Island hopping along the Gold Coast
The archipelago along the way is a journey through the peculiar mix of fascinating coastal nature, dramatic history and a modern Norway that is splashed on oil, gas and farmed salmon.
Island hopping along what we freely call the Gold Coast, goes on roads with a yellow strip - but also along roads where yellow in the middle is just a dream. We sweep over islands and through three municipalities that soon become one and become after the 2020 named Øygarden. You will soon find that the name hits when you jump from the mainland and across to the shores through the 555 and Sotra bridges.
In the corner of the eye you will, after a few kilometers, glimpse one of Norway's largest and most successful shopping centers. Sartor Storsenter may immediately seem a bit misplaced. It will never win the prize for this year's most beautiful building, but the center and its neighborhood are a massive piece of evidence on the flair's flair for turning gray gold. Outside the center stands a huge congregation.
The oil age
We take the north / right on the national road 561 in the first roundabout you come to, and after a short mile pass Ågotnes, a first taste of the oil age. Turn off in the roundabout direction Ågotnes / Vindenes. Strictly speaking, not exactly a visit destination. Oil rigs in circulation and service rigs have provided solid revenue for decades, but many lost their jobs when the oil price hit bottom. The dimensions of office buildings and halls tell why so many people are out of work when the oil industry is in trouble.
New miles through rugged land where you are accompanied by a solid high-voltage line. Green water power in large quantities is needed to refine the gas and oil within the framework of acceptable emissions. In this landscape there are no undulating grain fields and mile-long potato fields. This was the field of the fisherman's farmer, a poor life for many on the small farms out here. The oil industry in the broadest sense was salvation. Workplaces at sea, on platforms and on land. Incredible 22 billions have been invested in Kollsnes and Stura, and the small settlements were invaded by construction workers during the construction period. Troll field 15.000 kilometers out in the sea is one of the world's largest gas fields, and it is nice to know that here it is the state, the Norwegian people who are the largest co-owner.
The closest we get to the giant plants is the fire from the flame tear at Kollsnes and the mushroom-like installation at Sture. The former poor municipality Øygarden has spent a lot of tax revenue on modernized infrastructure. It is in the genes of the coastal people to breed by industry. Fish farming is another great way of life, and here it is advisable to get close to a industry that has created both millionaires and billionaires around the Norwegian coast. There is a separate visitor facility in Blomvåg. A little off the beaten track on Toftøy you can visit the remnants of a wave power plant, the idealists' attempt to tame the sea. It's beautiful out there on a quiet day in the middle of the summer, but when powerful winds from the west blow up, it's only the creators who hold it.
Construction started at a time when the concept of green energy was hardly included in the daily speech.
Now the remnants of the earliest green visions lie like a ruin heap in a municipality that has earned itself rich in gas and oil. The motorhome parking at Rong is just a pleasant bike ride away from this visit destination at the end of the Wave Road, and in the same lane it is right to swing down the Ormhiller where the first people settled down 4000 years ago. Today, the area is a popular swimming spot.
Travel on time
The bridges bind the islands together. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine that you had to get to the far north of Øygarden with three ferries. Resilient structures extend over narrow and slightly wider channels. The entire archipelago is used. You have forced 17 bridges out of Bergen before the wheels stop all the way north on Hellesøy. Driver and crew can cross off for a trip in time. The city tour from Hellesøy, which used to be a day trip, is now completed in an hour and a half. The elegant Rongesundet bridge was completed in 1986.
More upheavals await. Three municipalities will become one, in line with the central power's visions for modernized Bygde-Norway. This diligent people who call themselves quarrels did not waste their time spent arguing. In 2020 everything is called Øygarden, approx. 70 kilometers from the northernmost to the southernmost. Restructuring is nothing new to this people, where the fisherman's farmer is a tourist host in the rudders, oil works or salmon farms. Out here, the sea has always secured revenue and food on the table.
The island jumpers turn their nose south again until we connect on the national road 555 in Fjell municipality, midway in the new big municipality, and a few kilometers past the old municipal center is the parking for Fjell fortress on the left. The walk to the top is a pleasant walk on the German road built up to the facility. From the top, the view is formidable. It is permissible to imagine that you see nausta just west of Shetland. The Occupying Force had a sense of strategic positions when they engaged in what was to defend their conquests.
We continue further south, alternating between well-preserved housing fields, small farms and idyllic boating environments and some green fields. This environment inspired the coastal poet - Johannes Kleppevik. His shows helped both natives and visitors rediscover and upgrade their immediate environment into a common cultural heritage. The Kleppevik is honored with a gigantic guitar on the threshold of a popular hiking trail. Add Stranda skule, Tveitane to the GPS. The trip to the mountains depends on good shoes, but the view is worth every sweat. We roll further south, and here too it is far between the endless green meadows. The road is, in turn, periodically narrow and partly winding. We are heading to Telavåg and the North Sea Museum. This dramatic piece of Norwegian war history is worth bringing along.
A little mistake
Make your way down the old trading site Glesvær. Land crabs can enjoy themselves in the cafe, and those with a sense of kayaking and sea breeze can head out on tours with knowledgeable guides. Out here - on the threshold of infinity, one has dared to decorate the quaint nature with a distinctive work of art. We leave it to the visitor's eye to find what the artist Kyrre Grepp calls a mistake by those who mounted his artwork. Good parking also for larger vehicles.
If the weather is legal, an expedition on foot along the North Sea Trail, which extends all the way to Telavåg, is recommended. Parts of the tour go through a peculiar West Norwegian coastal landscape.
We round off the motorhome parking in Kleppe boat harbor. Take a phone to be sure of the place. Backwards / northwards, the somewhat better road on the east side of Sotra is recommended. There is no point - neither practical nor economical, to take the small ferry between Klokkarvik and Hjellestad.
Stock Exchange and Cathedral
Disappointing little is visible from the black gold, so use your imagination as you stand on the bike path along the marshland north of Øygarden. Under the wheels, in thick pipes, values flow for billions. But in the middle of the bucks in one of the richest countries in the world, one does not cope with sky-striking skyscrapers and streets where the gold shops are close. The hymns are always sung with fervor in the prayer houses, and Kiwi and Coop provide the people with daily bread. The oil strands have preserved both faith and tranquility, and our national politicians have distributed the oil money with a little to all of us. Equality Norway is basically pretty old.
Facts / gold coast
Motorhome parking at Rong in Øygarden and Kleppe boat harbor in Sund. The campsites are dominated by regulars, but they state that they have room for casual visitors. Safest to pick up a phone or send an email.
Golf enthusiasts can get on a very special and challenging course: www.sotragk.no/
www.museumvest.no. Contains information on several of the current visitor destinations.
The campsites in the three municipalities:
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