RoadTrip #9: Visiting the Rock Carvings in Hornes in Østfold and crossing the border to Sweden for the first time during the covid-19 pandemic

Disclaimer: This roadtrip happened in September 2021 when travel restrictions to Sweden were eased for the first time since the pandemic began in March 2020. From September to December, it was pretty easy to cross the border, do some grocery shopping and a little side trip, and return to Norway without taking a PCR or rapid test.

We first visited the rock carvings in Hornes, dating all the way back to the Bronze Age. It was drizzling when we left at 7 am. We wanted to avoid possible traffic, and we planned only a day trip, so we left home early.

Going for a roadtrip, no matter the weather!
The infamous Oslo tunnel

I don’t know, but Carl and I are really interested in cultural or historical sites. We have visited stave churches and Viking villages, and rock carvings won’t be an exception. Carl said that it made him feel more connection to his roots as a Viking. As for me, it’s a wonderful feeling to actually see in person the stuff I only saw on books before. I took art and archaeology subjects in UP Diliman over a decade ago, even had a foreign professor who had so much passion for excavations.

When we reached the “farm” where the mountain rock was located, we had to park a bit far from it, and walk through a small forest. There was a sign board and directions pointing towards the rock.

Learning about the rock carvings in Hornes

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned, the rock carving in Hornes dated all the way back to the Bronze Age and is dubbed, Solskip på reise or “the ship of the sun and stars”. It consists of 22 ships, 1 man, and 27 cupmarks. Cupmarks are said to be the most common type of rock carving in Scandinavia, and they associate it with some ritual or offering.

Just follow these sign posts and you won’t get lost
Through a little forest

And voila! The rock with the carvings! It was open to basically everything, which was cool. When we visited the rock carvings in Tanum is Sweden, which covers a bigger area, the rock carvings seemed to be more protected and celebrated that it made it to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In my honest opinion, Norway can learn a thing or two about making some of the historical sites more “tourism-friendly”. I mean, the rock could be vandalized secretly and nothing’s protecting it. Unless it’s not as important as I think it should be…

The rock carvings in Hornes
So many ships… was there a raid? Or an inventory of a rich man’s party?
It’s beautiful and imaginative
Walking on the rock itself. You have to get off to see the carvings.
Refreshing vast field surrounding the rock
Caught a geocache on the spot before heading back to the car
A small bridge over dry land XD

Before eventually crossing the broder to Sweden, we stopped over by this peaceful lake to stretch our legs a bit!

Trollebergtjern (lake)

At 10:30 am, we reached the border in Ørje. It felt wild and ecstatic to finally be able to visit another country again!!! No testing and no checking of corona pass that time.

Hello Sweden!
Smooth narrow roads in Sweden

Our first order of business: the sugar department! Sugar tax in Norway is very high, so it’s smarter to buy candies and soda in Sweden, amongst other stuff. Not clothes though, although I feel like they have a more varied selection in Sweden, more colors to choose from, and more fashionable designs…

Getting wild
Hard to choose…
Always a pleasure doing business with you, grensehandel!

Going to Sweden to do shopping is called a harrytur in norwegian. It’s always a surprise to fill the wagon with grocery and still not going over 2000 kroner when you pay in the counter. Unbelievable. Usually, when I go shopping in Norway, I get like 3-5 items and it already costs 300 NOK.

On the way back, still no testing, but there was checking of corona pass. Again, it was September 2021.

Waiting for our turn
And it started to rain again
Driving home…

This was the start to a few more visits to Sweden before the Omicron variant came. We managed to stay overnight in some places, like Karlstad, Trollhättan and Örebro. Then, omicron came and ruined it all. Hehe! But it won’t be until December 2021. So, more roadtrips in the next entries! Ciao! #spreadloveandpositivevibes



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