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  1. 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!
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