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Car Journey to Norway

June to August 2017


Background


In mid-June this year we embarked on what would prove to be an epic trip to Norway in our Volvo V60 D5.  We considered taking the MG, but then reality kicked in – I’ve taken the B over there once before but it was not easy.  As background, my wife Vigdis is a Norwegian, and we wanted to go to Norway to see relations and our son Tom who currently lives in Oslo.  We had lots of stuff in the car (mostly alcohol).  The ferries to any Scandinavian country stopped many years ago but up until 2016 we had managed to get onto a Container Ship from Tilbury or Immingham to Gothenburg.  This was rather fun as it meant 2 relaxing nights at sea as ‘supercargo’ and dining with the (partly female) Swedish Crew – who always treated us well.

Unfortunately - for reasons I still don’t understand - the Home Office stopped that option - and so we had to do it the hard way.  Yes folks, this meant driving through 6 countries to Norway (counting the UK).


The Hard Way


Many of you have no doubt taken your cars to the continent, so you know what it’s like.  However, to get to Norway involved a lot of booking and logistical finessing.  First we drove to Harwich and took the overnight ferry to Hook of Holland.  At a very early hour we started driving across Holland and promptly got lost – even the Sat Nav couldn’t work out where we were.  Hours later we rocked up into Germany.  I think all the roadworks in the world were concentrated into Holland and Germany last June.  Eventually we made it to Flensburg, on the Danish border.  A good hotel stop, a Greek (?) meal, and we were ready to go for ‘day three’ the next morning to meet the next ferry.


Scandinavia


On crossing the German-Danish border, we were delighted to find brilliant, traffic-free motorways and we cruised all the way up to the north tip of Denmark in our own time, in beautiful weather.  We explored the old town of Fredrikshavn for a while, and then took another overnight ferry to Gothenburg in Sweden.  By now we were in the groove and we decided to drive through the night into Norway, rather than have another stop over.  It doesn’t get dark in June at these latitudes and we saw a lot of wildlife including several deer, an elk, a badger and a huge owl that nearly hit us. Wolf packs, lynx and wild boar abound here but we didn’t see any.  So on day 4 – or I’ve lost count – we arrived in the morning, after 1600km of driving and two sea crossings totalling 350km - it was a real homecoming.  Then after a rest we drove for hours another 300km up into the mountains of the Jotunheimen National Park, to do some chillin’, fishin’ at a summer cabin and fix the Volvo’s windscreen wipers (which had fallen off in a thunderstorm).  We saw several MGBs and a Frogeye Sprite on our travels – they all looked like US imports.


Coming Back



After two brilliant months travelling in Norway, it was time to head back to dear old Blighty.  We couldn’t get all the ferry crossings easily lined up, so we decided to take the Color Line ship (a cruise liner) – at an absurd cost – from Oslo to Kiel, in north Germany.  On arriving at Kiel we couldn’t find the car deck.  OK I admit it – we both had senior moments.  For me they are senior minutes!  We found the Volvo eventually – all by itself - inside a huge empty deck with the crew quietly amused!  Kiel to Hook of Holland wasn’t too bad – still lots of roadworks but the Autobahn was good in places and we made up time.  Folks, don’t ever try to do 120+ MPH with a roof box!  We eventually arrived back in Yateley – the neighbours had forgotten who we were and the local foxes, birds and squirrels were quite annoyed to have people in ‘their’ garden again!


Conclusion


It is damned hard to take a car to Norway via north Europe when no ferries exist anymore.  It was a 4000km (2500 mile) round trip, including local driving, even with cutting out Denmark on the return leg. We had some difficult driving, which we shared, but the Volvo was amazing and handled everything – even the steep, gravelly and sometimes flooded or frozen mountain roads.  Also on the credit side, Norway is so beautiful in summer with a quality of light that just has to be seen to be believed.  Just about all the people we met along the way – in every country - were lovely, helpful and friendly.  Oh, and I did (eventually) catch a fish!


Mark and Vigdis Griffin (MGB Roadster KNK 280G)