Neil LewisSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Neil Lewis
I am pleased to report that the sun was shining as we drove towards the Norwegian border. Choosing to drive from our home in Norfolk to visit family in Norway was a longer first tour than many undertake, and I don't mind admitting that it was with some relief that we started the final leg.
At the start, as reported in our first blog, it was very much a case of getting used to life on the road, before discovering some of the delights of motorcaravanning as we journeyed on, as you can read in part two. Now, with the end in sight and looking forward to seeing family, my wife and I were able to relax and enjoy the ride in our Bailey Approach 625 SE.
Traffic was light and driving was easy in Sweden as we neared the border, and mostly dual carriageways. The cost of living is expensive in Norway so it is worth stocking up with food and diesel in Sweden – there's a large shopping centre near the border at Nordby which has plenty of parking.
As we left Sweden we also left the European Union. There is a border post between the two countries, but the crossing was straightforward – we just continued along the dual carriageway.
It is worth noting that most of the major roads in southern and eastern Norway are toll roads. They have an AutoPASS system in place and you can set up an account before you travel by going online. You can pay at some toll booths, such as the one at the border, but the majority of main roads do not operate that way. You could pay at designated garages, but finding them can be difficult. If a toll booth is not available, you can simply continue driving and a bill will be sent to your DVLA registered vehicle address.
In Norway, we drove along the E6 heading for a 25-minute ferry crossing over the Oslo Fjord from Moss to Horten. This would save us driving around Oslo on our way to southern Norway. We crossed the fjord, which was a welcome break, and then headed along the E18 to Kristiansand. We finally arrived, safe and sound, at around 7pm.
So after just shy of 1500 miles and seven countries (eight if you include the UK!), how did we feel about motorcaravanning? Well, this was certainly a great introduction to the pastime. Our Bailey handled all the conditions well and was reasonably manoeuvrable, being only 6.4m long. It had everything we needed to stay overnight (or longer), and we were refreshed each morning ready for the next part of our trip. There was plenty of room for two plus a good sized dog, as well as lots of storage space, a decent fridge and a microwave.
In fact, I am delighted to share that it seems we've got the motorcaravanning bug! We are already making plans for touring the UK in our 'van once we're home again, this time taking things at a more leisurely pace, seeing the countryside rather than hurrying through it. I don't know why we didn't get into this sooner!