July 3

We headed south to the Oslo Campgound we have stayed at twice before. We arrived around 3:30 p.m. and found what may have been the last available electrical outlet. There have been no noticeable improvements to this place in the past year, and they are sorely needed. But the ease and speed of getting into the city center is what wins us over.  

It rained every day we were in Norway--sometimes all day--and Oslo was no different. We got caught in a downpour running from the subway to the Munch Museum’s celebration of the 150-year anniversary of the birth  of Edvard Munch (he of ‘The Scream’). Later in the day David sat for an hour at the spectacular Opera House drying his shoe and sock in the surprising sunlight while we waited for a dance performance to begin.

                                                 Ugly American grossing out sophisticated Norwegian aesthetes

All the dancers, with the exception of a single young girl, were 65 to 78 years old. It was a bit weird, unimaginative, and somewhat sad . . . and it was over by 7:30. We guessed that all the dancers had to get home to bed. So we did, too.

Then we drove south to Fredrikstad, the best preserved old city in Scandinavia. It consists mostly of old military buildings converted into commercial establishments and museums, well restored, situated on the river with cannons facing out to keep the Swedes from invading (which they did anyway). Because we were tired from walking about on the cobbled streets, we decided to stay at the campgound just outside the gate, but they turned us away saying the ground was too wet at the few remaining empty sites.

With no other option nearby, we got back on the E6 highway and headed farther south to a little fishing camp. It was a lovely spot if you looked out over the swans on the little fjord. The E6 bridge was high above our heads. The happy and very large Swede who ran the place didn’t bother to take our names--our money was enough. He told us he had lived in Houston for a couple of years and didn’t like the winters in Sweden! We were one of four RVs that stopped overnight to join the dozen or so permanent residents in cabins.

The first thing we did the next morning was stop at the first shopping center outside of Norway to buy quite a few groceries,  a pair of shoes for David, and--we finally found them--a bag of little mini-Snickers candy bars.

We stopped for the night in Gothenburg, Sweden, a large city best known in the US as the home of Volvo. We were aiming for a campground whose write-up in the book promised easy bus service to the center, but when we finally found it (with good signage from the highway) it was closed. The GPS found us another, but that one proved to have very poor connection to the city. However, the young blonde man at the counter found us the last spot in another campground, this one on a tram line. So we backtracked 10 miles through city rush hour traffic to that one--it is a large place where we are jammed in on hard standing with little grass in between sites. July is the “everyone goes on vacation at the same time” month, so we may have to start phoning ahead to make reservations. (Hint: Mobel sells phones with universal SIM cards that don’t need changing whenever you cross a national border--and they’re British phone numbers, so the cost is less than it might be).

We have been drinking the water and haven’t gotten sick yet, so we think the plumbing lines are clean and clear. Susan has experienced a whole new sharp pain in her right hip that feels independent of the bulging disk problems, but keeps going anyway. David is managing the shortness of breath well, so long as we keep a slower pace. We did 10,000 steps in Oslo on Saturday and 8700 in Gothenburg on Wednesday.

Maybe we can do this after all.