Route 45 and the midnight sun

The most direct route to the Stavanger region in the south western corner of Norway was route 45, which travels diagonally across the country.

I wasn’t aware that it’s the highest altitude road in Southern Norway. Poor Pablo, but lucky us – it’s been an incredible drive. There wasn’t many other cars using the road, until it all went to a single lane and they were millimetres from hitting us.

It’s been a rather tough drive, along windy plateaus that eventually zig zag down to a valley, then all the way back up again. We were quite surprised today as we reached 1050m elevation between Brokke and Suleskar, on a plateau surrounded by mountains, and covered in lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and snow – everywhere! Ok, not everywhere but massive slabs of snow double the size of Pablo to the side of the road. You could see chunks lining the lakes edges and sunk below the water like a ship, glistening turquoise in the depths. No one lived up here, except for sheep, which we already encountered this morning. I woke to the van shaking, there was tapping all over the metal, and I instantly thought someone was trying to break in, but then I remembered where we were; sleeping next to a tranquil lake, with steep mountains around us and nothing else. I peeked out the back window and there was a sheep “Craig there’s a sheep on the roof!!!” we quickly shoved our clothes on and whacked the ceiling, by the time we stepped out he was on the ground. After considering how a sheep could possibly get onto our roof, we decided that it was just a case of sheep attacking us. Then we saw the mum escort her 2 naughty lambs away, probably giving them a lecture about not abusing tourist vehicles.

Much to my annoyance we haven’t seen any moose or reindeer yet, infact all the moose signs have stopped since driving this road. Yesterday a car pulled up as I was washing our clothes in a lake, he was English and said he saw so few Brits around that he had to stop and say hi. We asked him what our chances of seeing moose (elk in Europe) were, he came back with an oddly positive response, told us a dirt road nearby usually has them as that’s where him, his Norwegian wife, and a friend have all crashed into one – on separate occasions. Then he said “but you won’t see them in the day time” we deflated in front of him like balloons as we were fully aware that it’s light outside for about 20 hours. We’d have to hike between 12 am – 3 am. We decided to drive the dirt road anyway, and saw nothing. We shall stay positive, they can’t hide in the forest all day, can they?

Talking of sunlight; It’s beyond wierd, drawing the curtains for bed, at 11pm, when it’s still light outside. It feels like your having an afternoon nap. We keep losing track of time, eating dinner really late, and waking up at 4am to check what time it is as I can see light in the cracks of the curtains. And we’re currently in Southern Norway, as we hit the arctic circle it will barely set at all.

What would be even weirder is winter, when the sun barely rises over the horizon. In Rjukan, they had 3 huge mirrors placed at the top of a mountain, they were computer controlled to follow the sun, and reflect it directly into the town square so they get some of the minuscule amount of sun in winter. And in 1928 the Norsk Hydro company presented the town with the gift of a cable car, so that the townspeople could get high enough to see the sun during winter. So think twice before you complain about the sun setting at 5pm in England!


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