Day 2 - 28 hours on the boat to Bergen

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August 31st 2008
Published: August 31st 2008
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Sunday 31st August

Slept like a baby on the ship last night - an apt analogy: the continual rocking of the ship akin to a rocking cradle. I like ships - you can poke flying and the misery of airports, boats are the way to go.

Sea is quite calm this morning, no more than ½-1 metre swell and it is a fair day. Sunnies are a necessity on deck, which is where I am sat writing this. To be fair it wasn't too bad last night either, so I must have misheard the tannoy. Nothing like that crossing of the Bay of Biscay where even the staff said it was really bad, Shame in a way. I guess I am a sick mother, but watching people try and remain dignified while wobbling down the aisles as if roaring drunk I found hilarious and was in fits of laughter and I was rather looking forward to similar entertainment.

Standing on deck last night looking down at the water in the gusting, relentless wind, you can see sweet FA apart from the white horses in the near distance dancing out under the ships light. That and the powerful churning of white water under the bows. It is so inky black at sea at night. To fall overboard at night would be a horrific way to go I decided. You could pick your death from being pulled under the boat by the power of the ships propellers and then shredded by them for fish food; or if you survived that the slow misery of freezing to a lonely death miles from anywhere watching the boat disappear. Euch, maybe then that is my Room 101. Can't remember the anti-heroes name in 1984 (was it Smith?) but if it was rats for him, for me I guess it would be being thrown off the side of a boat at night so far from anywhere that not even Phelps could swim for it.

Its only just after midday and already you can see land in the far distance. We approach Norway from the south-south-west and towards Haugesund. We dock at Stavanger at 3 pm so it is another 8 hours along the coast to Bergen after that. Cock - I wish I'd brought my SLR, but there is Bob Hope and No Hope of getting that out of the panniers now. At least I have the snappy I guess. I am hoping the ship hugs the magnificent shoreline for an inclusive free tour.

There are possibly as many bikes on this ferry as cars. Apparently it was the Classic TT last week so it is full of Norwegians on their classic bikes returning home. I chatted to some whilst waiting to board the boat. Some fantastic antique exotica, Laverda Jotas, Bimotas, old Triumphs, BSAs and Nortons, Ducati 851s and 900ss. Ridden by “real bikers” wearing leather braced trousers as old as their bikes, great beards - you get the picture. Still a friendly lot, mad as hatters, but friendly, Didn't see one English biker plate surprisingly, the closest was a Gixer thou from Ireland. Unlike the channel ferries you are left to your own devices strapping the bike down, not a bad thing I guess at least you get to ensure you're happy with it. The ZX fell over on that crossing back from Spain.

OK enough blog for now - I am going to plan my route in more detail, which will of course be duly posted up. After that I am expecting superb vistas for a few hours - I will further update once dark. Time now 12:20 pm.

Its now 12:30 am and so I will update todays blog later, but will at least add some pictures taken on the ferry. I was too busy admiring the scenery to get on my blog this arvo. Likewise my detailed itinerary remains a pipe dream...

OK I am already falling behind - it is now Monday evening and I am finishing Sunday's blog. Pants. And today was so much more interesting...

But basically the ferry went inside the fjords from Stavanger and it was a beautiful cruise like sail from there to Bergen - hence I spent every minute of it on deck, not writing this blog. Some pictures tell the story better than I can.

The boat was almost exclusively populated with Norwegians - not altogether surprising I suppose as there was no return route. I met three English people on the trip and it seems anyone that is English who settles in Norway turns into a complete f*cking nutter with extensive verbal diarrhea. Some woman lived in Trondlag or that's what it sounded like anyway - more like Dozyslag if you ask me. I was chatting to the wildlife office on deck and this woman was amazing she just kept on talking. Occasionally she would ask you a question but would carry on about her boring life before you finished answering. I had to walk away. And then to my amazement later on another boring old James Hunt was similarly having a mind numbingly dull conversation with her about his family - hello boring old sod! Really mate go on tell us another rip roaring story about your mother. I had to laugh..

Coming into Bergen the GPS earned its bacon. I wouldn't have had a prayer of finding the hotel without it through the one-way maze. Arrived about 11 in a sweaty mess after waiting in full kit in the hot hull with the bike. Yes I packed the Donatello back protector again. Forget protecting your back these should be standard issue on the Antarctic Survey - they are ridiculously hot. Knox turtle affairs - steer clear of them. It will have to go and I will buy a lighter one. As per the Biarritz trip not much point having a pristine back when the rest of you've has been flattened by a truck after suffering heat exhaustion. It is so embarrassing turning up at a hotel with literally rivers of sweat running down your face as per some fat git having just run 10 yds - well cool!

On unpacking the cases in the hotel I realised how unbalanced they were with heavy tools and books on one side (the side stand side) and light clothes on the other. No wonder it wanted to topple over. What a Doris. I still maintain though that the side stand leans the bike over way too much. Even without the panniers it is unstable on even a cambered road - not good. I'm glad I have the centre stand.

Good I've finished Sunday. I'll just publish this and Saturday email anyone who maybe interested (yes I know short distribution list) and get on with a more interesting day today.

One technical issue I have with the blog is that I cannot download my Canon Ixus pics. This is why there are none for Saturday's entry. It is annoying because that is the camera I keep in my pocket for quick roadside shots.


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