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  1. The loooong overdue part 3!! 😂 Being a driving instructor who works until 23:30 in the evening, and travels to Norway often enough to raise eyebrows at the border force desk, time has been a little tight since I wrote parts 1 & 2. But here we are, time for Part 3. So where did I leave off? I’m pretty sure we’d covered the Mai 17 celebrations (pictured below), and had moved on to the ferry trip from Kristiansand to Eeimshaven on the return leg of the trip. So the night before the ferry trip, I had one last sleep in the back of the TT in a car park just off of the main highway into Kristiansand. I didn’t really get much time to explore Kristiansand on the morning of my ferry crossing, so I flew back out to Kristiansand later in June - and I can say it’s a very nice city in the summer, although it was a little windy and rainy when I revisited it again in September. The ferry crossing itself was now about to begin! The ferry itself was a Holland Norwegian Lines ferry, named “MS Romantika” - originally built in 2002 for an Estonia-Latvia-Finand-Sweden route. Back when I used it, the ship had not long been acquired by HNL and had only been operating on the Netherlands-Norway route for around a month or so. Amenities wise, it has several bars and restaurants, a concert hall (which had an OK-ish Dutch covers band performing on my crossing), and a fairly sizeable open air star deck; although it was a little chilly and practically deserted once we left the fjord as the North Sea can be a little cold and windy. Although I’m in Norway a lot, and at any given time I’ve always got my next trip (or several) planned ahead, its always pretty sad for me when I see my favourite country disappearing into the distance as I head home! Wether its watching the ant-size cars get smaller as the flight from Oslo Gardemoen lifts off over Edvarg Griegs Veg, and ultimately the E6, or the coastline of Kristiansand disappearing into a spec on the horizon of seemingly infinite ocean - I think the realisation of going home to Birmingham is enough to make anybody shed a tear; Or maybe it was the ok-ish Dutch cover band, I’m not sure 🤣 The crossing took 18 hours, and came with a comfy and clean inside-cabin (I paid for the cheapest possible option as by this point my bank account was pretty devastated by the absolutely insane fuel consumption of the TT. I did actually try to use my other bank card on the ferry, however my bank sent a security SMS that I had to respond to before they’d unblock it (as it was the first time using that card outside of the UK)… the only problem with this was that I couldn’t actually reply to the SMS, as there are no 4G masts out on the North Sea oddly- I only got the initial security SMS delivered by chance as I briefly picked up 1 bar of signal for about 20 seconds as we passed the very tip of Denmark. Off of the record, a friend of a friend told me that their friend of a friend knows a guy who said the 4G signal from a plane is pretty good for the first half of the flight between Oslo and London… Although of course I’d know nothing about that as I use flight mode of course! (Although I can say Norwegian Air Shuttle does have good free Wi-Fi on some of their domestic flights). Once the ferry landed in Eeimshaven, and I’d had a very good nights sleep on the ferry (the feeling of the boat moving around in the water, and the hum from the diesel engines, is oddly quite sleep inducing when you’re in an inside cabin with no outside light), it was time for the last stretch before hitting UK soil.. The drive through the Netherlands, Belgium and France was pretty flat- not too much to look at scenery wise, but was a good time to go into full hyper-mileing eco driving mode (well, as much as is possible in a 3.2L VR6 anyway). From memory I topped up to about 1/2 a tank in the Netherlands, as I knew if i could just make it across to Belgium without needing any more fuel, I’d get a much better price (and I did). Once I reached Belgium I headed straight for the gas station and brimmed it at a price of £1.59 per litre, cheaper than anywhere else on the trip (including the UK at the time) by a considerable margin. I knew that once I got home I’d be paying upwards of £1.80, and later in the summer it peaked in my area at £1.99- I’m quite glad that as of December 2022 i’m starting to see £1.45 again. Shortly after this, I made it to Calais wayyy ahead of schedule. So I did what any Brit would do in France. I bought some Baguettes and headed for the beach I could just about see the white cliffs of Dover peaking over the horizon- although it would be dark by the time I got there as I had several hours time to sit and watch the ships go by from the beach before it was my turn to cross the tunnel. The eurotunnel crossing was fairly smooth, although at border control I was directed to go to a left-hand-drive HGV passport lane, which was a little interesting to reach over to in a RHD TT, as the hatch was about 1m above my roofline and on the passenger side 😂 Once back in the UK, it was pretty plain sailing… until I reached the M1 heading north - BEEP, bright red on the LCD display was “STOP”, flashing intermittently with an oil can icon. By this point I was well aware that the TT likes to consume its coolant over time, and then magically regurgitate it several weeks later and overflow… but oil? That was a new one to me. So I tentatively continued to the next services, where it took almost a litre of oil to get back to the dipstick level, and a little more to reach the full line. It was a little concerning at the time, but looking back, the car had just traveled several thousand miles - some of which was sitting at the Vmax of 256kph (160mph) on the Autobahn - and it hasn’t consumed too much oil since (it drank maybe 100ml drag racing at Santa Pod in August), so I’m not overly concerned by it at this point. After this hiccup though, the drive back to Birmingham was pretty smooth, other than the endless average-speed checks through motorway construction, which I definitely hadn’t missed whilst I was gone 😂 All in all, it was a nice trip! I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to explore Scandinavia from the comfort of their own Audi. One thing to consider though is the cost! Throughout the whole trip, which was around 3000 miles round-trip, the entire fuel spend was around the £1800 mark. Average fuel prices for the trip worked out to around £1.85 - for those of you playing along with a calculator, the entire average real world MPG for the trip works out to around 14 UK mpg (20.18 L/100km). The TT is officially a gas guzzler 😂 This is why I took the ferry from Kristiansand to Eeimshaven - as it cut out about 500 miles of driving, and several fuel stops! After this trip, over the summer, the TT was displayed at several car shows and went to Santa Pod, in the footsteps of the A3 it replaced. I also acted as Navigator for Steve in his A6 for the London to Brighton run (I’m sure he has a post about that, go check it out, it was a very fun day with its own twist of events!). As of now, the TT is all tucked away for the winter- so that it can’t cost me any money. I’ll awaken it again in the spring. The next time this car goes to norway, if all goes to plan, in August (with Steve in convoy in his A6), will be a one-way trip for the car. Updates on how that goes will surely follow at the end of 2023.. so check back then to see if my big plan (or my inherent complete lack of useful planning) works out 😂 But for now, and one last time for this 3 part series: Ha det bra! - sees til Someren ☺️
  2. Way back in September 2020, I had a road trip planned out - I was to take my car (a modified 2014 A3 S-Line Sportback TDI, called “Lynnedslag” (EN: lightning strike), which was literally my baby at the time) on a road trip from the UK to the Arctic Circle and beyond, to see the Northern Lights. In my head the trip was a perfect combination of three things I really loved - driving my car, Norway (my favourite place on earth), and Photography (gotta get some good pictures when there, right?). Only one problem - the virus who shall not be named. Fast forward a year - August/September 2021: Around this time, right after all the shows for 2021 had finished, i was looking forward to 2022, and was thinking of doing the trip I’d planned before, but in late Feb/early march (for daylight reasons in the arctic). Right before booking the eurotunnel trip (which was already on a credited voucher due to the restrictions in 2020) I had decided to go to Norway to scope out some of the routes I’d like to take - I’ve been to Norway a lot, but planning ahead is always important when it comes to big trips like this. So I had a flight booked for September 6th - the plan was to rent a car, visit friends, and look at some of the places I’d want to drive in the A3 - at least as far up as Trondheim anyway. But then, on September 4th 2021, two days before departing for Norway: Disaster struck! Whilst heading to the post office to send off a parcel, the A3 was involved in a bit of a fender-bender… well ok maybe it was worse than that, it kinda looked like a banana 🍌 The plan was once again shelved. - ROLL ON 2022 - Finally a new year was upon us! Free from the travel restrictions of the previous two years, the world seemed free, accessible, and open once again. Come March I’d already been back to Norway again with my Sister for a week in the snow, and was all snowed-out for the year. Once I returned home, I soon took delivery of my new toy.. a 2007 3.2L V6 Audi TT Quattro! 250BHP of naturally aspirated VR6 fun (pictured to the right) 😁 Rather than waiting again until winter for the northern lights trip (which is still going to happen, next year), I changed tactic: Just get the car I love, over to the place I love! Timing couldn’t be better either, as May was fast approaching, with the first ever Otta Motorfestavalen, shortly followed by the annual Mai 17 celebrations in Norway, which are special in their own right! Following on from this thought, I made my plan carefully. The plan was to schedule the eurotunnel tickets first, and do all the thinking later. Yolo, right? 😂 Financially, it was a tough call to make, as I knew I’d be spending a lot of money on fuel, whilst not working (I’m self employed as a driving instructor). And to add the icing to the cake, the weekend immediately prior to my trip, which would begin on Thursday the 12th of May, I would be flying to Oslo for a Sigrid concert (Fri-Sat), meaning that in the two weeks leading up to my super expensive trip, I’d be working a 4 day week followed by a 3 day week. this will be fun.. but not for my bank account 😂 May 12th, 2022: The big day is finally upon us! Well rested, I packed everything I needed into the car ready for the trip! An inflatable bed, sleeping bag, blackout window stickers (which from the outside look like limo tint when applied to side windows, but are in fact completely black plastic), and food. Lots of food 😂 well, mainly Asda own brand crisps and 13p Tesco own brand spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce 😂 Mechanically-wise, I’d packed a tyre inflator (the TT has no spare), some coolant and engine oil. I also flipped the little metal levers inside the headlights to put the beam pattern into flat-mode, the audi-engineered equivalent to beam converter stickers! One quick last-stop at Halfords too, as for certain European countries you must carry: a fire extinguisher (I already had one), a high-vis jacket (i took this from the A3 when i had it), two breathalysers - which i bought from Halfords, a warning triangle (taken from the A3) and finally a first-aid kit - also bought from Halfords. The journey now commenced. The plan for the journey was to take the M5 from Walsall, down to the M42, then M40 - from here I’d follow the M25 anti-clockwise (to avoid the Dartford toll) and then follow M20 for Folkestone. Should be an easy first leg……. «OR SO I THOUGHT 😅 https://www.buckinghamshirelive.com/news/buckinghamshire-news/m40-lorry-fire-leaves-motorway-7072204 » Driving from Walsall to Oxford was a blast. The trip was going sooo well - maybe I’d jinxed it. BAM: M40 closed for what seemed like all day for a lorry fire! Hours upon hours of stationary traffic, right at the start of the trip 😭 The Eurotunnel booking time came, and went. Eventually the traffic did clear, and around 4 hours after my booking I managed to reach Folkestone: to be greeted with an extra fee to use a later departure. But who cares, Norway awaits.. Fee paid - I’m in France by midnight! After a quick fuel stop in Calais, it was straight through Belgium and soon I was in the Netherlands. I had to ask the guy in the gas station what country I was in to find this out though, as in the dark there isn’t much scenery to be seen! And yes, at this point we’re about 13 or 14 hours into driving (including being stuck and also waiting at Folkestone), and 3 tanks of Petrol in! 5E4022E9-97DB-4832-8915-CA34DCE36E8D.MOV Not long after this five-minute break to find where I’d put my crisps, I reached Germany! and their national speed limit! Officially it is recommended not to exceed 130kmh. Although it is allowed to carefully exceed that limit in de-restricted zones. So that I did! Germany flew by, mostly at 257KPH (160MPH) - the car got a whopping 30L/100km (9 UK MPG) at these speeds. Foot wedged hard into the accelerator on an empty-ish night time Autobahn! Well, several autobahn’s 😂 At these speeds, the cabin did have a feint aroma to it. One that was hard to put a finger on. Kinda pop-corny like you’d get when you step onto a Ryanair 737. Sadly in all the excitement, two things happened - I forgot to hit record on the go-pro, and I also bottomed out over a hump and yeeted the undertray into a weird position. It would have to stay this way until I reached Norway where I would be able to mend it with the help of some good friends! It didn’t affect driving however - but did scrape on some speed bumps. Continuing on, Germany flew by - at almost a tank of petrol every 2 hours or so.. It’s actually quite odd as a Brit, to use petrol pumps that still have the catch installed to allow you to leave it in without holding the handle - as the latch is not allowed in the UK! After rocketing through Germany, I was in Denmark by approximately 8am-9am. It was this point that I realised I could be in for a fuel crisis on my way home if I didn’t start eco-driving. Fortunately the German border was behind me at this point - along with its Autobahns. Denmark went by rather quickly, even with the random border check I was selected for! I took the route across the two giant bridges (for a toll) towards Sweden. I did stop for petrol once in Denmark. (For legal reasons, the following picture, and subsequent pictures, were taken hands free, with a body-mounted camera. No hand-held devices were operated whilst driving) I was crossing the first bridge to Copenhagen around 11AM local. (the in-car clock was still set to UK time) It was only around another 1.5 hours before I was officially in Sweden. and Sweden - don’t underestimate the size of Sweden. By this point i thought Norway would be a short hop away.. I was not amused when i saw the satnav still showed 10 hours remaining! By this point I’d been driving for 24 hours solid (legally speaking, I had several short rest brakes, I call them fuel stops). Sweden was starting to look more like I know of Scandinavia.. but it wasn’t quite Norway just yet.. Although some of the views were still incredible: Sweden did seem to go on for a bit, the speed limits start to reduce as you head further north, and past Gothenburg the E6 towards Norway was closed - so I diverted through the scenic route shown above! The time soon flew by though, and before I knew it, at around 9pm I’d reached the Norwegian border.. Suddenly the scenery changes. Even though you’re meters across from Sweden, you know you’re in Norway. I can sense it, feel it, see it. Home from home! (Well, i have been 6 times in 2 years) It wasn’t long before I’d reached the E6, trundling along at the Norwegian speed limit, which is a moderate-walking-pace in comparison to what I’d been doing up to this point 😂 And an hour later I was crossing the bridge into my favourite city (and hopefully future home) - Lillehammer 💜 From here it was about an hour to my friend’s house, where at around 11pm, and after 36 hours of driving, I reached my destination! An incredible journey, non-stop through the Uk, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway - yet my adventure had just begun. There was a reason why I didn’t stop off along the way - that was because the main adventure was yet to begin- in Norway 🇳🇴 Come back for part 2 to see where I went next over the course of the week in Norway - including a car show, a Eurovision party, and the amazing Mai 17th celebrations: and all the gorgeous scenic driving in between! And then in part 3 we will discover how i came back, via a different route, trying to reach the UK before running out of petrol money! Thanks for reading, and See you soon!
  3. So you made it through part 1 ☺️ If not, then be sure to read that first, to see the outwards trip from the UK to Norway. https://www.audiownersclub.com/forums/topic/20587-great-britain-norway-storbritannia-norge-may-2022-part-1-of-3 Now, in part 2 we will see some of the adventures I got up to inside Norway for the 7 days that I was there! May 14- 2022: After waking up in a real bed, at a friend’s house in Vinstra, I was well rested. After 36 hours of driving to get there, finally being able to sleep did me a lot of good! The plan for today was threefold - Visit Otta Motorfestivalen, visit my friend’s parents house so that i could jack up the TT and remove the broken undertray, and finally: Eurovision! Otta Motorfestivalen was great, I would 100% recommend going to visit it (it will be going ahead again next year.. Road trip?) - upon entry I was greeted with an Audi S2 drifting : (video) FullSizeRender.MOV But there was a massive variety of cars, trucks, and even lorries on display at the event (cue the photo-dump): (The rest of the story continues below the photos, of course 🙂 ) Following on from the show, We then made our way to my friend’s parents house where I managed to remove and dispose of my under tray. I didn’t photograph the process, but if you read part 1 you’ll remember that it got destroyed on the Autobahn! Vinstra itself is a gorgeous small town, about an hour north of Lillehammer. I passed some of the time there by relaxing by the water (which eventually feeds lake Mjøsa, the biggest lake in Norway). I perfected the skill of balancing stones: And later that evening I relaxed whilst the UK did impressively well to come 2nd in the Eurovision Song Contest, beaten only by a well deserved win from Ukraine! Sadly I didn’t have a union-jack to wave at the TV as the votes came rolling in - but my friend handily provided me with a Norwegian flag 🇳🇴 😄 The following day, Sunday May 15th, Otta Motorfestivalen finished off at the Vinstra motorsports arena with some drag-racing, which was great to watch! Next year i might just have to enter the TT into the festival 😄 Ofcourse, the red S2 which was drifting yesterday managed to catch my eye straight away - it was the fastest car to run the 200m strip that day also! (Video) 95FAD668-6B21-4038-A563-63255C5ED905.MOV After this, as the day drew to a close, I said goodbye to my friend in Vinstra and headed southwards towards Hafjell. Known for its skiiing (in the winter), hafjell is a beautiful town only around 15 minutes north of Lillehammer. It is also around a 5 minute drive from the Norsk Vegmusieum (the Norwegian road museum) - however it had closed by the time i got there, and was not due to reopen until Wednesday it doesn’t open on Monday/Tuesday. Sadly i didnt get to visit it this time - I did manage to get there last September but only for around an hour; I’ve been meaning to go back since. My sister, who has no interest in cars, declined the offer to go there when we went to Norway in February 😂 That night in Hafjell, the employee of the local Circle K gas station recommended a good road for me to drive up to get a nice view of Mjøsa. Now might be a good time to point out that Norway is absolutely stunning - and iPhone photos simply can’t do justice to the sheer scale and beauty of the landscape, on display in every direction! Later that evening, after safely having some 250BHP-Quattro fun on the gravel roads on the mountain, I headed back to Hafjell where I camped in the back of the TT for the first time on the trip. Yes, you did read that right - I slept in the back of the TT 😂 (video proof): 91E35383-801A-48A4-BD33-42342B8F8A51.MOV But wow, what a view to wake up to.. wiping the fog off of the windscreen to see the beauty of Hafjell! If you’re wandering why my side windows are completely blacked out by this point - I have some black sticky plastic covers for them for sleeping with - from the inside, its completely blacked out to aid with sleeping. But to onlookers it just looks like a questionable tint, making it much less obvious that the car is occupied. After walking around Hafjell for a while, soaking up the sun and the natural beauty of the landscape, I headed down to Lillehammer where I checked into the Scandic hotel - which would be my new home for the next two nights! Lillehammer really, truly, is my favourite place in the world. My first stop-off was the Toppen Skybar at the Mølla hotel. They make the best Passionfruit Martini anywhere in the world (in my opinion). And the view is stunning too! The first day in Lillehammer was pretty chill after this, and after my stop at the cocktail bar, driving was off the cards - which is OK, as long as you’re good with walking up hills, Lillehammer is completely accessible on foot. Right the way down from the water, where the shopping centre is, up to the Olympic Park. Just bring comfy shoes! The following day, May 17, is the national day of norway. It is a very special day where the whole country celebrates its independence, and people wear their national dress (the Bunad). There are different parades, parties, and lots of celebrating. And classic cars, too! If you ever get the chance to be in Norway on the 17th, you should 100% experience it! 1EF7A1AC-0F2C-4498-A019-2D1FEC183120.MOV After waking around the parades for a bit and soaking up the atmosphere, you bet I also had to decorate the TT with more Norwegian flags than usual (I do usually have at least one on the car anyway) CCE89425-1DD7-41F3-8FC0-2312B78714FD.MOV After this, I headed down to the park in Lillehammer, where I sat out and soaked up the atmosphere - as well as the sun-tan-rays 😂 That night it was back to the Lillehammer Scandic 🙂 The next day, May 18th, I headed down to Hamar, the biggest city in Innlandet. It was a pretty place, however I’d recommend going in the summer when more is open - they have several bars along the waterfront that just aren’t open until the weather gets warmer! I had a pretty chill day in Hamar, relaxing and eating my 13p spaghetti hoops and baked beans from Tesco 😂 That night I stayed in the Clarion hotel in Hamar, and begun to consider how I was going to return home at the end of the trip, with no money, which was coming up scarily fast! The next morning (19th), I woke up late and missed my free breakfast at the hotel. So instead I made my way to the shopping centre in Hamar where I ate a Subway lunch. It was here where I was deciding how to spend my remaining time in Norway. I had no idea what I wanted to do, only that I wanted to head south towards Kristiansand, where the ferry I’d booked out of norway was based (part 3 spoiler). Suddenly, thanks to modern day social networking, my answer arrived. Armed with just an address, I jumped in the TT and drove about 3 hours south - into the countryside somewhere between Oslo and the Swedish border. upon arrival, I knew I’d made the right choice! I was greeted by an absolutely amazing person, who wholeheartedly 100% agreed that the steering wheel on British cars is in fact on the correct side 😂 (she will read this later, and she may remind me that she didn’t quite say those words in that order 😂) After we got the steering wheel debate agreed upon, she led me to some beautiful places around the countryside in the area - we visited an old lookout spot, complete with tunnels between rooms that you can still actually walk through! Sadly I left my phone in the car (norway is safe so no risk there), it does however mean I didn’t get any pictures of it! After spending some great time here, we went to a fantastic steak house, which had big windows inside that overlooked an indoor horse riding arena, which was super cool! I will certainly be going back there in the very near future!! ☺️ Shortly after this, I had to say a sad goodbye to the super amazing person (for now at least), as I had to continue down to Kristiansand before tomorrow. The views on the way to Kristiansand as the sun was setting were amazing! (Hands free body mounted picture, not taken by hand, that would be illegal 🙂) Once I reached Kristiansand, for the final time on the trip, i slept in the TT! This is the view i woke up to.. not bad considering it was completely dark when i parked there so didn’t know which way to point the car for the best view 😁 Shortly after waking up, I made my way to the ferry terminal, which is where we will leave off part 2 and head to part 3, coming later this week - where we will discover how I managed to get a 3.2L V6 gas guzzler back home to the UK with barely any fuel money left 🙂 Ha det bra - for now 🙂
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