Day 15 – Norway 4

Unfortunately we didn’t do much on this day. We wanted to move towards Central Europe so we spent most of the day driving the southern coast of Norway towards Gothenburg in Sweden.

Sverd i Fjell

We arrived in Gothenburg in the evening. Unfortunately for the past few days rainy clouds were following us everywhere.

Gothenburg seems like a really cool city. There were a lot of bars open in the night in the center, a lot of people drinking beer and enjoying life. I believe that there is also a big student population in the city.

This is a monument which i found interesting. It commemorates the few colonies that Sweden has created in the United States around 1640.

Aparently the same monument exists in Delaware in the United States.

The next morning it was the weekend, and raining so we drove around the landmarks in the city center. In order to take the picture of the statue of Poseidon below, i got a parking ticket.

Bike tour in Gothenburg.

Because it was already raining, and we wanted to continue our journey towards central Europe, we went back on the highway towards Malmo, Sweden where we will stop.

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Day 14 – Norway 3

Basically more Fjords, Waterfalls and Mountains.

Norway is really beautifull but got really repetitive 🙂 so we started to rush towards Central Europe.

Day 13 – Norway 2

More fjords…
More ferries… These are pretty cheap considering how expensive Scandinavia is.
Only about 10-20 per route.
Before going down the mountain…
At the bottom of the Fjord…
Back on the mountain, on the other side…
This time we really going up the mountain…
Frozen glacier.
After a while we are finally going back down the mounatin.
The first city we reached after going back down the long mountain path had a really nice Scandinavian look to it.

I wanted to visit a Stave Church. The churches aparently were build by the Vikings shortly after they got Christianized and stopped raiding everyone. The one that was closest was Borgund Stave Church.

This day was spent mostly driving. The distances in Norway are short on the map, but even 100km takes 2 hours of driving because of the driving conditions which i completely understand. While the sights became less impactfull due to the fact that they are so common, the driving duration became more and more frustrating and tiresome. But we reached south Norway where the Fjords stop being to common.

Day 12 – Norway 1

So… the next 4 days or so were spent in Norway. About Norway… everyone knows the fjords of Norway. But i didn’t believe there are so many of them. Basically Norway is a country in a mountain range which opens up to the sea, thus the fjords.

You will see these things everywhere in Norway:

  • Fjords (valleys which were carved by glaciers that open up to the sea)
  • Snowy peaked mountains.
  • Waterfalls on mountains because the glaciers on top are melting.
  • Serpentine roads that go up the mountain, and then go down.
  • Old restored cars.
  • Teslas. A ton of Teslas.
  • Germans in trailers. Aparently this is very popular in Germany.
Norway from Sweden.

Because of the incident the previous night, we arrived much later then planned and only stopped a little bit in Trondheim to take some pictures, then we were on our way a little bit further to finally get some sleep.

Again looking for some cheap accomodation we found some bungalows about 1 hour after Trondheim. But it proved to be quite nice.

Small bungalow. But warm, comfortable, and with a nice view.

The next morning we went towards Kristiansand
and the Atlantic Ocean Road.

The sun started to come up just as we reached the Atlantic Ocean Road.
#aokijump

Norway is pretty big and we didn’t city-hop as we did before.
Back into the mountains. Towards Trollstigen pass.

By this time the sun was hidden behind clouds, it was getting really cold because we were climbing, and the wind was blowing. I did expect colder weather in the north, but not this cold and windy.

At first i thought this pass was kinda special since there aren’t many like this. In Romania there are 2 main ones (Transfagarasan & Transaplina).
But in Norway, we found later on, these are pretty common.

It doesn’t really look like summer up here. Honestly it was kinda not. 🙂 But here is where all the waterfalls start. From all this snow and ice melting and flowing down the sides. So it was nice to see.

Day 11 – Finland > Norway & The unfortunate event.

On this day we started traveling from the Zoo, towards Trondheim in Norway. This is about 1000km and the plan was to split it in 2 days. Mostly driving because there are no other major cities around, so nothing to see. Unfortunately on the first day we have left a little later then planned from the Zoo and on the first day of the 2 planned to cross northern Sweden this happened:

This really scared me because i was only paying attention at the road. There was nobody else on the road, we were in the middle of nowhere, far away from any cities. I was kinda tired and waiting for a small village to park and sleep in the car for the night. Also i knew that it could mean the end of my trip.



Diagnosis:

  • Headlight damaged, everything came apart inside it.
  • Left blinker is dead.
  • Left fog light is dead.
  • Damaged left fender.
  • Scared the shit out of me.

So what now?

Well the first thing after the accident was to call the Swedish Police. Had a conversation about 30 minutes long, where i had to give the officer my GPS coordinates, and describe a lot of information. “Did anyone got hurt?”, “Did it come from the left or the right?”, “Did it survive the crash or die on the middle of the road?”, “Was it a deer or a raindeer?”.

In the end i had to go back and look for the deer. The officer asked me to mark the spot of the accident with a plastic bag in order to send a hunter to look for the animal. I had gone back and found the deer, on the side of the road. It was already dead. I had placed a black bag on a stick near it and left.

In the next village we went to sleep in the car. We were exhausted, worried and a bit shocked.

The next day i went to the closest biggest city to try to find a car repair shop and ask how much it would cost to fix in order to continue our journey. The guy we found was pretty friendly, but would not help without getting payed. I asked to look at the damage a bit and suggest what would it take to fix. He looked and said that he would need about 3-4 hours of work and a new headlight. The cost per hour is about 130 Euros. Which with a new 200 euro headlight it would come at about 500 euro.

I thought this was a bit much for just changing the headlight. I could do that myself. It’s only 3 screws. So he suggested trying a car dissasembly shop. We went there but they didn’t have any cars of my model there. So no luck.

So i did what i thought in order to make the vehicle street legal. I bought some reinforced duct tape, a bag of zip ties, and started doing some redneck engineering

Opened the headlight completely, repositioned everything inside, and removed any broken plastic. The replaced the broken light bulbs, the missing light bulb fuel, zip tied any broken connections, and then i rebuild the bumper by using the reinforced duct tape to seal the broken parts back together.

Total cost: 1 set of screwdrivers, 1 duct tape, 1 zip tie bag, 1 blinker light and 1 fog light = 130 euro.

I asked the police about it and they said that as long as all the lights are working the car is street legal. So after about 3 hours in that gas station fixing the car, we continued our journey towars Norway.

There is no wobbling, no sound, all lights are working, and since the time this happened we have already traveled another 2500 km. And it still works.

So yea… 🙂

Day 10 – Oulu, Finland > Ranua Wildlife Park, Lapland

Before leaving Finland we wanted to see some Elk. I did saw one on the side of the road, but we wanted to see more. So we checked out some Zoos around, and found Ranua Wildlife Park in Lapland.

Bjorn went to sleep as soon as we arrived.

Real Size Comparison.
Back on the road we saw another wild Elk.

Going to Sweden and Norway. The longest part of the journey awaits. There are no big cities around so this will be 2 days of mostly driving.

Day 9 – Helsinki, Finland > Oulu, Finland

The journey started a bit north of Helsinki, at Motelli Motel.

I found out why they call Finland the Land of a ThausandLakes.
Lakes literally everywhere.

We went off the main European Road to find some spot where you can take a picture on a big lake. We found some random villas along the lake with piers as seen in the pictures. The first pier we found, had the owner sitting on a bench. We asked if we can take some pictures from the lake, and he said “no, this is a private property”. Uhm… ok. “go somewhere else…”. Ok. And we left to find another spot. We found one some other place. The first guy actually seemed scared that we asked. Like what would 2 people in their 20s with only a camera can do? I don’t know.

After we took this pictures, about 30 minutes later on the road, we were stopped by the police, asking if we went in the previous village and for what reason. I told the officer that indeed we went there to take some pictures of the lake, he said ok, asked for personal and car documents, ran a check, and sent us on our way. The police were very friendly and ok. Always saying stuff like “Enjoy Finland”. But the people seem… interesting. I guess the reddit banter does have some background.

I’ve read on some blog i cannot find right now something along the lines “finns like to keep their country on their own”. Yea… it seems this way. Calling the police for 2 people with a camera seems too much.

Oulu is a relatively small town, but the biggest one around. So it was pretty fast to take a walk around it. Interesting place.

Empty streets at around 10:30 PM.
Random miniature statues behind the City Hall.

The most interesting part of this city, for me, was the closeness to the polar circle. Here the Sun sets at 00:20 and rises at 02:00. It’s basically never fully dark.

Day 8 – Tallinn, Estonia > Helsinki, Finland

Tallinn from a distance.

From the feryboat we went and tried to find some parking in the city center to go see the city. Fortunately this was Saturday (iirc) and the parking was basically 2 euros for the remainder of the day.

Afterwards we just walked around the center.

Some impressions about Finland and Helsinki especially. I didn’t know much about Finland itself except for random banter i read on Reddit between Swedes, Nordes and Finns.

The first thing that we found pretty surprising was the very big prices for basically everything. A 1L bottle of Pepsi is about 3 euros at the supermarket, and a average supermarket beer was also around 3+ euros.
Pretty expensive everything. But then i googled and found out that the average salary in Finland is about 3300 Euros, so then it kinda made sense.

Helsinki looks and feels amazing. I was really surprised at the ammount of people of all races and ethnicities in Helsinki. It really looks like a amazing city to live in. Even for just a few years.

Unfortunately as a tourist attraction we didn’t see a lot of very interesting sights. Maybe if we took a boat tour of the Helsinki harbour area. But with the big price surprise in Helsinki, we decided to keep it within our budget and walk around some more. The pictures of Helsinki don’t give it justice, because there were a lot more interesting spots and events around. There was this park in the central part of it, where literally everyone was sitting on the grass at 10 PM and drinking and chatting. It really looks like a fun city to be in.

Statue of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
He was a Grand Duke of Finland.

We didn’t find any accomodation in Helsinki at that time that was within our budget, so we traveled about 40 minutes north of Helsinki where we found a Motel called… Motelli. This was the first Motel i’ve ever stayed in and it really resembled the American Movies Motels, with the good, the bad and the ugly.

Day 7 – near Parnu, Estonia > Tallinn, Estonia

Viking stuff started to appear as we approach the Scandinavian Peninsula
Eesti is beesti!
That’s it from Tallinn. It’s a pretty nice historic city. I recommend it. Even though it seems it has a recent tourist problem, with a lot of English and Russian teenagers and young adults going to Tallinn for the cheap and awesome place it is.

Day 6 – Riga, Latvia > near Parnu, Estonia

On this day we decided we were a bit tired and wanted to stop for another day to swap items in baggages and charge everything, and also take a short bath in the sea. It was the first time in a long time i’ve been to the sea and since there won’t be any other opportunity soon it was the perfect time to do it.

Green forests right next to the sea.
Storm coming in. It’s going to be raining the next few days.