Written 10th August
Norway has been unexpectedly and gloriously fabulous. For the most part anyway - we are drawing a veil over the desperate hours of sea sick, tea addiction cold turkey, not really Norway's fault per se :)
When the weather is fine, Norway is epic, beautiful and stunningly glorious although unfortunately when it is wet, it is epic, grey and stunningly expensive. Well, to be fair it is expensive all the time - sorry for banging on about it and thank you for sticking with me! - but in the fabulous sunny weather, you can forgive and forget that and simply inhale the place in in one long, deep, life affirming breath.
The three and a half weeks here have been some of the best of our entire trip, with all the things I love the most; fresh air, wide open spaces, vast expansive vistas, coastline, cliffs, sea, fine sandy beaches, mountains, lakes and glaciers, all rolled into one exhilarating package. And a near inaccesible cardinal point expedition - extreme in more ways than one! Although as I say, it wouldn't be fun if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!
In the Kystriksveien, Atlanterhavsveien and most especially the Trollstigan, Ornevegen and Sognefjellsvegen, Norway has simply the best driving roads in europe. And we should know, we have 22,500 miles of european roads under our wheels what with this trip and two recent midget adventures.
From something we read somewhere, the government are trying to actively promote Norway as a drivers' destination of choice with the creation of 11 designated tourist routes, of which the above five are part. What this will mean, apart from a shiny visitor centre at the top of the Trollstigan, I'm not sure but it is a good plan. Although sadly the only things that could be done for UK motorists would be the re-establishment of the UK-Norway ferries and a reduction in the price of fuel - both of which, I suspect, are somewhat out of scope. Which is a shame as we know several people with bikes and small sports cars - one of which is still in the making! - who would love it here. I wonder how many classic british sports cars you can fit in a container...
And we've ticked off that last niggling trip 'To-Do': catch enough fish to justify the purchase of the fishing rod - something I never anticipated would actually happen! - and cooked our own fresh caught fish on a drift wood fire by the light of the setting sun.
In fact, the only thing I really wanted to do here but haven't is a blue ice glacier walk - something I did many years ago in New Zealand on the Fox Glacier (or maybe it was the Franz Josef, can't remember) - but that just leaves something to come back for. And anyway, with all that equipment and safety stuff, I bet it wouldn't be nearly as fun as our glacier mountain tramp :)
But here we are though, sailing away. We've watched the Wizard of Oz in english, some farmyard based animated film in Norwegian and the magician and now the band are just beginning to strike up. Who needs a fancy cruiseliner??
See you again on the other side!