img_9310Are you dizzy yet? That was quite a story so far, wasn’t it? Far from what you would like to experience during a much-anticipated holiday… I can tell you that the second part is progressing at a much slower rate – lots of photos again though :-)

Wednesday: From Ål to Oslo, swapping cars, thanking the mechanics enthusiastically, the trip continued with the van, visited the stave church in Heddal, continued our journey through the Telemark region to Haukeligrend, like the day before: Lots of different landscapes, curves, pass roads, lakes and rivers, went on a bike ride through Haukeligrend (total distance: 504km)

Thursday: From Haukeligrend towards the West Coast, drove down the Ryfilke-Way toward Stavanger (State Road 13), were close to the famous Preikostølen and said we’d do the 5-hour hike to the cliff one day, had to use two car-ferries, then a boring motorway (European Road E39) to Kristiansand, then helped my sister move into the dorm for her exchange semester at uni, established that the apartment was totally empty of those useful tools everyone has (sink plug, dish rack, pots and pans, hooks, a broom) but hey, they had a toilet brush… (total distance: 493km)

By the way: My sister’s wish was my command: We stayed in cottages each night. Some more basic than others — well, let’s call it ‘rustic’ (no running water, no facilities) — except for once when we were upgraded to a luxury cottage (Want to know why? The owner of the camp ground didn’t pay attention at the turn-off into the camp ground, and he steered his Jeep right into our stationary Polo. I already saw myself having a lot of explaining to do when calling in a damaged rental car, but miraculously there wasn’t a single scratch on our car – and I honestly didn’t care too much about his).

And this is what that “chaotic route” looks like, the green letters indicating where we stayed overnight, and the white dots indicating nothing, just forcing Google Maps to show the correct route ;-)

A – Oslo
B – Aurdal near Fagernes
C – Vågå
D – Ål near Geilo
E – Haukeligrend
F – Kristiansand

Friday: Steffi was at uni all day, I stayed at the dorm, sorted photos and read the travel books we had about Norway (and realized what we had missed out on), did some home-improvement shopping for her dorm apartment, and in the evening, we walked around the area (“reconnoitering”). Not far away where she lives are nice cliffs, right by the water, perfect for chillaxing.

Saturday: We drove to Lindesnes, the South Cape of Norway (I confess: A poor substitute for the North Cape), did some more shopping for her dorm room, and explored the city center of Kristiansand, wanted to treat my sister to some nice dinner but seeing the lack of restaurants and horrendous prices in those few that there are, we opted for take-away Sushi (that Steffi had to pay for since that place strangely didn’t like my cards or my Euros). Upon return to the dorm, Steffis flat-mate had moved in, Anne, a girl from Stavanger who studies sport — seems like a good match :-)

All in all – while our ambitions to go north were no longer realistic after the van broke down, we still made the best of the situation and saw a lot. Norway has so much to offer! We both agreed that we will come back and take a proper vacation, meaning: No rushing through but staying and enjoying. We would have liked to go for the occasional hike or bike ride, make use of the ‘Right of Accesss’ and pitch a tent somewhere in the middle of nowhere, by a remote lake, waiting for an elk to stop by and say hi…