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Published: July 17th 2016
The sunshine of yesterday has deserted us this morning but that is not such a concern as we have a fairly long day ahead of us in the car heading south through the interior of Norway.
It has been a comfortable stay in this spacious apartment in the suburbs of Trondheim and now our journey back to Paris to hand the car back, begins.
We are taking our time with a couple of two night stays and the rest of them just one nighters which will make the following days of driving potentially long depending what we come across on the way.
We will be on the E6 right to the point where we turn off the highway to our destination which is small town south of the 1994 Winter Olympics city of Lillehammer.
For the first time in ages we plugged the USB with the 253 songs downloaded into its slot and caught up where we last left off. We don’t anticipate a lot of mountain scenery as we experienced in driving north through the fjords so we might just need some extra entertainment while driving.
The road south of Trondheim ran down the middle
of a wide fertile river valley. The road was just the two lanes wide and we noticed the truck traffic immediately which of course hadn’t been around while we took the fjord and then coast route north.
The views around the car became a bit repetitive so we took to watching which way the river was flowing to tell whether we had reached a point on our almost unnoticeable climb where we reached the summit of the road and the river would flow the other way.
There were men fishing in the river and there were small huts alongside a point where they had entered the wide and slow flowing river. Presumably they could shelter there if the weather turned too wet to fish or perhaps they were where they had their lunch!
Then we came to a point where the E6 moved slightly southwest and a new road the E3 came into being and went slightly southeast.
We hadn’t taken noticed when programming in our destination that we would have to make a decision about following the E6 all the way and a debate quickly occurred and the decision was to continue on the E6
which Gina kept telling us to do a u-turn on was going to be a longer distance.
However the E6 would take us through the Dovrejell National Park where we thought the scenery would be more interesting. Whereas the E3 didn’t have any features on its route and anyway we would have to cross back to the E6 near Lillehammer as our destination was off that highway.
We made a stop at the alpine town of Oppdal to fill the petrol tank and were faced with the dilemma of cash vs. card. The pump we pulled into turned out to be card only and we needed to get rid of some of the cash we had as we don’t want to have to exchange the Nkr for another currency later as we have already used travel funds to buy it.
The young woman inside the service station was quite rude in telling me that they couldn’t take cash on a pump set up for cards only.
So we abandoned that service station and voted with our wheels heading further down the road for a petrol station that took cash on all pumps!
Leaving Oppdal the
road went into a narrow gorge and the climb was a little steeper as we headed to the summit which we reached in the National Park.
We had climbed around 500 metres since leaving Trondheim and it had virtually been all uphill over those 145km but until this last section from Oppdal we had hardly noticed it other than watching the flow of the river.
We had an instant thought that the road through the National Park was very much like the Desert Road in New Zealand, except there were no volcanoes rather just snowy mountains. The land was infertile with just stunted silver birch and other trees which looked diseased without their full leaf coverage which they should have had given the stage of the season and there was a lot of tundra type coverage on the ground together with lichen anywhere it could take hold. The area gave the feeling of being continually wet with very little sunshine but that was probably an over exaggeration.
The outside temperature which had reached 19C an hour earlier had dropped to 12C and showers of rain started to fall as we passed the summit.
We waited until
we were on the downhill stretch and the showers had cleared to take a stop for lunch.
It was too cold to have a boot lunch or sit at a table so we lunched inside the car and watched the traffic go by.
The railway ran close to the road and we caught a glimpse of a passenger train heading north, presumably to Trondheim. The railway is electrified and the train was making a very good speed on the uphill gradient.
What was also on the National Park road section of the E6 was the number of fixed speed cameras probably every 2 or 3 kilometres.
What seems a bit crazy, although not for the motorist, was that you get this huge warning sign about a ½ kilometre before you reach the camera itself informing you of the camera coming up. Perhaps the Norwegians are unlike the NZ Police and don’t use the speed cameras as a revenue gathering exercise but to remind people to slow down and keep to the limit.
And we must add that driving in Norway has been a breeze with no dangerous overtaking witnessed and drivers keeping to the speed limit which on many open roads is just 80kph.It has been interesting that being able to drive consistently at 80kph getting between A & B is more relaxed. We are going to have to adjust to the hurly burly speeds on the highways of Germany and France before we hand the car back.
The road on the southern end of the National Park descended more steeply and on one corner we came across a policeman with a hand held speed detector. Gretchen of course was obeying the speed limit despite the steeper downhill section of road and we passed him by without any flash from his camera.
After Dombas the temperature quickly climbed again and we were soon at 19C as the road followed another wide river valley. This time the river was flowing the same way as us and heading into what at times seemed to be a lake as it was so wide. We did discover that every now and then there was a small dam and this had created a ‘lake ‘behind it.
According to our 4 year old atlas the E6 was to become a four lane motorway about 50km north of Lillehammer.
However the 4 lane highway is under extension well north of that and after a short section of roadwork’s where the current road will be joined to the new highway soon we drove on admiring the new road which had all the lighting, signs and tar seal in place and didn’t look too far from being open.
The sky ahead looked very dark and we saw a couple of flashes of lightening but nothing came of it and the dark clouds stayed over the higher mountains to the left of us as we drove on towards Lillehammer.
We took a stop at Lillehammer for a supermarket shop of supplies a we didn’t think there would be a supermarket in the small location of Biri, our destination.
The city hosted the 2016 Youth Olympics and still has an air of being busy. There were signs pointing to the Olympic stadium and we probably should have driven there to take a look .But we had the thought that perhaps it was closed up and all we would see was the outside so we gave it a miss and returned to the E6.
It wasn’t far south to Biri and although the day so far had been very predictable and a straight forward drive, all this was about to change as we tried to find our Air BnB accommodation. We had read comments on the webpage that the apartment was hard to find but we thought our GPS would be up for it.
The problem was that Gina did not recognise the village of Biri despite it being a reasonable size and it was marked on our 4 year old atlas.
After driving around and not finding the street amongst the few streets that made up the village we returned to a Shell service station we passed when we turned off the E6 to seek help from a local.
The young woman was a bit perplexed with the street name and she reached for her cell phone. We had tried that angle too but there had been no reception.
Before she got too far a customer came in and she asked her where the street we were looking for was.
Yes, she had heard of it and we should return to the street across the road from the school and it was about 3 kms up the hill.
We had expected it to be close to the road we drove up the hill but no when we found the road it was a further 2kms and then a turn off into a winding driveway that took us through the forest to the house with a separate apartment in a loft over the detached garage.
The host wasn’t home and we hadn’t heard back from her with our one hour arrival text message so we thought there had been no point in contacting her when we couldn’t originally find the road.
The key was in the box at the entry to the loft and what a lovely accommodation it was, spacious and comfortable with a wide vista over the valley we had driven down on the E6.It is a shame we have only one night here up in the hills in a clearing in the forest!
Our host did eventually come home and we spoke briefly. Seems she will have left for the day by the time we are ready to hit the road tomorrow so we will just leave the key in the box where we found it. So trusting these Air BnB hosts are, especially the Norwegian ones.
PS:todays song/video title is quite appropriate given that we followed rivers all day.Music by Enya is a bit dreamy but enjoy anyway on Youtube,of course.
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