Eksharad Sweden

A very early start at 4am to get Matt to Gardermoen (Oslo) airport for his return flight to the UK.  After a sad farewell we headed up north into Sweden for a change in scenery.  The lakes are now surrounded by pine forests.  By the time we reached Torsby we were feeling the effects of our early morning and found a campsite ( Camping Alevi) north of Eksharad.  The site is on a bend of the river Klaralven and a great spot for a few days rest.     

The next day we got the scooter out for the first time this holiday and drove into Eksharad to visit the weekend market which was situated in a outdoor museum of old dwellings.

We also visited the Stave Kirke with its unusual graveyard crosses made of wrought iron with metal leaves which ring in the wind. 

The afternoon was spent walking in the pine forests to see yet another waterfall, halfway round the heavens opened and we got thoroughly soaked and although we saw all the signs of moose in the area none appeared.

Lake Mjosa

Travelling east we arrived at Lake Mjosa  and to our campsite for the day at Redalen.  The lake was over a metre higher than normal and half the campsite was under water.  A few caravans were stranded on islands but the majority had been moved to higher ground but their decking had floated off into the distance.     

We all enjoyed a relaxing day with a short walk up to another waterfall and a bit of fishing on the river entrance to the lake - no fish this time. 

The next day we crossed the bridge over to Hamar, one of the towns used in the 1994 Winter Olympics. The wetland area we had come to see was completely submerged so we continued our journey down towards Oslo spending the night at a picnic spot overlooking Hurdalssjoen lake.

Hardanger Vidda.

Early next morning we took an early walk to the lake and visited the Stave Kirke at Roldal then continued our journey northwards.  

 Our first stop were the waterfalls of Espelandsfoss and Latefossen.

Driving along the edge of the Sorfjorden we had incredible views of the Buardalen valley and the Folgefonna glacier.

We turned the corner at Ringoy with a view to our left of Hardangerfjorden. 

Carrying through Eidfjord we started to climb up towards the Hardanger Vidda stopping off at Voringsfossen, a waterfall with a drop of 145 meters. 

The Hardanger Vidda is a mountain plateau over 1000 meters high. The weather unfortunately closed in on us and the majority of the lakes up here were frozen and snow covered. This is a really wild place and because of the conditions we did not see many of the bird species we expected. 

We stayed the night in a picnic spot with two other camper vans, on our way to Leira.

Fjord land. Sand, Suldal and Roldal.

Continuing the journey deep into Fjord land on route 13 we drove through some spectacular scenery. Every turn opened up a new watery vista. We followed the Suldalsalgen, a famous salmon river. Saw no fish but the Merganser were there so must be fish somewhere. We visited the Kolbeinstveit museum, a collection of old wooden mills and storage houses, one dating from 1250 AD.
We stopped for the night at Roldal with the Hardanger Vidda national park just to the north.

Preikestolen ( Pulpit Rock)

We managed and early start the next morning in the mist and took the ferry at Lauvik to Oanes heading for Preikestolen.
This is a highlight of the area and a "Must do" on our list. The car park was almost empty when we arrived and we were questioning whether we would see any of the views at the top.
The walk was further than we expected with an estimated two hour  3.8 k and 300 meter assent. The first kilometer was very steep and had us all gasping for breath including our  Matt a mere twenty two year old. In fairness, Rob had unloaded his gear on to sherpa Matt's back.  We soon got into our stride and the weather cleared as we ascended. Sarah did her usual trick and extended the walk by taking a deliberate wrong turn on a path that took us higher up the mountain. This meant we ended up looking down at the Pulpit rock from a great hight then having to descend to our original target. It was all very worth while and the pictures do not do it full justice. Our descent back to the car park was much quicker and were glad we had made an early start. There was a constant stream of tourists and the car park was now full.

Hirtshal to Stavanger ferry

 Woke up to a calm morning and joined the ferry at Hirtshal for our twelve hour daytime crossing. This proved to be a much better experience with a steady ship and lots of bird life.



The ferry arrived late at 8.30 pm after an hours delay in loading in Denmark. They seemed to have packed it very badly and we were one three Camper vans which did not fit on. The had to call drivers back to the car deck to move their vehicles and repack them finally getting us loaded. We then had to find our stopping place for the night at an Aire  at Sandnes. This seemed to have disappeared and so we made the most of the light night and found a lay-by beside a fishing lake near Lauvik and Sarah set to and cooked us all a lovely meal. We settled down to our first night of free camping.