It’s now less than two weeks until the International Saab Meeting 2016 (IntSaab 2016) in Linköping – Vadstena, Sweden. IntSaab is a yearly Saab meeting “on tour” in different countries. Last year it was held in Norway, the year before in Poland and so on.
The focus, or theme, for IntSaab 2016 is the beginning and early history of Saab cars. As you may know, the first Saab wasn’t built in Trollhättan. The UrSaab was built in 1946 at the Saab airplane workshop in Linköping and the premiere display of Saab 92 was held in 1947 at the Saab staff restaurant Terrassen in Linköping as well. Saab 95 was also assembled in Linköping.
IntSaab 2016 has 600+ registered participants from all over the world. There will be pre-tours from different cities in Sweden, starting Monday-Tuesday, where the guests travel in their Saabs and are shown to some of the most beautiful places in our country (on the way to IntSaab 2016).
Friday and Saturday is filled with activities and events in the cities of Vadstena and Linköping. Sunday 14th of August there will be an open Saab meeting and market at the Vadstena castle (yes, we’ve booked a castle). This will be the largest Saab meet in Sweden 2016, with approx. 1 500-2 000 visitors.
IntSaab 2016 is arranged by Svenska Saabklubben (the Swedish Saab Club) and managed by our (awesome) voluntary working members. More stories and pictures from this meeting will follow here at SaabsUnited.
Tuesday it was time to head for Loen to meet the “real” IntSaab participants. After a late night on Monday, it was nice to have a day with a shorter distance – to Loen was it about one and a half hour to drive. We arrived to Stryn, and after a quick wash we roll into Loen. As a local – I have driven through Loen hundreds, maybe thousands of times – I thought it should be easy to find the site for the event. First we drive trough the city on the main road, then through the city on a smaller road, but nothing that could look like a place for a Saab-convention. OK, we where early but to not see anything I thought seems little fishy. So after a little phone-call, we found it, at the combined school and community center, the exit from the main road was about 50 meter after where we choose the smaller road back to the city… All those times I had driven by the exit from the main road, I’d always thought that area belong to the nearby camping site. :p So this was todays lesson, I learn a new thing every day!
Monday was the big day for the Swedish guys, one of the biggest highlights for every tourist in Norway – Trollstigen. The journey through the eleven famous hairpin bends that takes you up to 850 meter over sea at the roads highest point. This road is one of Norways biggest tourist attractions, in 2014 approximately 850 000 people visited Trollstigen. But we had to drive a few hours before we get there. To get to Trollstigen we decided to go via Stryn and Geiranger, and in that way we got the chance to visit another spectacular place. Some of you maybe remember the picture I shoot of my “new” 9-5 about a month ago, and to my big surprise was the lake now ice free, and not much snow left in that area. But we headed forward on that road, an afer a few kilometers we came to our first target of the day, the road up to Dalsnibba. Dalsnibba is a viewing point 1500 meter over sea level and has a great view down to the more famous village Geiranger. From Dalsnibba and down to Geiranger it is approximately 21 kilometer if you follow the road, and since Geiranger is at sea level we climb in an average of ~7%, but in reality it is much steeper because there is parts of the road that is pretty flat also. Up to Dalsnibba we had to pay 110 NOK since is it a toll road, the road it is not a part of the public road system, it is just open during the spring/summer and the only purpose is to bring tourists up to enjoy the great view. We also stopped at Flydalsjuvet, to get the classical Gerianger-view. If you ever have seen a advertisement from “Visit Norway”, the chance is pretty big you have seen that view.
Luckily we was at the Dalsnibba early, on the way down to Geiranger we met about 10 buses with passengers from the cruise ship you see in the picture, so I guess there was pretty full up there when all that people arrived. Down in Geiranger there was as usual heavy traffic and much people running around, that was not the place to be if you are afraid for your car… We had only a short stop in Geiranger, so we continued our journey up Ørnevegen with the famous Ørnesvingen, another road with nine hairpin bends. That road is road you see in the background on the pictures with view over Geiranger. This area has for sure many main-roads with hairpin bends, if I have counted right we travel 5 distances this day with spectacular hairpin bends. So if you have a thing for this type of roads, I can highly recommend you to go from Stryn, up to Langvatn and take road 63 via Geiranger – Eidsdal – Trollstigen and you will end up near Åndalsnes. We came just in time to Eidsdal for the ferry departure over the fjord, if we had missed it it hadn’t been the worse thing since there was two ferrys shuttling over the fjord, but for a native it always is a good feeling and maybe almost a sport to wait as little as possible for the ferry 😉
So, after a quick dinner and some tart since one of my travel companions had his birthday, we were off to Trollstigen. Since we came from the “Geiranger-side” we was already at the top, so we stopped at the visitor center for a quick walk to the viewing point in the mountain side. The two pictures above is taken from that viewing point, and as you can see you have a first class view to the traffic up and down Trollstigen. As you can this is not a motorway exactly, the road varies from 4-6 meters wide. So when two buses, motorhomes or cars with caravans meet in heavy traffic, it is quite interesting to see how drivers behave. Call me wired, but I can look at this for a quite long time… So we drive Trollstigen a few times, while we wait for some company. A other Norwegian with a Hirsch-equipped 2011 2.0T Aero (9-5 of course, but I guess you already had guessed that) got scent of that we was in the area (OK, he had heard some rumors on Facebook), and of course we want to take a look at his car and shoot some pictures! So after admiring each others cars and a trip down Trollstigen, all three cars drove in a convoy to Ålesund quite satisfied.
In the beginning of August IntSaab 2015 took place, and this time it was Norway and the club for classic Saabs in Norway “Gammal Saabens Venner” (GSV) that host the event. For those of you that has attended on a IntSaab event you know that usually the event starts with different pre-tours, most common is to have pre-tours from different border-crossings to the country that go to the place where the event is located. Then the main event is arranged during the weekend, most often the second weekend in August. This year the committee from GSV wanted to do something different, they want to show people what a beautiful country Norway is, so they decided to put together a “rolling” IntSaab.
The plan was to start in Bergen, but with no traditional pre-tours. There was organized pre-tours from Kristiansand and Kongsberg to Bergen, but compared to earlier years this was a pure transport distance. From Bergen there was put together a program with different daily stages based on how long distanced and how much/what you wanted to see, but still with time for be a tourist and having a good time with the other that attended on the tour. The first day the program said driving from Bergen to Flåm, second day from Flåm to Skjolden, third day from Skjolden to Loen. Fourth day was a restday in Loen, before the fifth day from Loen to Åndalsnes, via the famous Trollstigen. From Åndalsnes there was arranged a post-tour all way to Trollhättan for those who wanted to drive in company out of Norway. Now you all probably think this is a giant event to admin, book accommodations and so on. But with so many people on tour and so many preferences and budgets for the accommodation it was up to each individual to book accommodation, the organizers provided a list over possible sites to stay overnight at – with all from tenting via cabins to hotels. And there for sure was the whole specter, I saw those who slept in their cars (not so bad as it sounds like, just look under what you can do if you own a 96!), those who had a Topola on their Saab, those tho bring a tent, caravan or a combicamp, and those who chose to stay in a cabin or at a hotel.
But I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about this since I’ve grown up on the West Coast of Norway, and know what weather we have during the summer (a lot of rain), and I thought that maybe would be some problems with the logistic … But I must said right now, I was wrong about this. What I have heard and observed, there was only happy faces! Of course I guess there was some minor problems, but as long as things gets solved people are happy…
As I mentioned I was a bit skeptical about this, and when I personally don’t are a big fan of camping in a tent (especially if there is rain in the air) and had seen all the places before I was not so very tagged about this. Some Swedish friends had also plans to attend, but was not so super-enthusiastic about the IntSaab route. There was also some issues with the time-frame, it look like we don’t could make Trollstigen because lack of time. So we decided to take a different route with some longer daily stages, so I met the guys in Bergen Friday evening in their 2011 9-5 2.0T before we at Saturday morning drove up the cost on small country-roads to the Ålesund-area where we had our base for the next days. The only plan we had was to go to Geiranger and Trollstigen, and catch up with the rest of the IntSaab people in Loen Tuesday and their rest-day Wednesday.
So after checking the forecast (important stuff i Norway) Saturday evening we decided to wait with the Trollstigen trip until Monday because bad weather in the area Sunday. So what to do Sunday? I had a plan, and that was to go to Vestkapp, 496 meter over sea-level, the most westerly mountain plateau in Norway. The weather in this area can change extremely fast, but just this day it was truly amazing with sun and almost so wind, so if you like us go there a clear day with no fog you get a magnificent view. (Panorama view over) After been up to the viewing point we go to the surfer paradise Hoddevik, famous for just surfers, and scenery for some advertises for one of the other Swedish based car-brand, you know the things from Torslanda. This day we also got some great company, a friend of mine that also have several Saabs – and this day he and his family took the 2011 9-5 TiD 160 out for a spin, so we were three 2011 9-5’s in a convoy. 🙂 I can tell you, new 9-5 is not a common car in Norway, and especially not if there come three in a row… When first car passed people, you could notice that people turn around, and when car two and three passed people turned completely with a expression that is unbelievable… In Hoddevika it was time for some food, and after finally we find a place it was possible to park and fire up the grill, it was time for some sausages and meat. We sat in the shore with a beautiful view, and after everyone were well satisfied we headed back home via inspiring roads, if you ask me nothing that stood back for the roads we was going to drive the next day…
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