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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

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The Happy Wanderer heads South

After leaving Alta, it was on 200 miles to Saltstraumen which is not far from Bode. It is here that a narrow inlet some 15 metres wide has an inrush of some three hundred million cubic metres of water passing through it twice a day; this causes huge whirl pools and the most powerful Maelstrom in Norway. This brings an abundance of fish, guess what, you have got it I went fishing for my supper and managed to catch a Coalfish which is very similar to Pollock. It is in places such as these and their fast flowing rivers that make the country self sufficient in Hydro- electric power, with spare for export.

Next it was back across the Arctic Circle continuing south keeping to the coast road which went down through the islands. This road involved four or five ferry trips. As these are part of the road system they were quite cheap, they were also very efficient, they seemed to have a multi-tasking crew of about four. We also went over what I call a bendy bridge, as it seemed to bend and curve in a very strange manner, but all these means of travel I found very interesting and the scenery travelling down on this coast road was spectacular, as was all of Norway. After the islands it was back on the main coast road A6. The valleys were becoming more cultivated, some areas had the lovely aroma of strawberries as you drove through, and they were selling these, also cherries by the roadside and at ferry points. They seemed so very tasty and aromatic just as I remember them as a child, needless to say I had to buy some.

I called in at Trondheim as there was a cathedral there that I wanted to see, made from all different coloured granites mostly pinks, whites and greys, I found it very attractive. The town square itself seemed full of stalls selling those lovely strawberries and cherries. Not far from here is a town called Hell, its station is one of the most photographed in Norway and tickets to here are collector’s items.

On then another 150 miles to Kristiansund, named after the Danish king, Christian V1 in 1742, this small town/harbour has very little protection from the vagaries of the North Atlantic; it is also the largest exporter of dried cod in Norway, not used much in the UK anymore. There is also a statue of a “Fishwife”, on the harbour frontage showing the town’s importance in the fishing industry.

As I did not expect to be writing up my travels I did not make notes, so I cannot remember where exactly some of the interesting things I saw were, “Lesson learnt”. But there are a couple of road tunnels worth a mention, one which went under a glacier and the other which was cut into a mountain, where you drove in at the top, then went in a downward spiral till you came out at the bottom, all this inside the mountain.

The next obstacle was the Troll’s pass, this is a very steep windy road cut into the side of a mountain. At the top and bottom of this road is a sign that says, “No Caravans” because of the severity of the corners, but of course we met the inevitable German with his caravan coming down causing problems on the corners. I found it different driving to what I was used to, but found it interesting, exciting and a little bit scary all at the same time. Once we reached the top, the view back down the valley was quite spectacular as are so many views in Norway.

Then it was on to Geirangerfjorden, said to be Norway’s most beautiful fjord, I certainly found it so when looking down into it from above. While there I took a boat trip down through the fjord, spectacular with the high cliffs towering above and the waterfalls cascading down, not to mention clear water with a turquoise hue caused by the glacier runoff. While we were there several cruise liners came in as this fjord is on the itinerary of most Nordic cruises. After two nights and more ice cream it was time to leave, the climb up out of the fjord was long, steep and winding, but once again the views were spectacular.

Christine Culley

From St George’s News Archives,
first published Festival issue 2008

Arctic Circle Visitor Centre, Norway

Trondheim Cathedral

Troll’s Pass


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