Click here to see the detailed statistics of today’s cycle.
The bad news: I never did get my clothes washed. The good news: who cares? It’s be a fantastic day of cycling in a magnificent corner of Sweden under a bright blue sky. There isn’t a great deal to add to what you can see in the pictures but… I said my goodbyes to Manfred at the drab campsite in Lysekil before having coffee at the local supermarket. Then it was a case of following the cyclespåret again for much of the day. It wasn’t a great surprise to bump into Manfred again at a café on the main road north. He had set off before me but had taken a wrong turning. I learnt a little more about him. He’s 65 but hasn’t worked since the semi-conductor buisness he was employed by shut down in 2007. He blamed the oil price. I’m not sure what the connection is between the semi-conductor buisness and the oil price but there you go… Once again we said our goodbyes and I haven’t seen him again today. I think his plan was to stay at the campsite just before Hamburgsund although I passed the site after just 50 km so he may well have decided to continue pedalling. Who knows… I did stop in Hamburgsund myself but only for lunch. Tonight will probably be my final night in Sweden and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have much Swedish currency left in my pocket so decided to treat myself to a proper meal. It was as tasty as the scenery was pretty; a herring salad (not on a roof tile this time) followed by grilled cod on a base of new potatoes and shrimps (how would that have been described prior to Masterchef I wonder: ‘cod & prawns with potatoes’? It could be worse; at least it wasn’t described as ‘deconstructed fish pie’) all washed down with… a glass of water. It was lunchtime. Delicious! 127 SK for the two courses. That’s just £10. Sweden, like Denmark beforehand, has not been anywhere near as expensive as people warned me it would be. Tonight, for the second night running, the campsite was just 150 SK. Beer and wine is the same price as you would pay in a British supermarket (although you have to go to a special shop to buy it in the first place) and food in the supermarket is not excessively over-priced. I usually wince at the thought of buying cans of sun protection lotion but when I bought one yesterday – Nivea spray on stuff, factor 30 – it was just £8. A lot of you are smiling wryly and thinking “just wait until you get to Norway mate…” and you are probably correct but I wait to see for myself before leaping to any premature judgement.
The afternoon was just as pleasant as the morning had been. Lots of campsites were marked on my map and as I approached 70 km I started to take a serious look at some of them. The ones that I did see were enormous and packed full of caravans. With time on my hands I wasn’t going to stop for the sake of stopping so I continued cycling. In Grebbestad, a busy seaside town about 20 km north of Hamburgsund, some kind of emergency services display was taking place; police, fire and ambulance services were all standing around their vehicles chatting to passers-by. CPR was being administered to a body on the ground but it was of the plastic rather than flesh variety so when I asked one of the ambulance staff if she knew anything about nearby campsites I didn’t feel as though I was putting anyone’s life in mortal danger. Discussion ensued amongst the emergency services about suitable campsites for me. The conclusion was that I should make my way to the area where the World Heritage rock paintings were at nearby Vittlycke where there was a museum and, luckily for me, a small campsite. It took some finding but it’s a great place. Big open field for campers of which there are about ten, open countryside all around and just next door are some Bronze Age buildings (reconstructions I dare say…) that I shall investigate in the morning.
So there you have it. A thoroughly successful day of cycling. No more, no less. I’ll stop there and answer my emails. Well, not my emails, that would be weird. Emails that have been sent to me… [Quit while you’re ahead…]
There are no cheap supermarkets in Norway. I think 3 firms own 95% of all of them and they have a nice cosey relationship together. Lidl tried to open here a few years back, with plans to open hundreds of branches but they where hounded out of the country, never to return. refused planning permission by local politicians etc…
There is a budget line of food as mentioned by Jim above called First Price but personally I stay away from Kiwi because a lot of their other stuff is overpriced. First Price is available in a few of them now anyway. There are a few strange things you should look out for though. A cooked chicken can be 3 times cheaper than a raw one and often you will pay more for large item than a smaller one. Yoghurt for example can be less per kilo in the individual pots than it is for the large cartons..
In general though ‘Rema 1000’ is where you’ll find the lowest prices for basics, though you will find that small pakistani/ arab owned shops will have many items cheaper than the larger supermarkets and sometimes the same actual branded item.. They unfortunately are pretty thin on the ground north of Oslo though.
Beer is allowed to be sold at 4.7 percent in the supermarkets here (most are 4.5%) which is a little better than Sweden, though it will cost you 3 quid a can and stronger beer in the official Vinmonopol can cost up to 5 times more than the same in Sweden. Thankfully Im less than 100k away from Sweden myself and just buy everything there 🙂
I recommend you just check prices very carefully, as there are often huge discrepancies, make sure you check for rotten items of fruit in baskets (eg nectarines) stay away from the cheaper sausages (called pølse) and stick to the chicken ones (kylling) and lastly learn to love tinned dried or frozen food and even consider becoming teetotal!
Its a lovely country Norway and I could give you a 100 reasons why I choose to live here but food &drink aint one of them!
Rema 1000 (supermarket), Grans Premium Pilsner 5.7%,
And if you make it to Trondheim, the fridge in my VW California is always full of cold bottles of Augustiner 😉
4.7 on the Grans.. Oops!
Thinking on, things may not be too bad for you after all. The Norwegian Kroner is at its weakest Ive seen in about 15 years (oil prices again) so its probably the best time to come here 🙂
Kiwi supermarkets… have a budget line brand. Reports of bottled water coming in at £3+ on the interweb??? http://www.visitnorway.com/uk/about-norway/travel-facts/norway-on-a-budget/
Just wait until you get to Norway… !!