My time in Sweden is almost over. I’ve noticed that Scandinavia is much greener than other parts of Euro Truck’s map. It has a very different feel to other parts of the continent. The architecture, road signs and landscape feel unique, but I still haven’t seen anything that’s made me stop and go “Woah!” like Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I leave Stockholm and head to Västerås, the sixth largest municipality in Sweden. From here I make my way to Örebro, which is my route into the next country on my Scandinavian road trip: Norway.
It’s here, on the road between Örebro and Norway’s capital, Oslo, that the scenery starts to get much more dramatic. To the strains of Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’, I pass a chain of gorgeous lakes surrounded by dense forest. I’m so distracted by the scenery, spinning the third-person camera around my truck, that I slam into a passing car. The roads here are dangerously narrow. Luckily, no one seems to be dead, and I pull away with nothing worse than a 400 euro fine. I eventually cross into Norway, and by the time I reach Oslo, it’s the dead of night. I find a nearby station to refuel, then park in a motel to rest.
Oslo has been the capital of Norway since 1814, when the country gained its independence from Denmark. It’s one of the fastest-growing capitals in Europe, although if I crash into any more cars, that might no longer be the case. There are far fewer cities in the game’s recreation of Norway than its version of Sweden, and so the drive west from Oslo to Bergen is pretty barren. But I don’t mind, because it’s clear from the moment I arrive in Norway that this is the most visually splendid part of the new DLC. The game’s engine had to be upgraded for the scenery here, and it shows. It’s much grander, and prettier, than anywhere else in the game.
The road to Bergen is long and mostly straight, but the countryside is so scenic that I don’t mind. But, once again, I become so enamoured by my surroundings that I have an accident. I crash my truck face-first into a wall, but luckily I don’t flip over and can continue driving. But then the dashboard starts blinking with a message: “Seek service immediately!” My engine is still running, but it’s seriously damaged, and keeps turning itself off in the middle of the road. I’m in the middle of nowhere, so I have no choice but to limp on to Bergen and find a mechanic there.
I’m drawing closer to Bergen, but night has fallen, so I decide to rest again. My fatigue meter is fine, but I don’t want to miss out on any of this Norwegian scenery. It’s a bright, sunny morning and I continue my journey, past a stunning mountain range, down winding roads, and through a series of tunnels carved into the volcanic rock. I emerge from one of these tunnels and find myself in front of Hardanger Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Norway. It’s every bit as impressive as Sweden’s Øresund, and leads right into Bergen itself. Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ blares triumphantly on the radio as I cross the giant bridge towards the city.
On the other side, there’s still a bit more driving to go before I reach Bergen. The roads continue to snake through the mountains, with a few sheer drops along the way. There are more tunnels too, including a few underground roundabouts that I’ve christened ‘undergroundabouts’. I can see why this Scandinavia expansion took so long to develop. It’s absolutely massive, and the scenery is unlike anything else I’ve seen in the game. As I draw closer to Bergen, I feel a bit sad that my journey is almost over. Euro Truck is a bizarre kind of therapy for me. It’s a meditative experience that makes me forget all the troubles in my life. Not that I have any real troubles, but you know what I mean. It’s pure escapism. With trucks.
Finally, I reach Bergen. It’s known as the City of the Seven Mountains, because of the mountains that surround it, which makes it sound like a location from Game of Thrones. It’s such a cool place that I’ve decided to go there myself in real life. But probably not by truck. My truck, incidentally, is a wreck. I’m low on fuel and I’m several thousand euros in debt because of those repairs in Stockholm, but I made it. The journey was 1,257 miles in total. I could have taken a shorter route, but I wanted to see as much of the continent as possible. In the end, it took me just under three and a half hours of non-stop driving to get from Odense to Bergen. In real life it would have taken a significantly more time-consuming fifteen hours.
Combined with the Going East DLC, which adds Eastern Europe to the map, the Scandinavia expansion makes Euro Truck Simulator 2 a dizzyingly massive game. Even though I feel bleary-eyed and exhausted after my three-hour road trip, I’m already planning my next one. Maybe I’ll take things to the next extreme and drive across the entire map, starting in Scotland and ending in Bergen. I can only imagine how long that’ll take. And maybe I’ll do it with an Oculus Rift. Delivering cargo for money is the core of Euro Truck’s structure, but next time you play it, don’t bother. Just pick a destination, drive there, and enjoy the scenery along the way. It’s more relaxing than yoga.