20th July 2016. Sommarøy near Tromsø, Norway.

Well, I wouldn’t be AT ALL surprised if all the seabirds in this area didn’t have sore throats this morning considering they didn’t shut up at any point ALL night, I should know because I had the dubious pleasure of listening to them!

Following yesterdays ‘swimming’ event I decided to have a paddle to test the waters, it was SO cold my feet felt like ice and didn’t stop tingling for an hour after I came out.  How brave where those people!

We left the car park this morning and popped into a little shop for some food and to use the cash point.  As we were leaving a lady came over to ask us a question and was happy to find we spoke English.  She had an Australian twang but it turned out she was Finnish.  She was driving a Transit size minibus and it was FULL of family and food, she said they’d just stocked up with five days worth of supplies.  Inside the car were her husband (who’d left England when he was two months old, he said he was one of the £10 poms) and eight children who ranged from a few months old to about 17 years old.

She said they wanted to have ten children and stroked her stomach, she was about six months pregnant so they’re well on their way.  She said they had been travelling around Finland and were now travelling around Norway because once the baby was born they wouldn’t have enough room in the car any longer so they were getting as much travelling in as they could.  She wanted to know whether the Norwegians allowed wild camping as they do in Finland, we told her they did and that we’d just come from a beautiful place to stay.  We started to give her directions but I decided it would be easier if we just drove back there and they followed us, so that’s what we did.

When we got to the sea she pulled the car up next to us and the children pulled the door back so they could thank us.  They all looked so happy and were so polite.  I wish I could remember all the children’s names but I know one was called Cleopatra, another was Shakespeare, the baby was called King James Ocean and one child was called Leonardo.  Each child had an unusual name.  She told us her son wanted to study to become a violin teacher this year and at the same time to study to become an electrician, they’ve obviously instilled a desire for knowledge in their children.  They seemed such a contented family. *

We made our way to Tromsø, did a ‘U’ turn when we saw a car dealer and Darren popped in to the showroom to see whether they could sell him some fuses as the fuse had blown in the cigarette lighter because I’d been using it to run the laptop.  The person he spoke to kindly gave him a handful and refused to take any money for them.

We continued on to Tromsø, it’s strange because a couple of days before we had said we most definitely were NOT going to Tromsø we’d go straight down to the Lofoten Islands but then the fuse blew and it was smaller than those that Darren had with him so that issue, along with needing a data sim card now that we’re out of range of the satellite, meant that we needed to go to a city.

We had the usual fiasco of finding somewhere to park, it was a scary moment when we drove up a very steep hill in the search for parking and had to stop behind a parked car then do a hill start, the van wasn’t happy.   It’s a good job Darren learned to drive in a very hilly area all those years ago!  We finally found ‘on street’ parking in a flat street with an interesting camber (half way up a steep hill) and left the van there.

We were surprised at how lovely Tromsø was, we felt very relaxed there.

We had no idea where to get a data sim card so Darren asked a woman, who was standing having a cigarette, listening to music with headphones and minding her own business.  Luckily she could speak English and was able to point us in the right direction.  We bought the card and headed back to the ice cream shop we’d passed, we couldn’t have coffee with the ice cream this time because the coffee machine was broken but the ice cream was yummy.

We explored the town centre, we enjoyed it there.  There was so much to see.

As we were leaving Tromsø to drive on to our stopover for the night, which was on an island called Sommarøy, we spied this lovely mural.

It was a brilliant journey we had to go over two very steep bridges and through a long tunnel network with TWO roundabouts inside, very exciting.  I tried to photograph it but this is the best I could do unfortunately.

We decided to fill up with water so Darren went into a petrol station and asked whether they had somewhere we could fill the water tank, he was directed round to the back of the petrol station where a man brought out a hose and then used a broom handle to knock the tap on which was on the wall above his head for some reason.  We’d assumed we’d just go to a cabinet and fill the tank from there so it was nice of him to go to the trouble of connecting the hose for us.

We took the road round the top of the island and it was well worth it, a bit hairy on occasions on the windy roads but it went through some pretty fishing villages then we came to the bridge on to the small island we were staying on.  It was so narrow and steep that it had traffic lights, thank goodness!  I took a photograph, unfortunately it also shows how filthy the windscreen is.  We must have decimated the insect population during our journey through Sweden.

We parked with two other motorhomes in a very large grassy (and slightly muddy) area looking out over the sea and mountains.

We wandered up to the little lighthouse along a slippery and very narrow track and turned the corner to look at the beautiful sandy bay we’d just driven past then carefully picked our way back.

The view from the van was stunning I can see why people rave about how beautiful Norway is and it got even better in the midnight sun.

We ran the sea gull gauntlet, they didn’t seem to like people walking past them on the road although they were fine with people on bicycles or in a car.  I put my hood up because they kept trying to ‘bomb’ us, luckily for us their aim was off however I moved pretty sharpish on the way back.

We walked along a white coral beach which was littered with small greenish sea urchins, some of them still had their spines attached.

It was slightly cloudy which was frustrating because we knew that meant we would’t see the midnight sun in all its glory however it was still beautiful .

We decided to go back to the van and come back out again when it was nearer midnight.

At 11.45 we walked back towards the harbour to wait for the sun to do its stuff and started exploring the nearby area while we were waiting, there was a hill behind us so we wandered round to see what was behind it and were so surprised when we saw a HUGE full moon.  The Midnight sun and a full moon at the same time.  Wow!

Unfortunately although we saw the amazingly huge moon we didn’t get to see the full blown Midnight Sun, I think it was hiding behind the clouds.  Darren was all for moving on again tomorrow but having driven all this way with the express purpose of seeing the Midnight Sun, I was adamant we were NOT going anywhere until we’d seen it so we decided to stay in Sommarøy for at least one more night.

  • We discovered a few years later that the family we’d met at the shop have become quite famous.  There are now ten children in the family and they are called Leonardo, Cleopatra Taina Bride, Jerusalem, Shakespeare, Romeo, D’Artagnan, King James Ocean, Aphrodite, Nefertiti Butterfly Bambi and Omega Royal Fox.  I hope they are still living a happy, loving life as they were when we met them briefly.

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