Land Rovers – we must not forget what we are driving. Now it’s time to meet those of a similar persuasion.
It is late afternoon when we arrive at the ferry port. We had an incredible scenic drive from last night’s stop over, along the E39 to Trondheim. We even passed the burial mound of Keikos; something we had completely forgotten existed. You know, the killer whale from the ‘Free Willy’ movie. Yes, he is buried in Norway.
The plan was to take the E6 through Trondheim, but a road accident forced us to take a detour. Although we could have made our way back to the E6 quite shortly after the accident spot, we decided stay on the FV707/715, which eventually took us back to Trondheim. One of the nicest detours we’ve had.
Having purchased provisions at Coop (‘airport’) outside Levanger, we are now heading to the island of Ytterøy by ferry. Why here, you may wonder? It all started when Tony discovered a site, where Land Rover owners offer other Land Rover owners a place to camp on their property. This is usually a place where you can park for free overnight and maybe with some extra facilities too. Joe decided to make contact with Olaf, who had registered on the site. In our case, we have been promised water, shower and a toilet.
On this sunny and warm afternoon we see several vehicles with horse boxes heading for the island. We can’t help but ask one of the men queuing up in front of us what is going on. Is there some sort of gathering, or are they returning from something special?
‘It’s the annual release of the horses at Ytterøy’, the man replies. Every summer a group of stallions run free on Laugsand there. The horse owner invites us over to the wagon and opens a door in front, so we can meet the one year old Håphar soon to spend his summer on the island.
On board the ferry we climb upstairs to have a view of the fjord and our destination. Before departing Joe called our host on the island, Olaf, to inform him which ferry we would be on and to get directions to his house. ‘You will be here at 18.37, Olaf said. I’ll wait for you outside.’
Precisely on schedule at 18:37 we stop by his mailbox and look down on a huge green lawn where we are to park. When everything is in place, we sit down in the sun by his house. Then: ‘Would you like a beer? I have a microbrewery you see… ‘ There is Smithwicks, IPA, Weissebier and Weissebier with raspberry. (‘Lady’s beer’, as Olaf calls it.) As I am lady, I am happy to drink that one. The others make their selections. The different beers all taste really good! Then we chat. About Land Rovers, traveling, beer and then Ruth and I eventually have a long awaited hot shower. A luxury you really become aware of when you do not have access to it every day.
We have a quick dinner in the back of one of the cambulances before we join our host in his house. A lovely house with a big heart and a fantastic view of the fjord, facing Levanger. Not to mention four beer taps in the kitchen! It’s still bright outside when we crawl back into our cambulances.
We wake up to a grey day. There’s rain in the air, but Ruth and I have decided to go for a hike. We pack our bags and set off. While we explore the island with its cows, seagulls, sheep, deer and try to find a beach on the west side, the guys are being looked after by Olaf, who takes them to the family farm, to the pub he runs and to explore old mine workings.
In the evening we are invited in for a proper home made Trønder Sodd. I’ve seen cans of this stew at the cabin, but never tried it. How proper then, to taste it here in the area of Trøndelag. It tastes good, especially after a grey day like today. It is served with sweet flatbread and of course the local brew.
Friends and family of Olaf are also here, it is very lively around the table and it develops into the kind of experience we appreciate so much when traveling the world.
Maybe because I am from the South East of Norway I am quite aware of it, knowing that hospitality is different between the north and south of the country. While we in the south are a bit distant and maybe a little cold, the welcome can be a lot warmer in the north. ‘Of course you shall stay here’ I heard while in Aalesund many years ago, visiting a part of my family I had never met before and had just intended to pop by for a short visit.
‘You are most welcome to stay another night’. Olaf is looking at us and it doesn’t take long to decide that two nights will be three here on Ytterøy. Who can say no to such hospitality?
There is supposedly a high density of deer on the island, but unfortunately we don’t see much of it. What we see, however, are mines. The next day we are out hiking again. All together this time and Olaf takes us to a copper mine, which closed in the early 1900’s.
Back at Olaf’s we have a photo session with all the Land Rovers. Two Defenders (the cambulances) and three Discovery’s (Olaf and his friends). It is, after all, thanks to Land Rover we are here.
In the evening we are invited to dinner of chicken Wings, salad and garlic bread at Olaf’s pub. Of course more of his delicious beer is needed to wash it down. A few Lithuanians who live and work on the island sit down with us after dinner. We’ve met them a few times already. By now we are quite familiar on the island, aren’t we? Soon we have a darts competition going. The visitors (that would be us) win! ☺
It feels like much has happened in a short time. To be honest this stay has become so much more than we expected. All we expected was a place to park up really and then do our own thing. Instead we were welcomed into these people’s lives for a while. We hope we haven’t discouraged a Land Rover owner from doing this again. (Inviting strangers to park on his lawn that is). Thank you so much for an amazing stay, Olaf, family & friends.