Our customers travel the length and breadth of Europe in their caravans and motorhomes in search wonderful places to visit. The freedom that comes with caravanning and motorhoming means flexibility, comfort and great value for money. We are always fascinated to hear about their travels and their recommendations so we can share these with other people.
Read more about Phil’s caravanning trip across Scandinavia.
Recently Phil Sands and his wife Lynn have travelled to Scandinavia with their caravan and have been kind enough to share their experiences with us. If you are considering visiting Denmark or Norway then read on. Thank you for your insights Phil – what a great diary. We love hearing about you travelling through Denmark and crossing to Norway. Thanks also for the photos of camping, mountains and fjords.
SCANDI TRIP PART 1- 8th September 2019
The car edges down the forest track, branches close in dripping from the recent rain, destination unclear and requests for help are met with waving arms from mechanical mannequins. Repeated grey canvas awnings on grey vans compress the reality which is blown by a crowd of children dancing, skipping and singing to amplified music. Bodies and bikes scatter as we have to push through, then we see it. A haven. Plot 104 the first base on the Scandi Tour (hopefully not noir).
The ferry from Harwich to Rotterdam prefaced a 500 mile drive to SE Denmark and the start of another saga which will take us onward to Norway then Sweden and back to Copenhagen. A night stop at Utrecht (as above) followed by Bremen were commas through unremarkable countryside.
Arrival in Ribe, SW Denmark was the start of our tour proper.
A major trading port in the 800’s as part of the Viking empire, Ribe’s jetty would have been lined with long boats. Apparently Danish Vikings were more merchants and only did a bit of pillaging! It was the Norwegians who were the real baddies (we will check this out in Oslo). Unfortunately the river silted up so now only tourist dock here. This is Denmark’s oldest surviving settlement and we wandered the cobbled streets and timber framed houses. Eat beside the quay.
Travelling through the country is like a trip through north English countryside, but less crowded and with a more leisurely laid back atmosphere. Aarhus, our second stop, is full on modernist buildings and Danish design. So we go to a ‘Beamish’ museum of buildings from 1750, 1920 & 1970. The most memorable exhibit is a vending machine for Scandi porn booklets. Not the modern large glossy ones but handy pocket sized that were passed round at school. On a walk round the adjacent botanic gardens study of the shrubs was disturbed by blondes sunbathing.
From Aarhus north to the top of Denmark a land of long beaches, dunes and crystal clear air. We stay at Tverstad and wander the wide sands, before Skagen (pronounced Scarn) the biggest fish port in the country and a smell to go with it.
The Danes come here to a pilgrimage to a cross between Lands End and Spurn point-Grenen. Here is the meeting of the Kattegat and the Skagerrak, that is the North Sea and Baltic Sea. A foot in each of the seas must be done.
Denmark – a relaxed, uncrowded, cool sort of place. English type countryside. A pleasant visit but a bit ordinary. A ferry will get us to Norway with the promise of being ‘the most beautiful country on earth’.
Photos :Byglandsfjord in southern Norway, Lofthus on Hardangerfjord, and Flaam.
SCANDI TRIP Part 2 – The Western Fjords
NORWAY HERE WE COME!
The ferry crossing from Hirtshals to Kristiansand is calm, on a boat with a duty free shopping mall where Norwegians are stocking up on food and booze. Lynn had loaded up the van so we won’t starve due to mega expensive prices. Rocky outcrops and islets greet us before we enter port. The customs check is surprisingly light and we head north. The flat driving in Denmark is instantly changed to ascending a steep walled canyon with road, rail and industry crammed in its floor. Soon we are in a countryside of high cliffs with pines clinging onto rocky ledges.
An hour later Byglandsfjord comes into spectacular view as we tack its eastern shore. Our first camp is on a promontory and we sit in the evening sun with a panoramic lake view backed by high mountains. The next day is gloomy and as we travel further north turns to heavy rain. We track the valley higher and higher above the tree line to a rocky moorland. Are we at the top, no. At a higher level ski centres come into view, and then we hit the head of the valley and see at right angles over what seems a vertiginous drop, a deep deep valley looking like a play mat with tiny vehicles.
We zig zag down then park for lunch and give the brakes a chance to cool. Again we rise up a valley and again zig zag down, this time into a narrow gorge with a white fuming cataract next to the road, the roar and booming bouncing of the cliff sides. Ahead we see a white spume as a waterfall explodes down and drenches the road. There is another on the other side but the parking is full so we cannot stop. A third is seen ahead. We think cars are parked to look at it but no, a driver enjoyed the view only to cross the road and end up in a ditch. A car coming the other way had to take evasive action and has ended up in the middle of the field.
We descend a third time into Odda, at the head of the sea fjord, Hardangerfjord. The road is cut into the valley side with rock overhangs and blind corners. It is a bit difficult to take in the view as busses and lorries pop up round the bends. There is a single track road up to the campsite at Lofthus and we have panoramic views with high cliffs up to the Hardangervidda plateau behind us.
We wished for spectacle in Norway and so far have got it in spades. The down side is that the photos fail to capture the scale and magnificence of the place.
Thank you for your guest blog Phil – it makes a very interesting and insightful read. We’re already looking forward to your next trip!