Road trip Scandinavia: Day 19 (Gothenburg, Helsingborg, and back to Denmark)

This morning we had two and a half hours to explore Gothenburg. We wandered around the centrum, did a bit of window shopping, then after grabbing something small to eat (a slice of cake and a shake), we started driving Southwards.

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We included a small detour to visit two of our ex-colleagues who now work at the Onsala Space Observatory, so we did not spend the whole day on the highway. Afterwards we did not stop until reaching Helsingborg, where we walked around for an hour, before getting onto the ferry that would take us across the 5 kilometres of sea to Denmark.

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After disembarking, we immediately drove to a sushi place in Helsingør, where we had a delicious dinner. We are staying in the surprisingly fancy Strand- & Badehotel Marienlyst, so I can already see that I will sleep well tonight.

Odometer reading at the end of the day: 4076 km (of which 263 km was today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 18 (Tresticklan National Park, and the coast around Fjällbacka)

Our alarms went off at 08:00 this morning, and even though this felt painfully early, we were happy about the blue sky and sunshine that were waiting for us outside. After a quick breakfast we drove to the Tresticklan National Park via Halden and Nössemark, where we had a relatively easy hike (see Strava for details). The route was slightly less flat than expected (but there is only the ice age to blame for that, carving all these hills into the landscape…), but it contained definitely less uphill than some other hikes that we had before. The topography of the park is characterised by narrow, steep, ice-carved and polsihed ridges extending in a North-South direction, with swamps, and long, narrow lakes lying in between. The whole area is covered with a sparse pine forest, with lichen and moss dominating the ground level. Here and there wooden paths were made over the wetter areas.

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After the hike we drove to the coast. Our first stop was in Grebbestad, where we got some really delicious sandwiches and cakes for lunch/dinner, then we went to Fjällbacka, where we walked around in the harbour, and also climbed up to the Vetteberget “rock”, that rises above it.

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We stayed a bit longer at these lovely villages than originally planned, so it was already almost 19:30 when we arrived to the Spar Hotel Gårda in Gothenburg.

Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3813 km (of which 281 km was today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 17 (Holmenkollen, Fredrikstad, Halden)

This morning after checking out we drove to the Holmenkollbakken, which is a ski jumping hill in the Holmenkollen neighbourhood of Oslo. The clouds were hanging very low above the city, so the top of the ramp was not always visible while we were there. After my previous visit ten years ago, the entire structure was demolished and rebuilt, and I really like the new design.

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From here we drove to the old part of Fredrikstad to visit one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Scandinavia. Besides strolling around the cobbled streets within the fortified walls, we also got a very delicious lunch here in a cozy cafe.

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The next stop was the Fredriksten fortress in Halden, where we could walk along the walls high above the city, and also catch a glimpse of Sweden for the first time.

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Tonight we are staying in the Nordby Hotell, right next to a huge shopping mall on the Swedish side of the border (which is clearly aimed at Norwegians who come here to buy cheap drinks, tobacco, toys, sweets, and fishing gear). Today we got lucky with the weather, because it was only raining when we were inside :)

Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3532 km (of which 173 km was today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 16 (Museums in Oslo)

Today we did the tour of the five museums on the Bygdøy peninsula, taking the small ferry there and back, getting the most out of our 24 hour Oslo Passes. We visited The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (an open air museum of buildings from different regions and epochs of Norway), the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, The Fram Museum, and the Kon-Tiki Museum.

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As far as I can tell all of these had at least something new compared to ten years ago (especially the Maritime Museum looked totally refurbished), but I did not remember half of the exhibitions anyway, so it was more or less equally new for the both of us. By the time we arrived back to the city centre it was raining quite hard, so we did not plan to walk around much, and after a coffee and a short tour in a shopping mall we got on a tram that was supposedly heading towards our apartment. Unluckily it turned out very soon that even though the number on the tram was the one we needed, it was diverted to another direction due to some disruptions… Therefore we got off at the second stop, and started walking. At the same time the Norse gods decided to turn the rain up a notch, so even though we had umbrellas, we decided to take cover in a supermarket (and get some cheap food for dinner). It is good that we did not listen to the weather forecast on the morning and ditch our umbrellas for the day.

Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3359 km (we did not drive today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 15 (Oslo)

Yesterday I set my alarm to 10:00, but of course I could not sleep later than the usual hour, and by the time it actually went off, we were already on our way to the city centre. We passed by The Royal Palace and its gardens, the University of Oslo, the Nationaltheatret (and its interesting fountain), the Nobel Peace Center, and walked along the Aker Brygge neighbourhood.

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After a coffee and a pastry, we continued our tour by visiting the Rådhuset (Town Hall). I did not go inside when I was here a decade ago, so it was also something new for me (and I really liked it).

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From here we went to the Akershus Fortress, which was mainly interesting because of the panorama from its walls.

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Then we crossed the old square of Christiania Torv on the way to the Østbanehallen (a food court in the refurbished old part of the Central Station), where we had a small lunch (wrap/sandwich). The next sight was the Opera House, which was again new for me too. Here we walked up the blindingly white roof and also had a look inside. It would have been better without all the construction cranes around, but I still managed to get a few OK pictures.

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The last stop of the day was the Mathallen, which is another food court, situated in an upcoming, hip/trendy area of the city. Since it was only around four on the afternoon, I could only finish half of the pad thai portion, but we brought the rest (along with a citron merengue) back to our apartment for “dinner”. On the way back we walked along the Karl Johans gate (where it even rained a little), and only stopped for an extra smoothie before calling it a day.

Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3359 km (we did not drive today).