Trondheim & Ålesund – Norway

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15th June 2019 – 21st June 2019

Now lets talk food. We knew Norway was expensive and to be honest, some things have not been much more to buy than in the U.K. But then there are Mangoes at £5 each and 4 chicken fillets at £12. For a small bottle of beer it is £5, that’s if you are lucky to find a store that sells it. They do grow the most delicious strawberries here, with all the light in the summer as it doesn’t get dark, it is perfect growing conditions and they are delicious and the same price as home. Every time we go shopping we buy a punnet. Today we did our biggest shop as we were passing a large town and a bag and a half of shopping, no alcohol came to £98. We had depleted the freezer which we had stocked and kept until we reached Norway, so David is tasked with catching fish. He is not allowed back from a fishing trip without dinner he has been told ! As we travel further South it is getting warmer, we have lost the snow capped mountains, but the scenery of the lush greenery is still lovely. Spring and Summer is crammed into afew short months and the Norwegians love their gardens. Spring flowers and shrubs are in full bloom now and everyone is out cutting their grass. It is all so green, I can’t get over it. It’s like the first few weeks of Spring in the U.K. when everything is that lime green colour. What we have noticed is that the Norwegians must have the most robot lawnmowers per household in the world. Most houses have these little boxes that drive automatically over the lawn cutting the grass, then putting itself back into it’s charging box. I have seen them in France before but so many houses have them here. I have not seen any in the U.K. but ever the pessimist, I said to David, if we were at home someone would steal it out of the garden. We are still looking for Moose and the warning signs are still on the roads but they are very elusive. We headed to the city of Trondheim. The third largest city in Norway and that meant shops. Now I do love shopping but in van life that is very limited due to available space in the van and in Norway, well shops are very, very few and far between. So for me, any shop is a shop to walk into, regardless of what it sells. Trondheim is Norway’s largest student city with over 40,000 students. We parked the van and with only a 15 minute walk into the city we left Chloe sleeping. It turned into a beautiful day after rain in the morning and we did a whistle stop tour of the city, which we are quite good at now. Nidaros Cathedral which is the world’s northernmost gothic cathedral and an important pilgrimage site. Now if we were pilgrims, we would have got into the Cathedral free and also spoken to the priest, should we have wished to have an audience with him. The cathedral is build over the tomb of St. Olav, the Viking King who brought Christianity to Norway. It is very impressive from the outside and reminds me of the Cathedral in Reims France. Apparently you are not allowed to take photographs inside, we did not go in as David gets all churched out and I need to save him for the stave churches (more on that later !). We passed Stiftsgarden which is the royal residence in Trondheim and Scandinavia’s largest wooden palace, built in 1774. We also walked to the small fish market, which was just a large shop really but had the freshest fish I have ever seen and the largest fresh water prawns that David hasn’t seen for over 25 years he said. Although we didn’t buy anything, fish and any seafood is reasonably priced in Norway, compared to the U.K. I, of course went in to as many shops as I could but when you look at the prices, £50 for a woollen hat and £200 for a pair of trousers and David picked up a pair of shorts, price tag £150, we decided not to look anymore. We did buy some ice cream and sat in the sunshine watching the world go by around the marina, a lovely way to spend the remainder of the afternoon. The next day we departed and had been debating which route to take and if to visit Bergen, which if we did it would incorporate another 6 ferry crossings. As this is ‘Once in a Lifetime’ adventure we decided we couldn’t miss it and have therefore taken the coastal route that will take us to Bergen. We stopped for the night on a harbour, as we had read that it was a good place to catch Mackerel. Alas David was out of luck, but Chloe had her first swim in the Norwegian Sea, she is braver than me and absolutely loved it. She just loves the water now and I wish that we had taken her when she was younger to have enjoyed it. But, she hasn’t done too bad with swimming in the Greek sea last year and now the Norwegian Sea. We travelled through Averoya, Eide, Fraena and Bud, travelling the Atlantic Highway, which according to ‘The Guardian’ newspaper is the world’s most beautiful road trip. Winding it’s way over rocks and reefs right out in the ocean and travelling over the seven bridges. Everytime you turn a bend there is another stunning view, Norway certainly takes your breathe away, or if you’re me it brings tears to your eyes. We stayed the night in a beautiful spot with some pretty cows for company and our ever Norwegian companion ‘Olive’ (as I have named all of them) the Oyster Cather Bird, which is a frequent sight all along the Norwegian coast. They are beautiful birds but they do make a noise, I think it is the female making all the noise and she is loud. Our next destination was Ålesund town with it’s Art Noveau architecture, multitude of towers, spires and ornamentation. In 1904 a dramatic fire raged through Ålesund and 850 buildings were reduced to ashes, as a result. The town was rebuilt with the assistance of the Germans who brought ships laden with supplies. The town now reflects the different aspects of the building styles and expressions of art nouveau. We stayed in the town and meandered around the fascinating streets, saw the biggest yacht I’ve seen, all the way from Georgetown. We sat admiring it and the crew were busy on the deck, then suddenly a man appears who must own it, as we had already looked up if we could charter it and you cannot. Anyway, he was mid seventies I think and there was about three crew on the quay with walkie talkies obviously saying he is on his way. He was assisted onto the yacht and there waiting was a lady with a tray of hot towels passed to him with silver tongs. OMG how the elite live ! We treated ourselves to coffee and cake in ‘Wayne Coffee Shop’ and then back to the van for a spot of fishing for David. Chloe and I went for a walk and when we returned David had caught a Mackerel, we left him hoping to catch more. At 10.30pm the lone fisherman returned, but alas with only the single Mackerel. Nevermind, a fish is a fish !

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