Oslo -> Stavanger -> Stockholm -> Helsinki: 2.081 km in 37,50 hours
Part 2 Stavanger -> Stockholm: 1002 km in 13h31 if you don’t take a wrong turn
After 2 nights in Stavanger, it was time to leave for Helsinki, after all, there’s a schedule to follow and besides that, money’s tight, so let’s not waste it. There were 2 ferries to take, the first one from Horten (Norway) to Moss (Norway), the second one from Stockholm (Sweden) to Turku (Finland). I decided to take 2 days for the drive to Stockholm, most of all because it’s partly through Norway and although not conquering any huge mountains, routeplanner says it’s 557 km in 07h36 to Horten without taking breaks. That will be enough for Evi for one day. Got my food & drinks, Evi had her long walk, off we went. This time I was fully prepared, I knew it would be a one lane highway and a slow drive. This made it far less annoying which left time to enjoy the landscape and it didn’t let me down, Norway is a very beautiful country!
What did surprise me were two things: the cars. There are normal cars of course, but also there’re a lot of old timers. The big American ones. In a country with so many mountains/hills, why drive an old timer? They use a huge amount of petrol and going uphill for +50% of the time only makes it worse. It’s not that petrol in Norway is supercheap, so it makes me wonder why there’re so many of them. There’s a lot of men wearing cowboy heads too by the way, can we link the two? The other sort of car that amazes me are the ones that can go really fast. I saw a lot of Porches and Alfa’s for instance. So there you are, riding this beautiful red Alfa, you can hear the engine roar, you can feel the power under your feet, you know she wants to go full force and you’re stuck on a one lane highway doing 70, 80 if you’re lucky. Why? It would be the most frustrating thing in the world to me to have a fast car and never be able to use it. Yet, there’re many of them in Norway.
All in all, things went well. We arrived in Horten 8 hours later, got on the ferry and 20 minutes later we were in Sweden, or so I thought. I never checked the map because the route-planner makes things so simple, so I automatically assumed the other side of the water we crossed was Sweden. I was happy, we made it, only needed to find a piece of land to park the car and spend the night and all was fine. I typed in Stockholm, it gave a route, thought I’d ride for half an hour longer to find a supermarket (Norway is ridiculously expensive!), get some urgently needed petrol and then sleep.
We drove along, there’re still a lot of Norwegian license plates. Seemed no problem, if I was living in Norway close to the Swedish border, I’d be doing my shopping there as well. Half an hour later, there was still no Swedish license plate in sight, but, surprisingly enough, there were a lot of Norwegian flags at the houses doorsteps. It slowly dawned to me I never passed customs, more over, I was on some country side road, not a highway. Right. Let’s check the phone. First I opened a map of Scandinavia and learned I was still in Norway and the Swedish border is some 50 km inland. Secondly I checked the route-planner. Apparently there’s this mini town in Norway called Stockholm or something similar written, because that’s where I was heading. Typing in Stockholm in Norway instead of Sweden takes you to a place you don’t want to be.
I took a deep breath, cursed at myself for being this stupid, then forgave myself for being this stupid, typed in Stockholm Sweden and it gave 2 options, where the option: riksweg was 26 minutes faster. Decision made, let’s take the fast route cause I really really needed some petrol now! Let me explain a language thing: in Holland, the highway is called: rijksweg. In Germany, the highway is called; reichsweg. Riksweg sounds like both of them, so good option. In Norway, this riksweg was a country road. And I truly mean country. I was in farmersland. Every 4 km or so, there was a farm. Between those farms there was nothing. No gas station, no shops, only land.
It was 22h00, Evi was angry at me, the tank was at its last drop of fuel, it was getting darker and I did not want to sleep on the riksweg without fuel. Doing 50 km for economic driving, after having crossed 2 hills, I finally say a small village: a group of 15 houses, a gasoline station and a small supermarket! All was closed, but who cares, we made it! Parked behind the supermarket in a field so Evi could get out and run around, smoked a cigarette, enjoyed the quiet of nature until after 5 minutes the supermarket air conditioner turned on, and, as I found out, it continued to do so for the rest of the night, but I fell happily asleep until 6 am. Why 6 am? I completely missed that on the other side of the supermarket there is a group of containers to dump your waste, all separated in plastic, paper, glass and other stuff. These villagers are busy people cause most of them dump their stuff at 6 am. 1 family means 4 containers being opened, waste being thrown in, lid being closed by simply letting it fall (containers are made of iron) and then drive off. Big thing in a farmer’s village; honk your horn at everybody you meet, let them know you’re still alive:). Yes, I was still in Norway.
Ps for some reason I didn’t take many pics on this route, so I’ve taken some from google to give you an impression (car, map, troll). I did however take up making pictures of bus stops made of wood, cause I think it’s art (don’t ask me why, they’re just cool). This one is from farmer land and it’s multi functional;