My Travels, Norway

Norway Day 3: Still Not Norway !!

Today felt like progress was made!

I moved from Germany into Denmark today and was surprised to see that the quantity and quality of roadside parking places continued, not just a German frame of mind it seems. Maybe just UK has the lack of a frame of mind?

A lot of Motorway / Autobahn miles trundled by this time which, whilst a bit laborious, was so much easier driving than yesterday. Time passed easily, all through Germany and most of Denmark the sun was shining, right up until I got to the first landmarks of the journey, then, it rained, and it hasn’t stopped raining yet!

This is why today felt like progress, I’ve been looking forward to crossing two huge bridges which connect Denmark and Sweden; Great Belt Bridge and, Øresund Bridge

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A bit disappointing when you have the thought that you’ll be crossing them and be able to see for miles!

The links above should take you to the wiki pages about them, they are both great feats of engineering, one even has an artificial island made halfway to enable the span to stretch far enough.

The Øresund Bridge is the gateway into Sweden where after paying the £40 toll (yes you did read that correctly, the first bridge was a modest £23) I was greeted by the first Border Control since getting on the ferry in Dover.

The guard pulled me over, I think clearly planning to give me a rigorous questioning of my intentions for entering Sweden, he looked the car up and down, and then it began;

Guard: where are you going?

Me: Norway

Guard: For Business or Holiday?

Me: Holiday, I’m taking three weeks and going to the Arctic Circle.

Guard: have you been before?

Me: No.

In the 3 second pause that followed, he must have deduced that I was neither a terrorist, a criminal, nor Immigrant as, with a perfunctory “ok”, he turned and wandered off.

I put my un-inspected passport back away.

As I drove away, thinking to my self ‘it never quite seems like this on the tv when folks are crossing borders at gunpoint and guards with mirrors are checking the underside of cars’, I decided to fill up with fuel.

Now, filling with fuel had become a bit of a problem for my British psyche to deal with. I had found by experimentation that the unattended fuel garages along the way, do not accept my bank cards for some reason. That means I’d need to talk to someone in the garage if only to tell them what pump I was paying for. And there was my issue!

I don’t know the languages.

I have a Norwegian travel Book with phrases in it, but as for the other countries, not a clue!

There’s the half of me, that says ‘well, they all speak English anyway’ and the half that says ‘I don’t want to be the stereotypic English tourist on holiday shouting to make themselves understood, I really should make the effort’. I failed at making the effort, each time.

Then at the said fuel filling station in Sweden, the person in the queue in front of me clearly said ‘number 6 please!’ I thought ‘ooh another English person’, looked at their car, and saw it had Danish plates. In that instant, the most obvious thought hit me; even the neighbouring countries that are no more than a few miles apart, don’t speak each other’s languages, so they use the language common to all, English! Duh!

With my British psyche, well and truly put back on the pedestal where it belongs, my problem had gone. Normality restored!

Tomorrow I should reach Norway, however tonight I’m in a picturesque stop over, a few hundred yards from the motorway, it’s grey, it’s raining, and it’s bliss!

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