After an epic seven weeks in Norway and a total of five months in Scandinavia during the summer of 2019, we have gathered a whole heap of information and experience. Whilst by no means a ‘completed journey’ as Norway is huge, for sure our massive journey has given us an incredible perspective of this country. From Tromso in the north, through the Lofoten Isles and across 8 of the 18 Most Scenic Routes in Norway like the Trollstigen and Geiranger Passes you will have your senses exercised with a daily workout.
And if Norway is on your Bucket List, then there is some planning to do beforehand. We are not great planners these days. We love to just wing it a lot of the time, although Norway is one country we needed to do a lot of thinking about, preparation and planning. And because of this we felt drawn to write a series of comprehensive blogs that detail our experiences. So many people are worried about the cost, the mileage and what they can do in the short time available. Well we have addressed all of these issues and pulled together the facts, the all-important websites you need and free to download Shopping Lists that will help you stock up on the right items before you come.
So look no further; All you need to get your Norway trip kick started is here. Check out these 3 Comprehensive Guides for:
Travel routes to Norway
Information on how to make the ferries cheaper
Toll Road essentials
How to camp when you get there
The essentials for driving around Norway
How to shop savvy for food, diesel and alcohol
A fully interactive map of our route, overnight stop co-ordinates
A list of our Wow moments and Trip Highlights
With these Guides, you will be informed, prepared and mindful – each with a host of practical tips and direct links to websites for further information relative to your trip parameters. Now your Norway Road Trip can go from dream to reality. Click on the three images below to get access to each of these comprehensive guides. For any more information, do drop us an email by clicking here.
All Things Travel focuses on everything you need to do BEFORE you leave home. Preparation is the Mother of Skill as they say, and this is so true for a trip to Norway. From planning your route, buying food essentials and Ferry and Toll planning, this blog has essential information for both getting there and getting around with ease on your tyres and on your pocket.
All Things Shopping helps to manage your budget whilst travelling in Norway. For sure it lives up to its reputation on expensive, just read about our ‘beer purchase experience’. Although there are ways to manage on a budget. We have included a FREE to download Pre-departure Shopping List so you load up with only the right essentials and share our Shopping Savvy tips once you are there.
All Things Wow shares our Top 10 sights included in our 2019 tour of Norway. It really does seem crazy to think that there are only 10, although seriously, every day there is a wow to be had, so these our our MEGA wow’s that need to be built into your itinerary if you can. We have our fully interactive route map included in this blog, which gives you every twist and turn in our route as well as the co-ordinates for our ‘homes’ along the way.
When you were our holidays, we loved the precious time you gave us, where we had the space to retreat, rejuvenate and reconnect.Into the mix you would offer us a brief glimpse into the culture of our temporary home. Whether that was food from the local hostelry, a street market that would tempt our culinary delights, or perhaps even a regional celebration that honoured a local custom. You encouraged us to dip our toes into a way of life that seemed far removed from our own stressful existence.Returning home we would often recall our experiences and studiously review our photo album, sighing with a longing that accompanies that inevitable back to reality.
Sometimes because of the way our lifestyle panned out, you were simply days out or short breaks away; we loved the escape you opened up for us, which quite simply used to get us away from life’s grind. A day-trip in the car or a city break gave us a destination to blow away our corporate created cobwebs. A rare treat to remove ourselves from the daily routines of professional and domestic chores which, in that moment, made us feel alive.Whilst these may have been all too short, sometimes they were all we could squeeze in amongst the stress ball of life.
And then three years ago, you showed up in all your glory – Travel, the full frontal experience. You gave us a chance to fill our lives with adventure, freedom and choice – riches beyond our imagination. And whilst we look back at our vacations and short breaks with fondness, they neither fulfilled us nor changed our lives. Their healing necessary although their longevity impermanent.
Yet the opportunity to enjoy every inch of your personality has been profound. You are the greatest teacher, the most flamboyant of moments and you provide the most deep-rooted memories that exceed every expectation. We feel privileged to have connected with you at such a deep level. To have shaken hands with your hospitality and ridden the rollercoaster of adventures that have taken us to the peak of joy and the depths of stress. Each one proving that we are alive and free.
You are not, it must be said Travel, always joyful. You are at times like a teenager throwing tantrums that capture us in your trail of destruction like a shoal of fish. Testing, pushing, stretching – although it is in these tempestuous moments that our characters are defined, refined and honed. Our coping mechanisms are so much more resilient because of your challenges.
Travel, you have taken us on a journey that with each step makes our heart beat as fast as a pair of star-crossed lovers on their first date. Around every corner you gift us with fresh vistas that take our breath away. You present us with stunning sunrises that herald a new day and powerful sunsets that gather the joys of that day underneath their rose-coloured veil.
For the last three years you have invited us on your journey of discovery revealing far more than just the cultural uniqueness of the countries we have visited. You have subtly mentored us to look within and understand more about our nomadic selves, uncovering the simplicity of life that exists beneath the stars. With your help, each day we remove ourselves from the corporate and commercial hub that imprisoned us and start to relish the truth that is entwined around life.How little we need to thrive; how little our materialistic possessions define us and how much more freedom we have when we grab the reigns from life’s galloping horse.
With these gifts that sit underneath our eternal Christmas Tree, how enriched our life has become. Each morning we awake with gratitude as the sun dawns and with eager anticipation we await the day’s lesson. It’s not always an easy class, as sometimes you throw a curve ball or two to stretch us. Although thanks to your solid foundation we cope so much more easily with those tests.Our stress from the old days are a dim and distant memory as deep wounds heal themselves and a fresh perspective graces our minds.
Home for us now can be found wherever our tyres stop for the night. That temporary abode is as homely as any brick wall and front door. We have embraced the open road and the wide open spaces that span the globe. And so when our wheels stop from their incessant roll, we breathe in the peace from the sanctuary that you have carved for us; beside the beach, in the bosom of the mountains or nestled beside a babbling brook.
Is this why when we return to the source of our birth ‘home’ that we feel so unsettled?
The girl who was a home-bird, who found the security of her house comforting and stabilising – now craves the open road. The itchy feet syndrome never feels so real as when we are drawn back to UK. Sometimes for three weeks, sometimes for three months, we have pitstops that are always purposeful and necessary although feel so strange. What a dichotomy. Returning to the nest yet not feeling at home.
Travel, this is your greatest puzzle. You have captured our hearts so gently and gracefully that we feel almost lost in the familiarity of our home country. And this is nothing to do with those we hold dear. They remain the same gorgeous and kind-hearted souls that we love unconditionally. No this is more about us and how we have been affected by your infectious path.We have learnt to be mindful in every moment, although I must confess that our minds often wander to the day when we return to the road.
We never really appreciated what it meant to have itchy feet as we lunged from one stressful situation to another in the corporate web of yesteryear – driven only by the next pay check or weekend retreat. Now blessed by a self-generated freedom, the generosity you have shown us makes us crave more. An addiction that feeds the soul, nourishes the mind and nurtures our human instincts for discovery, adventure and evolution.
With every passing day we find ourselves longing to return to your route-map and are thankful for the love and support we have to follow our dreams. Travel, you have enriched our lives and we look forward to our homecoming as our tyres hit the tarmac for yet another new adventure.
Travel, we thank you for the lessons, the discoveries and the personal realisations that have made us grow as human beings and, and with hope as our companion, may it be for many years to come. Draw us further into your web of intrigue and massage our life with experiences that create a page-turning book of intrigue, passion and discovery.
“We often hold this notion that when we move house, change our job or the car that magically things will shift, that life will somehow transform into the land of our dreams.”
Sat in the wilds of Transylvania, we have a moment of stillness to reflect on what has been a challenging couple of weeks and make sense of all the events that have unfolded. It’s been a bit odd really as it feels a bit like having a favourite sandwich; some fabulous experiences in the middle of some personally and financially stretching events. The unexpected storm tonight seems to match with my mood, as my mind races erratically like a tempestuous teenager, reviewing the series of challenges we have had to deal with. It causes me to reflect on my own learning and the dualities of a nomadic life and our travel choices.
The magic of change
“It is such a romantic notion to run away into the sunset and travel aimlessly, being guided by the wind, your intuition or the warmth of the sun.”
We often hold this ideal that when we move house, change our job or the car that magically things will shift; that life will somehow transform into the land of our dreams. And it is true, that for a time, it will certainly feel different, may-be even better. It could last a week, a month or a few years. Although the reality is that there is no complete escape – because life still vibrates around us, the clocks still chime and the earth still revolves.
The same happens when we decide to travel. Whether we choose backpacking around the world, an exciting sponsored-trip to the jungle or embark on a 3 month tour of Europe in a camper, we don’t escape life, we simply change the parameters within which we choose to live.
It is such a romantic notion to run away into the sunset and travel aimlessly, being guided by the wind, your intuition or the warmth of the sun. And it is a privileged and wonderful life, there’s no doubting that. How amazing is it to swap the routine of the Home, Work, Shops triangle for the sound of wolves in the mountain depths of Bulgaria or the crashing waves of the azure Grecian seas? I certainly wouldn’t swap.
Yet whilst we may find the courage to change our lives beyond recognition and, to use that cliché, ‘live the dream’ there is another perspective that must be packed into the suitcase of our new life choices – called the shadow.
As there is day, there too must be night, where the sun shines, the rain too must fall. The shadow exists as part of the duality of life and is not intended as a gloomy insight, just an aspect of life that, with awareness can keep us rooted into the reality of this beautiful, challenging and crazy world. Knowing the shadow exists can maintain our nomadic sanity
Amidst the joy of waking up in a new land with evocative smells of the local street food or the prospect of walking to the local bakery for your morning’s croissant, we need to be mindful of the shadow’s role in throwing challenges, problems and crises our way. I’m not suggesting that we keep this as such a strong focus that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, although if we can just ‘keep our heads, when all around us are loosing theirs..’ to quote Kipling, then surely our travelling experiences will be all the richer.
The problem with shadow’s presence on our travels is that it can cause us to get lost in fear, stress and anxiety, none of which are healthy places at any time, least of all whilst we are away from home. So what if we could apply some techniques for navigating these difficulties more smoothly, which would allow us to return to the business of seeking adventures?
Tips for Travelling Mindfully and navigating the bad days
There are so many things we can do to prevent the travellers’ droop and the risk of our dreams crashing to the floor. Here are my mindful insights, based on our recent stretching experiences:
Acceptance. Let’s face it, bad days will happen from time to time. We could well have something stolen, a laptop damaged by a freak storm, an uncomfortable interaction, an accident that damages our vehicle or break pads that need changing in a country of a strangers. And of course Banks still need to be dealt with, Insurance firms want us to jump through hoops when making a claim and compliance to the System’s rules keep a loose thread around us. Health issues are bound to crop up and stuff back home still needs our loving support and encouragement. Accepting that things will happen out of the blue will help you navigate this journey with more ease.
Awareness.What defines us and our happy lifestyle is how we handle what comes up. Our typical response to a crisis is to move into a flight or fight reaction, where primal behaviours kick in and we go into high alert. This protects us to some degree although may have us acting in a way that is not natural on a day to day basis. Instead, as our martial arts friend recently quoted ‘Be prepared not paranoid’. Know what action you will take in the event of a crisis, such as someone breaking into your space. Have a plan about how you will go about dealing with a stolen wallet. Know the emergency numbers of the country you’re visiting and always make sure your phone is charged. Be aware and alert without being paranoid – this pairing can carry you through a crisis or challenge with dexterity and calmness.
Breathe. In the midst of the vortex we go into a instinctive mode where our body reacts chemically to protect us from harm. In this high alert state we forget to breathe, which can instantly calm us and reduce our racing heart-rate. In stress or an event that triggers anger, sadness or disappointment, remember to breathe as it will reduce the alertness we are experiencing and creates a more rational space for us to operate in.
Be mindful. Travel and mindfulness is an art and skills we need to acquire. I’ve found travel to be my greatest teacher in the last 18 months and I continue to stay grounded in the experiences, both good and bad so that I can grow. Keep coming back to the here and now. It’s all too easy for our primitive, reptilian brain to scatter fear, uncertainty and doubt around our feet so that a forest of anxiety springs up, suffocating our dreams. Be attentive to how you feel, sit with whatever comes up and give it space to breathe. Don’t feed it, just be aware of it and it too will pass.
Rational thinking. We often believe that our thinking is the root of all evil and it certainly rules the roost much of the time especially when they come from our unconscious mind or reptilian brain. Instead when we mindfully bring our thoughts back into our conscious mind in the pre-frontal cortex, then we can rationalise what is going on and challenge our irrational thoughts. Take a step back, assess the bigger picture, see all sides and decide on appropriate action. This will hold you in the reality of the situation rather than the nightmare action movie you have just directed in your head.
Be grateful for all you have, all you experience and all that goes well. It’s so easy when there is a run of bad luck or challenges sent to try us, to get into a victim mentality. It is from this space that our thoughts of ‘home’ may return and we start to wonder if we should continue. Gratitude is key to us being in the moment and appreciating all we have, thanks to our life choices. Whilst ‘going back’ may be the right thing to do, listen to your heart and not your head, especially whilst it feels in crisis mode. Make decisions in the cool light of day.
See things as they are, not as you think they are. It’s that reptilian brain playing tricks with us again. It sees a situation and starts bringing in historical events, drama and over-generalisation and, before we know it we’ve inflamed the situation. See it for what it is. A stolen passport, a disgruntled person or a soggy laptop. Avoid the trap of ‘Why me?’ ‘It’s not fair’ and concentrate on creating a resolution.
Take responsibility and learn from what has happened. As with everything in life, there is always a lesson. I’m a great believer in ‘People (and indeed events) come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.’ Take time, after the challenge is over to explore what you can do differently to prevent it coming up again. Take the experience positively so you can move on quickly.
Let go! Whatever has happened, work through the resolution and then let go. Releasing the tension over a challenging situation means you move on with your travels, without the shadow clouding your experiences. We hold onto too much negative emotion that affects our enjoyment of the the moment. So learn to accept what has happened and then move forward.
So as we throw ourselves at the mercy of our wanderlust and commit to the joys of travel, remember that travelling mindfully is the key to our positive, self-expanding experiences that will have us trotting around the globe seeking out new adventures for as long as forever may be for us.
With love and happiness Karen x
Karen is a life coach, author and travel commentator who, with her seriously entertaining husband Myles, are feeding their curiosity with full-time travel in their camper. Together they are passionate about inspiring you to travel; whenever, wherever and however you can.
As I sit here watching the sun go down over the Ebro Delta on Spain’s north-eastern coast, I can hear the gentle cries of the flamingoes in the background and the plentiful birdlife playing in the twilight sky.
We stumbled upon this little haven after moving on from Peniscola where the campsite there was door to door vans, with no room to breathe. I felt completely hemmed in and claustrophobic so we hopped, skipped and jumped out of there and up the autovista to somewhere more wild, open and beautiful. And we found it. The Ebro Delta.
It does seem odd to put the next two words in the same sentence; car park and stunning, although this is the truth of Casa de Fusta (co-ordinates N40° 39.505′ E0° 40.523). As a centre for tourist activities, cycling, bird watching and walking, offering a restaurant and toilets, this large parking area accommodates at least fifty motorhomes, for free. There are services although you pay €3 for grey waste and water and €3 for black waste.
Casa de Fusta camping
One of the things we have come to appreciate in our year on the road is how wonderful car parking spots can be for camping overnight. We’ve called a few of them ‘home’ in the last twelve months and our experiences have changed our perspective of car-park style Aires. And this one serves to be a positive reminder of that opinion.
This region is really a slice of heaven. A good five miles from the motorway, you weave your way through some pretty narrow roads to find yourself in the Ebro Delta – a Natural Park and conservation area, which is changing by the year as the sea reclaims the land. Although for now, the natural beds of salt pans, natural lagoons and reed beds hide a multitude of birds, some rare species claiming this as their territory.
And then you catch a glimpse of brilliant salmon-pink wings as the flamingoes land with surprising grace, right in front of you. What a privilege that is. These creatures that simply don’t look like they’ve been designed to fly and have jumped right out of the pages of a comic strip.
We saw flamingoes at El Rocio in western Spain last year and again in the Po Delta in Italy, although neither place offered such an easy-to-access view of these stunning birds. In fact Italy had turned it into a fee-paying tourism activity, fencing the birds off so that only the largest telephoto lens would pick them up.
So for me as a bird-lover to get so close to these magnificent creatures and hear their cries as my morning alarm has been a rare treat. Miles of cycling along flat roads that run alongside the irrigation channels, where birds take flight as they hear you approach, just adds to the magic. Only five miles away you have El Trabucador – a causeway of sand that shelters the lagoons from the often ferocious Mediterranean sea determined to win the battle over the protected waters. You can park here during the day ( N40° 36.565′ E0° 43.522’ ) and watch the kite surfers skim the lagoon surface, dancing with the on-shore winds. No camping is allowed here over night, although the for the day, it is a great spot to watch the mountains whilst listening to the roar of the ocean. The peace and tranquility are palpable – minus the exception of the odd arctic lorry that gingerly passes on the compacted sand towards the salt factory at the end of the spit.
Deltebre wild camp spot
Our final night in the region was sadly awash with heavy rain, so we were pretty relieved that we didn’t stay any longer on the beach as we’d have made a nice based for a sandcastle. Although we still found a lovely little wild camping spot right on the River Ebro. ( Co-ordinates N40° 42.851′ E0° 42.932′ ) On a good day, the river walk looks lovely, although in this weather, we gave it a miss. Deltebre is a functional town rather than anything pretty, although I do accept that the rain and the need to shop could easily have affected my view. Still there all the supermarkets are here, together with really cheap petrol – the first we’ve seen this year at .99c.
So if you haven’t gathered by my vociferous bigging up of this area – we like it here and really feel that it deserves your time and adoration as it offers so much to the active, bird-loving, nature adoring camper. If you love having a town’s vibe, nightlife, shops and restaurants, right on your doorstep, then this probably isn’t for you. If instead you love nature’s orchestra, then this is definitely worth putting on your To-Do list when travelling up or down this eastern coast of Spain. We hope you like it as much as we did. Kx
Grass pitches….. They’re great aren’t they. Nice feel under foot, you can lie on it, play on it, park your motorhome on it but when it rains and rains and it does’t stop raining it’s a bugger to get off. Well, using the right technique you don’t have to get stuck anymore.. Have a look at the vid… We’ve got four, I would suggest you buy ten which gives you five either side….
We are now in…..
Hi, Karen & Myles, The Motoroamers here. We are a fun-loving couple travelling full-time around Europe in Scoobie our trusty camper. We're driven to deliver seriously entertaining travel through our blogs, photography and humorous videos. We hope to inspire you too to travel.