Well, since i last posted we have smashed out the kilometres, and have not only dispensed with Oslo, but Stockholm too on our way back south and east.
I’ve always liked having a plan, and part of the trip was to try and let go of that a bit, though its not easy. As we near ‘completion’ of each country, I find myself becoming itchy to get on with it, and get to the next place. It’s not a problem as such, but we have both flagged up the speed in which we move, and whether we are still rushing a little too much.
I loved norway; I can’t remember if I’ve Said it before, but it is the most spectacular and beautiful place I’ve been. That said, by the time we got to our most northerly point, I was desperate to turn around and start heading south again. I’ve tried to have a think about it, I don’t think I felt homesick, truth is, I’d been through a bit of a rough patch, and I guess I just wanted to draw a bit of a line underneath it all. Whatever the reason, we put in some longish stints in the van, and found ourselves high up in a campsite in Oslo days after we were in Kristiansund, our most northerly point.
Oslo was a mixed bag for me, it will be amazing, and we have said we will return, once the building work has finished. I read that an old industrial area (I’m sure it was approximately 1 square kilometre) had come into the hands of the city, and as a result, a large area around the waterfront is in development at the moment. A bit of a shame, though the vision for the future is most impressive, and the architecture is a treat.
The opera house as its centrepiece is complete. A solid wedge of white stone rises from the sea like an iceberg. Walking up the slanted side of the building affords a great view of the harbour and over what will eventually be the new Munch museum, but right now, its covered in cranes and concrete. I loved this building, and the use of space, you could walk all over the roof, makes it a real triumph.
Along the strip is a collection of high rise buildings collectively called the barcode. Designed by a trio of architects, it too is an impressive new pice of architecture in the city, the gaps between being as important as the buildings themselves.
After being relieved of £40 a night to stay on a slightly grim campsite (showers and electric are extra!) we headed off, and over the border. First stop in Sweden is an obvious one. Having been on the road for 2 1/2 months, we have compiled a small list of things we need for the van. And so, to our favourite flatpack outlet, the heart of everything Swedish, the lifeblood of the country, we found ourselves sharpened pencil and tape measure in hand, wandering the yellow (and blue) brick road around Ikea.
Returning with our swag, we needed to replenish food stocks, and so keeping the blue and yellow theme, we were pleased to see that unlike Norway, Sweden has Lidl supermarkets.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned the cost of Norway before, but shopping in Norway is depressing, food is so expensive. I guess a mixture of climate and the fact that so much of the land is un-farmable puts a strain on costs.And the fresh produce you can get your hands on isn’t the best. Hunt the most expensive thing in the shop soon got boring, So now to have a lunch of ciabatta, tomatoes, cheese, cucumber and grapes has been a joy, even if it is all from the budget German supermarket.
Delighted with our haul of bounty, and able to breathe a sigh of relief that we may well be able to regain control of our spiralling budget, we hopped back in the van, next destination Stockholm.