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508 travelers at this place:

  • Day17

    Kjøsterudjuvet & Spiralen

    August 20 in Norway

    Eine Wanderung in einem Flussbett, die uns an der ein oder anderen Stelle schon einige Überwindung kostete. Aber großartig war's. Sogar eine kleine Schlange 🐍 ist uns auf dem Weg begegnet.
    Danach noch den Spiraltunnel gefahren. Ingenieursmäßig ziemlich abgefahren. Sechs Spiralen in den Berg gehauen, nur um eine großartige Aussicht über Drammen zu gewähren:
    Und die cleveren Norweger verkaufen tatsächlich Fassbier in Dosen. Darauf muss man erst einmal kommen...
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  • Day379

    Close to the waterfall stopover there was another restplace with a designated toilet cassette emptying point. We once again swiped our bank card to open the door but instead of a cubicle with a drain we were faced with a machine with a roller blind. When we pressed a button the blind raised revealing a space into which we placed our toilet cassette before the roller lowered and the machine automatically emptied and cleaned our toilet, leaving it with just the right amount of water and ecological fluid! All for free! We were so impressed at this space age emptying system! Vicky was even tempted to take on toilet duty the next time we encountered one!

    We travelled down the coast road for about 5 hours and took in some awesome scenery, including beautiful reflections of blue skies, white clouds and snowy mountains in the water surface of the fjord from which they rose. We (especially Vicky) were in need of a place to stay for 2 nights to relax and digest all we'd experienced. We initially stopped at a nondescript restplace with picnic tables but Will managed to find a large layby overlooking the Straight that ran between the mainland and
    Hinnøya (Hinn Island), the fourth largest in Norway. We had a great view of the water and the Tjeldsundbrua bridge that connected the island to us on the mainland. We also had access to the water via a steep bank, which meant Will could occupy himself fishing and didn't risk becoming bored in the van and annoy Vicky 😉

    The morning brought a stillness to the water of the Straight so the island hills and bridge reflected well in the bright sunlight. Vicky spent a lazy day in the van catching up with photos, videos and the blog. Will fished to his heart's content and even caught a small Coalfish! Other fishers came and parked up at various points during the day and one who Will had talked to even caught and left another Coalfish for him, so we were able to have one each for tea!

    Today was supposed to be one without too much excitement but as Vicky was looking out of the window she saw a dorsal fin breaching the water surface as a Harbour Porpoise made its way towards the bridge, occasionally coming up for air. She shouted down to Will who managed to also catch a glimpse. Later we were both in the van and saw a group of 3! They were feeding and surfacing to breathe 3 or 4 times before diving for fish. We watched two different sessions of this behavior for about 10 minutes each before they got too far away.
    If this wasn't mind blowing enough, we later saw a Sea Otter close to shore. We reckon it had been attracted by the fish guts Will had thrown in the water when cleaning his catch. It was swimming along on its front, twisting and floating on its back for a while and diving with a plop as its thick conical tail disappeared. We once again felt blown away by what Norway had revealed to us!

    The quality isn't great but we managed to catch the Porpoises and Otter on film and have uploaded a video to VnW Travels' YouTube Channel here:
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  • Day409

    Skiftessjøen Lake

    August 9, 2017 in Norway

    Our travels took us to the head of Hardangerfjord and up through the increasingly tight valley, following the white river that fed the huge fjord, the river itself being fed by many glorious waterfalls. The terrain became more and more rugged and we passed boulders bigger than houses. Eventually the landscape turned too precipitous to forge a path over it, so our course continued through it, in a series of tunnels that looped over themselves, allowing us to spiral our way up the steep mountain.

    Emerging at the top, we pulled over in a car park signed 'Vøringsfossen' and walked to a viewpoint where iron railings had been bracketed directly on to a natural stone platform. Peering over we found ourselves looking down what must have been several hundred metres of a sheer sided canyon. Several powerful waterfalls plunged down into a dark blue pool where the force of their impact caused a dense cloud of spray. We don't believe we've ever seen anything that compares to the scale of this before!

    From our viewpoint that looked out accross the canyon, we could see another that looked out over the drop at the head of the valley. We drove a few kilometres and finding the correct turning, parked up at the end of the road. There were works going on and viewing platforms, walkways and benches had recently been installed. We didn't think it was possible but the views from here were even more stupendous. The position we were viewing from allowed us to see the waterfalls more fully and get up close to two out of the three major ones. Beyond the plunge pool the white river snaked away along the flat but narrow floor of this incredibly deep valley.

    Leaving awestruck, we found ourselves on a plateau of sorts. While the terrain couldn't be described as flat, there were no longer dark towering mountains. We were over 1000m above sea level now and bright snow patches remained in protected lees and hollows. The land became boggy and meadows of white Cotton Grass began to crop up here and there beside small lakes, where the soft land had allowed a river to swell and bow out. We stayed in a restplace by one of these lakes. Amazingly it was still not raining when we arrived and there was somebody out rowing one of the tubby little boats we've frequently seen hauled on shore. There was a bitter wind so even before the heavy rain began to pelt the van we weren't tempted to launch our canoe.

    It was only once the low clouds rose later that evening that we realised we had parked facing the Harangerjøkulen glacier. Its gleaming white surface of snow had merged into the white of the cloud. It continued to play hide and seek with us as the variable weather closed in and cleared repeatedly during our stay.
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  • Day2

    Black tie night

    September 4, 2017 in Norway

    A full day at sea in which we were quite sporty in the morning playing Shuffleboard and Quoits on deck before going to the golf net to try and chip golf balls into a net.
    In the afternoon, Allison attended a talk on acupuncture and one on reading your footprint whilst I explored the 11 decks of the Arcadia then had a little snooze to catch-up on the lack of sleep from last night!
    We then got dressed-up for the Captain's dinner before going to the theatre to watch a musical montage from British films.Read more

  • Day4

    Alesund - Land of the Trolls

    September 6, 2017 in Norway

    Off the boat all day today on a tour which took in Borgundfjord, the valley of Validal, the powerful Gudbrandsjuvet Gorge and then down the 11 hairpin bends of ' Trolls Path - the Trollstigen mountain road. We also saw the waterfall at Stigrora and the Trolls Wall (3280 feet vertical mountain face) at Andalsnes.
    The weather could have been kinder at the start but the rain stopped and we had dry coach stops until the final one where the Wall was lost to low level cloud. Overall, a great day out.
    We were back on board for another delicious dinner and ended the day watching another show from the entertainment team who range from very good to room for improvement!
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  • Day5

    Flam & Norway in a Nutshell

    September 7, 2017 in Norway

    Having traversed 128 miles of the Sognefjord during the night, we docked in Flam on schedule.
    Although we had low cloud cover on arrival, the spectacular scenery which greeted us as we approached the dock and village ticked the boxes for doing this trip.
    For me, it was a double helping of chirpyness as I also found some free wi-fi to post updates from my tablet - although Mrs H had already brought our joint followers up to speed with her 'extra time' blog updates, so it wasn't a problem going 4 days into the trip without wi-fi ☺.
    Today was another full day off the boat, taking a train and bus tour called Norway in a Nutshell.
    We started aboard the Flam Scenic Railway for one of the most picturesque train rides in Norway - the tour description was right, it was breathtaking in places but difficult to capture on camera. The train did stop at Kjosfoss Waterfall so we did get some reasonable shots of that. Then we got off at Myrdal Station and changed trains to take us to Voss for lunch.
    After another local salmon fuelled lunch we got on a bus which took us back to Flam via a seven tier waterfall at Tvinde, the serpentine bends of Stalheimskleivane and a Viking village at Gudvangen in the Naeroyfjord.
    We were back on board for our 5:30pm departure and I'm writing this update on the balcony as we sail along the fjord heading back out to the Norwegian Sea on route to our final port of call at Bergen.
    I like sailing in the fjords - they're calm!,
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  • Day366

    1 Year Away Today!!

    June 27, 2017 in Norway

    What a year! At times it seems so long ago that we posted our house keys back through our letterbox and left our bricks and mortar home behind for a life on the road. At other times we can remember the whirlwind of activity, goodbyes, excitement and nerves like it was yesterday.

    Since leaving, we've travelled to the most southerly point on Sicily and have nearly reached the most northerly point on the European continent that we can drive to.

    Here are some of the stats from the year:

    📅 365 days away
    🛣 27,585 kms (17,240 miles) driven
    🌍 19 countries travelled to
    🚩✔ 9 countries explored and on to our 10th
    🙋 5 visits from family and friends

    😴 242 stopovers in total
    ⛺ 40 campsites for 96 nights
    🚙 💶 34 paying stellplatz for 52 nights
    🚙 91 free stellplatz for 124 nights
    🌲 76 fly camp spots for 90 nights
    👪 1 stopover on family's drive for 2 nights

    ⌚ Longest Stay: 10 days in Vienna, Austria at Christmas🎄
    📆 158 stops were for 1 night only

    Because we've never lived long term in a van before we've been keeping notes on all that we've spent and totting it up each month. Having been away nearly a year we looked back and found that on average our monthly outgoings have been about £1,500. Some outgoings have increased such as money spent on diesel and food (without always having access to a budget supermarket, market stalls and not being able to buy in bulk). Money we would have spent on some things such as council tax and water rates etc has instead been spent on campsite fees. However we no longer pay out for a TV and broadband package, a second car, new clothes that we will rarely use etc. The small space within the van is easy to keep warm and by generally moving south in winter we've limited the need for extra heating. Overall, we've been spending about the same as we were when living in a house, but have had more fun with the things we've spent it on living in the van.

    Family and friends:
    Over the year, some relationships with family and friends have improved because we've had time and been relaxed enough to call and talk. Some people have visited and we've really enjoyed spent quality time with them. However, being away has put a strain on other relationships. Roaming charges meant we restricted ourselves to one or two days each week where we called or messaged people and not seeing people face to face and having shared experiences to talk about has been difficult. One of the things that has most made us question leaving home for so long has been watching our newly arrived grandaughter grow up and have her 1st birthday without being there to share it, although we are very grateful to Will jnr and Lynsday for keeping us up to date with news, photos and videos!

    Favourite country:
    One of the things we love about travelling is finding out about our preconceptions and getting to replace them with views based on our experiences. We've tried to spend at least a month in each of the countries we've explored (except for the micro states: Liechtenstein, San Marino and The Vatican). By doing this we hoped to immerse ourselves in the landcape, language and culture and although we feel we've gained a good impression of what each place is like, we've always left knowing there is more to explore, learn and see. Each country has held wonderful surprises to discover. Countries like Slovenia, that we knew almost nothing about, have been some of the most rewarding. Each country has been very different and has challenged the others for 'top spot' with its own charms. For a long time Germany was Will's favourite because of the brilliant facilities it provided for vans, its beer and rivers. Vicky found it exciting to be able to use her language skills in Italy and we both loved the food and coastline here. Seasons have changed what we've experienced and what we've been able to access but no matter where we have been, we've experienced friendliness and kindness from local people that has often blown us away. As well as the smaller countries, we've explored Germany, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and are now in Norway. We are afraid it is impossible to say which our favourite country is, because each is so diverse and has its advantages and disadvantages for our way of living, what we like to do and even the mood we are in at the time! We have liked each country so much that we've left it with the hope of returning someday!

    All in all:
    There have been some hard times when one, the other or both of us have been pretty low. The realities of two large adults living in a metal box with a very hairy and incontinent 14 year old dog with no place to call our own and limited facilities can be tough. Living in such close confines can grate on your nerves and the effect our bad moods have on each other is intensified. We aren't on a holiday the way we used to be when we came away for the summer and we can't expect every day to be like a holiday. This is our life and there are still many of the responsibilities we had back home. Food shopping and washing up still needs to be done, repairs need to be made and paid for and we have to nearly always be thinking about the next place we can get water, empty the toilet and park. However, in many ways life is simpler and more flexible, with more options than in a house. There may be fewer luxuries but there are fewer bills and we can choose to leave places we don't like and stay longer in places we do. We find that when we can maintain a positive frame of mind and put unpleasant things down to 'part of the experience', we get along better with what we are doing. Along with the lows there have been many, many highs; so much of it has been new and we've met wonderful people, got close to nature, visited amazing cities, experienced such diverse environments and seen some truly fantastic sights. This life isn't for many people and we realise the fact we've been able to choose it, is a privilage and makes a big difference to our outlook. Overall, we are in love with the freedom and are very much looking forward to the next 4 years as well as coming back to the UK to see the people we miss.

    Thank you for reading this far and for keeping up to date with where we are and what we are doing. We've said before that this incredible journey wouldn't be quite so incredible without the support of our friends and family!

    Vicky, Will & Poppy
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  • Day367

    Reindeer Bay restplace

    June 28, 2017 in Norway

    We'd looked at the weather forecast and found it was due to be sunny on Friday and Saturday. In light of this we changed our plans and began making our way up the East Coast of the Posanger peninsula to Nordkapp, from where we knew we'd be able to see the midnight sun if it was out.

    The road was good but the landscape was harsh. Zebra striped hills surrounded us, the bright white snow that persisted in sheltered undulations, contrasting against the dark stretches of bogland where the plants, so recently released from their icy blanket, hadn't yet taken on the colour of Spring. Thin Silver Birch tree trunks added to the two-tone effect, their leaves only just in bud, not daring to believe winter was over. The crowns of many had been snapped off and their variegated silver and black trunks stood earily as testaments to how difficult it is for plants to survive out here. Ever since leaving Sicily in mid March, we've been travelling northwards. Sometimes Spring has advanced on us and sometimes we've advanced on Spring. Today, as we travelled through a bare winter landscape at the end of June, we could definitely say we'd outrun Spring!

    We eventually reached a valley where leaves once again added a feeling of colour and life to the land. Here, small, immaculately painted wooden hill cabins stood, some with snowmobiles parked outside. Apparently many Norwegians relish a 'back to nature' approach to holidays, where they gather fresh water from lakes and streams and dig holes in the ground to use as toilets. We wonder whether these cabins are used as part of this?

    After dropping down from the highlands, we hit the coastline, and oh what a coastline it was! The snowy hills were now backdrops to the large bays. More elaborate wooden cabins of various colours, red, blue, grey, white, cream and yellow, dotted the shoreline. White fishing boats, splashed with bright streaks of paint or adorned with fluorescent buoys looked tempting in the sunshine. These 'postcard scenes' were augmented by the surreal sight of reindeer herds sunning themselves with their calves at frequent intervals on the slopes or trotting along the side of the road.

    We pulled up with other vans in a beautiful restplace at the head of a bay, beside a small river that channeled mountain meltwater into the sea. Over the road there was a shop run by a woman who was one of the indigenous Scandinavian people; the Sami. She sold traditional Sami products that she had made herself. There were carved and painted wooden items, reindeer antlers and skins and these were used to make various tools, clothes and bags with the sinew from reindeer tendons sewing them together.

    When Poppy got out of the van the scent of reindeer drove her crazy and she began ambling off in the hope of finding some! Later that evening she stayed safely indoors when we spotted a herd of about two dozen descending from the mountain to drink in the bay! They were wary but we managed to get within 15 metres of them. Later still, Will spotted 3 crossing the river just 10 meters from the van and after we'd both gone to bed, we were woken by the clanking of bells. Upon looking outside, the herd we'd seen earlier were all around the van, grazing happily on their way over the river! It was magical to be able to watch them so close and undisturbed. Definitely worth being woken up for!

    N.B. the overnight stop had no name so we nicknamed it Reindeer Bay restplace because we'll never forget our experience there.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Norway, Norwegen, Norway, Noorweë, Nɔɔwe, ኖርዌ, Noruega, Norþweg, نرويج, ܢܘܪܒܝܓ, Norvec, Нарвегія, Норвегия, Nɔriwɛzi, নরওয়ে, ནོར་ཝེ།, Norvegia, Norveška, Nurvegia, Norsko, Norweskô, Норвеги, Norwy, Norge, ނޯވޭ, ནོ་ཝེ, Norway nutome, Νορβηγία, Norvegujo, Norra, نروژ, Norwees, Norja, Noreg, Norvège, Norvèg·e, Noarwegen, An Iorua, Nirribhidh, નૉર્વે, Norwe, Nolewai, נורווגיה, नॉर्वे, Norwegska, Nòvèj, Norvégia, Նորվեգիա, Norwegia, Norwega, Noregur, ノルウェー王国, noreg, ნორვეგია, ន័រវែស, ನಾರ್ವೇ, 노르웨이, नार्वे, نۆرویژ, Norgagh, Norvejia, Nowe, Noorwege, Norivezɛ, ນໍເວ, Norvegija, Noriveje, Norvēģija, Nôrvezy, Норвешка, നോര്‍വെ, Norveġja, နော်ဝေ, Norwei, Noweyi, नर्वे, Noorwegen, Norouague, Norvègia, Norviegii, ନରୱେ, ناروې, Nurwiga, Noruveji, Norveggia, Norawa, Norgga, Nörvêzi, නෝර්වේ, Nórsko, Noorweey, Norvegjia, நார்வே, నారవే, Норвеж, ประเทศนอร์เวย์, Noruwega, Noauē, Norveç, نورۋېگىيە, Норвегія, ناروے, Na Uy, Norgän, Norvedje, Noorwees, נארוועגיע, Orílẹ́ède Nọọwii, 挪威, i-Norway

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