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Tell me about Norway & Sweden


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The next adventure by ambulance is going to be Norway & Sweden, at the end of August. SWMBO has the Rough Guide and whatnot but I know there's some locals on here, so I'm looking for any inside info on places to go (or avoid), things to see & do, etc.

Plan is to go across mainland Europe, up Denmark, over the bridge into Sweden, up the Swedish coast, then across country to end up inside the Arctic circle around Mo I Rana, then come down the top bit of the coast road, then hitting a couple of the touristy bits inland further down (Geiranger - Herdalen landskapsvernområde is one, if memory serves).

I'll try and fill in a few details when I've consulted with the social secretary :P


Also if anyone local needs a forum relay of (small clean) parts from the UK I'm sure something could be arranged ;)

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Never been to Norway but have been to Sweden.

Be prepared for mile upon mile of pine trees and dead straight featureless roads.

Mossie repellant, nuclear strength, in vast quantities is required.

Cost of living is very, very high. A loaf of bread works out at close to a fiver, and two pints of beer and two glasses of wine in a bar came in at over £30!

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Back of envelope, assuming 16mpg, and 16 usable gallons from your tank, (makes maths easy!), that's 250 miles to a tank (this may be optimistic...)

2400 miles to Nordkapp without diversions.... :)

Think you can do the rest of the maths, even between my brother and a couple of mates it was pretty tricky to swallow the fuel bill.

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Spent about 2months this year working in Norway, halfway between Stavanger and Bergen.

First off, yes there are lots of km of straight pine tree roads – but there’s also km after km of stunning scenery, fjords, islands and the occasional ferry. Obviously, go off the main roads to explore some of the back country.

Yes it’s horrendously expensive, especially eating and drinking out, but I assume you won’t be doing much of that anyway in a camper. Supermarkets in Norway can only sell beer (no spirits) up to 4.75%, In Sweden booze is run by a state monopoly chain of shops…So I’d stock up on victuals in France or Deutschland.

Speed limits are low and brutally enforced, but again, I doubt it’ll be a problem in your choice of vehicle.

There appeared plenty of truck halts by the side of smaller bodies of water, including toilets, where vans and trucks just parked up for the night. I didn't get time to explore these as I was usually trying to make the ferry in order to catch the flight home. Speaking of which, be prepared to make a swift exit off and onto the ferry - about the only way to make a Norwegian angry is to hold him up by fumbling for change at the ferrry toll booth. The drive off the ferry resembles nothing so much as the start of 'Whacky Racers' as everybody jockeys not to get stuck behind the trucks.

Obviously check the kit requirements if going in winter (snow rating on tyres, chains…etc), but why would you? Early to late spring is the time to go, Northern Lights notwithstanding!

Matt

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I came back from a trip to Bodo and Halsa (about 75 miles south of Bodo) for work and can only agree with the above - the roads in this area are anything but straight with absolutely stunning scenary. the locals said that normally the cheapest beer was in hotels and they were right, the beer was only £7 for 0.4L!!!

I saw an ex MOD 130 ambulance yesterday being used for a camper van that was staying on a completely deserted beach.

Do it you will not regret it.

Toby

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It's brilliant and you'll never want to come back. Going there myself 12-26 of august.

The bridge from Denmark to Sweden is very pretty, especially at sunrise. If there isn't a great load of fog, anyway...

Living isn't *that* expensive, sure the alcohol is, but the rest is doable. Find yourself some moose and reindeer meat, absolutely delicious.

At least with the ambulance you won't be too annoyed at the low speed limits. 80 or 100 km/h for hours on end through f*ck all nowhere gets tedious fast. But yes, the views are magnificent. Last time I was there I got off the highway, and within 2 minutes I was thinking "what am I still doing in Belgium?" Still wondering that...

Oh, and you'll cry at the price of petrol. Bring kleenex.

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I worked in Norway for three and a bit years, great place and fantastic people - they are very patriotic (and why not!) If you go there on their national day you will have a fantastic time but be prepared that not many shops or food places will be open. They seem to enjoy British company and our sense of humour but can appear a bit introverted to us.One thing, if you agree to meet someone and you are late they can be quite offended which caught me out at first.

Yes its expensive for none healthy stuff but I thought fuel and normal food very comparable to the UK.

Tics.. take precautions and make sure you keep an eye on bites, this is a serious warning. I had two engineers hospitalised as a result of bites.

The national parks are beautiful and endless but be careful where you drive, I was working for their government but even so was only allowed to walk in some areas. Some national parks had restrictions on the number of helicopter trips we could use. They also are very keen hunters and some areas have access restrictions at times. Its worth avoiding those times unless you want to join in.

There is a developing off road scene based round Polaris RZRs - the most fun you can have with your clothes on. The group that I was with were absolutely brilliant and a bit reminiscent of the UK off road fun back in the late 70's 80's. One of the guys has just this spring done a road trip from Kristiansand to the south of Italy in his 1000cc twin turbo RZR ,,,,, on knoblies! :-)

In the towns I never met anyone who couldn't and wouldn't speak English but as with all cultures Its worth learning a few simple phrases and letting them pi$$ themselves at your attempts to use them.. a great ice breaker. The vowels are completely different to how we expect them to sound. As you move from the city to the more rural areas they are much less confident in English so you have to slow down and smile and nod a lot.

Beer.. hmm I bought a few rounds of beer in Oslo in my time and had to work a lot of hours to pay for that. Street cafe prices were about 18 quid for 600mL but there are always alternate places that are cheaper.

Eating out can be a bit of a mixed bag, had some really nice food and paid for some inedible stuff as well.. same as anywhere really.

HTH

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Can only agree with the above. I worked in Sweden on and off for three years. Get your beer etc in Denmark beforehand. Ticks and mossies can be a real problem at certain times of year. I spent 10 days unable to wear shoes after being bitten in the shower.

Main roads can be boring, but get off the beaten track and it is stunning. My company was paying for petrol, but I still found it unacceptably expensive. Unless it has changed a lot, don't expect shops to be open much after 5 unless in the cities and bigger towns.

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John,

I'm on vacation in Norway at the moment. We have been to Nordkapp earlier in the week and did many hikes while up north. The last 2 days we spent at the Norsk Land Rover Klubb meet in Bardu. We left this morning and are parked at a secluded beach while the boss gets some rays.

The price of fuel varies by over 2kr from Narvik to Nordkapp. Any form of booze is expensive in Norway therefore stock up in Sweden or Germany before heading north. Food is expensive also but local fish is priced reasonably, we've BBQ salmon several times this week as it was so cheap compared to Sweden.

Road conditions vary, up north you'll rattle something loose eventually, my exhaust system and skid plate were loose.

I have a blog for my trip here which I write where we are or have been, that should give you a good idea when looking at a map and planning your trip.

tukojack.blogspot.se

post-194-0-60379700-1469272990_thumb.jpg

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one other thing, get a Statoil coffee cup at your first fuel stop - every year mine paid for itself within a week or so ..

Raisin Bolle, Cinnamon Bolle and skolebrod are the staple truckstop diet and very cheap.. although the locals thought it funny when I buttered mine.

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I went to lillehammer to the 10 year jubileum of the landrover club norway. Great experience and views. there is a campsite next to the lillehammer olympic bobsleigh track were you can get a ride in a 4 person bobsleigh, driven by an olympic steer, and the bobsleigh is on wheels (in the summer obviously). Topgear was there once to do a feature on a bobsleigh vs a rally car. ridiculous speeds on one of those! Lots of gravel roads (a bit like finland), sometimes there is a letterbox where you have to leave some toll money before you can drive on it. Proper offroad tracks also feature, but many are not allowed without permission. Yes bring your own beer. There is a LPG, (remember what I told you about 12 months ago.....). Great atmosphere, and we won the club trail! this was 1997.

Daan

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Nige - same as everyone says - I havnt been to Sweden for 40 years but spent New Year in Oslo 2 years ago, and its the only New Year I remember being fairly sober. In a bar/pub/café a bottle of wine was about 50 quid! It will be much cheaper to eat in a camper but stock up before if you like a drink.

The people are the nicest you could ever meet. Pretty much everybody we met speaks better English than the people I work with in the Midlands!!

I want to go back.

Barry

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Good info, cheers guys!

UdderlyOffroad - I'll keep an eye on the speed, the ambulance does cruise nicely at 80mph although it's not very sporty through the twisty bits :lol:

Bowie - We generally reckon on 250 miles between fill-ups playing it safe, can do 300+ but there's only so much faith I'm willing to put in the Defender fuel gauge!

It's brilliant and you'll never want to come back. Going there myself 12-26 of august.


We'll be in country at the same time then - just to be clear based on past experience the ambulance definitely doesn't have a winch :P :P :P but you've got my number :D

Daan - We won't be entering any off-road events in the ambulance, it shakes the beer up!

GW8IZR - Good tip on the cup, given the mileage and time I'm going to need a steady supply of caffeine! What's the deal with tics - any specific info or just "keep an eye out"?

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So long grass, dense vegitation and uncultivated areas.. exactly where you would find them in the UK, well sheep tics here of course can be in cultivated areas.. my field for one!. The thing is the mainland EU and Norwegian ones can carry Lyme borrieliosis, now thats an antibiotic job - so the advice is definitely do routine checks of each other to see the little sods where you cant see them on yourself. If you get one you can easily remove it yourself but make sure the head bit comes out as well as the body. We were advised to seek medical attention as soon as practical and the doc should most likely give you a course of antibiotics.

They call them flått, It used to be that the tics were only in the south west and at low elevations, that is indeed where my two Italians were bitten... in their south westerlies at low elevation :-) it wasnt funny at the time of course. Research has shown that they are migrating possibly with wild birds providing transport. They have been found much further north and indeed in more mountainous regions at 500m asl!

Last winter was much warmer and not the hard ice that I'd experienced before and my none expert opinion is that this year tics will be more prevalent.

The Norwegians love the outdoor and hiking so if it was a significant issue half of them would be ill... but you need to take care.

HTH

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Regarding ticks. "Fästingar" in swedish.

On the east coast of Sweden some also carry the TBE virus which can potentially caise brain fever. Vacine is available but for a one time visitor the already given advice should be suficient.

If you provide a more detailed travel plan and it happens to pass close to any of my 'goldens spots' i will advise.

Tobias

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We'll be in country at the same time then - just to be clear based on past experience the ambulance definitely doesn't have a winch :P :P :P but you've got my number :D

Haha, I'll be going by plane & train this time. First week will be spent hiking up and around Kebnekaise, the second week lounging about in Växjö. So no winch needed (probably...) this time :ph34r:

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