Norway. No way boring. Maelstrom, and five flavours of driving.

Friday 28 September. I’d been lulled into thinking I’d put a bit of distance between myself and winter but, when I woke, there was ice on the skylight above my bed and Landegode island had donned a cap and cape of snow.

Winter had caught up, and the low overnight temperatures had caused the van to dump its water, something it does to protect the boiler and pump from freezing. Fortunately, I carry 5ltrs in a container so could make hot drinks and wash.

I got on the road as quickly as I could to get the van warm, and drove to Saltstraumen about half an hour away. Saltstraumen has one of the strongest tidal currents in the world. Up to 400,000,000 cubic metres of seawater forces its way through the 3-kilometre long, 150-metre wide strait every six hours. There is a high road bridge over the strait.

There were views back to Bodø from the bridge.

Whirlpools or maelstroms up to 10 metres in diameter and 5 metres in depth are formed when the current is at its strongest. The turbulence brings nutrients and the area has a thriving ecosystem below the surface. These guys were fishing right on the edge.

The power of the current was something to see.

There was a campsite nearby so I popped in and filled up with water which meant I could have a shower and so on this evening, although I won’t be surprised if the tank empties again overnight.

I left Saltstraumen with the intention of getting ahead of winter by putting in a good drive south on the E6. It turned out to be five distinct drives. The first hour or so was like yesterday, swooping around fjords, and just as crazy.

Then there was an hour of a good road through green valleys and tree covered mountains. Leaves were on the trees, though they were turning colour. It was almost as if there was a microclimate. The sun shone and I was lulled into thinking I’d got away from winter. But this is Norway, and there’s a surprise around every corner.

The road started to climb and within a short time was running between mountains covered by thick snow, with frozen lakes.

Fortunately the road was clear and dry. I pressed on. Then I saw signs that the Arctic Circle was coming up. It was marked by this service area.

I didn’t stop any longer than to take the picture, keen to put the snow behind me. Which I did, as soon the road started to descend. Did driving get easier? This is Norway, what do you think?

For the next hour the road ran downhill but it was though some massive road construction that went on and on. They were ripping mountainsides apart and the E6, the main road through Norway, would become a potholed track through chaotic sites where huge machines crushed rock into aggregate to be used in the road building. And none of this temporary road surface or tarmac ramps between levels, just bone juddering dips and edges. Poor Big Al took quite a hammering, lurching off road more often than on, or so it felt.

The works finally came to an end. I stopped and looked for somewhere to pitch up and found somewhere another hour away. Nothing fancy, a car park of a shopping area, but it will do.

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