Day 10 - Hellesylt, Jostedalsbreen - Bergen

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September 9th 2008
Published: September 9th 2008
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Monday 8th September

One thing about camping is that you end up in bed fairly early and also wake fairly early - so you do maximise your daylight. Walking back from my pizza last night the sky was as clear as and the temperature plummeting accordingly. Not sure what it fell to in the small hours but it was only 6° at 7 am this morning. Autumn was galloping in and I suspect after the autumn solstice winter isn't far behind. Anyway in the wee hours I had to put my hat on in my sleeping bag and the bag was well and truly zipped up, containing me inside a cotton liner and a t-shirt. After that I was warm enough - save having a nose like a labrador that'd been nosing in the freezer for 20 minutes, The bag is rated down to -5°. That maybe so but they probably didn't reckon on a supercooled heat exchange device sticking out the top of it - namely my bonce. If I could patent the solar catching and heat losing abilities of my hairless head I'd never have to work again. Just think of the trips I could do then - yahoo.

Warmed myself up partly in a tepid shower, which you had to keep feeding coins into, packed up and left the deserted camp ground. Still not a soul there - oh well I guess at least it didn't cost anything, save my shower. Felt really sick this morning which I think and hope was down to a pure bread diet the day before - I cannot each too much bread. I hoped it wasn't the petrol - I mean I know alcohol is expensive here but I really should try and not resort to drinking petrol in future. I realised what a moron I had been - all I had to do was fill the bottle at the end of a fueling stop from a petrol pump. Anyway I vowed never again to try and siphon with such a short hose - not unless I was really desperate.

Headed down to Stryn and onto Olden to look at the glacier - Briksdalsbreen. It was an easy walk of about an hour to the glacier and I hung around listening and watching the old girl for a while. About every 10 minutes there would be a rumbling deep in the glacier, followed by a shift and raining down of broken bits of ice - kind of tennis ball sized. But all around me were lumps the size of suitcases. Each time I was convinced a big slice was going to be released and each time it was the same - so I left. A little disappointed I guess. To really experience the glacier I think you need to do a guided walk actually on it with crampons and the like - maybe next time.

I had a bit of a moment on route 60 into Byrkjelo. The road surface was intermittently pants - ruptured and cracks bulging up. The ridge this created was akin to a rut, in places with a kerb sized ridge preventing you navigating over it. One such ridge on a bend had me heading straight for the barrier and I wouldn't go so far as to say I nearly crashed but it was one of those moments that make your heart traverse your trachea into your gob - f*cking road. Norway has $2 trillion in a public fund apparently, yet many of the roads are in a poor state. Why? That aside the ride down from the glacier at Olden to the E39 was a pleasant classic Norwegian road, but its condition was variable.

Once onto the E39 I upped the pace, I was now concerned about how much distance I had to cover Tuesday. On any other day I would have loved this road, switchbacks and flowing bends for over 100 miles - incredible, but today I needed to crack on. I have taken to standing up on the bike periodically to get my head into clean air - out of the turbulence created from the screen. I am sure other road users think I am bonkers riding along at 60mph standing up and it does seem odd, but bizarrely it is quieter than at screen height, just not that sustainable. Time really was marching on and the road dictated you had to get a ferry across the Sognefjord at Larvik to continue south. 20km away I spotted it mid way across the fjord and rode accordingly to made sure I make it. Unusually for me we arrived at the same time, so I wasted no time waiting for the ferry. This was a major transport ferry so they were very regular - no daft tourist tape but I still needed to maximise my riding time. Got across the other side (Oppedal) just after 6 pm, so I figured I had half an hour to find a camp site. After an abortive attempt off route following a sign, you could tell we were within a 100 miles of Bergen as it started raining. I concluded that Bergen has the problem with the rain. In the mid-north I'd had great, if several degrees colder weather, but the nearer to Bergen the more it rained. Struggling to find a camp site I decided to abandon it and stay at the hotel I first arrived at. The advantage of doing so is I could ride till much later, 8 pm as it turned out.

So here I am - absolutely cream crackered. I am too tired to even go out and eat. I have been either riding or hiking since about 9:30 am. So lets finish this diatribe and get some shut-eye. For some reason Travelblog's site is down tonight so hopefully I can upload this and yesterday's nonsense in the morning.


14th September 2008

Great photos - amazing scenery.

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