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A Duck flies north - to Sweden and Norway

OZDUCK

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We then headed towards Stavanger.

Firstly we went through here Karmøy Tunnel - Wikipedia

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Which included the first roundabout I have ever seen in a road tunnel where it joined another, longer, tunnel.

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The road then went via a number of bridges and tunnels connecting a lot of smallish islands

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They were pretty rugged with often only a few sheep on them

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The last ferry crossing of our trip was on the biggest ferry we used and over the roughest waters we experienced

Being swallowed up

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Plenty of white water

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This was the same size as our ferry and shows plenty of white over the bow. I wasn't going outside at this stage of the voyage.

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Once we got off the ferry the land instantly became greener and more lush

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OZDUCK

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Stavanger

Just to give an idea of the size that last ferry, a photo of a similar one at Stavanger in better weather. About 6,000 tonnes with a full load of vehicles.

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We had some fun getting our apartment in Stavanger. Firstly, we had to pick up the key from a Security box located in a 7-11 "next to Burger King" in the centre of town. Unfortunately the flats owner didn't tell us that there was a 7-11 basically on each side of the Burger King. We naturally chose the wrong one and then spent 20 confused minutes before walking around the corner and finding the right one. I had assumed that I just needed to key in my Booking.com pin to get the key - but oh no. Again, the flat owner hadn't told us we needed to download an app called "Sharebox" which would let us unlock the box by sending a text message to Sharebox or using the free wifi at the 7-11 to sign onto the app and open the box. I had to ring up the owner and get him to unlock it himself. The system worked fine after we downloaded the app to drop the keys off on departure.

Anyway the apartment was pretty much worth the effort. It was in a brand new development on disused waterfront land. We had a great view over the water and it was well equipped, including a separate washer and dryer. There was also secure undercover parking - but even here we had problems as the roller door we were meant to use, with detailed instructions, was out of service so we had to use another one and spent 10 minutes threading pour way through the massive basement car park to find our spot.

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The outside. The complex is only a year or so old. It was very confusing to move around as there are lots of similar looking doors and elevators. Security is very tight. I have circled our 2 Bedroom apartment. There is massive redevelopment going on in this area with literally thousand of flats being built.

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The garbage from these apartments is dumped into underground bunkers via a hatchway for different types of waste. It can only be opened with a special security 'key'. I have seen this somewhere else in Europe - Spain I think. Apparently it is very closely monitored and there are fines for miss-sorting your waste.

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OZDUCK

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Around the old Stavanger Harbour. Photos are from two days - which is why clouds and blue skies are intermingled.

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In a bit of a theme - the yellow building on the left is the old Customs House

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Two big (ugly) passenger ships were in port on consecutive days

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P & O Cruises should be ashamed of themselves -she was in port all day. Plenty of time for a bit of chipping and repainting. I used to only see this sort of rust streaks on old Greek or Liberian registered tramps

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The ferry that took us on our fjord cruise

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OZDUCK

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We had a 3 night stopover in Stavanger and had in initially planned to do the Lysefjord cruise on the second day. However it was bright and sunny when we walked past the ferry on the first day so decided grab our chance. This was a good move as the weather was much worse the next day.

In parts the water was the proverbial 'like glass'

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When you see road tunnels like this you realise the amount of work involved in building the Norwegian road network

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When they are not building tunnels they are building some elegant bridges

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According to the on-board commentary, homes on the fjord are closely held within families and are very expensive when they come onto the market

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The ferry nosed right up to the rocks - and played Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" at the same time.



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A bit further along it again went close ashore and feed these "wild' goats. I overheard one of the crew telling another passenger that they "borrow" the goats for a few months during summer to give the tourist a bit of a thrill. They then give the fattened goats back to the owner.

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This swimmer was happily plowing along the fjord in the middle of nowhere

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OZDUCK

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More of the cruise

When the boat went close to the taller cliffs you could really feel them towering over you

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We didn't go all the way up the fjord. You could see the weather closing in at the far end

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Typical of Norway - another lovely waterfall

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And now the main attraction on the cruise - Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen in Norwegian). It sits at 604 metres above the waters of above the Lysefjorden and is about 25 x 25 metres. There is about a 7.6 Km hike to the rock over hilly ground. I was happy to view it from below - if I did the hike and got to the rock my fear of heights would have kept me far back from the edge anyway.

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These give an idea of high it is

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We went 'up stream' for about 10 minutes to see the waterfall above and then turned around. These photos show how changeable the weather is in Western Norway - in that short space time the clouds had really began to envelope the cliffs.

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The people on the rock seemed to be enjoying themselves

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OZDUCK

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The next day we again walked in to look around the 'Old Town'.

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There were some very good green -thumbed residents

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One of the old houses had been set up to show how it was furnished over the various decades

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This area is right next to the harbour. When we were there this ship - P & O Britannia was making announcements over the ship tannoy - it was ear blasting loud on the streets. It must be really annoying for the locals.

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OZDUCK

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Some assorted shots from our time in Stavanger

To show how steep the sides of the fjord was look how close the ferry can get to the waterfall. This is about a 200 pax ferry.

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This lovely old boat was built in 1894

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The shopping streets just back from the harbour - frantic on a Sunday afternoon

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There s a nice lake in the centre of town

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For the gourmet - and no I didn't try them

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A nice atmospheric sunset outside our flat

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Far more suitable as a town vehicle for Norwegian weather than a motorcycle

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On our walk into town we passed through a pretty rundown area but they had a nice idea to commemorate some of the older -19th C - buildings.

The pavement engraving matches the building exactly - we saw at least a half dozen of these little pieces

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OZDUCK

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Some final shots

Stavanger was once a huge fishing port, especially Herring, and that is remembered on some of the buildings. This one was also in an area being refurbished.

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Even the playground in this area recalls the history of their city. The "Captain" picture is from an old ads.

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Even though much of this area was run down a lot of "Urban Redevelopment" was going on

These are old wharf workers houses

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This is the first time I have seen a swimming pond with bridge pylons in it

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This art installation was only a few hundred metres from our flat

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This tower was in the background of some of our photos of the harbour

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My wife bravely walking through the giant swans near the central lake. Being used to our local Black Swans, the European white swans alway look big to us.

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It was a bit disappointing to realise that "Godsterminal" was actually just a Freight Depot and that the Norwegians didn't have a direct connection to heaven

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OZDUCK

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We had beautiful weather for our drive from Stavanger to Kristiansand. While there was still lots of inlets and lakes etc the countryside was much different than further north. There were still lots of beautiful scenes

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A detour inside a tunnel was a first for us. It added close to 40 minutes to the trip as there was a highway bridge that was only accessible from the tunnel. Without being able to use that bridge we had to take a huge dogleg route.

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However it did mean that we got to see this valley view that we would have never been near otherwise

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The bridge in the distance is the one that we would have used but for the detour

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We also got to drop in on this little village. Apparently this part of the coast is the "Summer Retreat" for the Oslo population. In these little places it was not uncommon for the local supermarket people to have very little English.

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And just one shot to prove that my wife did drive. I don't use red nail polish:)

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OZDUCK

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A few more of the trip

Out VW Golf. An upgrade from the booked Corolla. Easy enough to drive but this is the first car have driven with a DSG gearbox and there were a few things that were noticeable - especially the hesitation on takeoff which was a concern at roundabouts.

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More scenery

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Our only sight of Kristiansand itself. We had intended to drive back in from our hotel about 20 Km out of town. However we were so tired after the long drive and the road into town was full of toll stations plus lots of roadworks so we never made it back.

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Lots of bridgework

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OZDUCK

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We stayed at this hotel near Kristiansand. It is called the Dyreparken Hotell and is a favourite with families with younger children as it is located right at the entrance to an animal park and theme park.

The outside design drew its inspiration from Noah's Ark

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The animal theme continues inside the hotel

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All the lift doors had a different photo

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The room itself had two bunk beds that swung out from the wall and had appropriate covers

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The theme park included a pirate ship plus a 'pirate port'

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There are also chalets spread throughout the grounds

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We stayed there "out of season" and it seemed only have about 25% occupancy and was available for a good price. If you had young children with you they would have a great time here





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OZDUCK

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Our final days drive to Oslo Airport was the most unpleasant of the trip. It was around six hours in pouring rain on a road that ranged from a 6 lane motorway to a 2 lane twisty old road .

Just a few shots to show the conditions

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We stayed about 10 Km from the airport. The hotel was just as you would expect. It did the job and at a lot cheaper rate than an on-airport hotel.

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The inside of the terminal before security has a bit of a Scandinavian Modern look to it. After security it is just a big shopping centre like many airports these days.

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And the railway is easily accessible

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In another thread I mentioned that i was surprised that the check-in agent wanted to see a printed copy of our flight out of Singapore. A number of people here have said that it is a common request when travelling on a ticket that terminates in Singapore but I had never run across it before in my previous 5 flights on a terminating ticket.

Qatar uses the OSL - Lounge and it is adequate. There are two sides to it and we got to use the "premium" part. The problem is that it is after security but before Immigration control.

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We were warned to allow plenty of time to clear the outwards formalities and it was good advice. It was one of the worst organised I have seen. Schengen and non-Schengen passport queues became mingled, passengers who were having problems were kept at the counter for 30 minutes while phone calls were made and documents examined half a dozen times instead of being taken to the office. We had only 5 people in front off us and it took 30 minutes to get through.

I was surprised to see a detector dog checking passengers in the Jet Bridge - he gave me a sniff but I was allowed to pass.

I am pretty sure these are some grounded Norwegian B737 - Max aircraft

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On our way home

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craven morehead

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We had beautiful weather for our drive from Stavanger to Kristiansand. While there was still lots of inlets and lakes etc the countryside was much different than further north. There were still lots of beautiful scenes

View attachment 189015

View attachment 189016

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A detour inside a tunnel was a first for us. It added close to 40 minutes to the trip as there was a highway bridge that was only accessible from the tunnel. Without being able to use that bridge we had to take a huge dogleg route.

View attachment 189023

However it did mean that we got to see this valley view that we would have never been near otherwise

View attachment 189018

The bridge in the distance is the one that we would have used but for the detour

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We also got to drop in on this little village. Apparently this part of the coast is the "Summer Retreat" for the Oslo population. In these little places it was not uncommon for the local supermarket people to have very little English.

View attachment 189020

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And just one shot to prove that my wife did drive. I don't use red nail polish:)

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Truly beautiful countryside and such a contrast to Australia. We've got our last 2 kids finishing high school soon. This should help us put together a decent budget to visit Norway in the next few years.
 

OZDUCK

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Truly beautiful countryside and such a contrast to Australia. We've got our last 2 kids finishing high school soon. This should help us put together a decent budget to visit Norway in the next few years.
My wife has almost completed a spreadsheet of the costs for our trip, there will be a few more additions but it is a reasonable estimation and should give you a fair idea of the cost of such a trip. You have seen some of the hotels we stayed in etc. Airfares are NOT included. For meals we ate a reasonable evening meal with lunch being often a roll, drink and cake from a supermarket. Most larger supermarkets have a nice selection of made up rolls.Alcohol was a very small part with just a few beers.

(Airfares were around $7,300 being a mixture of ScootBiz and QR J)

So for the Norway part alone :-

For food, drink, parking, museums, some ferries etc

Around $1,500

Car Hire - 17 days around $1,700

Fuel - around $430

Tolls and other ferries - around $245 (with a few more to come)

Accommodation - around $3,700 (Our hotel in Oslo was the most expensive and cost $1,036 but included evening meals) From a self catering point of view, our 'basement' in Bergen (Bergen accommodation is very expensive) cost $376 and our 'flash' apartment in Stavanger cost $500.

Total around $7575 for 20 days = so $378 per day as a reasonable estimate
 
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RooFlyer

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Great report, thanks.

We then headed towards Stavanger.
I took a bus (coach) from Bergen to Stavanger :eek: and I did a double take when I saw that underground round-about. Great stuff.

The bus worked well at the ferries - it would roll up just before boarding, at a spot where it would then board first. Then it would go off the ferry first, with the cars often stuck behind it for the first X km. :rolleyes:

The ferry that took us on our fjord cruise
me too - almost the exact same weather. My host in Stavanger took me to see the Oil & Gas museum which, even for me, was a bit of an eye glaze after the first 15 mins!
 

OZDUCK

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Onto the final bits - finishing a TR always makes me a little sad as it seems to make the end of a trip more 'final'. There are not a lot of photos to go - we had worn out our fingers in Norway.

We had driven alongside this lake just north of Oslo a couple of weeks beforehand. Lake Mjosa - Norway's largest lake.

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Mushroom stuffed Chicken Ballotine - ok but nothing special

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It is always a surprise the route a flight takes - the curvature of the earth fools the mind, my mind at least, into plotting a route all wrong.

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We arrived in Doha at around 00:30 and the Al Mourjan J lounge was bursting at the seams. We had trouble getting a seat together and at one stage I had to delay using the toilet as there was a queue.

We thought we were a bit late getting to our departure gate and rushed onto the J Bus - another non-airbridge departure - only to sit there for about 25 minutes as the rest of the J pax straggled out.

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We were advised by the Captain that all pax were on-board and that we would soon depart - only to sit there for another 30 minutes with nothing happening.

Even the ground crew got bored.

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After what seemed an excessively long take-off roll we eventually got airborne and saw the last of Doha in the night

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90% of the flight was spent above, or often in, and extensive cloud cover. It was bumpy for most of the trip.

Lining up on Changi

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Almost down

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I was facing 'backwards' in the J Suites and again it was only really noticeable on take-off and landing. But I fooled myself when we landed. I was closely watching the forward facing camera and when we touched down and the braking and reverse thrust began I thought we were doing a 'go-around' as I was being forced back into my seat. I had forgotten that I was actually facing backwards.
 

OZDUCK

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Great report, thanks.



I took a bus (coach) from Bergen to Stavanger :eek: and I did a double take when I saw that underground round-about. Great stuff.

The bus worked well at the ferries - it would roll up just before boarding, at a spot where it would then board first. Then it would go off the ferry first, with the cars often stuck behind it for the first X km. :rolleyes:



me too - almost the exact same weather. My host in Stavanger took me to see the Oil & Gas museum which, even for me, was a bit of an eye glaze after the first 15 mins!
Thanks for the kind words

Yes a couple of times there was a bit of a mad scramble by the cars to beat the bus and/or trucks to the end of the extra lanes at the ferry terminal access roads to avoid the long tail on the narrow roads.

We walked into the foyer of the Oil and Gas Museum in Stavanger but we were a bit 'museumed out' by that stage. Plus I had spent over 20 years in Customs dealing with the gas and oil industry and had dealt extensively with imports of drilling mud, BOP blowout preventer, Rotary Tricone Drilling Heads, liner hangers etc etc so I wasn't all that keen anyway.
 

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