When I look back on my travels over the last decade, I’m quite proud of the many ways of transportation I’ve used. From tiny little two-seater airplanes to mokoros (a type of canoe), from muscle cars to houseboats, from monorails to zodiacs. But I had never explored a country or destination with a motorhome. This changed last summer, when I took my wife to Norway and locked her (and myself) in a Sunlight T68 for a week. And this is how that went…
It didn’t go as planned. This didn’t have anything to do with our motorhome by the way, but Brussels Airport gave us headaches even before we left Belgium. A problem with a luggage belt or something. Long story short: no luggage for us in Oslo, where we were supposed to spend the first night and take the train to Gol the next day. One day later one piece of luggage, luckily my wife’s, arrived, we picked it up and decided we couldn’t wait any longer for my luggage since we were going to miss our train (which, as you can imagine, is quite expensive in Norway).
Because I didn’t want to dirty the toilet within the first few hours of ‘owning’ this motorhome, I decided to use the campsite’s little shack, where, of course, I sat down and heard my next door toilet neighbor say: ‘Hey, how are you?’. Generally I don’t take kindly to folk that want to strike up a convo whilst pushing out dung, but since I was still a bit frustrated about our luggage issues, I explained to him that I wish I had some more clothes (I was still in shorts and t-shirt, and it was getting a bit cold).
After a couple of hours we arrived in Gol where we were greeted by Wilfried, who picked us up in his motorhome, drove back to his house in Hemsedal, explained us how to use the shower (if necessary), how to empty the toilet from an abundance of excrements (very necessary), how to use the electricity and how to exercise your right to basically park anywhere you want (unless stated otherwise). It took him 45 minutes to explain the motorhome to us, and I was under the impression that my wife was listening and later I learned she did the same, so we ended up driving away and asking each other: did you get any of that? Are you sure about what we have to do with our poop at the end of this trip?
Generous and kind people
So we started driving, east, to the first campsite we’d come across. The owner asked: electricity or no electricity and so we learned the most important motorhome question. We answered poorly: yes. But we couldn’t care less about those few extra kroners. We arrived in a beautiful spot, just around sunset, which in Norway in July means around 10 or 11 pm. Because I didn’t want to dirty the toilet within the first few hours of ‘owning’ this motorhome, I decided to use the campsite’s little shack, where, of course, I sat down and heard my next door toilet neighbor say: ‘Hey, how are you?’. Generally I don’t take kindly to folk that want to strike up a convo whilst pushing out dung, but since I was still a bit frustrated about our luggage issues, I explained to him that I wish I had some more clothes (I was still in shorts and t-shirt, and it was getting a bit cold). He understood and a few minutes later he stood at our doorstep with a bunch of his own clothes. Clothes that were about three sizes to big for me, but I could not complain. I thanked him, lied about sending all of these clothes back by post, took a shower and went to bed. Thus I learned another valuable lesson: motorhoming people are generous and kind. And they wave at you every time you pass another motorhome on the road. They wave at you so much your hand gets tired of all the waving, but you do it anyway, because the rest of the world is going to hell and motorhomes are heaven.
Anyway, the journey continues. North this time, past Gjendesheim where a ferry takes hikers to Memurubu for a 13,3km hike with the mountain ridge of Bessegen as an absolute highlight. Past the eastern entrance of the Jotunheimen Nasjonalpark to the Vågåvatn lake, where we had to make a big decision: do we want to see the musk oxen at Dovrefjell national park or should we go for the Geirangerfjord, which is perhaps the most beautiful fjord in Norway (it isn’t really though, I find the cruise ship smog rather offensive). We chose the latter. It wasn’t a bad decision, there really are no bad decisions whilst cruising Norway. This itinerary would also takes us to one of the 18 Nasjonale turistveger, roads of extreme beauty. Extreme beauty. Extreme, extreme, extreme.
Thus I learned another valuable lesson: motorhoming people are generous and kind. And they wave at you every time you pass another motorhome on the road. They wave at you so much your hand gets tired of all the waving, but you do it anyway, because the rest of the world is going to hell and motorhomes are heaven.
Freaking out on the Aurlandsfjellet
After a night near the Geirangerfjord – just far enough in order to not share a campsite with hundreds of other motorhomes – we set sail to Stryn where we were immediately drawn towards the Briksdalbreen glacier and the emerald lake of Oldenvatnet right in front of it. Norway at its finest. But the next day we felt the same way about the Sognefjord further south. Basically everything in Norway is really really pretty, but some places are even prettier than others. I was especially flabbergasted by Aurlandsfjellet, the old snow road between the fjords near Aurlandsvangen. With a motorhome this road of 48 kilometers is quite an adventure. Basically the road is way too narrow at most stretches, so once you see someone coming the opposite direction, you will freak out. But that’s part of the charm. Somehow it all works out wonderfully (well, I guess not always, but I got lucky). I was also very much impressed with the Flåmsbana, which is said to be one of the most epic train rides in the world. My advice: take some bikes on the train, ride to the top of the mountain and cycle back. Oh, and don’t forget to book tickets well in advance.
Norway kept giving and giving. Near Eidfjord I was quite pleased to see the Vøringfoss, but got even more excited in the Hardangervidda Nasjonalpark. Hardangervidda is the largest mountain plateau in northern Europe and it boasts a huge variety of landscapes, from lush and green to rocky and moon-like. Anyway, you get the idea. It’s about time I showed you some pictures.
Oh, and if you want to book the exact same motorhome as I did, you can go through Camptoo, which is a sort of Airbnb on wheels. A special thank you goes out to travel counsellor Hanne Vrancken, who suggested this itinerary.