At last we went on that road trip up to Norway and the landscapes of fjords, rivers, waterfalls, mountains – like something out of a Lord of the Rings milieu. This time, we had our baby girl with us. She’s almost one year now but has been with us in Southern Europe and now to Northern Europe, by plane, bus, boat and car. As she’s already walking it’s more dynamic now, as Florens learned to walk recently, compared to when she was three months and couldn’t walk around like now. It went well this time too, but generally, to it’s much easier when they are up to six or seven months. Here’s a video and photos from the road trip.
We packed our small Citroen Xsara with sleeping bags, a tent, some food, warm clothes, diapers and other baby stuff. The car was packed and the weather great! The roads are not many, and you just need to get a glance on map and your mental navigator is set to go.
My wife and I have been all over Norway, but this time was special, as our baby girl got her initiation to the Norse lands and its magic. I feel a connection to these lands, and its not something that I just go and see, then have it done with. It’s a process of recharging and reminding oneself of purity in a sense. We set out a week earlier than planned, because the weather was too good and we didn’t want to miss that. The weather really got bad after we got back to Sweden.
All in all, we experimented with various sleeping options, it’s not our last road trip but it was with the faithful red Citroen Xsara. Which we sold upon our return. We really only want a car for day trips, road trips and traveling. For the time being, we’ll do without, but a bigger vehicle in the future for sure… The Family Without Borders did a fine and inspiring post about the whole deal of Sleeping in the car. The photos they use to illustrate how they did it are great, and you see that with a bigger car or a (mini) van you’ll get far!
Tent, Cabin, Hotel
Up in the mountains and fjords the tracking of days doesn’t matter. You have your car to move about, water and food, the people you love most and it all results in a sense of total freedom. Or more a reminder of it and in another sense, you get closer and enter a bubble of harmony together. We slept one night in the tent, high up on the edge of a forest and near a path that cattle go by. It was so so, we couldn’t really relax because if a dozen or more sheep or cows would come by our tent it could mean big trouble. Even though the chances are small, in a tent you’re very vulnerable. Of course, there are camping places very you can have the first class tenting experience.
When we tried our first camping park it was so peaceful and nice that we hired a cabin. This was really great, for 35 – 50 € you can get a cabin with a small kitchen, with or without a WC, even a fireplace, parking, warm water and even wifi. This is by far the best option, the cheapest and the most comfortable for road tripping in Norway. Unless you have a big family car, mini bus or a camper. For us in the sedan, this worked perfectly.
In Ålesund we went for what looked and felt best, and ended up in Brosundet Hotel. Which is located in the center by the main canal as seen on postcards. This place was fantastic, with a good service and at entering or leaving the building, the ocean water in the canal smelled lovely. We could have stayed here forever, Ålesund is such a picturesque place, with it’s Jugend architecture, ocean water, mountains around. You’ll find this place lovely for a stop on a road trip to get refreshed. There is nothing out of the ordinary, it’s a town of 45 000 people, including the peripheral population. But it has all you need, ocean, mountains, lovely buildings, beauty, airport, it’s organized well, nothing too much or too little. We would have no second thought of moving here to be honest. One could have so much outdoor activity here, and on lazy grey days contemplate the speculator views out into the Atlantic sea. They even have a football team in the highest league. What more do you need?
We found this one for Florens, with immediate attraction to the colors and patterns. A hand made wool sweater from a shop called Sydvesten. Skip the souvenirs, always get something that’s useful, will last, has an affection value and quality made.
Get by Less Expensive
Norway is an oil country yet it has the highest gas prices in the world, so it’s a killer. But that’s not enough, you’ll pay for the highways too, and also for some tunnels, bridges and other beautiful small roads that go over mountains. It will cost you but that is something you already had in mind before thinking of Norway + car + road trip. A bridge can cost about 8€ and a bit of highway 2-4 €. Once up on the smaller roads only specific tunnels and bridges will cost. With that said, drive moderately, cruise around at a fair speed and you’ll both enjoy the view and reduce the gas consumption. When it comes to eating, stick to cooking your own food, always buy at the Kiwi, ICA, Coop, Bunnpris and such. We had our small portable express stove by Primus – and for times of laziness, there is bread, salads and options like that. On a road trip in Norway, you won’t be eating gourmet vegan raw food. Be practical.
Sleeping can cost you everything from free to hotel prices. In Ålesund we slept in a hotel, as we really wanted to go to see that town. Otherwise we’d never go to a hotel. Sleeping in a tent or even better renting a small cabin at the many camping spots near the roads is the best choice. If the summer’s good and if it gets warm enough above the tree line, sleeping in pure mountain air is the best thing. We did that before we had our daughter, just roll back the seat and get into that sleeping back… you’ll wake up ‘brand new’.