FiveEuroFood on the road – Adventures galore!

So, here I am in Sweden at last, safe and sound, though not without some stories to tell. There is so much to do and no doubt it will be some weeks before we have taken care of the things that need to be taken care of, but things are gradually calming down. My son is greatly enjoying being able to see his grandparents, my cat seems to have endured the trip like a champ, the car has been unloaded and the clothes unpacked, and we can now start to have some semblance of normalcy again in our lives.

I will be gradually returning to cooking again soon, but in the meantime I thought you might all enjoy some photos of my trip! I didn’t take so many photos during the beginning of the journey. We spent a night in Kaarst, Germany, a night in Odense, Denmark, and a night in Gardermoen, Norway, but the scenery was rather unremarkable in these areas, and besides – I wasn’t there to sight-see!

As with any long car journey, things were bound to go wrong. First off, I had to drive across the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, since I had to make a stop in Helsingborg, Sweden, in order to have my tyres changed to studded, winter tyres. I merrily tapped in the destination while preparing to leave from Odense, only to be met with the message “No routes found which do not involve ferries”. Ahem… in the end I could choose an option to “Travel via” a point on the map, so I went to the map, tapped on the bridge, and lo and behold, it planned a route for me to Helsingborg. I started driving along happily, went over the bridge, marvelled at the wonders of modern construction and engineering, arrived in Sweden, paid the bridge toll (€35!), took a few turns and ended up right back on the bridge again back to Denmark. Oh dear. Back to Denmark, turn around again, back to Sweden, two more bridge tolls later I’m on my way. I had followed my GPS instructions to the letter, so I have no idea what happened there but an expensive mistake it ended up being.

On the journey from Gardermoen to Trondheim, Norway, is where it got really exciting. The weather wasn’t great – cold with traces of snow in the mountains, we took a little detour off the highway  to see a Stave Church in a place called Ringebu. These are medieval churches, built entirely of wood.

Ringebu Stave Church

The church at Ringebu dates back to the first quarter of the 13th century. Sadly it was not possible to go inside, but just to be able to see it was an experience in itself. It was bitterly cold, so after a few snaps we jumped back into the car and I plotted a course for Trondheim. “Fastest route” I selected… oh dear. The idiotic GPS decided that a 50km track through a deserted mountain “park” was the best way to go. I say “park” because I couldn’t actually see anything. There was snow everywhere, there wasn’t any kind of building or other person in sight, and worst of all, in a lot of places I could barely even see the road!

Norwegian Snow

Fun in Norway

I managed to successfully navigate this bit of wilderness and we were well on our way to finally rejoining the highway when… yup, I came around a snowy corner just a teensy bit too fast. The car spun around and there I was sitting at a jaunty angle in a ditch. Not what I really wanted to happen! As luck would have it, a couple of friendly Norwegians stopped, one of whom had a truck, and could pull me out. After more than an hour I could finally get going again, albeit feeling a bit freaked out.

More fun in Norway

We arrived late in Trondheim, and as seems to be typical for all good little Scandinavian towns, every restaurant in sight closed up by 9pm so alas the only “food” option available for us was the local McDonalds. Still, food is food and it was nice to feel replete after such a day!

Leaving Trondheim to head to Mosjøen, Norway, the next day, you’d never have thought that the weather could have been so bad the day before. There wasn’t a trace of snow in sight, although as we headed further north the weather definitely became significantly colder and more icy.

Further North

The hotel we stayed at in Mosjøen (simply called the “Hotell Mosjøen”) was very nice. I doubt many people will find themselves up in that part of the world, but I can strongly recommend it if you do. It seems to be a family-run place, so the rooms, while simple, felt decent, and it was nice to not have that “chain hotel” experience, where every room is identical, every piece of furniture is exactly the same and so forth. A free dinner buffet is included in the price, including breakfast as well. It had a cosy little lobby and dining room which made you feel like you were a guest in someone’s home, and very friendly staff, and when I woke up in the morning, I was confronted by this view which was pretty incredible – something I hadn’t noticed at all in the night when we’d arrived.

Hotel view from Mosjøen

The next day it was time to undertake the final leg of the journey. Crossing back into Sweden and driving to meet up with my wife, son and parents-in-law at their home. The weather was not good – the roads were very bad, and my car was severely laden down which made the handling less than favourable in the adverse conditions. Despite this, and the fact that the 7 hour journey ended up taking about 11 hours, we still managed to take in some sights and marvel at the breathtaking scenery.

Near the Norwegian border

Across in Sweden

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the photos of my trip. It’s definitely a trip I would undertake again if I had the opportunity, although perhaps not in the winter! I’m gradually getting back into the swing of things again here, including adjusting to the freezing temperatures all the time. My wife feels a bit sorry for me since, as she says, “it’s only going to get colder”. Yay, I say – bring it on!

I will be back soon with a new recipe, and I will now be able to resume checking out peoples’ blogs once again – sorry I’ve been gone for so long. In the meantime, enjoy this photo of one of the first views of “Sweden” I photographed after crossing over the border from Norway.

Sweden at last

Comments

  1. Lena says

    Nice to get some news from you!!! and damn.. it IS really winter where you are now! Looks like you´re behind the wall in Westeros! (you know, i hate snow and winter but I have to admit: it´s pretty!)

    • says

      Thanks Lena! It’s all melting right now so I can see the grass again, but I guess that’s not for too long… back to snow and ice again soon! Very pretty though, that’s for sure :)

  2. says

    Thank you for the mostly beautiful (some scary) pictures and story of your trek to Sweden. There were more than a few nail biting occasions and I’m so glad you encountered the helpful pair with the truck to get you out of the ditch. Unfortunately you didn’t have the option of putting off the trip until the weather was better, but I think you dealt well with the hurdles put in your road.

    I hope you all have your woolen underclothing for the cold ahead. :)

    • says

      Thanks A_ – many of the people we met during that particular incident were so nice. There was one couple who drove right on by while staring at us out of the window – not even asking if everything was ok :D. It would indeed. have been nice to take the trip a few weeks earlier, and I thought initially that I might have been able to do that… catching everything on the cusp of autumn, but in the end alas it was what it was. Definitely plenty of memories and excitement :D

  3. says

    So many adventures. I have to say I know of many, many people who have come unstuck relying on a GPS – we avoid them. The scenery is so beautiful and I just love that wooden church – it’s so old! We have nothing like that here in Oz with the British only arriving just over 200 years ago. I would love to see all of the places you have shown us but perhaps in the summer months which I’m sure, being an Aussie, I would find chilly! xx

    • says

      Hi Charlie – definitely, I would imagine it would make a breathtaking trip in the summer. Even in the winter it was an incredible voyage… fantastic scenery as you can see, although somewhat more risky to undertake :D

  4. Veronica says

    Glad you made it safely, Charles. And a road trip without adventures…is pretty boring really.
    The photos are grand!

  5. Ludivine says

    your pictures are so beautiful, i would have love travel with you. I love the church, it’s so beautifull, and the landscape are amazing. you are lucky to have seen such beautifull things.

    We miss you. Versailles is still versailles with the traffic, the rain…
    I hope Sammy will feel ok and have few years to enjoy Sweden.
    Plein de bisous !!

    • says

      Merci Ludi – je peux vivement recommander le voyage par le nord de Norvège si jamais vous aviez envie de faire un road-trip… peut-être quand votre fille est un peu plus agée. C’est vraiment si belle, plein de paysage fantastique, mais peut-être faites-le pendant l’été… l’hiver, tout devient… “interessant”. Froid, glissant, sombre… :p

      On va te tenir au courant avec Sammy… le pauvre :(

  6. says

    My husband has quite a few rellies in Trondheim but I can’t convince him that he should visit them. :) Too cold, he says. My father-in-law has been many times and emails his family a lot. He told us how pretty it was there.

    Your trip, while eventful, was just the beginning of your real adventure – learning to live in Sweden. I’m glad you’re “home”!

    • says

      Thanks Maureen! Relatives in Trondheim eh? Heh, small world! I can recommend a visit if you have a chance – it was a lovely place, even though we weren’t able to stay all that long there!

  7. says

    Breathtaking scenery indeed, and a breathtakingly harrowing adventure at times it sounds like. Glad you are safely in Sweden now before winter really gets going! Looking forward to more post showing food and travel adventures in your new country, Charles. :)

  8. says

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us Charles, what a trying trip you must have had! How many hours did it take in total? Did you find someone to go with you? The photos are breath taking. You should have that first one printed on a large canvas it’s so beautiful! I’m glad that you arrived in one piece. You must be very excited to have this next stage in your life, congratulations.

    • says

      Hi Eva – all in all it was about 42 hours of driving, split over 5 days. Thank God for cruise control is all I can say, although even that wasn’t any help on the Norwegian “highways”. Single lane horror-shows, barely wide enough to take a car, with trucks thundering towards you in the other direction!

      My father came with me in the end – we had a good father-son bonding experience :D

      I’m glad you like the photos – I do like the first one, although the snowy ones are my favourites I think!

  9. says

    Thank you so much Charles for taking the time to share some of your trip and pictures! What a trip! Those darn GPS gadgets – it’s a love/hate relationship isn’t it? :) Those snowy roads look quite treacherous! I’ve driven on roads like that a couple of times and was quite nervous the whole way. But in spite of sliding off the road, I’m glad to read that you did get through relatively unscathed. The pictures of Norway and Sweden are breathtaking! What a beautiful new home! Of course, you can keep the cold up that please. Very enjoyable post Charles! Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks MJ – All I can say is that I’m very thankful for winter tyres! I’d never have made the trip without them, and considering that that is “normal driving conditions” for most of the winter here they’re definitely a good (and legally mandated) investment!

    • says

      Thank you Sawsan – it was quite a trip. Was incredible to see that scenery, and I wish I’d had more time! It’s a shame when you have to constantly “be somewhere” at the end of each day by a certain time. Still, it’s kind of on my door-step now so I can go there for future vacations in the summer perhaps!

  10. says

    Hellooooooo Charles! It’s great to see you back! I’ve seen some of these photos on facebook- you’re definitely having a blast roadtripping. It looks simply gorgeous where you are/ have been! Have fun and bundle up!

    • says

      Thanks Shu! It was incredible scenery. I hope I can do it again some day but without the time constraints of having to worry about move all my precious belongings across multiple countries! :D

  11. says

    I’m so happy that you arrived safely. And at least you’ll have stories you can look back on and laugh. It seems as though every road trip has one or two of those. I’m just happy they all ended well. And the double trip across the bridge, while I’m sure not funny at the time, did make me giggle. That is totally something I would do – first I’m terrible at reading maps and second I tend to get distracted easily. I’ve done so many loopdy-loos it’s ridiculous. And I’m so happy you posted pictures. It’s just beautiful. Now I just have to plan to get to Sweden one of these days. :)

    • says

      Thank Kristy – I’ll definitely remember that trip, probably for the rest of my life, although it all feels a world away now that I’m more or less a bit more settled here now. It’s a shame I didn’t have a chance to spend longer in these places, but I’ll have to go back in the summer!

      As for visiting… you’re all welcome anytime, although perhaps wait until we can get a house, so we can at least offer you a place to stay :D.

  12. says

    I’m glad you arrived safely…even with a few unplanned incidents. As long as I have known you, you said you dreamed of a new life for you and your family in Sweden. Now your true adventure together begins…I hope it will be pleasant all along the way.

    • says

      Hi Karen – true adventures indeed. Much to do, so much, before we’ll be more settled down but I’m looking forward to the day when I can sit in my very own kitchen, kitted out just the way I’ve always wanted!

  13. says

    All those photographs are breath taking, your story is inspiring. I’m glad you made it safely.

    If the pictures are made into poster or print, I will buy it. I think they are wonderful.

  14. says

    Beautiful photos Charles. Congratulations on arriving in one piece! Dear me, it is indeed going to get colder for you but I always embraced it. It makes your cheeks pink and makes you feel festive. Not like the rain we elsewhere in Europe :( I look forward to more adventures i sverige :) xx

    • says

      Thanks Anneli! I’m still getting used to the cold! I was outside in -10 today changing my car battery (it died after I arrived here… guess it was old and didn’t like the cold, but at least my car starts now!).

  15. says

    It’s quite amazing to follow your move – from one country to another. I know it’s not easy at all (even in same neighborhood, I never thought our move wasn’t easy 6 years ago). You live in such a beautiful place. I have to travel many hours (and days?) to see that. So happy you’re sharing some pictures!

    • says

      Thank you Nami! The good thing about the US though is that you can really see it all, and not have to leave the country! Desert, mountains, snow, forest, valleys, canyons, swamp… we don’t really have such scenic diversity in Europe!

  16. says

    Thank you, Charles, for attracting my attention to this post. I have missed it indeed. Beautiful photos, though the change to cold climate region is so obvious! I’m glad you have arrived safely after all the misadventures.
    GPS are not always so good… though some are updated regularly and help you to avoid traffic jams, reduced lanes because of some road works etc.. This is quite impressive (we had an excellent one in a rented car recently). I don’t know if it depends on the brand.

    • says

      Hi Sissi, I could have paid for a map update for my GPS, but to be honest, I don’t think it would have helped. They need to take weather (or at least “time of year”) into account when plotting routes. Obviously, a mountain park in winter is certainly not going to be “quicker”, than turning back for 10 minutes and re-joining a highway. My driving experience in Norway to be honest was very bad. The european route “E6″ was being re-built for almost the entire length of the country, so there was low speed limits and rocks everywhere, and after I went into the ditch I was feeling a bit scared about the ice and snow and had to go back onto this highway. The “highways” in Norway seem to be very bad. Only one lane, and when it’s dark and snowing, with trucks thundering towards you, covering your car in crap so you can’t see anything, it’s not a fun experience at all!

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