Driving to and wandering around the city of Trondheim
We left Kristiansund around ten, moving on eastward under yet another cloudy, grey sky. We had one ferry crossing on the way that offered a distant view of multiple inlets of the main fjord, like thin, layered stage sets painted in progressively lighter colours. The road was clear and the day looked to be brightening up the further east we travelled, so we didn’t linger too much as we followed the road to Trondhiem.
We headed straight for the main city centre aire, but we weren’t the only ones with that idea. We had been warned that it could be busy and over-subscribed. It was totally full when we arrived, but another unsuccessful motorhome was leaving who got our hopes up briefly. We left and parked for five minutes opposite to re-plan, and in the time we sat there six other motorhomes came in, looked despairingly at the lack of space, then left. This was the busiest and most desired aire we had yet seen in Norway, and bagging a spot here would be a matter of luck and timing.
With no town centre alternative, we headed off to stay at our backup aire, a mixed use car-park around 7km north east of the centre. We passed three further motorhomes on the road into the city aire as we left; sorry, not today fellows. We worked our way around the town, getting hit for more road tolls on the way, only to find on our arrival our target car-park no longer existed. There were construction works underway for a new sports facility and the Contractor’s site compound took up the entire car-park space. Bugger – now what?
We came close to heading off along the road and not bothering to visit Trondheim, as we often do in cities where parking is proving difficult. But instead we parked up in a nearby small museum car park and went for a sunny stroll around the Botanic Gardens, for a little bit of respite from driving and navigating, and to clear our heads after the long drive. The small but beautiful Botanic Gardens came to our rescue, as it was a peaceful oasis of calm, with only the sounds of bird calls breaking the silence. We walked around the colourful flower beds and pretty duck lake, with each new step and breath of fresh, cool air clearing away our negative emotions and awakening our senses.
In the museum building reception, Nicky very cheekily asked if it might be okay for us to park overnight in the museum car-park, expecting nothing but a ”no”. A tilt of the head and a wry smile from the lady on the desk was followed with a “well, it’s not officially allowed, but if you’re discrete, no problem.” She explained that she was the one working again in the morning so was happy that no one else would know, and suggested we could even take a picnic to the duck lake and enjoy the beauty of the gardens at night all by ourselves. What a result – perfect.
Without this place to stop we may very well have decided to keep moving, missing out on visiting Trondheim altogether. The simple kindness of one stranger massively changed our fate and rescued our opinion of the city of Trondheim, and we now had a quite fantastic place to stop. It was extremely quiet, with elevated views to the sea and lots of wonderful gardens to wander in. We could visit the city tomorrow – now was time to relax and celebrate our good fortune. We walked the gardens, constantly smiling to each other at how fortunate we were to be here – what a beautiful place to overnight.
We carried our evening meal down to the picnic table by the lake, sitting by a cluster of bright yellow irises, in the midst of a very varied Arboretum. Birds were flying overhead and singing an accompanying chorus to us as we ate. It felt like a private and luxurious aire, all just for us. The high platform next to the museum building where we parked was flanked by high grasses and a steep slope that rendered Benny invisible to anyone walking on the lower paths in the park. We saw only a couple of dog-walkers pass by in all the time we were there. Later we returned to our private balcony overlooking the gardens with a sneaky whisky to enjoy as we watched the sun set over the trees.
The following morning we ate breakfast out on our private terrace, then packed up early and left before anyone else arrived at the museum. We drove back into the centre of Trondheim on empty roads, arriving by 8.30am, where as it was Sunday we had our pick of available and free parking places around the centre. The downside of it being Sunday was that nothing was open, except the cathedral. There were amazingly clear blue skies, a quite beautiful backdrop to showcase the Nidelva river, its calm flow flanked by old stilted storehouses painted in varied colours.
We approached the cathedral and circled it before sitting down opposite the main façade, taking in all the details. Nidaros Cathedral, standing next to the Archbishop’s palace, is the coronation, or more accurately these days, consecration, seat for all Norwegian royals. It is arguably the most important Gothic building in Norway and most definitely the most northerly Gothic cathedral in the world. A few busloads of tour groups suddenly appeared from nowhere and disrupted our peaceful morning contemplations, so we moved away to explore some quieter backstreets around the city.
We followed the Niadros River to an area of parkland set along its banks, enjoying the simple sunshine on our faces. A group of young Asian guys had gathered in the park on the edge of the river, playing loud Bollywood music and practicing their dance moves. We were tempted to go join them and show off some quality moves learned when travelling in India a few years back, but sensibly thought better of it. We continued on to cross and then re-cross the Old Town bridge where we again enjoyed views along the colourful river frontage.
The beautiful weather was a real treat for a short city visit, and we were deeply glad that we had been gifted the opportunity and privilege to see even a small part of the city of Trondheim. We could easily have moved on and missed it all, but for the kind intervention of one stranger; that one good deed gifted us a wonderful, unique overnight experience and the opportunity to see a beautiful city we might otherwise have rejected. This was to be our last stop in Norway, at least for a few weeks, so it was fantastic to have it end with such a positive and special experience.