This post probably won’t be of interest to our regular readers, but after spending ages searching the internet for information after we got our parking ticket, I thought it might help any other unfortunate tourists who get caught like we did.
So, a few nights ago we were staying in Tromso and decided to go out for dinner. In a restaurant, our first restaurant meal in Norway. We parked in a small private car park which had a parking metre in one corner. I went to buy a ticket and noticed that it gave a price of 23 kroner per hour, up until 2100 hours, or 9pm. I didn’t read any further, just put in enough coins to get to 9pm, took the ticket , put it in the car and we left. I really should have read all the instructions because there is also a charge after 9pm, of 10 kroner per hour. We got back to the car at 10pm to discover a yellow parking fine on the dashboard. For 760 kroner.
The parking fine is, of course, all in Norwegian, but it’s fairly self-explanatory. You can either pay with a bank transfer, or they give a website where you can dispute the fine. I visited the website and then searched all over the internet to see if I could just pay with a credit card online, but there doesn’t appear to be any option to do so. Paying with a bank transfer was really just all too hard to organise with one of my Australian banks … not to mention costly. So I did some detective work and by searching on the SWIFT code given with the banking details, I learned that Europark Norway uses DNB Bank to accept payment.
We found the DNB Bank in Tromso and I went to see if I could pay the fine there. Success! Kind of. They will process the payment, but they charge a 75 kroner fee on top of the 760 kroner fine. I had to show ID (passport) and got a receipt for the payment … and I made very sure that all the reference numbers on the yellow fine and the receipt matched up so that there would be no further issues.
Of course, it goes without saying that it’s better not to get a fine in the first place, but if you do, I hope the above information helps.
Picture taken of Tromso from our hotel room at about quarter past midnight. The sun is still up but hidden behind mountains
Eating Rudolph – Reindeer steaks
We spent last night in at the Scandic Hotel in Tromso, our first night in a hotel on this trip. It gave us a chance to hang wet washing all over our very own bathroom and walk around in bare feet without worrying about them getting cold and wet, and only unpack a couple of small clothes bags rather than half a ton of camping gear. Such a difference from last year in Portugal and Spain, where we spent every night but one in hotels or the very occasional auberge. The hotel is a few kms out of the town centre, close to the airport. It has a great view of the fjord, and looks across to ‘the mainland’ and the mountains beyond. Most of Tromso is on an island, including the town centre, the airport and the university. It connects to the mainland via a very impressive bridge.
We went out for dinner last night, to Aunegarden. It’s a cafe/restaurant in a beautiful old wooden building that spent most of its long life as a butcher’s shop. There are lots of rooms and little nooks and crannies. We were taken along hallways past a couple of other rooms that were set up for dining, to a room with 4 or 5 tables and a lot of large old photos of downtown Tromso that were probably taken early last century. The menu had lots of choices, but we were really only there for one thing … the reindeer. Anyone reading this with young children, please don’t tell them we ate one of Santa’s helpers!. It was a fillet of reindeer, served with mashed potato, red cabbage and lingonberry sauce and it was delicious! Lean, tender and not too ‘gamey’. The meal cost as much as the hotel room, but we both really enjoyed it. Best (and only) restaurant meal we’ve had in Norway.
But then! We walked around the main streets of Tromso for a while – lots of lovely old wooden buildings and interesting things to look at … got back to the car and found a parking ticket on the windscreen. For $150. Damn. I had paid for parking and mis-read the instructions. I thought it was free after 9pm, but actually the rate is reduced overnight. So I paid until 9pm, and we got the ticket at 9.30. Annoying, expensive and a good lesson to read instructions properly even if they are in another language. The worst thing about it is that the only way to pay is to do a bank transfer. I spent ages trawling the internet last night trying to find out if I could pay online with a credit card, but couldn’t find anywhere to do so. I have found out which bank is on the bank transfer details and we’ll go to the Tromso branch today and hopefully I’ll be able to make an over the counter payment.
On the bright side, we stayed up late enough to see the sun at midnight … well actually it was on the other side of the mountains, but it was definitely still there, shining.