(19) Life after Norway
Saturday 28th July
Woke up to light rain but greatful for the good spot in the garden. Sharon’s blisters were going down which was great. We think that the skin is still senstive to the sun so it’s better when the weather is not so good! We dried everything off and got on the road. We ate breakfast outside of a furniture shop to get out of the rain – they didn’t seem to mind although weren’t sure that we boosted business. We headed on to Halden where we would cross the border into Sweden. We had contact with Svein who was meeting us later that day to cycle with us for a couple of days, he was heading down from Honefoss in his camper van.
We arrived in Halden and had lunch in a small overgrown grassy area on a picnic bench. It started to rain as we packed up so we headed on up the hill towards the Swedish border so ducked into a garage to take cover . We spoke to Svein to arrange to meet at the garage we were at and when Svein arrived it was pouring down. He drove on to the next town over the Swedish border and would ride back to meet us, so we headed off in heavy rain . It was the heaviest rain we had been in so far. We crossed the border which was over a bridge and with nothing to declare we rode into our second country. With the rain pouring down it was hard to think that after 2200 miles we had finally left Norway.
Crossing the border
Tim was pulled over by a police caravan and was searched but all they could find was chocolate wrappers…..
Total miles in Norway – 2,2oo miles and 33,400 metres of climbing.
As we continued the traffic remained really busy and it was hard to appreciate the surroundings. Once we had passed the duty free shops that the Norwegians use to get cheap goods the traffic eased and so did the rain. We arrived in the next town and met Svein where we would ride together back to his camper. After 15 miles we arrived at his camper and dried off inside with a much needed cup of tea and snacks. We decided to continue to the next town as Svein had been there before and said was really pretty. Off we went again and met up to arrive in a pretty seaside town. Svein had parked up in the carpark at a pretty seaside town called Grebbestad and we decided to go for a short stroll to a view point, stretch our legs and have a beer to celebrate crossing the border. We had a lovely evening and Svein cooked us a great meal. During dinner Svein warned us that he talked in his sleep. We slept in the van which was great as it was raining outside. We fell asleep and in the early hours Gleusa (who was in Brazil) phoned Svein. He answered and started talking to her, at which point Sharon woke and thought he was talking in his sleep which caused much amusement over breakfast the next morning.
Sunday 29th July
We had a hearty breakfast and got ready for our ride. We were approached by a parking attendant who told us we were not allowed to camp in the car park. We explained that we had slept in the van – which was allowed – but looked around and realised why he had come over to us as there were clothes hanging off the van to dry and our bike kit was strewn across 2 parking spaces!
Getting ready for a Sunday ride
We enjoyed a great ride, heading south along the coast. The weather was brighter and there was little wind making good riding conditions.
Tim and Svein riding in Sweden
We stopped for lunch next to an old railway station and said our goodbyes to Svein. He had told us a lovely route which meant we would see the best of the area. We boarded the first of 3 ferries that we would take that afternoon. We arrived on a beautiful island called Flaton – meaning flat island, where we saw some wild deer and treated ourselves to an icecream ; )
Riding on ‘Flat island’
We rode on to a small town called Ellos to cook dinner and found a bench in a communal park. We got chatting to a lovely family from Holland who were on holiday. They had 4 boys who were interested in our kit especially the flint to light our stove burner! It was lovely to chat to them. We headed off in search of a camp spot and eventually found one on the edge of some woods a few kilometres out of town.
Sharon riding up the hill while looking for a camp spot
Monday 30th July
We had heavy rain in the night and Sharon woke early and started to pack up. We tried drying the tent but it still smelt musty from packing it damp a few days earlier. We stopped in Varekil we managed to change up the last of our Norwegian kroner to Swedish kroner and pick up breakfast and have it outside the bank whilst drying our tent over our bikes in the sun. We rode on to Gothenborg , the road was good, trying to keep to the cycle paths but as always put you back on the road when your not meant to. We crossed a large bridge the wrong side of the barrier but the drivers were pretty good about it.
Sharon the wrong side of the barrier about to join the correct side!
We stopped in a town called Kungalv to have a tea break cooking up a brew on the fire exit before a big rain storm hit us.
On our way to the city, we got a text from Sara who we were meeting the following day. She asked where we were and Tim saw it as a golden opportunity to wind her up! We texted her back saying we were 218 miles to Oslo but we didn’t add in which direction. She texted back saying ‘you won’t be in Denmark tomorrow then’. We then replied that we were south of Oslo and that we 25 miles from Gothenborg! She replied that Tim would miss out on the chocolate she was bringing – this of-course was the worst possible news for Tim : (
Managing to stay out of the rain we rode into Gothenborg. Most of the traffic was on the main highway so it was a nice ride into town. We made our way into the centre and found a tourist information office where we got information about the ferry that would take us to Denmark. We ended paying a high booking fee as they sent us to a travel agent and didn’t tell us we could book directly with the ferry company. We booked to sail the following morning at 7am. We spent the evening cooking dinner in the square and rode around the city taking in the sites. The city’s architecture was stunning – lots of different colours with copper roofs and turrets.
Arriving in Gothenborg
We decided to ride down to the ferry port to see how long it would take in the morning and to get our bearings. We rode along the harbour and found the ferry port. We thought as we had only 9 kroner left we would find out if there was an evening ferry which would mean we wouldn’t have to draw money out to pay for a camp site. There was one sailing at 11.50pm and they said we could wait in their very spacious lounge with our bikes – internet access and access to warm water – we couldn’t resist! After a couple of hours the ferry finally arrived and we headed out into the dark and wet. We were allowed to go on first ahead of the long queue of cars and lorries and we grabbed our sleeping bags and pillows and fell asleep up on the first deck. We both slept well but were woken up at 3.15am when we arrived in Frederikshavn, Denmark. We rode off the ferry and looked for somewhere to sleep. We finally found a field to camp in just out of town.
Number of miles in Sweden: 164 miles and 1,564 metres of climbing.
Total number of miles so far: 2,364 miles and 34,962 metres.
Next instalment coming soon!!