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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Norway - 16 June, 2004



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Nordkjosbotn, Troms (Bjornebo Camping) N69º13.031' E019º33.365' 14 meters .
Bardu . . . .
Gratangen . . . .
Narvik . . . .
Finish Ballangen, Nordland (Ballangen Camping) N68º20.395' E016º51.631' 0 meters 290 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

7,535 km

Total (other):

4,170 km


11,705 km


Weather: Heavy clouds, occasional rain and cold (about 2-4°C).



The weather today is pretty lousy, so we have a relaxing morning.  It is cloudy, cold and windy with occasional rain.  We finally leave the cabin shortly before noon and on our way out of town we top up the gas tank and get some fresh bread.  One thing that they have readily available here in northern Norway is fresh bread.  Even the gas stations bake it fresh throughout the day.


We first head west, with our goal being the island of Senja.  But just as we approach Finnsnes and the bridge to Senja, we decide that with this kind of weather, it is not worth the detour.  We then turn south and make our way to Bardu.  We arrive in this North Norway Brigade garrison town at 2 PM.  We first stop at the octagonal church, but it is closed.  So we head to the town center and the information office.  It turns out to be in the same building as the library, so we decide to check our emails.


The tourist information office then tells us that they can arrange for the church to be opened, so we drive back the short distance to take a look at the interior of this church built in 1829.  As the people of Bardu settled here were from Østerdalen, one of their young men went back to Tynset in Østerdalen to look for inspiration for the new church to be built in this town.  It is therefore pretty much an exact copy, albeit on a smaller scale, of the church in Tynset.


After we finished checking out the church, we went back to the library for one more session on the internet, which we followed with a quick lunch in one of the small kiosks.  Then it was time to head on.  We are still heading along E6 making our way to Narvik.  Along the way we make the detour down to the small village of Gratangen, where they have an outstanding collection of old boats.  Unfortunately we were just a bit early for the season opening - the museum opened for the summer in a couple of days.  If only we had known - a good family friend had worked here on restoring old boats and he could have arranged for a private visit.  Oh, well.


From Gratangen we made our way back to E6 and to Narvik.  To get there we have to cross over Rombaken on one of Norway's largest suspension bridges, with a central span of 325 meters.  We arrived shortly before 5 PM in this northern town that was heavily battered during the Second World War, in part because of it's strategic importance due to the port and the minerals shipped through it.


Our first stop is at the war graves and the peace chapel.  It is a very interesting and moving cemetery, mixing civilian graves with military ones, and also mixing friend and foe.  The gloomy weather gave the visit a somber mood, as we walked from grave to grave.  There were the German graves with the simple stone markers (wherever the fallen soldier could be identified) interspersed with the stone Germanic crosses.


In addition to the graves for the Norwegian soldiers and sailors, there were the graves of the soldiers from the many allied nations that came to help resist the German invasion.  There were soldiers from all over, including England and Poland.  From the cemetery we headed into the town center.  Here we split up.  While Lars went to the Nordland Red Cross War Memorial Museum, Jacqui strolled around the shopping centers.


It was a very interesting museum on the history of the battles around Narvik and Norway in the Second World War.  They had extensive exhibits with English translations of the labels.  It took Lars over an hour to get through the museum.


After meeting back up, we did some grocery shopping, filled up the gas tank and were on our way by 7 PM.  We drove for about another hour along the shore of the Ofotfjord until we found the town of Ballangen and the camp site named after it.  We decided to stop here for the night.  We checked in, prepared dinner, made our beds (in all these cabins you provide your own bedding) and then took it easy for the rest of the evening.


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