Published: June 18th 2011May 11th 2011
On our way to the airport...
Most beautiful place in Bremen
One day while living in Enschede, Netherlands, I have decided to visit Norway. Since I have always been infatuated in this country nature and pureness, the temptation was even bigger than the Scandinavian prices (or, maybe, a little smaller). I was ultimately encouraged by the Bremen-Haugesund flight prices, which were about 4€ per person one way (regards for Michael O’Leary). Why not? I said to myself, and booked the tickets for me and my three friends also, arranging the four-day-long trip. Considering the big expensiveness of Norway, we had to do some cuts before departure. So the final assumption was made, that we DO NOT want to spend more than 100€ per person for a whole trip. If you think it is impossible – you may stop reading now. But I strongly encourage you to read this article to the end, though :).
Another encouraging thing is the wide permission for camping in Norway. Being the lucky owner of a (borrowed) tent, we took with with ourselves as registered luggage. We don’t do that very often, but this time was unique. 30€ for luggage transport is much less for 3 nights for 4 people than any other hostelling opportunity in
Skudeneshavn at dusk
one of the most beautiful places ever. I will buy a house there, definitely. The only problem is that now I can not even afford a bread in the Norwegian shop :)
Scandinavia. Divided by 4 persons it gives as a final the 7.5€. Not bad. Now, as the planning is started, let’s start the trip also!
Netherlands -> Germany -> Norway
Waking up early in Enschede, hopping up on a bike and driving to Gronau. Why? Well, the train crossing the Dutch-German border is pretty expensive, and from Gronau it’s way cheaper. Still, two way ticket for 39€ is not a thing that I’d dream about. And t-storm with heavy rain that made us sober at 5 AM isn’t such thing, neither. It didn’t stop raining in the Bremen also, but – making necessary savings – we got through the city arriving to the airport finally. Short flight and…
Norway: Airport -> Haugesund
…we are in Norway now! How to leave the airport? Taxi? No. it’s expensive. Let’s walk. As we get to the nearest bus stop (4-5 kilometers), we get hungry and angry. But there comes the bus in direction to Haugesund (city), and pleasant wheelman sells to us three-day tickets for 121 kr (15€). The first most important thing about the tickets is that they are 3-day, not 72-hour. The difference is obvious. Anyway,
photo taken during the first no-pay ferry cruise :) Nice view of the Boknafjord in probably-the-best-to-visit-the-fjords weather.
they are valid in the whole Rogaland county (lady in tourist information in Stavanger broke this theory stating, that they work only on the one island. Bullshit. Do NOT believe such people, and you will never overpay.). As the kolumbus.no webpage offers a pretty good connection-finder engine, we thought that our previously arranged plans will come true. We were wrong. As it states in the web that the three-day tickets allow you to travel the green buses only (and HOW may one know which of them are green before arrival, especially while people from customer service barely speak English?), we assumed that the almighty bus (Kystbussen) will take as from Haugesund bus station to the Stavanger. Unfortunately, we hadn’t checked the Kystbussen online, and – as it was not green – we were asked to pay 170 kr one way (over 20€). We have – of course – resigned, and the first moments of hesitation appeared.
The hesitation was broken by our fast rush to the Haugesund Tourist Information, where very pleasant lady helped us (regardless of the fact that the office was about to close), we decided to re-plan our trip. Now, it was like listed below, and we
finally - start of the climb
my Team at the begining of the hiking route to the Preikestolen.
were all about believing, that this time we can be successful. And, that all the buses will be green. 1. Bus route 10 from Haugesund to Skudeneshavn
2. Ferry route 56 from Skudeneshavn to Mekjarvik
3. Bus route 28 from Mekjarvik to Stavanger
4. Ferry route 51 from Stavanger to Tau
5. Bus route 100 from Tau to Jørpeland
6. Any bus route from Jørpeland through Ryfylkevegen - get out at the crossroads with Preikestolvegen, or take (in high-season) bus route Preikestolhytta from Jørpeland to Preikestolen (camping).
Norway: Haugesund -> Skudeneshavn
If it looks so simple – let’s do it! We took the first connection to Skudeneshavn (as we have read before in tourist guides, one of the best looking places on the Karmøy island). It tooks about 1h 11min to get there, and the city is really awesome (can’t imagine that I would miss it while travelling with that posh Kystbussen). Actually it’s not a city in terms of western citiness. It’s a village, one of the most beautiful I have been in. As we were there one week before the start of a high season, everything seemed so silent and calm. There was nobody on
rocky and slippy
one of passages to on the way to Preikestolen.
the streets, everything was closed, bringing the spirit of typical fishing village alive. I fell in love with the place, and decided to camp there with the rest of the team. We pitched our tent inside the beautiful park just in the heart of a city, ate the supper end washed ourselves in the parking-bathroom available nearby. The night comes late in Norway (about 11 PM it started to be a little darker than before), but we were exhausted enough not to care about it. The journey has just begun.
Good morning Norway! The night wasn’t as cold as we had expected, and it was not raining so everyone was happy. The bad thing was that we’d missed the first ferry (it’s horn woke us up after it departed). Whatever, more time for the breakfast. We ate it quickly, and went to the haven to wait for the next ferry, popping into our friendly parking-bath for a while.
Norway: Skudeneshavn -> Mekjarvik -> Stavanger
As our ferry came, we boarded and took comfortable places and almost immediately fell asleep. This did not save us from paying the fare of 59 kr (about 7.5 €) per person
seen from above. We did not plan to get that high, but got rewarded by this photo anyway.
for this 1h 20min cruise. Some pretty nice views along the way, but we did not suspect fjords to look like that still not satisfied. We considered them before to be a bit more amazing, and looked forward to see the famous Lysefjord. As the cruise finishes with arrival to Mekjarvik, we make a fast change for the bus to Stavanger. The bus to Stavanger is synchronized with the ferry, so if you are somehow late with the cruise, there is nothing to worry about. This part of travel takes about 25 minutes. In Stavanger we asked some questions in tourist information office, and we strongly dissuade to talk with an old lady there. She knows nothing, and the printer seems to be something really new for her (could you print this for us? Yes, of course – she says – while writing it on a sticker). After this short visit (and popping in to the McDonalds – it’s really cheap comparing to other prices – cheeseburger is like 1.25 €, the same applies to small coffee), we made our way to the Stavanger’s haven and took the ferry to Tau, and the real adventure started there.
-> Tau -> Jørpeland
me and (Lyse)Fjord
@ Preikestolen. The reason why you should also try to get there :).
No, the cookies are not Norwegian. They come from JUMBO Dutch Supermarket.
Together with one of friends I have stayed outside, smelling some nice pics to be shot in the air. The rest of our team took their comfortable places inside the cozy ferry cabin. For this board-stay I was awarded twice. The first prize was the beautiful shot of a boat diving in the darkness of steel-like water, heavy clouds and far mountains on the horizon. The second, and – by far – more worthy was the free cruise. The cashier moved along the cabin and sold the tickets (43 kr / 5.5 € for this 45min-1h cruise), omitting people standing on the deck. Boknafjord was beautiful during the not-really-awesome weather (actually, I was dreaming to see fjords during the T-storm, covered with the fog and clouds, so I was not disappointed at all). And even more beautiful, as the cruise cost me not even a penny.
Leaving the ferry and getting the (green) bus were our last sips of civilization. We went to the Jørpeland with bus 100 first. As it was low-season, the bus to Preikestolen was not yet available, but the driver of one bus standing on the station agreed to drop us in
...and the most beautiful model ever :)
the most suitable place to start Preikestolen hike (we did not even know if there is a bus stop) somewhere behind the Jørpeland. He did not want to see our tickets, though (it's not the common behavior, it was just his first day at work).
Norway: Preikestolen hike
There the walk started (around the camping – www.preikestolencamping.com). Through awesome terrains, in the sprinkles of rain, we were going along the road, before the sign marking the final climb appeared. We started following the red T signs leading us to the desired Preikestolen, but got somehow lost near the peak, and we hiked a little bit too high (what effected in some nice shots of Preikestolen itself) before going down there. The views were really awesome, worth the time spent for the trip. Photos were worth that time either (or even more), and getting the Preikestolen is something really beautiful, that everyone should experience (as it is not tough at al). What I really hate in mountains is the way back. Always. And ubiquitous rain added insult to injury in this case.
Norway: Sleeping near Preikestolen
We planned to stay for night somewhere near the rocky peak, but –
because it was raining continuously – we decided to go down and find a better place. During the way up we noticed beautiful fjord-like lake near the youth hostel, and we pitched up the tent there. Seemed illegal, but we did not care about it. None from the hostel did, as the rain was not at all encouraging for getting out the warm room in front of fireplace. Again, the long day was our ally, as we made up with everything before the sunset. The bathroom was for free (for guests of hostel, we used it also), the showers are paid 5 kr, but we did not use them anyway.
Rain drops hitting the roof of our tent woke us up in the early morning. The worst thing that could ever happen. We ate the breakfast, and in the rainfalls (somehow connected with our bad mood) folded the tent. Fast washing in the hostel’s bathroom (not to get caught) and we were ready for the trip back.
Norway: trip back to the Haugesund
As the beautifulness of views increases while travelling from Haugesund to Preikestolen, we were not anymore affected by look of the rocks surrounding
Stavanger in the mirror
nice city, except the awful lady in the Tourist Information.
us. Except the one waterfall, that seemed to be born last night. Making use of the same connections as before, we went back to the Haugesund, having a little bit longer stay in the Stavanger. As the uncle Mc’Donalds is there, we ate something warm (cheeseburger) again, and watched the local Jazz Festival. The only noticeable fact about the trip back is that now all the party did not enter the cabin on the ferry from Tau to Stavanger. Result – additional savings .
Norway: Haugesund camping
After getting back straightly to the Haugesund we started searching for a good camping spot. We found one, just on the north side of the city in the silent bay (marked on the map). Beautiful place and beautiful weather were the factors taking us back into a good mood. Some eating, and we fell asleep with the beautiful sounds of the surrounding sea.
Waking up with the sun, without the rain, was – this time – the best thing to see. Especially that we had to pack our tent and were worried about packing it in the wet conditions. Afterwards, we moved to go some sightseeing in the Haugesund
Haugesund - view of harbour
everyone should try to sleep in such place. We were lucky enough to do so!
itself, as well as to eat some local delicacies and drink cheap hot coffee.
Norway -> Germany -> Netherlands
After that all, we moved to the airport with the previously described way, paying – this time – some money for the single ticket for bus. Airport in Haugesund is not very crowded, so we were available to sit and read some newspapers and books for a short time. After arrival to Bremen we decided to buy some beer and look around the city, and ended up sleeping on the train station. Exhausted? Definitely! Couldn’t wait for the morning train to get back to Enschede. Oops, sorry. To Gronau, where bike to Enschede was waiting.
We enjoyed the trip in every aspect, as it was very entertaining and allowed us to break-up with the reality for 4 long days. Trying to make anything cheap is the best thing the traveler can do, as the experience of nature increases significantly then. To sum up: 8€ - plane tickets
7.5€ - luggage
39€ - train
15€ - bus ticket
15€ - ferries (only the paid ones :))
84.5€ - TOTAL
Is that much? Not really! Excluding the
train, it’s 45,5€ for 4 days in Norway. What about food? Well, we bought it before, but it was like 10€ to buy everything. And Mc Donald’s of course. Water? Take it from every bathroom you encounter (or every waterfall you pass). Give it a try, you won’t regret!
There are more photos below