Travels

Captured by Norwegian Trolls! (I mean, tolls).

Saturday 29 September. Woke up early and cold. After yesterday’s dumping of water I tentatively reached from my bed and turned on the heating (good bit of design) expecting it to fail. It didn’t, and the day continued in that positive vein, apart from the rain, which was a bit of a pain, but I won’t complain, to do so would be a drain, and those are only meant for rain.

I drove to Trondheim which, with breaks, took about seven hours. Most of the journey was through national park. Forest, lakes and rivers, muted by the heavy rain.

The last couple of hours saw more towns and agriculture. I could almost have been in any country in Europe. Quite a contrast to the last week. I’ll check out Trondheim tomorrow.

On the trolls, sorry, tolls, I knew there were plenty of toll roads in Norway so signed up in advance with a company, EPC, who collect tolls and fines internationally for a number of countries. There are cameras above the road, they collect your number and EPC eventually invoice you. I’m not looking forward to my bill. With the mileage I’ve been doing I bet I’ve been through 15 or more tolls in the last few days, with charges around £5 a go as a higher charge applies at 3.5 tonnes.

It appears that if a town builds a road or tunnels, they’ll charge a toll until the costs are covered. For example, the tunnel to Nordkapp charged a high toll until two years ago. By then the cost had been recouped and now its free.

Norway, according to the world bank, is now, per capita, the richest country in the world. It pays high wages, the cost of living is high. It is oil rich but doesn’t subsidise fuel. Electricity is cheap, 98% generated by hydro power, and they are keen proponents of electric cars. Norway can afford to build all the roads it wants but chooses to charge. No wonder it’s the richest country in the world.

For a traveller in the country, you take a hit on everything, but it’s worth it.

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