Well where to begin. Sooooo much has gone on since I last communicated fully. After posting my last blog in Haugland I bumped into two Czech Republic lads before retiring for the night . Meet Ivan and Dave.
Ivan’s wife has just emerged from 9 months in hospital battling GBS and urged him to take a break from nursing her so he set off on a 3 week road trip of Norway and Sweden in his Jeep Wrangler . Dave has joined him for 1 week. They were eager to empty the car fridge they had stocked with beer on day 1 of their trip. Cognisant of how expensive beer is in Norway I only allowed them to pour two down my throat .
Just prior to setting of yesterday I bumped into Sturvan . He was riding south . When I asked him if had come from Nordkapp he replied no and said he was simply doing a 400 km ride towards home from Bodø to “make myself feel alive “. There was I dressed in my heavy duty wet weather gear and he was setting off in light weight Lycra.
As I pointed out in yesterday’s blog my first ferry ride took me across the arctic circle. Aside from that geographical highlight the other was meeting Christian and his partner as we awaited the much delayed boat. We had a good chat about car touring Scotland where they had just spent a month camping in the back of their car. Now making their way to Nordkapp they will return to their home near Hanover via Finland and the Baltic states then Poland. We bid our farewells when the ferry arrived and Lo behold as we disembarked Christian jumped from his car to present me with a bottle of Jaegermeister. “From my home town to keep you warm” he said with much pride. I was genuinely touched by the gesture. There are truly good people out there, and both he and his partner count amongst them. If you are reading this Christian please drop me a message with your email.
The ride yesterday involved some pretty long and straight roads with spectacular scenery to keep the rider interested in between buckets of water being tossed on you from the heavens .
The fiords didn’t get any smaller.
I eventually made it to Vassdalsvik ferry wharf somewhat drenched , cold and tired looking forward to the 30 min ferry ride to warm up and then a hot shower at my Campsite in Ørnes. Not to be. I staggered into the warming hut to be greeted by Frank the Frenchman from the previous day and two Belgium gentlemen. They had arrived an hour earlier to see the ferry make an aborted attempt to dock and then sail away without them. With 2 hours to kill until the next scheduled ferry they had hung out their water proofs to dry and were brewing a cup of tea in the hut. I rang my camp to tell them I would be late, they in turn rang the ferry company to ensure the next ferry would be coming only to be told all ferries cancelled for the day because of the winds.
Vassdalsvik ferry hut it was to be for sleeping last night. The four of us rolled out our respective cooking stoves, had dinner , then each found a corner and down went the sleeping bags . It howled wind all night and poured with rain too.
My view this morning .
I called the ferry company first thing in the am today to confirm that the ferry would be arriving at 11.00 and got a noncommittal answer that didn’t inspire a lot of confidence . Yes it would come at 11 but take a circuitous route back to Ørnes and instead of arriving 35 mins after leaving Vassdalsvik it would not get to Ørnes until 2.30 pm. That would make the cycling 92 km to Saltstraumen somewhat tricky . Especially as it was still lashing wind and rain . As we all pondered the what nexts up rolled a 66 year old Norwegian gent by the name of Paul who was cycling home after visiting some friends from a nearby farm. When informed him of the ferry dilemma his mate simply responded with “well then I will take you all in my car with a trailer “. For some reason the Belgium boys decided to chance their luck with the ferry . So in jumped Paul, me and Frank with our bikes on a trailer and farmer man and his wife drove us 65 km out of his way to get us to Ørnes. Quite an unbelievable act of kindness . Moreso when he stopped half way to allow us to take a photo of one of the great glaciers of Norway.
Insert here wind swept drenched glacier shot.
Myself , Frank , farmers wife - Yuda , Paul who was riding home , and our saviour the farmer at Ørnes .
Frank and I set off in teeming rain and biting cold for Saltstraumen. An Aussie and Frenchman riding together on a day when France was playing Australia in the football World Cup.
Even in driving rain the scenery didn’t disappoint .
Insert scenic Norwegian shot #423
Crossed a lot of fjord bridges and rode past a lot of boat houses .
Bridges , fjords , mountains , rain , wind , hills and more hills to ride up... not necessarily in that order.
Second to last bridge of course has to be uphill.
And of course so does the last. The Saltstraumen Bridge. Here one of the biggest fjords in Norway dumps its contents into the North Ssa via a very narrow gorge . 4 times a day here the current runs at anywhere between 11 and 21 knots . Creating all manner of whirlpools