Hopeful in Harstad 8 Comments


Harstad

Our morning view, beautiful

We were up before daybreak and by the fact it never gets dark here, that could be anytime! All we know it was nice and peaceful with lots of twittering birds. We opened the blinds and what a gorgeous view. The grey clouds had disappeared and Mr sunshine was hot to trot and beaming plenty rays on Vin. We sat looking out of the window screen watching as a morning light warm the surrounding landscape. Little pockets of steam as the wet, soggy ground started to evaporate. All around expanse of thick, rolling hills and mountains covered in ranks of fir trees with the odd patch of ‘I refuse to melt’ snow.

Harstad motorhome

Vin rest his weary bits but remains hopeful

After breakfast, I stepped outside to take Mac n Tosh for a bit of a walk before we set off. The sun was shining bright but the cold air was startling, like a slap to the face. I quickly grabbed the dogs and headed in to the sunshine…that’s better. I looked towards the road and saw a small sign Gambogrn, umm, so that is where we are. Mac n Tosh were not at all interested instead they just focused on the task at hand, a bit of gardening – they watered all the plants then they chewed a few of the hedges before mowing down the overgrown weeds in the middle of the wild flower section.

Harstad

The calm before the storm?

We had a wee chat to Vin and reassured him there was light at the end of the tunnel, we just didn’t know how many more tunnels before we hit light. We then set off to Harstad. The journey wasn’t too far but because we were in limp mode and the fact we had many a twisting roads, hills and mountains, progress was slow. The 20 minute ferry crossing across Gullesfjord was pleasant, as always with friendly staff and great views. On the other side we drove for two hours on lofty roads through lush green ‘ski’ slopes. This area is obviously a great ski place in winter with plenty ski runs and an imposing ski jump. Every house and shed owned a snow mobile of some description, which clearly accompanies the boat, the Tesla and the John Deere tractor.

Gullesfjord Ferry

Ferry crossing

On the way to the garage, we drove through the town centre of Harstad. To our surprise it looked rather nice and completely nothing like we expected. A normal town with regular shops and things to see, one for exploring later. We headed straight to the Mercedes dealer, which is a few kilometres out of the centre.

We pulled up and strolled over to the reception. We stood in the empty office type reception and waited. The wait seemed forever but eventually we were greeted by a shocked ‘where did you come from’ service manager. Within a few second of saying ‘hiya’ he knew exactly who we were.
“Your the English couple from Sortland”
“Yeah”
“Well we have ordered the parts but it will not be here until Monday”
Knut was a portly fella and he came across a bit cold and unwelcoming but after a bit of friendly banter he warmed up. During the conversation, it emerged they too were busy and if the part did not arrive by Monday then it maybe next Friday before they can book us back in. Eek. Once the conversation started to flow we asked for an estimate and at that point, we froze. We stood looking at Knut like two dummies. £2,000. Gulp! I picked Craig gob up off the floor and he wiped my brow. We looked at each other pale faces and smiled. Well, it is what it is and nowt we can do about it. That is the price of freedom to travel, I guess. We exchanged contact numbers with Knut and arranged to be at the garage for 7.30 on Monday.

We drove all of 30 feet in a state of shock. We pulled up on the ferry car park, parked up, turned off the engine and sat motionless in the motorhome.

Once we snapped out of the state of shock, we took a look around our surrounding. The ferry car park was really quite nice. Great vista over the water towards the snow capped mountain range. A little toilet block at the end with hot water (no pun intended) and it is quiet. To be honest, it is really a blinking good spot and once more, the Mercedes dealer is just behind us. With that we parked up Vin and named this place ‘home’.

The sun was shining and it sure was a lovely day. We decided to put the repair to one side and just crack on and enjoy life. We can’t change it and no point dwelling on it. First things first, we nipped over to the toilet block and filled our buckets with hot water. We placed all the bedding, towels and blankets in a nice hot wash and the went for a walk.

We are parked at the ferry terminal, which is at the end of an industrial zone. Our walk around the the industrial and business zone was more Craig’s cup of tea than mine. The entrance to the park was dotted with car dealers and auto parts stores but, as you walked further in to the park the whole area became a dispiriting combination of empty buildings, scrappy yards and truck stops. We tried a number of lanes to escape the zone but only to hit a dead end or a dump. Eventually, we made it to the main road and continue to just walk and walk and walk. We chatted about all sorts of stuff from carrots and peas to electric cars and ostepops. Ostepops being Craig’s latest craze, a Norwegian Cheesy Puff, which he just loves. We bobbed in and out of several marina’s and bays before we did a u turn and headed back. Mac n Tosh were thoroughly shattered by the time we reached Vin.

Harstad

The only picture we took on our walk

We pegged out the washing and scrubbed inside and out. We both chilled and I managed to catch up on today’s headlines. I absolutely adore The Skimm and find it short, simple and sweet. Well today’s headline brought me right up to date in a second…”Yesterday, the person everyone thought would become the UK’s next prime minister said, ‘nvm, not running.’ Because the UK is a bloody mess“. The Brexit has certainly shuck things up and looks like it will be a while before things start to settle down. Just hope we cease the opportunity to change things for the better. On a lighter note, we got a lovely email from Tony & Kaz…not long now before the dreamin2 team’s first adventure, good luck guys!

Craig then jumped on Eor and headed to the supermarket. He pick up some basic stuff like chocolate, biscuits and beer. Essential food for shock. Yip beer. Nothing for it, today calls for a beer and BBQ. Might as well break the bank, get sloshed and have a feast. Oh and have a drink to celebrate Valeriy, our Russian friend’s birthday. Oh, I never did sort out how I get to Tromso airport on Tuesday, but plenty of time to sort tomorrow. A good excuse to go in to Harstad and explore the town centre and have a wander.  BTW If anyone if passing and fancies giving me a lift to the airport you know where I am!

Our wild camping spot tonight, Halstad ferry car park (not the main ferry point). Very simple and clean with superb views over the mountains and out to the island of Kanebogen.

GPS position N068.777605 and E016.589564

Route: Gambogrn to Harstad

Weather: Low 15 and high 29, cracking the flags.


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