Leaving Oslo we moved south to the beaches, apparently where Norwegians holiday over summer. Heading to Kristiansand, Norway’s most southerly city, primarily to watch England vs. Panama on the big screens they had in each major city.
We split the 325km journey over 2 days, stopping for walks at Stavern and Arendal on the way. Enjoying a night alone near the ancient stone grave beaches of Molen and the other at a popular picnic area, where we parked next to a family with all their camping gear packed in numerous cardboard banana boxes; they obviously felt confident the good weather would remain.
Like much of Sweden, the highway warned us of moose (or elk?), but the only wild animals we came across was a badger; confused by the very light nights and some deer.
Arriving in Kristiansand an hour before kick-off, we quickly made our picnic and packed some 2.8% supermarket lager from Sweden and walked through the park to the centre.
We claimed a picnic table in perfect view of the big screen but outside the ‘arena’, as dogs were not permitted, nor was your own food or drink.
Slyly decanting our low alcohol lager into a glass (as it’s illegal to drink alcohol in public in Norway), we made ourself comfortable for the match. Just before KO we were joined by whom we thought were the local park bench drinkers club.
As it happens, only one of them was a drinker, or brave enough to face the hefty fine, which they said are rarely handed out, only by keen young police officers or if you’re making a disturbance.
While England comfortably dealt with Panama, we spoke to our newly acquired friends about minimum wages and the cost of cars and beer; all the important things in life.
We learnt the minimum wage is around 170 NOK per hour (approx. £17) and a 6 pack of local/own brand 4.8% lager would be 100 NOK (£10). At half-time I checked the drinks prices in the ‘arena’, a 330ml bottle of Heineken was 79 NOK (£7.90), other brands were more.
Our friends left to take comfort on a small boat belonging to one of them, but still in viewing distance of the screen. Before they left, they pointed us in the direction of the old fish market, now a popular dining spot with several restaurants and the concert hall. Knowing we wouldn’t be dining out, after full-time we checked it out nonetheless. £22 for a basic burger and chips, yeah definitely not dining out!
On the way back to the van we wandered through streets of white wooden houses in the old town and back through the same park, where we were attacked by mosquitos, catching some in the middle of a big bloody slurp.
Initially planning to spend the night next to the park, we decided to move on an hour or so along the coast, finding a nice spot in a small forest with deer roaming free.
After a morning stroll we decided to spend some time on the local beach, as it was 25+ and probably the last beach like this; we felt it best to seize the opportunity.
Cooling off after a few hours bathing on a jetty, we drove a few hours towards Stavenger. Picking up the Jaeren scenic route, we eventually found a place for the night near a tiny church on the coast in an area which reminded us of Denmark.
As light as the night was, we tried for an early night, as tomorrow we planned to tackle the famous Pulpit Rock.