Today, it never stopped raining and the low grey clouds completed blocked the view of the high peaks on this remote road. It feels like we are driving through one almighty forest that never ends with pockets of wild rivers teaming with salmon. This area is great if you like fishing and don’t like people. In all the rolling vastness there was not a single sign of humanity, no towns, no petrol stations, no plume of smoke from a solitary farm. It was just endless silence beneath a grey sky. It is about as remote and wild as we have ever been and if we are honest, it is not floating our boat. It is pretty but several days of pine trees and no stop points gets a bit boring. This patch of Norway is not really mentioned in any of the guide books and now, we understand why.
By the end of the day, we hit a bit a little bit of civilisation well sort of. A town full of oil rig workers getting smashed and fishermen chewing tobacco and picking bits of food out their beards. But it did have a couple of LPG outlets. We stopped at them but once again, they were out of order or run out of gas. Anyone visiting Norway needs to be aware it is a challenge to find LPG. As we said yesterday, we are not desperate but as our source for heating and cooking it is key we keep topped up especially as we go further north. At Mo-i-Rana we found an LPG station with gas but closed until tomorrow. The town is as industrial as you can get but it does have LPG! We drove around to find a spot but this town is full of unwelcoming signs instructing you not to enjoy yourself or do anything impertinent. They were every few yards, and said things like no motorhomes, no swimming, no bikes, dogs prohibited, no this, no that. A town that clearly doesn’t like people and run by some hillbilly who likes nothing better than to talk to trout. This place if officially the most unwelcoming place in Norway.
With all the restrictions we were left with no choice but to park up on a Rema 1000 supermarket. We had the pleasure of watching the fuel price change at the on site station and the work men repair a huge hydraulic grass and hedge trimmer. The steel chain blades would clearly make a mess of anything in its path and guess what, the men are repairing it at the side of Vin. Eek.
A few random points we’ve picked up along the way
- Norwegians are the friendliest people in Europe
- There are a lot more motorhomes in Norway than we expected – Dutch and German taking the lead followed by Swedish.
- The majority of roads are not tolled but there small tolled sections, bridges and tunnels. These tolls are not expensive but they seem to come in groups. You hit one after another, after another and by the end of the day you have racked up £40 in tolls.
- Norway has a strange fuel pricing system that rises and falls on given days. The best time to buy is first thing on Sunday morning, it is around 40% cheaper than on Monday evening. The rest of the week rises and falls but we haven’t sussed it.
- In the supermarket you can buy beer Monday to Friday 8-8 and until 6 on Saturday but not on Sunday.
- The supermarkets only sell weaker beer and if you want stronger beer you need to go to one of the government run stores.
- You are not allowed to drink on the streets or be drunk in public. Zero tolerance and hefty fines.
- A basic jam roll is about £10 but a taco meal kit is 60p.
- Thai and Asian foods are available and cheap. A 4 kilo bag of Thai rice £3.
- There are very few brand choices in the supermarket and all the supermarkets stock the same Norwegian brands.
- Frozen foods are much cheaper than fresh.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables are very expensive and not great quality
- Burgers are a clearly the hot seller
- The food pricing system is weird, for example you can buy a strawberry yogurt for say 30p but melon yogurt from same brand is 60p.
- Fresh bread is dense and chewy, so we stick to pre baked cobs.
- Motorhome service stations are everywhere and free. Wild camping is permitted, so they support you in doing so. Often called Tommestation and located at side of road or in service stations.
- You need a permit to fish
- Dogs must be kept on lead April to September
- Chewing tobacco is very popular
- Wildlife, birds but not much else. You see signs for reindeer, elk, moose and deer but never see them.
- Tourist attractions are not well sign posted, it is a case of seek and ye shall find
- But the fjords are amazing!
Our wild camping spot tonight is the prettiest view in all of Mo-I-Rana on the Rema 1000 supermarket car park.
GPS position N066.324455 and E014.157862
Route: Symrevegan to Mo-i-Rana
Weather: Low 11 and high 16…tons of the wet stuff all day