norway newsletter Septemeber 2016

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Have you ever been to Norway in a camper van I did this summer, infact I only got back 2 weeks ago.
You are King of the road, with a fantastic almost birds eye view of this wonderful country unfolding its self before your eyes. I travelled in convoy from Kristiansand to Alensund along the west coast and back over the heights in the centre of Norway, with 4 other campervans and their single or should I say SOLO owners, three of them with dogs on board. My companions I only met 3 months ago at a long weekend in Noordwijkerhout.
One could expect disaster, but exactly the opposite. I had one of the most enjoyable, relaxing 5 weeks in wonderful company doing something I thought was no longer possible, driving on my own in Pattys Wagon a 6 metre long camper van with my dear 14 month old Daschund Jolly.
I have no recipes for you, though we cooked great meals every night, Call it “out of the camper” not “out of the box”
However a couple of salmon recipes to inspire you
I was allowed to decide the menu, from what was on offer in everyones larder, and from an occasional food shop in a supermarket on the way. Together with Flo, one of the group and herself a good cook, we made a meal, and ate together “en famille”. Even washing up was fun.
The other members of the group all had their very own specialities. The only male in the group Arie was our saving Angel, a very knowledgeable technical man, who knew how to solve all our problems and answer our questions about our vehicles, without Arie there would have been much more stress.
Rita the youngest of the group is business like and gots us moving on with our plans everyday.
Irma is the head of the pack with her Dog Shef and with her careful weighing up of all matters, we almost always followed her advice
Irma is a widow since March and has undertaken this journey, as she promised her late husband she would go on with the camper.
I admire her, even more so, that this trip was being filmed and will come out next year on television as a documentary.
The idea for this documentary is of a filmmaker, whose mother died and his father had difficulties going on in life alone. He was a member of NKC. who are supporting Coen, the photographer, to encourage other Solo like his father to get together and travel together? Travelling alone in a camper is not difficult but staying overnight in the wild for women impossible, in a group such as ours you have your privacy, yet company, and you can plan and share the trip together giving less stress and in our case so much pleasure , fun , laughter and a beautiful country opening up like pages of a beautiful photo book, everyday again..
We parked wild every night in fantastic places, sometimes less, maybe one notch lower, but always agreeable. Now and then we stopped for water, and to empty our bilges!! Which was a major operation with 5 campers, but Arie conducted us all.
The group are wonderful and gave me a helping hand with difficult things, without them this would not have been possible for me.
As I mentioned at night I cooked, but they merrily chopped, fetched and carried and we all sat down together for a lovely diner and chat, until it was too cold or the midges came. Then we spent an hour or two in our own camper before retiring for the night. The morning starting time had been agreed the night before, so we did our own thing. I usual sat somewhere having my morning tea in nature. Rita ran or took Jolly on a long walk up the mountains, or Irma called to collect her for a walk. Flo went of for a walk with her beautiful Ollie, often coming back with flowers and Arie pottered around checking all was in order. Irma’s camper is always being cleaned. I invited her to do mine but no luck.
Now Norway
As a child I remember seeing a photo of my parents standing on a mountain in Norway with the Aussie relations, who had invited them for a trip in a Volkswagen bus. I was so cross I was left behind with an Auntie, that I couldn’t remember what they told me…I probably sulked for a week. Spoilt Brat.
I had no idea that it was continuing beauty, awesome views, picturesque villages, wide open spaces, nature untouched by human hands, or kept in its natural state with forethought. Maybe that is not all true. There must be a downside somewhere, but as yet I have not heard it. Sometimes there absolute silence. Peace in the deepest meaning of the word.
Our trip I cannot explain in detail from Kristiansand, along the south coast, then to Stavanger and Bergen. From their we went inland to Voss, then on up to Geiranger, and Northwards to Alensund.
Returning Eastwards through Opperdal, over the mountains, in snow over their tops, ever bending, ever winding up and down, there comes no end. Even now drops of 7% then it was sometimes 10% up or down, so much that my shoulders ached. For the rest it was an exhilarating drive in my faithful camper van from 2002. Thanks to Richard a mechanic in Zwolle, she is now behaving herself. Last winter I had thought that another trip was impossible, not only because of my camper, but also I did not know if I could do this alone, I had planned to look for a companion to accompany me, but that did not work out. Thanks to the rest of the group insisting I could join them, I did it. Infact I became stronger and more able, but still thankful at times for their helping hands and support whilst walking etc. I even did a small hike with them. Super
Jolly love her dog friends and enjoys her outings whilst I sit in my camper enjoying the scenery. She has climbed mountains, forded streams, gone after frogs and even once guided Rita on the right path home.
Will I return, yes, maybe to meander along the coast more, stay longer contemplating the shades of the mountains, ever changing in the sun and clouds. The majesty of the Fjords is comparable in some ways to New Zealand and it is only 1,000 kilometres away, by Fiat Ducato 28-JR-RL
I love her…
The next trip, we will see Scotland, Finland , Slovania, and of course France and Italy I never tire of..

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