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Published: September 3rd 2008
Wednesday 3rd September
Writing this blog seems to be the only way I can remember what day/date it is - by checking yesterday's entry - so I think it is fair to say I am now well and truly chilled.
Woke up this morning and it was still raining - marvellous. Call me hypocrite of the century but I immediately re-booked to stay another night in my cell. The place has kind of grown on me - not the room, but the hosts are just so nice and the food is pucka. Maybe I am turning into one of those boring lonely sods I met on the boat and am only staying for someone to talk to - sweet Jesus, you all have permission to exile me somewhere up north if I end up like that! Either that or being on the road is stripping away the years of cosseting with Michelin star food. Certainly food has taken a bit of a back burner and the promise of an evening meal is a huge bonus. I barely ate in Bergen - I just kind of forgot lunch, till I was starving by about 4pm and grabbed some rolls and
it was raining so I didn't have dinner. So I guess I won't be coming back lardy after all.
As I was going to Eidfjord today instead I could have stayed there but it is such a ball-ache packing up the bike to go and moreover it is really nice just to go for a spin without 100kg of luggage. It was the right decision and, despite raining on and off for large tracts of the day I had a great day. For this reason I would recommend spending two nights in one place if/where possible.
Saw the ferry across to the Eidfjord side as I approached along the fjord shore from a distance. So got my skates on which was a good job because instead of comfortably missing it, instead I missed it by seconds which is always so much more rewarding, Oh well only a 50 minute wait for it to come back. Once on the ferry the rain abated and the sun came out and on the other side I was having a ball on the awesome twisty road - luggage free and dry, with amazing scenery to boot. As you can see I uploaded
quite a few pics for today's blog, but to be honest it was hard to cut down to this as there were loads of candidates. Not a reflection on my ability, just the amazing content on offer. Stevie Wonder with a box brownie could take awesome pictures here - you just need to be able to push a shutter button. Cue the easiest job in the world - a postcard photographer for Norway.
Eidfjord was nice and maybe I am getting blasé but no nicer than Ulvik I thought. But the highlight, vista wise, was when (having just missed the return ferry - I'm good at that) I decided to scoot down to Kinsvarnik where the Hardanger Fjord meets the Sorfjord - my favourite view and accompanying picture were just randomly off the road side. Sensational.
Earlier I rode out past Eidfjord to Voringsfossen, which is a huge waterfall and it was impressive, but hard to photo. Despite about an hour's hiking along precipitous edges to try and get a better picture, away from the boring and standard stops, I still didn't get a satisfactory one. Apparently it is Norway's most popular attraction, but to be honest I
don't really understand why. As you can see from the photos I don't think Victoria or Iguassu falls need be too threatened. For me the splendour of the fjords themselves surpass it by some margin. After fannying about trying to photograph Voringfossen I hopped back on the bike and rode up to the highest point of the Hardangervidda pass to Dyranut where it was a fairly cool 4 degrees. It is so bleak up there - like a huge moor and surely the road must be closed in the winter. I am expecting Jotunheimen to be even colder. Camping in Norway is not looking so appealing...
The clip on the Arai (helmet) broke off somewhere today. Who cares, it never f*cking closed anyway. If you ask me there is an Arai conspiracy in the bike trade. Everybody goes round saying “oh yes Arai are the best and you shouldn't compromise on the safety of your head” and like muppets we fall for it in droves. A bit like some bike version of the Emperor's new clothes, when really they are overpriced pants. How can anyone seriously claim the visor change is well engineered? - it is a finger biting
nightmare of potential shattered plastic. Yet everywhere you hear/read what a revolution their visor change system is - well I for one hate it. Give me a Shoei with a simple 20p piece to turn a screw any day. I cracked the side pod on my first Arai, but not having seen the light I still bought another 5 years later at the usual exhorbitant prices. Great marketing I'll give them that. To be fair my first one was fine but I have had this one less than a year and it has been nothing but agg. Am thinking of upgrading (or downgrading price and snobbery wise) to a Shoei flip up thing.
The screen is driving me nuts. I put it back on because of the driving rain and it is slowly making me deaf. I can choose between hunching my back and ending up as tall as Falcone but at least be able to hear, or have a straight back and tinnitus. The bike is so new I don't think Metal Mule can have really tested it - either that or they got a f*cking dwarf to test it. They are quite a reputable spares company, really
only second to Touratech (whose screen was still in development - which perhaps is telling?) Anyway it was a waste of money. My last attempt at solving the problem will be to fit the pucka BMW touring screen. Which I suppose I should have done in the first place but £233 for a screen really stings, Will look up a BMW dealer in Hamburg.
The only other gripe is the luggage which I can report after extensive testing is not fully waterproof. There is no doubting it is beautifully made but I'd swap out the gimicky (if clever) extendability of the cases for a waterproof shell. Surely it the boffins from Bavaria could think of fitting a neoprene seal? If you want luggage what use is it to reduce it to handbag carrying size anyway? My Givi topbox on the ZX6 has never leaked a drop in 6 years in absolutely torrential rain. Yes everything is in bags so my grundies have remained dry, but it in effect means you have to take all the luggage off the bike when you stop if it is raining.
These gripes aside I do still love the bike and today it was fantastic, nice to get rid of the chicken rings on the sides of the tyres which were staring to appear.
The eeePC has been without doubt the best thing, camera aside, that I could have brought and I cannot recommend it high enough. There are no Internet cafes in Norway (well I haven't seen any), but everywhere seems to have wireless. With the memory of a goldfish, as was so poignantly illustrated in Mr Baines' excellent cartoon, I wouldn't have been able to remember what happened unless I wrote it down on a daily basis.
Tomorrow I am either going to go mountain biking here in the morning and set off after lunch or head off first thing - depending on the weather and my mood. Am headed for Kjelfossen, via Voss, and a long ferry crossing up Naeroyfjorden to Kaupanger which leads up to the Sognefjellet road and onto Jotunheim. I have no idea how far I will get - I will take a feasibility check in Voss where hopefully I will also get the ferry timetables. Looking at the map I suspect it is 3-4 hour crossing.
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