Northern Norway – 1 to 17 June 2022

We left the campsite near Trondheim and hit the E6 north towards the Arctic Circle. We’d bought forward all our plans by a couple of days and changed our mind on using the coastal road, as a bridge further north on the E6 had been damaged essentially cutting off the north unless you took a 600km+ diversion via Sweden and Finland. We’d been told it would be a quick fix given the importance of the road (it runs all the way through the country from the Swedish border in the south to the Russian border in the far north east) but we had still had lots to do and see before meeting friends at the end of the month so didn’t want to risk any delay.

Most of this part of the trip was staying on free spots found on Park4night but we did use a couple of paid parking areas on the Lofotens (more on those later!). As we mentioned before motorhoming here is so easy with plenty of places to stop overnight and accessible, free service points.

The Arctic Circle

We slowly moved from the rivers and mountains of central Norway to the flat snow covered plateau at the Arctic Circle, encountering our first roadside reindeer of the trip!

The Arctic Circle visitors centre is mostly a souvenir shop and cafe but there are a couple of war memorials on the edge of the car park. You can stay there overnight and we were close enough to be able to use the Wi-Fi so took the opportunity to update apps and back up the phones 狼.


Our next stop was Bodo to take the ferry to the Lofotens. On the way we visited the Saltstraumen, one of the world’s strongest tidal-current maelstroms. The area has huge tidal variations and four times a day large amounts of water are pushed through a narrow gap to produce the eddy. This was not something to go out of your way too see but we were in the area and had timed it right for a high tide so thought why not.

A free riverside park up for the night near Namsen

We took the 3 hour 15 min ferry from Bodo to Moskenes. We were slightly delayed in leaving due to weather but as there had been a gale warning earlier in the day, we were thankful for a calmer crossing. If you have a ferry pass you can get the crossing for almost half price (full price was approx £175) but the toll/ferry tag we had didn’t cover this ferry and you can’t get the pass once in country as it’s sent to your home address.

Gammelgarden Bakery

The Lofoten Islands are quite simply stunning! Sharp, high peaks against fjords and the sea, hidden beaches and an abundance of the typical Norwegian fishing villages as seen in guidebooks.

Beautiful Å

On arrival we drove the short distance to the village of A, the starting point of the E10 which runs the length of the islands back to the mainland just north of Narvik. The Gammelgarden Bakery is well worth a visit for its cinnamon buns which are baked in a vintage oven.

We followed the E10 through the two islands of Moskenesoya and Flakstadoya, spending two nights near Fredang, from where we hiked up the headland to see the beach at Ryten. The “campsite” is nothing more than a grass field but has toilets and a shower, is close to the beach and the hiking path. The cost was NOK100 per night (about £8) which was the same price for day parking.

If a hike has a chain you know it will be a good one.
The view from Ryten was well worth the hike.

We took a detour off the E10 to the village of Laukvik where we stayed in the village aire. It’s a large quayside concrete car park but EHU is available and it has a building with showers, toilets and free, yes free, laundry facilities. It was NOK200 per night or NOK250 with EHU and one of the locals comes round to collect the money (cash or card). There’s a great little cafe in the village and a coffee roasting business, although the latter was closed when we visited and it was here that we got our first glimpse of the midnight sun. The lack of darkness is playing a little havoc with our internal clocks and we find ourselves going to bed later than usual but the blinds do a pretty good job at keeping the van dark.

Kafe Naust in Laukvik

Our last night on the Lofotens was in a remote park up near Fauskevag, south of Harstad, where we really got to see the midnight sun.

From here it was back on to the E6 on our way to Nordkapp. We found another amazing park up near Talvik where June got to dip in the sea, and yes we are still above the Arctic Circle.

A great park up near Talvik
June swimming at Talvik
Orcas at Talvik

The next stop was the most northerly point of Norway that you can drive to at Nordkapp. The E69 is a long windy road that takes from Olderfjord to Nordkapp, via coastal cliffs, open plateaus, deep tunnels (the Nordkapptunnel reaches a depth of 212m below sea level) and sees a never ending flow of motorhomes, motorcycles and a surprising number of people on good old fashioned pushbikes!


At the end of the road is the visitor centre where parking is free but you are supposed to pay NOK310 (£25) each to enter, even just to go to the cafe and souvenir shop. We had the misfortune to arrive at the same time as coach loads of visitors from a cruise ship that we had passed moored in the nearby town of Honningsvag. On the upside this meant we could sneak into the centre with the masses unnoticed, grab our sticker and use the Wi-Fi unnoticed! The coaches just kept coming with the last one leaving around midnight but the place was empty in the morning meaning we could take our photos uninterrupted.

Just a few Motorhomes at Nordkapp

We took a slight detour on the way back via Hammerfest just because June liked the name! We found it difficult to park in the centre due to roadworks and the fact that the cruise ship was now here, so no visit to the Isbjornklubben, aka the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society where you can become a lifetime member for a small fee. For an additional fee you can enjoy the dubious experience of being “knighted” with the penis bone of a walrus! Apparently it’s all very tongue in cheek. We did manage to park briefly by the Struve Geodetic Arc, one of a series of points stretching from here to the Black Sea in Hungary built as part of an experiment in the early 19th century to measure the shape and size of the Earth and determine the flattening of the planet at the poles.

Very well behaved Reindeer at Hammerfest waiting for the bus

These few days were mostly driving and from Hammerfest we headed across the north eastern region of Norway, as far as we could go to the Russian border. We spent a couple of nights at Grense Jakobselv on the Barents Sea, well worth the 50km of bumping down a road which in some places was tarmac but other places gravel and potholes. This was just another site we found on Park4night and there were a few other vans there, plus on both nights two different cyclists with tents. The site has toilets, a hut and fire pit with a ready supply of chopped wood and we spent the evenings chatting and drinking round the fire. We didn’t always understand each other – we were a mix of German, French and us Brits, but we understood enough. The Norwegian army patrol the area regularly but despite the guns, were very friendly and chatty. Sadly we didn’t get to see whales which are often seen in the area but we had seen some dolphins on our way here.

Park up at Grense Jakobselv
Coming together of nations. Two Brits, a Frenchman who had cycled over 6000 kms, 6 Germans and a dog
There were free logs for the fire provided in the shelter.
The Church at Grense Jakobselv

That’s the end of this part of the trip as we are now in Finland for a few days. We are making our way back to Norway to meet friends for a week’s holiday in a house on a fjord near Tromso and from there we start making our way back to the UK via a few weeks in Sweden.

West Norway, Lysefjord to Trondheim – 15 May to 1 June 2022

After leaving southern Norway, we headed north and west into the western fjords surrounding Bergen. We followed Route 13 for most of the way with a couple of side trips.

This has to be one of the most picturesque roads we have ever driven (well until we got to routes 7 and 55…!) taken us alongside fjords, over fjords on ferries, through tunnels under and roads over mountains. To top the physical scenery, the area around Sorfjorden is known for apple production and the trees were in full spring bloom.

Always good to be first on the grid.

May 17th is a national holiday celebrating Constitution Day with most houses flying the Norwegian and we passed through several towns/villages having parades with people in national dress. We were able to stop for one parade and it was great to see what seemed like the whole village taking part.

Celebrating Constitution Day

One of the diversions we took off 13 was to the Folgefonna glacier. After a walk through the forest and a scramble over rocks (using ropes in places) we made it to the viewpoint at the base of the glacier. For the more adventurous it is possible to hire a guide and continue to the glacier but getting to the viewpoint was enough for us!

When it got tough there were ropes and chains to help you to the viewing point for the Folgefonna glacier.
The Folgefonna glacier.

Waterfalls are everywhere and not just little pretty streams – with spring arriving the snow is melting and the force of the water in the falls and rivers is phenomenal.


Another road worth a mention is the 7 which we followed on to the Hardangervidda Plateau, Europe’s largest mountain plateau and snow covered when we were there, where we visited Voringsfossen and stayed at the Sysenvatn Dam.

The sunsets are stunning. This was at the park up by the Sysenvatn Dam

We paid a brief visit to Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, taking the tram from our glamorous car park next to an ice hockey rink – NOK300 for 24 hours parking but services and EHU available. The tram was NOK40 per person each way direct into the centre. The city centre was fairly quiet despite several cruise ships being in port but after a walk around the old town and harbour we headed out to the next equally glamorous overnight spot in an IKEA car park!

Bergenhus Fortress, Bergen
Park up next to the hockey stadium Bergen
Well we had to really.

We continued north on the 13 and took another detour to the town of Fjaerland (or Mundal) which is known as Norway’s book town. We parked up on the old fjord side quay surrounded by places selling books; old cow sheds, a telephone box, a former toll booth and some conventional shops! Fjaerland is a small one street town but we found a quirky coffee shop (of course!),there are walks from the town, an outdoor activities centre and you can even rent the town sauna which floats on the fjord.

Fjaerland (or Mundal) which is known as Norway’s book town.
Cafe in Fjaerland (or Mundal)
Sauna on the end of a pontoon in Fjaerland

Our next overnight stay was just outside Lom which we reached after driving another stunning road, the 55. On our way to Lom we had lunch at the highest point, 4,700ft above sea level, surrounded by banks of snow which were higher than the van in places!

The 55 Road.

Lom has a beautiful stave church, built from wood and originally dating back to 1200.

Lom has a beautiful stave church
Lom has a beautiful stave church

We were then hoping to visit Geirangerfjord and drive along the hairpin bends of Trollstigen but the roads hadn’t yet reopened after the winter so we headed towards the coast to see a couple of places in the hope that the situation would change.

Melkevoll Campsite

We headed to the inner Nordfjord and Melkevoll Campsite in Jostedalsbreen National Park at the foot of the Briksdalsbreen Glacier. After a couple of rainy days we took the footpath up to the glacier which is a walking geology lesson, so right up our street! We were also lucky to pick one of the bright, sunny days to walk and spent a while sitting by the lake at the base of the glacier.

The waterfall behind Melkevoll Campsite.
Briksdalsbreen Glacier

Melkevoll Campsite is a mixture of open pitches and lodges surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. The cost was NOK280 p/n with no EHU and laundry an additional NOK20 per wash/dry. Machines are coin operated and reception will give you the change. The site also has a sauna and a small plunge pool in the river, if you’re brave enough!

Norway certainly has some amazing waterfalls

A chance conversation in a car park a few days ago, took us to the island of Maloy to see Norway’s “most photographed stone”! Definitely an interesting piece of geology but we have to confess to being slightly underwhelmed…….

The rock was slightly smaller than we expect

That same conversation also led us to the island of Runde, known as a good bird watching location. We hiked up to the island’s north shore and across the plateau to find the puffins which nest on the cliff side at this time of year. We sat for a while watching the puffins coming and going but also spottted gannets, razorbills, skuas and white tailed eagles.

Puffins, once we had found the correct cliff.
White tailed eagle.

We stopped briefly in Alesund for a wander around the town. It was a Sunday so most places were closed but we did find a fish and chip kiosk open and the familiar smell drew us in!


One of the most well known roads in Norway is the Atlantic Highway, a stretch of road linking several small islands north of Alesund. We did miss part of it but drove the 8km section from Vevang which you see in the photographs. There are several pull offs along the road big enough for motorhomes where you can stop to take photographs and one of them has an information centre, a cafe, toilets and a small walk way around one side of the island.

Our final stop in this region was another campsite just south of Trondheim as again it was raining. We stayed a couple of nights at Hogkjolen Fjellcamp (NOK155 p/n no EHU) which has a lot of fixed pitches and some areas for tourers. First impressions were of a site that needed some tidying up but they were deceptive! We camped down by the trees and the services were clean and tidy. Great hosts too, which is how we’ve found all the campsites so far.

From here we head a north, a long way north!

Southern Norway, Kristiansand to Lysefjord – 8 to 15 May 2022

After a mad rush through five countries we made it to Norway, the main destination for this trip. We took the ferry from Hirtshals in northern Denmark to Kristiansand on a bright day and parked up for the night just to the west of the city.

Coming into Kristiansand

Day one’s task was to find a replacement tyre as Bob had noticed a noise coming from one of the front tyres as we were speeding through Germany. After trying several places we were pointed in the direction of a tyre specialist near Stavanger where we ended up having to buy two to keep a pair on the front. Not cheap but we decided to bite the bullet and get them done so the issue of not having a spare wouldn’t be a constant niggle at the back of our minds.

One of the many tunnels in Norway

The dash from Kristiansand to Stavanger meant we didn’t see much of the south coast but as we’re discovering there is SO much to see in Norway, if we’d spent more time here then we would have had to cut back somewhere else.

Motorhome facilities are fantastic here in Norway. These are in a lot of lay-bys.

Before leaving the UK we had ordered a BroBizz tag which would allow tolls and ferry costs to be charged direct to our UK credit card (have Halifax Clarity Card so no conversion fees). In hindsight we should perhaps have also ordered a Norway ferry pass/tag which would have cut the cost of the ferries in the north of the country and to the Lofoten Islands. Unfortunately this couldn’t be done on the road as the tag is delivered to your home address. Without a tag, tolls and ferry charges are invoiced to your home address – everything is done via ANPR.

One of the many free park overs we have used.

As a general comment, motorhoming in Norway is a breeze! There are lots of free parking spaces in amazing locations (where you can’t park is clearly marked) and there are roadside standalone service points everywhere – we are using Park4Night as our source for both. Park ups have been clean and no-one seems to abuse the facilities or overstay. All probably why we are seeing hundreds of vans on the road!

The view from Randerburg “Mountain”

After a night on top of Randerburg “Mountain” (we were about 100ft above sea level!), we left Stavanger via the 14.4km long Ryfylketunnelen under the sea/fjord to spend a couple of free nights in a car park on the edge of Lysefjord near Oanes. The weather is very unpredictable and when the weather forecast has been for a few days of rain we have headed for campsites to catch up on laundry and use their wifi.

A bit too damp to use outside seating at the Oanes aire.

Since the UK phone companies are all reverting to capping EU roaming allowances or charging for usage we are trying to be mindful of our data usage as we typically use huge amounts of data. We have looked into getting a local SIM but they have proved to be expensive and topping up would be difficult outside Norway (thinking ahead to Finland and Sweden). So we’re hoping that we can eke out our UK allowances until friends come out at the end of June and bring us a few new SIM cards!

Wathne Camping

Wathne Camping is a mix of lodges and camping with a couple of pitches on a small beach next to a fjord but after parking there for the afternoon watching the water rise, we retreated to a grass pitch in the centre of the site. As luck would have it, a raised waterside pitch with a deck became available the following morning so we snuck back down there again! The cost here was NOK300 (approx £25) per night including EHU with laundry facilities at NOK35 (£3) per wash/dry and operated on an honesty system – you tell reception how many times you used each machine.

June on the edge of Pulpit Walk

Having caught up with ourselves, and with the rain stopping briefly, we managed one of the walks on the list of must things to do in Norway – the hike up to Preikestolen or Pulpit Walk. This also coincided with our wedding anniversary and we couldn’t have had a better day!


From -23C to + 27C in 24 hours!

Week one – the cold bit.

2nd February 2019

For once not a stupidly early start for our annual jaunt with the Woods as late morning we headed to Gatwick for our flight to Tromso in northern Norway. Yes, northern Norway in late February! This is our continued hunt for the Northern Lights which have so far eluded us. This trip has been planned to optimise our chances as we’ll be above the Arctic Circle for a week, so fingers crossed.

We arrived without issue, picked up the hire car (a 4×4 was in order for this trip) and headed into Tromso and our hotel for two nights, the Smarthotel which is in the city and a great location from which to walk around. Buffet breakfast was included which given the price of food was a good option.

Wall art in the hotel
Wall art in the hotel

First stop the pub and as expected it wasn’t cheap – two beers and two glasses of wine came in at around £40 so get over the shock we had another round.

Not cheap, even by London prices
Not cheap, even by London prices

Dinner was a local pizza restaurant, Casa Inferno, at which we thankfully got discount through the hotel. Quirky place though.

3rd February

A day to explore Tromso. It was cold….no not just cold, it was bloody freezing especially when we crossed the fjord to take the Fjellheisen cable car from where at the top there are great views over Tromso town and the surrounding area.

It was a little cold
It was a little cold

Given the constantly changing light we ended up spending most of the day up there with a few visits to the cafe for a much needed warming hot chocolate or hot wine. Given the location the sunset was early but stunning.

June dancing in the SunSet
June dancing in the SunSet

A slightly more traditional dinner tonight at Kaia with Bob tucking into a reindeer burger (no real difference to venison) before heading back to the hotel to pack as the next day we were heading to Bo in the Vesteralen Islands.

4th February

Not being sure of the road conditions and with driving time being estimated at 5-6 hours plus a supermarket stop and maybe one or two photo stops on the way, it was a reasonably early start.

Everywhere you looked was beautiful
Everywhere you looked was beautiful

Lunch was hot dogs from a petrol station – like our previous trip to Iceland, we found a few petrol stations that also cook fresh food. Nothing spectacular but good enough to top up an empty stomach!

We’d booked a property in the southern Vesterlan Islands via AirBnB and yet again we were not disappointed. A great location with windows on all side of the property overlooking fjords and despite there being a substantial amount of snow around the house was warm and cosy.

Our AirBnB
Our AirBnB

5th– 7th February

A few days exploring the region with Bob in his element driving through anything Mother Nature could throw at us! It’s a beautiful area and maybe even more so covered in snow and with the light making it almost impossible to take a bad photograph.

Stunning snowscape
Stunning snowscape

On our way back from Andenes there were times we thought we weren’t going to get back to the house as each time we turned a corner in the road the weather changed and at times closed in to very limited visibility. Obviously the locals are used to lots of snow and every house seemed to have a snow plough or blower and even the remote round the house was on was cleared a couple of times every day. What we didn’t expect was the snow plough coming up our drive and the man clearing the front porch – an extra touch from the house owners.

8th February

Today was our last day before heading back to Tromso so we decided to stay around the house and use the hot tub – it was a wood fired one so once lit we couldn’t leave. The instructions were to fill the tub the night before which we did so the first thing that had to be done was to remove the layer of ice that had formed overnight! It was then six hours of refilling the log burner and waiting for the water to come up to a decent temperature.

Hot tubbing it in the cold
Hot tubbing it in the cold

After a quick run through the snow in swimming costumes and walking boots, it was into the tub with a G & T (fresh ice of course) to watch the sun set. Amazingly the water even got too hot at one point!

9th February

The drive back to Tromso for our evening flight back to Gatwick was uneventful although there were many stops to take more photos as the light had changed from the previous journeys! And it was the coldest day we experienced with the external car temperature heading down until it reached -23°C!

-23 degrees C
-23 degrees C

Northern Lights

Although it’s not something you can guarantee we really hoped that this time the Lights would come out to play for us and we weren’t disappointed as the displays got stronger as the week went on. We had all downloaded various apps to help spot the Lights but they really didn’t help too much as despite the forecasts not being that good we still got some strong displays.

Top tip for taking photos of the Lights – use a tripod or even better, a GoPro on a tripod but don’t forget just watch and enjoy them.

All in all an amazing week away – Norway is stunning. The only downside was the cost once we were there but we knew it would be expensive before booking so were well prepared!

A few more photos

[wpanchor id=”Barbados”]Week 2 – the not so cold bit!

Previously it had been June that travelled for business but out of the blue Bob had the opportunity to go to Barbados (yes Barbados in the Caribbean) to help deliver some training for Princes Trust International. And with June having been made redundant a few weeks earlier there was no way she was going to sit at home and miss out!

9th February

Having arrived back from snowy Norway around 10.30 pm and needing to be back at Gatwick around 8 am the following morning, we spent the night at a nearby hotel with just enough time to grab a few hours sleep and switch the bags over – out with the thermals and in with the beachwear!

10th February

Breakfast care of the BA Lounge followed by an eight hour flight and although flying economy we got the emergency exit seats so plenty of legroom and entertainment as we watched people trying to open the toilet door which, believe us, is more fun than it sounds!

And it was 27°C on arrival – a temperature swing of 50°C in 24 hours.

Hotel for a couple of nights was the Blue Horizon at Rockley Beach, a well located small hotel sadly let down by the quality of its food.

11th – 14th February

With Bob now working, June was left in a strange situation – absolutely nothing to do! A few walks along the beach were called for and the occasional dip in the pool ensured the days passed without any boredom, along with, for once, reading all her magazines and a couple of books.

Pool side

All along this part of the coast are beach bars and restaurants so we were spoilt for choice on where to go for cocktails and seafood.

Due to some confusion when the original booking was made, and due to the England cricket team being in town to play a test match, we had to move hotels to the Palm Gardens Hotel, Worthing Beach, but luckily it was only a few minutes away. After one night in the hotel annex, our second room was fine and also had a small self-contained kitchen so we could at least store some food and drink and not rely on restaurants for all our meals.

We were in walking distance of the St Lawrence Gap, a great area for restaurants so visited there a couple of nights.


15th-17th February

We had decided to stay on when the training course finished it seemed a shame to come all this way and not see some of the island. The extra days made the flights considerably cheaper as well as we would be staying over the weekend. Beach holidays are not our normal type of holiday so we signed up for a couple of day trips to see as much as possible.

Trip 1 was the Natural Wonders of Barbados tour and the first stop was Harrison’s Cave, a complex of limestone caves and tunnels in the centre of the island. A special train takes you underground for a fascinating trip to view the caverns and pools awash with stalactites and stalagmites.

Lets go Caving

From there it was on to Hunte’s Gardens, a stunning tropical garden set inside a collapsed cavern. Small paths take you from one area to another and there are lots of hidden chairs from where you can just sit and take in the beautiful plants. A few quirky statues and ornaments along the way too!

We had lunch (included in the tour price) at Chill ‘n Breeze on the east coast of the island where the beaches are pounded by the Atlantic and a short stop at Bathsheba Beach to get a little closer to the waves. In contrast to the calm Caribbean Sea, this part of the island is popular with surfers.

Our last stop was the Barbados Wildlife Reserve home to peacocks, iguanas, tortoises, red brocket deer, a couple of Patagonian maras (look like a bit like a rabbit) and the Barbados green monkey. Our arrival coincided with feeding time and the monkeys, which are free to come and go as they please, came in from all sides to feast on the buckets of fruit and vegetables!

Showing off

The tour bought us back along the more genteel west coast where all the large (and expensive!) resorts are located plus a few golf courses and the home of probably one of most famous locals, Rihanna.

That night we jumped on a local bus to Oistins, the place to be on a Friday night in Barbados. Every week there’s an outdoor fish BBQ with dozens of stalls trying to attract your attention and such a great atmosphere. Later in the evening there’s live music but we didn’t stay for that.


No visit to the Caribbean is complete without a boat trip so the next day we joined a catamaran cruise for some snorkelling and general lazing around on the water! We opted for Elegance Catamaran Cruises rather than one of the larger boats and the dozen or so passengers were well looked after by the crew.

The first part of the day saw us heading the south west part of the island for some snorkelling above shipwrecks and with turtles.

Once the “active” part of the day was done, the bar opened as we sailed along the west coast past the big hotels and celebrity houses with the attentive crew ensuring that our glasses were never empty. A delicious lunch was again included and served on board as we sat off-shore in a small bay.


It’s not normally our choice to sit around doing nothing and be waited on but just sometimes it has to be done!

We spent our final morning soaking up the sun as there was going to be too much of that when we got home. It was then an overnight flight back with poor Bob having to head straight into the office on Monday morning!

A few more photos