We’ve had a quieter day today, after the excitement of the ‘Atlantic Ocean Road’ yesterday, culminating in Howard’s fire episode.
Despite much frantic wafting, and opening all the windows, the smoke from the chimney failed to clear sufficiently to silence the fire alarm. So eventually, Howard phoned the warden, who had to come back to de-activate the fire alarm Turns out, the last person to light the fire, had closed the vent that allows smoke up the chimney – so it wasn’t entirely our fault after all! Needless to say though, we weren’t the most popular campers on site!
This morning we went off to explore the town of Kristiansund. It sits by the Atlantic Ocean, or, as it is called here, the Norwegian Sea. It comprises an archipelago of islands, that combine to form a natural harbour. In the past, it was famed for it’s Salted Cod fleet, and the processing of said fish. today, it gains most of it’s wealth from the gas and oil industries, providing many of the support vessels for this booming industry. As a result, Kristiansund has a moderately affluent feel about it, with many expensive yachts in the marina, and a plethora of well kept brightly painted weather-boarded houses.
Our guide books didn’t have much to say about it really, I suspect because it’s not a natural tourist magnet. The Hurtigruten does stop here, but not to let people do anything apart from look from the boat, so it has the feel more of a jobbing town and port, rather than anything else. Howard and I liked it all the more for being just that.
We parked Oscar up, and headed down to the dockside, where we had been told there was a small ferry boat that connects the four main islands of Kristiansund. It turns out, in fact, that this small boat is the world’s oldest method of public transport, having been in continuous operation since 1876, before even the famous San Fransisco trams. The current boat, Framnaes, has been in operation since 1917. The added bonus of this marvellous little ferry, that continual rotates between the four main drop off points every twenty minutes or so, is that it is completely free to use!
We hopped on and did the short leg across to the old part of the town, called Innlandet. Unbeknown to us, they were celebrating a ‘Tahiti Festival’. Seems a bit incongruous in Norway, but that’s what they’d billed it as. So as we landed at the small dockside, it was adorned with lots of tissue paper flower garlands, and just up from the jetty, a stage had been erected. At the time, they seemed to be running the equivalent of ‘Norway’s Got Talent’ for teenagers, who one by one, were doing a turn on the microphone. Thankfully, we only caught the tail end of it, before they packed up for the afternoon. We then had a very pleasant wander around the streets of Innlandet, admiring the pretty little wooden houses, with beautifully kept gardens. At the top of a hill was a path leading to a tall stone memorial, surrounded by Norwegian flags and several canons. It turns out, that this was to celebrate a famous victory over the British in 1808, when two British Frigates sailed into the port, and were duly well and truly routed by the Norwegians, who set their guns on them from this tactical vantage point.
We then caught the ferry back to the main jetty, and had a walk around the rest of the town. We climbed up to the ultra modern Cathedral, with it’s angular roof made of concrete. We were unable to gain access, but I suspect it would be fairly minimal inside, which seems to be the norm here in Norway. I tried to gain some help with my internet / WiFi issues, but to no avail – Norwegian MiFi sims are only sold to Norwegians apparently. I remain completely baffled as to why the 4G is so poor here that it is failing to download the photos from my iPhone. We have positively the worst reception of any country we have visited so far. Inexplicably, I have just received four photos taken today, but none of those from yesterday, the day before, or the rest of today. What is the ‘Cloud’ doing with them, I ask?!
We decided on another night at the same campsite. It is set in a quiet paddock surrounded by trees, there is hardly anyone else here, the showers have underfloor heating (a big plus!), and we need to do some washing. Despite there being hardly anyone around, within five minutes of getting back, a German lady and her daughter arrived, and despite having approximately four acres to chose from, decided to pitch their tent right next to us. What is it about these people?!!! To make matters worse, when Howard carried the washing up to put it in the machine – she had just pipped us to the post. I’m quite sure she overheard us discussing doing the washing (her English is immaculate), so she must have literally sprinted up to put hers on first. Howard, who usually is all sweetness and light, is now glowering at our new neighbours! This could be ‘War of the Laundry’!! I’m not phased though – I have my ultimate revenge weapon – a snoring husband! Never before have his dulcet tones sounded so satisfying!