3rd October 2019
After a big shop in preparation for the very expensive Norway, it was time to visit the local vet as the two dogs require, amongst other things, their pet passports signed before entry.
Our first impression of this beautiful country is wow. It has endless breath-taking scenery, but is a vast country and you will rack up the miles for sure, with our Autograph 79-4 totalling 3000 miles. That being said the road surfaces are pretty challenging, and you will lose count of the number of tunnels you pass through (the longest being the Laerdal at 15 miles!).
Oslo as you can imagine is a capital that reflects the modern age, alongside its deep history. We parked at the local marina about a 15-minute walk into the centre. You can visit the Royal Palace built in the first half of the 19th century and its architectural style is Neoclassical.
We spent a pleasant morning at the Vigeland Park, which is home to the famous sculpture park displaying the works of Gustav Vigeland. This is the largest sculpture park in the world and to say some of his work is risqué is an understatement! There are some great restaurants alongside the places to relax and enjoy this vibrant University City, but you will need deep pockets.
From Oslo, our destination ultimately was the North Cape, crossing our first Arctic Circle point on the way. We chose to meander up the Highway 7 that runs across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau and experience waterfalls and fjords and of course, uninterrupted scenery.
It felt like we had seen all of the 74 waterfalls in Norway and just north on the E6, near the town of Trofors, you will come to the gushing Laksforsen Waterfall. Majestic in all its beauty, we would recommend sitting in the adjacent cafe and listening to the cascades of water crashing against the rocks.
As this country encourages responsible wild camping we chose to stay in the car park overnight. When you have such a well-equipped motorhome like the Autograph 79-4, who needs an expensive campsite! We spent 15 of 18 nights wild camping and waking up next to a fjord or waterfall is heaven.
Next up was a 129-mile trip to the centre of the Arctic Circle on the E6 road in the Saltfjellet Mountains. Even though it was June, there was still snow on the ground and a biting winter wind.
The centre is home to a cinema about the Arctic and a souvenir shop with a cafe selling Reindeer meat. Again, we enjoyed a free night - not quite under the stars - as we experienced the phenomenon of the midnight sun, above the horizon, and is visible 24 hours a day.
We pushed further north the next day taking a ferry from Fauske to Narvik at a cost of 408 NKR. At around £40 for a 10-minute ferry, this was the gateway by road to access the Lofoten Islands.
Famous for fishing and nature, it was on our bucket list to go Whale watching. From Andenes right at the tip of the island, we were guaranteed to see whales, and we had 3 sperm whales who came to the boat blowing and waving their tail fluke to say hello! Unfortunately we had bad weather and with the sea waves coming as high as the boat, I was glad to get back to terra firma.
Another 300 miles saw us arrive at the North Cape, Often referred to as the northernmost point of Europe. To park and visit the centre is about £25 pounds each, but you can park over night to look out to sea and experience the midnight sun. Take warm clothes as it is notoriously windy here and at one point, I thought we would be blown over!
From the North Cape, we headed into Finland and total wilderness for hundreds of miles of forest lined roads. Many travellers choose this route to the North Cape because it's cheap and fast, but trust me go via Norway - it's worth every penny.
We then headed south to Lapland and Santa Claus village, which sits on the Arctic circle, When the Bailey of Bristol team visited on their epic Arctic Adventure in 2017 there were some amazing snowy scenes, for us just clear skies and sunshine but again a great experience.
Our own Arctic adventure lived up to all our expectations. Next stop Helsinki to catch a ferry to the Lofoten Islands.