Club Motorhome Bloggers

Blogs written by Club Motorhome members.

On the ferry to Tallin

We have finally left Helsinki after 4 days - longer than we had planned due to having to obtain a new water pump then find someone to fit it - no, not on the Mercedes, but in the habitation part of the motorhome.

It first went wrong when we were up near the Arctic Circle, but it turned out to be an unusual system - Whale submersible pump, which required the fresh water tank to be lowered in order to replace it (something we only established for certain after several emails to the manufacturer).  Two motorhome dealers in Rovaneimi said they didn't know about the system, one did offer to look at it but had no spare parts for it anyway.  We discovered, using the internet, that we could get a pump from a marine dealer, so we tried two when we were in Oulu, only to find that the pump would have to come from Helsinki - in 5 days including the weekend, so we decided we were best to carry on to there, get the pump, then find someone to fix it for us. Well we were lucky with that, because we stumbled upon a really helpful company and a real a 'diamond bloke' to do what turned out to be a pig of a job - and thank goodness he spoke English, as most, but not all do here.  Why did it fail after less than 2 years? Probably run 'dry' by previous owner, as they normally last 10 years  or so - some things you can't foresee.

Then, worst of all, after the pump was replaced we went off to fill the tank with water, and the external pump which is used on this system to fillthe tank would not work!  After the closest we have come to panicing, we tok some deep breaths and had (yet) another think - we figured that it must be the 12 volt supply, so Edward had a look under the 'van and found a connection, disturbed by the work that had been necessarily been done, which was broken.  So back to the friendly dealer who took it all apart and found that the connections, less than 2 years old, were badly corroded - no wonder they fell apart when disturbed to to the rest of the job!.  Very kindly, he didn't charge us for the extra work, saying it was part of he previous job - I couldn'y see many in UK doing that.  The new joints will be well protected by me wehn we get home!  Anyway, we are all up and running again now, so all is well


There is not much to photograph in Finland, except lakes and trees, but we loved the place; the weather has been superb, we were parked, for free, by a beach one mile from the centre of the city!
I have never been anywhere where cars, cyclists and pedestrians mix so calmly together.  We made good use of our bikes, and could cycle right through the middle of the city with no problems.  When there is no cycle path, but the road is busy, we rode on the pavement, carefully of course - no-one moaned - pedestrians just move to let you through, and we do the same for them.  To our mind it's a lovely city, with lots of smart building, both new and old, and it beats Liverpool by having not 2, but 3 cathedrals Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran (not sure what they are ding with such grandeur, but it is  relatively plain inside.
They also love american cars - lots of 50s and  60s cars around, all in excellent condition - and room on the roads to drive them

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Is both a department and Finland's 5 largest city with a population of 200,000.  They have plenty of land, so it is well spread out with lots of space for everyone.  We are in a free car park 10 minutes walk from the town centre; it is 24 deg; Following the Finnish motorhomers, we put our chairs out to enjoy the view and had a cold beer from the fridge.  It doesn't get better than this!

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South into Finland

Just to prove that we did get to Nordkapp, here is the picture

So far, Finland is as promised - trees and lakes and one or two (only) (motheaten)reindeer.  We have arrived at Santa's base, Rovaneimi.  We passed his workshop just outside the town, but resisted the temptation to go in.  The long endless days must help Santa and his elves get all the work done in time for Christmas!

Yesterday was very warm - 24 deg max and sunshine till 2.00am when we finally turned in.  We have pulled into a campsite and had a busy time doing our washing and ironing - paying the price for only doing 'small things' for a month.

There has not been much to photograph so far in Finland except - you guess?!  So here is a picture of a very wide section of road on an otherwise two-way road with 100 miles between any significant town or village.

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Yes, we have arrived at Nordkapp.  Haven't sorted out the photos here yet, so they will have to follow later.  There are some photos to catch up on:

Going to Norkapp in a motorhome is easy! There are a surprising number of cyclists making their way north too. We kept seeing this young man over a period of about a week - he was keeping pace with us! When we arrived at a ferry at the same time we went to talk to him, then had a good chat during the ferry crossing.  He is on his gap year and is, amongst other things, cycling the length of Norway!  That will be some achievement for his CV!

The roads in Norway are generally quite narrow, as they don't seem to like wasting tarmac.  When passing a lorry or coach, you must have your nearside wheel ON the white line.  The lorries and coaches are mostly very good and follow the nearside white line exactly (I should add that there is usually about 3 inches of tarmac beyond the white line and very often a 45 deg. slope after that).   Here is what happens when you get it wrong!

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We are in Alta, the northernmost town in Norway  (but not at 'the end' of Norway which continues for several hundred km yet).  There's not much of Alta, unlike Tromso which is a surprisingly big city with lots of industry.

We travelled along the national scenic route through Vesteralen and Senja, stopping on the island of Andoya to view the midnight sun.  The road there is on the west coast ocean-side of the mountains, so is an ideal spot to see the sun above the horizon - and it is surprising just how high it is, even at midnight.  It is also surprising, to us, just how much heat there is in the sun - we have not used any heating, day or 'night' for the last three days.

While we were watching the midnight sun we had whales 'playing' in the sea in front of us and the cuckoo singing behind us.

We have travelled on the E6 today, which is supposedly not a scenic route - well it looked like one to us!!  When we stopped at a particularly spectacular viewpoint we noticed that our bikes were a bit 'angled' on the bike-rack.  Closer examinaion showed that we had lost a couple of wing-nuts - shaken loose by the appalling temporary road surfaces through roadworks in otherwise generally good or not-bad roads.  We tied it up with some strong string and duct-tape (that essential repair-all equipment) and managed to find some nuts to fix it when we arrived here in Alta, where we also found a wifi; but as it is only 1mps we will not post any photos, so you'll have to take our words for it that the scenery still, after 3 weeks, continues to amaze and delight us.  I'll post some photos when we get a decent connection.

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Lofoten Islands

I am able to update the blog courtesy of a friendly free wifi from Leknes airport, somewhere in this unpromising (from a free wifi point of view only!) landscape in front of us where we are spending the night.  This may impinge upon the sensibilities of some of our readers - we apologies for any distress caused!

And here is the picture of the snow road which I was unable to post earlier

We crossed over from Bodo to Meskenes last night on the 00.45 ferry.  This had not been our plan, but with one ship was being serviced then one of the other two broke down, causing chaos at the ferry port, so we went for the easier option rather than wait indefinately.  We were glad we did, as sailing into the midnight sun was a very special experience.  We arrived on Lofoten at 03.30, and easiliy found a good resting spot at a place called A - yes, A.  It is a traditional fishing village which is now a museum, albeit a working one (a bit like our Ironbridge).  We visited A in the (late!) morning.

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We are in Bodo

15th June

We have arrived in Bodo!  On last blog, written earlier, I was unable to add the snow road photo, sorry about that IT is OK when it works.  We have now passed the Arctic Circle, and on the first day we had a barbeque! Yesterday the temperature reached 20 deg - amazing!


We are booked on a ferry to the Lofoton Islands at 00.45 - yes 00.45!  One ferry boat is out for routine service, and one of the other two has broken down, so the options were limited.

More later

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