Tuesday 8 August 2023

Norway Day 16 - 7th August - Drive to Wildeshausen

 The buffet breakfast was excellent quality and included homemade rye bread and rolls. We even got to roll our own fresh oats to add to our cereal and yoghurt. We had several goes and as Robert wanted to take some video of the process . Grain was placed  in the small hopper at the top, the handle turned and freshly rolled oats came down the shoot. When we finished breakfast we used the last of our Danish Kroner to pay of the accommodation and purchased  some homemade jam for presents.

 The weather was disappointing as Robert had planned a morning bike ride but it was too windy with very strong gusts . We packed the car and decided to drive to Hojer Suice . Before leaving we spoke to some German cyclists who are about to set off on a day's cycling . They were in their 80’s and had bought electric bikes during the pandemic as there was “nothing else to do''. They were planning a short day of around 50 km but would have the prevailing wind behind them. They were braver than we were.

We stopped first at the windmill at the Museum Sønderjylland - Højer Mølle. A meticulously restored windmill from the mid 1800's . There is a small museum on site and a cafe with historically restored gardens. It was 100 kroner to  visit the museum and windmill and if we had had more time we would have paid to see it. Instead we drove the 2 miles to Vidåslusen, the point where the Hojer Suice enters the sea. It was extremely windy as we walked up the sea defences by the viewing tower. We had taken Lyn’s wheelchair . Lyn walked up the steps and Robert carried the chair. Getting to the top of the steps the chair acted like a small sail and Robert got blown backwards down the steps. Fortunately  he was able to stay on his feet. The tide was in when we were at the sluice so the gates were closed to stop sea water from flooding the area. The fresh water from the sluice is stored in a holding reservoir and released when the tide retreats.

While we walked round the sea defences and sluice a tour group were having a very long lecture on the area with many of the group starting to look a little bored. They boarded the coach for their  next stop whilst we drove  back to  Museum Sønderjylland for a coffee. Lyn had a good look around the shop but was not tempted by anything.The £30 price for a handmade cup and saucer might have put her off.

We decided to drive back to Tonder and have a quick tour of the town. We found some parking which we think was free and walked to the historic church and then down the pedestrianised streets.  There were lots of shops and even a large shop where everything they sold was to do with horn.

It was a pity we could not have stayed for longer but we had a 3 hour 45 minute drive ahead of us and we wanted to check in at the hotel around 6:00 pm.  We had planned to leave around 1:00 pm but it was 13:40 when we finally set off . When we reached the autobahn we stopped at the rest area for a late lunch.

Approaching  the Rader Hochbrücke bridge the speed limit suddenly dropped to 60 kph. Robert was in the outside lane and whilst attempting to get to the inside may have triggered a speed camera. We need to wait and see if he gets a letter,  however one benefit of Brexit is he may avoid as they have not way of tracing the driver. The journey was a lot slower than planned with it taking an additional hour and a half longer than forecast . We diverted off the motorway in Hamburg for a couple of junctions  to avoid one long delay. This had the added advantage that we were able to get diesel at non autobahn prices. We arrived around Wildeshauser Hof just before 19:30 and checked into the hotel. Fortunately the restaurant was open until 22:00 so we had time for a shower before going down to eat. We both had soup to start with, Robert  lentil and Lyn beetroot and sweet potato. We both had meatloaf for the main and shared a small beer and 0.5 litre of wine.

Sunday 6 August 2023

Norway Day 16 - Sunday 6th August - Aalborg and Drive to Tondor

 The day started with a walk to Netto to get some eggs for breakfast to have with the leftover potatoes from the previous evening. The eggs were finally located in a refrigerated cabinet and Robert returned to cook breakfast. The shop was very smart with  a wide range of food on offer and not like the discount shops that used to be in the UK. We had to be out of the apartment by 10:00 before the code on the outside door lock automatically changed. Robert had planned a bike ride in the area but instead we decided to visit Aalburg. We packed the car and left before the allotted time. We then had to send a text message to confirm we had checked out. We left the car at the accommodation. It was a 6 km cycle ride to the centre on dedicated cycle paths and quiet roads following a marked cycle route. Robert had downloaded a route for the Garmin but it was not required as the route was well signposted. Aalburg was well worth a visit and is the 4 largest urban settlement in Denmark. The New York Times even put Aalborg in its Top 10 Places to Go in 2019. It is on the narrowest crossing point on the Limfjord that separates the top of Demark from the mainland. It was a lovely city with a waterfront, some nice architecture and  lots of pedestrianised streets.

As it was a Sunday it was not too busy. We wandered round the pedestrianised streets avoiding those we could not cycle up. The locals like their car boots and we spotted a couple as we went round the town.

Wandering down one of the streets we found a local potter studio. There were lots of interesting ceramic sculptures including one of a naked  couple in a sauna. We stopped at a café before cycling back. We tried a “raisenbollen” and a chocolate rye bread. 

We left Aalborg just after 14:00 for the 3:15 hour drive to Tondor. We started on motorways but diverted from Kate's more direct route to more minor roads at Kolding and drove down the coast road. The open area at  the Kyst museum provided an opportunity to try out the drone. After a few technical issues getting it to calibrate Robert was finally able to get to launch. The flight was successful and he landed  it with incident back on the picnic bench. It will take some more practice to get some decent footage.

Kyst museum

When we arrived at the B&B we let ourselves in and found our room. Our host was away at a birthday party but had sent us the instructions on how to get in and find our room. The accommodation had a kitchen that guests could use. As the cool box was not working we waited until we were closer to Tonder before stopping at a supermarket to buy some food. We were not sure what cooking facilities would be so we purchased 2 ready meals of Asian noodles with pork from a Netto we passed in Sorsig Mark. The kitchen turned out to be fully equipped so we could have made something from scratch. Tea was cooked and we sat in the large guest dining room to eat it and  then retired to the more comfortable guest lounge

There were homemade schnapps on sale for  10 DK £1.15) as glass. You helped yourself and could have half glasses so we sampled 4 different flavours . The raspberry flavoured one was the best.

Saturday 5 August 2023

Norway Day 15 - Saturday 5th August - Ferry to Denmark

 The car was packed and we were ready to leave by 10:00. We videoed ourselves leaving for some footage so had to do a couple of takes. The key was placed under the doormat for the final time  and we were ready to go. We  had hoped to visit the most southerly point in Norway, The lighthouse at Lindesne. Kate was programmed but when we worked out the additional time this would take, we realised that we would not have sufficient time when we got there to explore the area and be in good time for the ferry. We abandoned that plan and decided to stop at the town of Mandal instead. We found a carpark and Robert was able to use his Norwegian parking app to pay for the parking for the first time this holiday.



We walk to the centre, initially by the waterfront and then along a pedestrianised street. We stopped at a  local bakery for an expensive coffee and shared a large cinnamon bun with a custard filling. Most of the locals had one each. We continued to the port. A Rema supermarket provided some emergency rolls and tomatoes for lunch but we returned to the bakers for a couple of filled rolls.  We left just after 12:20 for the 40 minute drive to the port at Kristiansand. Robert's case was checked for the missing Danish currency but it was not found. (It was found later in his wallet mixed up with the Norwegian notes).  Kate's route to the port was along the new motorway for which a toll is payable. We passed several automated pay stations so it was a comparatively  expensive 30 km with the cost turning out to be £6.72.

 At the port there was a fast check in but we then had to wait for the boat to dock before loading. We wondered if we were in the correct line because ours was the only one that was not moving but eventually everyone made it only to the ferry. We sat outside on the top  deck for the 4 hours crossing to Hirtshals. The sea was calm and the sun was out. 

The boat was modern and  efficient and it was a pleasant crossing.  The food in the buffet looked and reasonable value for Norway and Denmark but we enjoyed our sandwiches and Brexton coffee on the top deck.. There was plenty of seating on the ferry but one couple had even brought there folding chairs on board to sit on.

When we docked there were no customs to clear so we drove straight from the port south to Aalburg about an hour away. We had selected an apartment where we could have a late check in so we did not have to worry about our arrival time. A Lidl in Aalburg provided provisions for tea and the key code eventually opened the apartment door. The apartment was part of a serviced block in a quiet residential area. Ours was on the ground floor . We had a fully equipped kitchen with every utensil you might need , a good sized bathroom and living area with a king sized bed and small table. We also had a small seating area and table outside.

We cooked a chicken Thai curry for tea and caught up with some Vlogs on YouTube.

Friday 4 August 2023

Norway Day 14 - Bike ride from Farsund - Friday 4th August

 We were lucky with the weather and another good day was forecast.  Robert had found a 26 mile cycle ride that he adapted to start from our accommodation. The route followed  the coast round to the Lista Lighthouse at Lista Fyr. The route was mainly on  roads but frequently diverted off the main road to follow tracks or go away from the road thought small housing estates.  Even when on the main road the traffic was light.  We stopped at a Joker Supermarket hoping to purchase some more dough balls and cinnamon buns but unfortunately the store did not do them.

We pressed on hoping to find somewhere suitable for lunch. We stopped at the Lista Lighthouse. It had been constantly  manned for 187 years until 1983 when it was fully automated. It was possible to visit the lighthouse for a fee. They give you a key for 30 minutes but it was booked up when we arrived. Unfortunately there was not a café but you could purchase sweet snacks, ice creams and drinks.

We bought  a coffee and shared a back of cheese nibbles  before following a marked cycle track.  When we reached the community centre just outside Stave  the cycle track continued but our route turned off to head back to Farsund. After a little debate we decided to continue along the cycle path to Varnes fort and 12 mile detour to go there and back. In hindsight this was a mistake. The route was a lot hiller than we expected and the cycle path finished 1km from the lighthouse and 0.5 km from the fort.  You could not cycle the last section so Lyn had to wait whilst Robert went down to the fort.  The path to the fort included a long unlight tunnel which required careful navigation . The fort  turned out to be a second world war gun emplacement. The path and tunnel to get to it had been built by Russian prisoners of war. From the top of the fort there were good views across the fjoid and you could see why the spot was selected for the gun emplacement. After visiting the fort we retraced our route a short distance to where the cycle path officially ended. 

A seating area had bike racks and even a spot where you could recharge your electric bike if you need additional charge to get home.

We then slowly cycled back to the bus shelter where we had diverted off the planned route. There were several bee hive but unfortunately we did not see any honey for sale.

From bus shelter it was just over 10 miles back to the accommodation. Most of the route was away from  the main road but the last few miles we did have to go along it into Farsund. On getting to the town we  stopped at the Rema supermarket to purchase fish burgers and vegetables for dinner. We got back to the apartment at around 18:30. A pot of earl grey was the order of the day along with some slices of bread as we had missed lunch.

Thursday 3 August 2023

Norway Day 13 - Thursday 3rd August - Drive to Farsund

 Kate had the time to  drive to Farsund to be around 4:30 hours . We set off before 10:00 but did not arrive until after 18:00 . We had lots of stops on route. We climbed out of Dalen on the road we had taken the day before but did not stop for photos at the view point . We then turned off on the road to Flateland. The area is sparsely populated with the occasional cabin and had sheep wandering across and lying on the road. The waste collection for the chalets  is by a recycling facility that appeared to be located in the middle of nowhere.

We stopped to investigate . It was not you usual tourist designation but it was very clean and did not have the piles of unauthorised waste you would have found in the UK.  The weather was mainly fine but a heavy shower did cause  us to pull off the  road and wait for it to pass.

We had a few Brexton stops on route . The first was a rest area that included the ability to swim in the river and play a round of disc golf. 

Continuing on we spotted a stall selling Strawberries just off the main road. A quick U Turn took us back to to it . We nearly walked away as you could pay by using an honesty box but we hadn't got the right change. A lady eventually appeared and  rather than split a small note, wanted me to pay using a credit card. The strawberries were expensive, costing 60 Nok but proved to be very tasty.


Lunch was taken at a second rest area . The leftover vegetable curry was reheated on Robert’s Trangia cooker which is still going strong after 45 years. Before  setting off, a lady cyclist we had overtaken a few  miles earlier caught us up. She was doing well and Lyn had a brief chat with her at the toilets . We waved as we passed her again. 

About 50 minutes from Farsund we stopped at the Kvåsfossen,waterfall. This turned out to be the location Kvåsfossen salmon centre . A salmon Museum and the home of the second longest fish ladder in Norway. Unfortunately the museum was closed when we arrived but we were able to see salmon trying to jump the falls, unaware of the fish ladder that had been provided to give them easier access. The museum looks well worth a visit on a future trip.

If you zoom in the photo you can see a salmon trying to jump the falls

Lyn had cycled the few hundred yards to the falls whilst Robert walked. The dark clouds returned and as the rain looked more imminent so we beat a hasty return back to the car. The bike was stored in good time just before the rain started. Shortly after setting off  a heavy thunderstorm caused us to pull off the road and wait for it to pass.

Our accommodation, the Farsand had a view of the commercial wharf. We had the ground floor of the house. We were able to park outside but the  parking was at the top of the short steep drive. The space was quite tight at the top and Robert had to take the bike carrier off the car to have room to turn the car round and park it to allow sufficient room  for other cars.

Tea was pasta with vegetables, pasta sauce and bacon. The cooking facilities were limited. The pans needed replacing and there was no kettle or peeler. The cooker turned out to have a sensor above it that turned the cooker off in the middle of cooking. Robert worked out what had happened but could not get it to reset. A message to the host and we were sent instructions for what we had already tried. However the sensor reset when we tried for a second time and tea was saved.

We had a Skype call with Robert's parents later that  evening, the start of which we had to delayed because the problems with the cooker caused our tea to be later than planned.