Chance Meetings

Thursday 5 September 2019

We have been at the garage at Narvik since 7.45 am. We’ve explained our predicament to the guy at reception. He seems quite switched on. His first comment was that he could see that the workshop was full today but he would see what he could do. So let’s see how that pans out! The frustrating thing is that when we turned on the engine this morning, the message had changed. Having run down quite a few of our miles getting here last night … from about 400 to 265, the message now says that the engine will stop after 496 miles. It is bizarre! Trying our best to be philosophical and just hope that this will be resolved today.

Just time for another pastry!

We have felt more upbeat since were given the news that the technician at the Ford Dealer in Narvik has found a fault with a valve associated with the exhaust system. The part has been ordered from Sweden and we are to return tomorrow at 1.0pm when it will be fitted (providing it arrives on time). Whilst waiting for him to come back to us, we were chatting to a Norwegian man who was waiting to have his car service. He was charming and reassured us that the garage was excellent. He told us that the camper vans are starting to get too much in the area and I can understand that. Having said that, it does seem that plenty of Norwegians own them too. But their main visitors are the Germans. They also get a lot of Chinese, who come to see the Northern Lights. They are very wealthy and they go up to Tromsø where all the hotel prices are quadrupled for their visit! Worryingly he also told us that the winters in Norway start later and later. When he was a boy, the winters would start in November. Now it is usually January. That is alarming. He told us that his son had studied in Coventry for a year and they had visited him there.

What was even more incredible was the technician who dealt with us today … he is from York! He told us that he has lived here for 6 years and he loves it. He came over here with his family. The children are much happier at school where they are under much less pressure than their counterparts in the UK. They bought an old farm and his wife now keeps sheep, about which he sounded incredulous. All in all, an interesting hour or so at the garage. Hopefully, tomorrow (fingers crossed) all will be well.

We ordered two breakfasts from the Scandic hotel, which were once again delicious. This time we were able to eat them in the comfort of the van, a vast improvement it must be said. It was a pretty miserable day so we didn’t hang around in Narvik long. But we did see a war memorial and drove up to the ski area, which looks to be having a major upgrade. Masses of work going on to build roads and car parks. They are clearly investing in the ski facilities and good luck to them. It looks as though it will be fabulous when it is finished. It was a shame that we couldn’t park up as we were keen to go up on the gondola and see the view from the top of the mountain, but it was not to be. On the way to the campsite at Ballangen, we stopped off at the place where we camped last night.

There is a war memorial there, which we didn’t really see last night as it was almost dark when we landed. I had never heard of the Battle of Narvik in 1940, let alone realise that British Troops, along with the Norwegians, Poles and French all fought here against the Germans and lives were inevitably lost. It was a fitting tribute. The allies came to assist the Norwegians but it didn’t end well as troops had to be withdrawn to go to other places and the Norwegian government ended up in exile in the UK. But it was good to see that they had not forgotten and remain thankful for what was done on their behalf.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings in the seemingly never ending saga of the AdBlue error!

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