Following our very touristy few days we took off away from the main attractions onto some of the fjords and islands on the West Coast. A couple of ferries, a few bridges and some very quiet roads and we found ourselves well off the holiday routes on the island of Ertvagsoya. We had no reason to head there other than we saw it on the map and decided to have a look. Linked on both hips to other islands by bridges it seemed more of a transit point down to the ferry points, especially now the toll of the main road has been removed.
Mile after mile of fjords, forests and not much else. The odd small village tucked in here and there but even those didn’t really seem too worried about tourism – no souvenir shops, no ice-cream sellers, no cafes. People seem quite happy to just wander around and look at the views – not hard to see why. As with everywhere in Scandinavia picnic spots abound, find a good view, a quiet corner and they put in tables, chairs, some good parking and even a bbq, we have found a couple where even charcoal has been left by the previous incumbents for the next visitor.
Lunch spot just for us
Despite it being peak summer holidays for the Norwegians as well as the most of the rest of Europe the roads are very quiet, nowhere seems overly busy. Whilst we have loved the scenery here without a doubt we have also been amazed at the sense of space – we looked it up to double check there really is that much more room here and there is. Norway has 14 people for every square metre of land, whereas in the UK we have 267 people for every square metre – amazing – oh and we feel very justified in not visiting Monaco as they have 19,183 people per sqm, they must have to stand way too close to each other!
We have used a few campsites and all have had plenty of pitches, parking hasn’t been a problem and we have yet to queue for a ferry rather than just be waved straight on. We expected the wild / free camping areas to be similar to those in Spain, bursting at the seams, but we have parked up for nights on stunning spots overlooking fjords and beaches and not had another vehicle join us on several occasions.
Views we would happily pay for
Last night we tucked ourselves away on a marina, a Norwegian motorhome joined us, had their tea and then left, just us a few passing cruise ships and a couple of dolphins out in the fjord for the night. Not sure a spot like this would be empty anywhere else in Europe.
Last nights stopover
The whole do we don’t we visit the Lofotons has been a major topic for the last few weeks. We are close in that we are in the same country and it seems a shame not to go, then we checked ‘close’ and found we are 715 miles away, and on Norwegian roads the driving time is estimated at 18 hours to get there. We both agree its too far and too rushed, hey ho will need to come back in a couple of years to see the Lofotons and Nordkapp.
Fishing huts on the fjords
Instead we took to a few more of the back-roads, if the main tourist routes were quiet and the Western islands quieter then these were deserted. We drove around the coast and didn’t see more than a hand-full of vehicles in two or three hours.
Our route North was capped at Trondheim, so we found a campsite next to the fjord and have sat out in the sunshine for our last few hours in Norway. The weather has turned from drizzle grey to “way too hot” and we have joined the mass ranks of the beetroot look-a-likes :).
Tomorrow we turn around so our route South will be through Sweden, we have no fixed plans of what to see and do so will see what we find on route. Our first stop will be supermarket to stock up – the supplies have lasted well but we are looking forward to getting more than half a carrier bag full of fresh fruit and veg for less than the national debt of several small countries.