With a two year delay, thanks to a certain virus, we finally were able to make our long-ago planned roadtrip through scandinavia. Some might know that i have family roots there and i travel to sweden quite often, but this time, we decided to visit norway too, because i heard so many good things about it. And we didn’t get dissapointed a bit 🙂
The trip was more or less split into five sections
Part 1: 4 days of city sight-seeing in Oslo (NO)
Part 2: A travel to Västerås (SE) including two nighs there
Part 3: A visit to my Family in Östansjö (SE) with two nights there
Part 4: Trip to Stavanger (NO) including a stopover in Notodden (NO)
Part 5: Return back to Oslo via the Norwegian south coast (with stopovers in Lindesnäs and Kragerø)
Part 1: Oslo
What can i say? Oslo is a lovely city, especially if you love modern architecture, Art and WWII history. People are lovely and we visitied all kind of places. Personally i can recommend the botanical garden, the full 29km harbour walk, the Nobel Piece museeum, the Mathallen food court, Tjuvholmen, Blue and much more. but overall i was just overwhelmed by all the fancy buildings and the places in general.
We went to the Sauna including a swim in the Oslo fjord, we walked a lot, visited many places, had loads of great food, many lovely beers and a few drinks too.
I do not recommend driving a car in Oslo, instead, use a rental bike. For a very small fee and a free mobile phone App you can rent an “Oslo City bike” which allows you to travel the city in no time and visit all the nice places. There are pickup- and return spaces literary every few hundred meters so this is a brilliant way of transportation for the city.
Part 2: Västerås
After our days in Oslo, we took the airport express train back to the Gardemoen Airport, approx 30min outside of Oslo, where we picked up our rental car and drove straight away to Västerås. If you’ve never been to scandinavia before, this roadtrip gives you a real sense of sweden. Beautiful, mostly empty roads, endless forests and nature and many rocks and lakes. The beauty here is definitely the nature. But honestly this part of the road trip we mostly made as an extension of part three (a visit to my family) and because we had planned to visit the “Steam hotel” for quite a while now.
The steam Hotel is – as the name hints – a historic steam power plant at the beautiful lake Mälaren in Västerås, which has been converterd to a stunning hotel in the full steampunk look. With a lovely sense for all the little details. 3 Restaurants, pool / SPA in the 7th floor, 7 Bar’s, cinema, etc. Absolutely worth a visit. the coolest thing is, they left many of the original Gauges, meters and powerplant stuff there, and the lift is made out of glass. so when you take the lift to the top levels, you will go through some levels where you still can see some original pumps, chimneys, generators and other stuff from the original power plant. So cool!
The rooftop bar with a stunning view over the lake is definitely worth a visit too (the bar itself is actually the old protected Sniper position from the WWII).
Västerås is also home of one of the biggest US car communities outside of america, so you will see many classic american cars here at any time of the year.
Part 3: Östansjö
A short 3 hour drive with a detour to greet my grandma and we anded up in Östansjö, where my parents live, for a two days stopover and a visit with all relatives and some simplified “Midsommar” festivities.
Part 4: Trip to Stavanger (NO) including a stopover in Notodden
Now this is where the real roadtrip started. We took our car to Notoden for a stopover, then continued our way to Stavanger. We originally planned to make an additional detour to visit the historic Mevork power plant in Rjukan, but due to their opening times and our tight schedule, we decided to skip that. In case you’re wondering: The Mevork power plant by Hydro was also a hydrogen plant, of which a side product was heavy water (Deuterium oxine). The then Nazi occupants wanted to use that as the starting point for their atomic bomb research plans. The plant was hit by a series of adventurous sabotagues by both the norwegian resistance and allied forces during WWII, to stop Hitler from the atomic bomb plans and is today an industrial museeum with still some of the original heavy water machinery in place. The story has been shown in various tv series and movies all over the world.
Nevertheless we decided to take the scenic road via the Telemark mountain passes, with heaps of tunnels, bends, lakes and snow-remaints views. Absolutely stunning scenery. Could be a swiss mountain pass too, except the mountains where slightly smaller 🙂
Once you’re over the pass, you will end up on some narrow roads (we had to backup a few times when we crossed a truck or a bigger camper), which wind around over and under all the fjords.
The far-away goal for us was Stavanger. South of Bergen and less crowded – but what a lovely place. And there was much more going on than i had expected. Probably also due to the weather conditions beeing awesome in the otherwise mostly rainy city 🙂
Part 5: Return back to oslo via the Norwegian south coast (with stopovers in Lindesnäs and Kragerø)
We spent two days there before our trip continued along the old coastal roads on the south of norway. What can i say? Endless and empty white beaches, many lighthouses, WWII history, Absolutely lovely seafood and maybe a bit windy too. Especially in the beginning there are lovely hillclimb-type roads.
At one point we even came by this little race track, with what i believe is an RC-track next to it:
The final stop was in Kragerö which is your picture postcard place of scaninavia. Big marina, many touristic places, lovely people and a perfect end for our road trip before we returned our car back to the airport.
Generally the roads in norway are lovely and there is a lot of construction going on. There are many tollroads which cost a dollar or two, and there are a few speed cameras, but luckily you get warned by a sign first every time and there is so much to see you don’t want to drive fast anyway. I can absolutely recommend norway for a few spirited drives. It takes your time to get to the nice places. and we didn’t even do the “real” fjords up north, but nevertheless – an absolute joy to drive and lovely place, even if i’ve been to scandinavia so many times before…