Gol to Kongsberg 21 June - longest day of the year Kongsberg to Treugen 22 June. to Kristiansund 23 June

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June 25th 2014
Published: June 25th 2014
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Gol to Kongsberg 21 June - longest day of the year

Kongsberg to Treugen 22 June. to Kristiansund 23 June

We left Gol at about 9.00am and headed SW along yet another beautiful road. We saw several stave churches along this journey. Norway has no shortage of wood so everything is made of wood. We were climbing the mountains towards the snow fields in Geilo. Geilo has become one of Norway's most popular destinations, conveniently located between Bergen & Oslo. It has gained a reputation as a winter sport centre. We saw plenty of evidence of this but only a small amount of snow in the upper slopes. Around the town there are 33 alpine peaks, 17 ski lifts, 3 snowboard parks and 500kms of prepared tracks up the mountains, the highest being 1,178m with good snow from November to May.

We then turned SE towards Uvdal. This is where we saw 2 stave churches. We then headed due-south along the very beautiful Numedal, a landscape which is dominated by the 18km long Norefjorden. We also saw a huge power station at Rodberg. The Numedal River flows from its source, high in the Hardangervidda (Europe's largest high mountain plateau). There were 3 major peaks we had to ascend and descend (about a 7% gradient). We saw lots of little wooden huts on the mountains, which hikers and skiers use for shelter.

It was then onto Kongsberg which is known for its silver mine, which operated for 335 years until it was closed in 1957. We went to it but it was closed unfortunately. There are picnic tables dotter around the moonscape and a large restaurant. There is also a museum that we couldn't go in.

There is also a large Baroque church which was opened in 1761. As this weekend was the celebration of the start of the summer on the longest day, we attended their orchestra which was playing outside the church. There are only 23,000 people in Kongsberg so the crowd was pretty good.

We had chosen a camp site which was about 7km out of town (the only one in the area) but it looked really run down and many permanents living there so we went back into town. The shell service station had a spot to empty our grey and black water and fill up our water tank so we did that and headed out to their golf club where we heard that there was going to be a local group play Pink Floyd music. When we got there it looked a pretty small affair so decided to head out of town to the Silver Mine. As I mentioned, we were too late.

The town has the wide river flowing through it with a rocky base. There were lots of water flowing over the natural and artificial rapids. We also saw a lot of statues representing water deveining, jazz playing, fishing and wood chopping.

We then decided to look for a spot to camp overnight by the river. We found a lovely spot and had dinner then slept well. When we woke the next morning there was a fisherman who had pulled up next to us and he was having a lovely time in the rock creek bed fishing.

We were on our way by 9.0am and we were off to see the Telemark Canal that I had read so much about.

Before the Canal, we drove through Notodden to get to Heddal which has the largest Stave Church in Norway. The reason they are called stave churches is because of the construction method. It was very impressive and has had several major restoration works done on it since its original build in 1242. With its three spires and 64 different roof surfaces, it was impressive. The notable internal feature included the richly carved bishop's chair, the altar piece and the late 17th century paintings.

We then heard there was a folk church service up the hill, held amongst an open-air folk museum. We followed a young couple who had a little girl who chatted constantly whilst walking up the hill (reminds me of someone else I know). Both mum & little daughter were in traditional dress. There was a band that was playing. There was also a lot of chatting by the compare so because we couldn't understand what he was saying, we quietly walked off.

We arrived, part way along the Telemark Canal, at Akkerhaugen then to Ulefoss, and found out from the tourist bureau where was the best point and time to see a cruise boat go through the sluice gates. Lunde was the place which was 4 kms away so we hurried up to there. When we got there we saw that a large group of canoeists were at the 3 part of the 6-part lock. After they had completely gone through all the gates, along came the cruise boat. Fascinating!

In 1861, during the heyday of waterways transport, Telemark's river was transformed into the Skien-Nordsjo Canal. Thirty years later, the Nordsjo-Bandak Canal to Dalen was completed, creating the 105km long Telemark Canal. Eight locks were built to lift boats 72m above sea level. At the time it was hailed as the ;eighth wonder of the world'. Today it has become the biggest attraction in the country.

After the cruise boat was half way through its descent, we left and drove through some more amazingly beautiful country. We followed rivers of lakes nearly all the way. We saw a bit of flowering canola as well as apple orchards. At times there were sheer cliffs 'falling' directly into the water. it was beautiful. The road was often very narrow so it was a bit 'hairy' meeting on-coming traffic. Still, going 40-70km per hour makes it possible - safely.

We arrived at our camping site which was at the end of a big lake. It was beautiful. The wind was a little cold but we found a sheltered spot to have our later afternoon wine and nibbles in the warm sun. Another very satisfying day. At Camping Saga, although it was a wonderful setting, as soon as twilight came at 10.30pm the midges came out. The next morning when I was washing the dishes, they attacked my head and face. Oh well, expect anything.

The next morning (23 June) I went for a 30 minute run. It was fantastic as I hadn't had one for over a week. Oh this travelling is a busy life!!! We left for Kristiansand at about 9.30am.

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