Road trip to Scandinavia 2013 - Part II

Posted by Gerben Jacobs on November 27, 2013 in personal

Day 3: Løkken and Hjørring

The next day we drove to the seaside town of Løkken, famous for its candy store and beaches. We arrived early in the afternoon and parked at a big parking lot, for beachgoers. First up; the beach of course.

Walked to the beach through the dunes
Walked to the beach through the dunes
Lovely composition of colours
Lovely composition of colours

This beach is also famous for its World War II bunkers part of the Atlantic Wall and we could see them in the distance. But first a little walk on the beach and visiting the pier, where the water was frantically splashing over. Something I wanted to get on camera.. would have been better if I had cleaned the salt seawater afterwards.

We then went back to the candy store, but didn't really feel like getting anything. We went for a cold drink at a cafe instead and afterwards called it a day; we still had to find a camp site.

Kitesurfer on the water
Kitesurfer on the water
Mansion on the coast
Mansion on the coast
Splashing coast
Splashing coast
(Blurry) bunker on the beach
(Blurry) bunker on the beach

Arriving at the camping we met the lovely owner, she told us more about that Danish camping card and told us we could look for a nice spot; so we did. Set up the tent and walked around, thinking about going for a swim in the pool. In the end we didn't, we made dinner and played some card games and just hit the hay.

Day 4: Hirtshals (DK) to Mandal (NO)

The next day we only had to drive a little distance to Hirtshals, the place where the boat to Norway leaves from. The highway that goes to this little village, just ends at the boat terminal, which is not what we expected, we were there a bit early..

Entering the boat
Entering the boat
And we're off..
And we're off..

Then after a small three hours, we arrived in Norway. Our first objective was to find an ATM and get ourselves some Norwegian crowns, we only had Danish cash. But Kristiansand isn't really car-friendly and we ended up using our GPS to find an ATM point of interest.. which was like five km away (yes, I should update my GPS). So we ended up driving a bit off course from our intended destination: Mandal.

But this also meant we were taking "touristic detours", as we like to call it. We were also quite impressed with the "mountains" we saw (which were merely hills, really) so a lot of photos were taken. It was the beginning of a very nature-oriented vacation!

Lighthouse off the coast of Norway
Lighthouse off the coast of Norway
First 'country' road we drove on..
Look at that 'mountain'!!
Look at that "mountain"!!
Scenic views
Scenic views

After we found some cash and a supermarket we went on our way to the camping in Mandal, a suggestion made by my co-worker. I think he got this idea from a Dutch campingguide, because apart from our German neighbours, there were only Dutch license plates.
We had no house number and when we came upon a T-crossing, we (or the GPS) decided to go right. As you can guess, this was the wrong way.

But in the end, as this is an adventure remember, this wasn't that bad. We saw some nice landscape and when we decided to get the paper map out we parked the car right after a bridge on someones driveway that was big enough for a U-turn.

So I got out and wandered to the passenger side so we could discuss. While all of a sudden this old lady comes walking from her garden and I said "Hello" and said we were looking for the Mandal camping which at first she didn't know, but that's because it's called Sandnes, like the owners last name. I love how she just started this big conversation, even when she already told us the directions. "Yeah, there are 2 bridges, but don't go there, stay on the main road.. the 455. But don't take the bridge! It's on the left side. It's a big white house".
(Thank you old lady in Øyslebø!)

We were still under the impression it was on this side of the T-crossing so we kept looking for this "big white house", but couldn't find anything.. we were getting slightly worried. Then we drove by the T-crossing where we came from and decided to go ahead anyway.. and within a couple of meters we saw a sign for the camp site; duh-moment.

The Sandnes camping, a tiny little plot next to the road and river is owned by this middle age couple. We were actually quite lucky to get a spot. When we went to scout the area after we set up the tent and ate, the driveway had a sign on it saying the camping was full.

View of Mandalselva river
View of Mandalselva river
Shed and curvature of the road
Shed and curvature of the road
Cairns next to the river
Cairns next to the river
Spot the little black car ;)
Spot the little black car ;)

We had seen people walking upon the ridge next to the camping, so after dinner, we decided to find out how to get there. The owner had made a tiny little map on a piece of wood and it he also made some kind of trail. So it was easy to follow. The view from there was really nice, we could see the camping but also the river and the windy road.

Sandnes camping with Mandal river
Sandnes camping with Mandal river

We walked back down and to the river, basking in the setting sun, realising we were finally in Norway. I could feel the sense of relaxation.

Day 5: Stavanger

The next proper day in Norway we drove to the south-west of Norway, to Stavanger. A town famous for its Three-Sword statue. Which is actually called Sverd i fjell (Swords in (the) mountain).
The drive up there was pretty rainy.

The Norwegian countryside
The Norwegian countryside
Sverd i fjell on a gloomy day
Sverd i fjell on a gloomy day

In fact, setting up our tent was done in between periods of rain. Our plan was to stay on this camping, which was partly situated in a park, for two days.
We arrived at 2pm and would visit Stavanger after setting up the tent. The next day we would drive to Preikestolen, climb it and give our legs and feet some rest after that and take it easy on day 6.

The walk to the city was 20 to 30 minutes and it was quite nice, since we had to walk non-touristy routes. Maybe you think that's a weird kind of fun, but I like it. Walking in a dead simple normal neighbourhood, that's how you get to see the real country, right?

Stavanger Domkirke (cathedral)
Stavanger Domkirke (cathedral)
Seagull on a lamppost at Byparken
Seagull on a lamppost at Byparken

Fun fact: When we were in the cathedral, I took a photo then looked on my screen and noticed I still had 666 photos left. Oops :)

Typical wooden (and red-painted) houses at Byparken
Typical wooden (and red-painted) houses at Byparken
The gothy side of the Domkirke
The gothy side of the Domkirke

We then shuffled through the city center, which was all quaint and cozy, but nothing really special. On the way back to the campsite we went to a 7-eleven.. then left and went to a normal supermarket. I don't understand why a 7-eleven (a.k.a. expensive convenience store) is open during normal hours.

But yeah, we don't have them in the Netherlands, so we had to check one out!
In the supermarket we bought some food and also some Norwegian chocolates. Three for the price of one. Or something like that. Never pass on discounted chocolate..

We walked back, over the bridge that crosses the railway, through the tunnel that covers the main street and then decided we were actually thirsty. Popped into one more supermarket before we entered that neighbourhood again. There we were, walking with a cold coffee drink and way-too-big Monster energy drink, trying to avoid the slugs that were covering the wet and damp foresty road.

Later that day I managed to burn my calves while making pancakes. An event that will live on as; the Great Pancake Disaster of 2013.
To stick with the adventure-theme throughout this entire blog, I think we took the blisters and rainy days and traded them for better luck for the next days. When you see what Preikestolen had to offer us, you'd probably burn your calves any day!

Read on!