14th January, we made our way into Norway, Another quick stop at Karin and Hans' for a cup of tea then onwards to the border, by the time we made it darkness was already upon us, days were still annoyingly short, so we had to do the best we could and soldier on through into the mountains, Just after we crossed the border it started to snow heavily and single track roads winding their way around mountains and lakes are not easy to navigate at the best of times, let alone in a snow storm after dark. We pitched up for the night in a motorway stop just outside Trondheim and called it a day. Relieved to be on the next leg of our journey and excited to see what Norway had to offer.
In the morning we was awoken by a roadworker shovelling the snow which fell in the night, about a foot. We had some errands to run so we headed down into Trondheim to locate some gas shops and camping stores, we naively thought you would be able to exchange calor gas bottles in Europe but you can't and there is literally no way around it. We would have to either change fitting/gas bottle per country which would be expensive and really annoying or buy a universal refillable LPG bottle with adaptors, which is even more expensive, but would be able to hopefully last our whole trip so we had decided that would be the best option for us. Could we find somewhere that sold what we were looking for in all of Norway? nope! so we gave up not knowing when our next bottle would run out but thats a story for a different day. We then went to Ikea, the mattress we have in the van felt akin to sleeping on Brighton beach so we wanted to buy some mattress toppers or a new quilt to sleep on to make things a little more comfortable. From Ikea, where we nearly nocked our chimney cowl off due to a rather low overhead barrier, we carried on up the E6.
The E6 is a rather long motorway running up the middle of Norway, its their equivalent to our M1, and we would be using it for the majority of our trip north, The next night we stayed atop a mountain, it was a cold one in the morning, I used my camping stove under the engine to warm it up a little, even a couple of degrees up from the -17 which it was outside would be a bonus and hopefully mean that something catastrophic wouldn't go wrong with the van.
We left the mountain and carried on our journey north on the E6, The road was getting smaller and smaller and the villages were starting to look more and more remote. after a full day of driving, we pulled over into another information stop/layby type thing to spend the night, it had snowed even more, something we wasn't expecting in Norway, we thought Sweden would be the place for snow!
The next day we woke with renewed enthusiasm, the Arctic was waiting, we wanted to cross into Arctic circle as soon as possible, its something Robin has always wanted to do and to be able to do it in January was even more of a noteworthy goal, so earlier than normal we set off. About midday we crossed into the Arctic. we had planned to stay overnight in the carpark of the 'Arctic Circle Centre' however quite ironically it was closed for the winter, it was still pretty cool though, looked like something from a dystopian film as snow drifts were piled high against the walls and doors. Even without such harsh weather its a building that looks rather more suited to mars then earth.
Slightly disheartened we carried on driving into the tundra not knowing where the next campsite would be. it was still bitterly cold out and Robin had gotten into the habit of statring the van of a night every couple of hours or so to just keep the engine warm to stop any malfunctions as most normal people have aux heaters in the engines of their cars to keep them warm. We managed to get to a town named Rognan where we camped for the night, surrounded but industry, huge trucks and towering mountains.
Lauren wasn't feeling to great, so I stayed awake for most of the night, kept the fire alight to ensure the van was nice and warm and before we knew it we was back on the trusty E6 heading even further north. Before visiting our next workaway family we wanted to explore the Lofoten Archipelago a beautiful set of islands, on the east coast of Norway, There was no way of driving any further north into Norway without getting a ferry (the E6 simply stops at a ferry terminal) however we thought it would be cool to get the ferry in the daylight so we camped out in a tiny supermarket carpark near the ferry terminal and waited it out till morning.