Sweden after Norway and Finland. Although very pleasant whilst on a journey for many many miles all you can see is trees! Your post mentions wildcamping. Whilst I agree with what you said, we found many more, and more attractive, wildcamping spots in Norway. But our van at 7.39 mtrs with no trailer is slightly smaller than yours and maybe that made a difference in Norway.

    In Norway, as well as Nordkapp, we went on the Atlantic road, Lofoten, the Norway in a Nutshell tour, cave drawings at Alta and on and on. It was wonderful.

    In the 9 weeks of our tour we only saw 4 other British vans. They don't know what they are missing!
     
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  7. alfandM

    alfandM Funster

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    ANOTHER Great Review,we are so glad you enjoyed traveling intensively in Scandinavia and found what wild camping is all about up here, so you are all in our book as truly qualified, we are both very happy you stopped by and stayed here for a few day's,and now we have more friends to add to our Christmas card list,or better still enjoy Christmas in Sweden,so stay safe until next time and most of all enjoy your travel's where ever it takes you,Cheers Alf and Marianne+ the tribe:thumb::thumb:eek:ne for Garry:reel:Stay safe ALL.
     
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  8. makems

    makems Funster Life Member

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    Pamala we read All your posts about your adventure and were more than a little jealous.
    We will see you at Malvern and have a good catch up.
    Mike and Gwen
     
  9. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I had a PM from Malcolm Bolt a couple of days ago. He was just leaving Finland, heading north into Norway. He said he was having a great time up there. The weather was perfect. Seems there are funsters all over the place :thumb:.
     
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  10. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    He did contact us for some advice---sounds like he is having a good time----------We believe more people will go to Sweden/Norway as they are so easy to m/home in:thumb::thumb:
    Nigel & Pamala
     
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  11. Onderweg

    Onderweg Funster

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    Hi Nigel and Pamela

    Glad to see all four returned home safe :thumb:
    Its a pity we could not catch up with you.
    Although we have been to Scandinavia 30plus times we enjoyed reading your posts.

    Looks like you got the Scandinavian fever just like us

    Your faithful shadows for the first part of your trip
    Paul and Ineke
     
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  12. Malcolm Bolt

    Malcolm Bolt Funster Life Member

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    Heading south now

    Thanks for a whole lot of great posts.


    Yes we have had a great time.

    Having got to the Arctic Circle we had a lengthy meeting with Santa where Cathryn was rewarded for being good with a gift of a Rudolf likeness and I promised to try harder for the next six months. :Smile: Well it would have been rude to travel so far and not meet the venerable gent wouldn't it. :BigGrin:.

    We felt that having got that far we may as well push on North. I am pleased we did but it mean't a lot of travel in a short time. From Lakselv we visited Hammerfest and the museum of reconstruction showing the effects of the war ie after the retreating German forces carried out orders to burn everything behind them and leave nothing. (Well when you set fire to a town made of wood there isn't anything left is there?) It was only then that I realised why there are no old houses in that town. Hardly anything predates the 1950's.

    We also spent time at the Turpitz museum on the shores of Kafjord. It was only 5 kms from a picnic spot where we had parked up overnight. Turpitz was the largest of the German warships and apart from a minor success shortly after it was launched it was holed up at Kafjod until moved to Narvik where it was eventually sunk.

    The fjords are of course spectacular but if we return it will have to be a bit less driving and a bit more stop and stare and appreciate it all. I have a feeling that a trip with Hurtigruten may be the best way forward. Ships depart Bergen daily for Kirkenes and take 12 days calling in along the way.

    We returned to Sweden from Narvik and travelled down the inland route but have made a break for the coast and are overnighting just short of Sundsvall.

    Fishing will be on the agenda next visit so Cathryn reckons we may be in touch with Dave for some lessons.

    Thanks to Snowbird, Vera and Sundowners for all your help and information.

    Malcolm & Cathryn
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
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  13. alfandM

    alfandM Funster

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    Hi Malcolm&Cathryn,enjoyed reading your post,i see you are near to Sundsval,we live west of sundsval so if your still around this Region over the weekend we will be at home and your both welcome to come over & visit,we shall be arriving this evening so are at home Friday also,all the best Alf&Marianne.
     
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  14. Malcolm Bolt

    Malcolm Bolt Funster Life Member

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    sounds great

    Thanks for that kind offer
    We had intended plodding on south this morning but will stay over to call in on you tomorrow if that is OK. Cathryn spotted yet another IKEA as we turned off last night (next to an ICA and a huge COOP). She murmered something about being in need of more tea lights so you can guess where we will spend time today. You never know, diet or not I may even get meatballs for lunch. :Rofl1::Rofl1:

    I will PM to arrange things.
     
  15. alfandM

    alfandM Funster

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    Hi Both,have sent a PM to you with details,Regards Alf.
     
  16. Onderweg

    Onderweg Funster

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    Love the picture or your dog Alf

    Paul
     
  17. Malcolm Bolt

    Malcolm Bolt Funster Life Member

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    We did take up alfandM's kind offer and arrived at their place last night. We socialised until the early hours and thoroughly enjoyed their company and excellent hospitality. Having had a good look round their place and great van we left afer lunch today and felt very pleased that we had met a great couple that we hope to see many times in the future both in Sweden and on the road.

    Thanks to you both
     
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  18. alfandM

    alfandM Funster

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    Thanks for those kind words ,we both enjoyed very much our Mini malvern Funster meet great company and a very enjoyable time had by All, Ps watch out for those bears cathryn:Eeek: :Rofl1:take care safe travels Alf and Marianne.:thumb:
     
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  19. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    Right then, I feel the need to thank the original posters and all the other contributors on this thread :thumb:

    My wife and I have been thinking about going 'North' next year and this thread has made our mind up for us :Smile:

    It all sounds wonderful and different, we are very excited !

    Cheers :thumb::thumb:
     
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  20. Bailey58

    Bailey58 Funster Life Member

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    Having just got broadband installed in the Faroes I've enjoyed reading this overview, I now need to catch up on the original reports!

    We toured Norway in the '70's in a trailer tent and wild camped through Sweden on the way up from Gothenburg in the days DFDS went direct to Sweden, oh for the Newcastle to Bergen route to be resurrected. :RollEyes: Did it again in the mid '90's with a caravan but never got further north than Andalsnes. Motorhome is certainly the way to go and this has certainly given us a wealth of advice. Thank you. :thumb:
     
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