Since I’m still waiting on a Covid vaccine (at 33, I’m essentially at the very back of the queue in Trondheim), this year’s summer vacation has been another domestic holiday by necessity. We kept it relatively short – I’m saving more of my holiday time for December, when I should be fully vaccinated and we can hopefully plan an extended US trip to coincide with Christmas so I can see friends and family I haven’t seen since 2019. (I’ll also admit that after nearly a year and a half of travel restrictions, I’m not so used to being far from home for long!) Nonetheless, we recently went on a road trip up the coast, and I thought I’d share a little bit of it!
We drove north last summer as well, but last year we mostly stuck to the E6, the inland main highway between Trondheim and northern Norway. This year we wanted to cover some new ground, so we decided to try the coastal route. This means slower driving and lots of ferries, so we set a leisurely pace and covered 3-4 hours of driving per day with overnight stops in different coastal towns. This stretch of coast between Steinkjer and Bodø is known as Helgeland, and the coastal highway (fylkesvei 17) is called Kystriksveien, literally “the coastal road.” With 650 km of road and six ferries along the way, it’s a scenic route, and it’s also dotted with islands of all sizes along the way.
Rather than starting off with Steinkjer, we opted to take the ferry from Trondheim to Fosen first, adding an additional ferry to the route. We spent the first night in Namsos, and then picked up Fv17 the next day on the way to Brønnøysund. We had excellent weather for the first few days of the trip, and then it took a turn. By the time we crossed the Arctic Circle, grey clouds had taken up near-permanent residence in the sky. The midnight sun is distinctly less impressive when you can’t ever see it. But I think it’s par for the course for some stretch of the northern summer – I remember going crazy when we lived in Tromsø, because when the weather is grey/rainy and the sun never sets, the sky just…never changes. At least we had some fine weather for the first few days.
There are all sorts of interesting places to stop along the Coastal Road, and while we didn’t venture out to any of the islands this time, they definitely seem worth visiting in the future. Mostly, we enjoyed the scenic drives and the many ferries. I love the coast.
I never take as many photos as I’d like, but on some level I suppose that’s a good thing! Travel really helps me feel present in the moment. But I did grab snaps on my phone here and there, and I hope you enjoy the little glimpse of the Coastal Road in Helgeland.
We ended the Coastal Road with a few nights in Bodø before coming home the more direct way on the E6. I’d been to Bodø before, but only for an overnight stop, so it was nice to have a little bit more time in the city. We stopped in at the city museum, part of Nordlandsmuseet, and I really enjoyed the temporary exhibition they’re currently running, called Helt Konge – it’s a photo exhibition of imagery of the Norwegian royal family in people home’s and public spaces. I’m not very fussed about royals myself, but the exhibition concept is fascinating to me and it’s always interesting to get a glimpse of other people’s lives through their everyday spaces. I also enjoyed learning a bit more about Bodø’s history from the permanent collection. The museum isn’t too big so it was a nice way to spend an hour or two.
If you’re curious about Helgeland and want to learn a bit more, I’ll point you to this post from the travel blog Heart my Backpack, which is full of tips and links to more info. I feel so privileged to live somewhere where this kind of scenery is so close by, but I will admit I miss traveling further afield and I’m really looking forward to doing more of that in the future, post-vaccine. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the rest of my summer holiday at home: reading, cooking, gardening. There might even be a bit of sewing before I head back to work!