Thursday, 30 June 2016

Day 30: Geiranger to Molde. 120km 5 ½ hours

Geiranger is a tiny port. 
With very steep access and narrow streets. 
Each season many thousands of cruise ship passengers will arrive and go on excursions. Whichever direction will involve buses driving them up steep narrow roads with hairpin bends. 

Unwittingly we timed it well... We arrived late yesterday and departed early this morning before the buses were on the road.

Geiranger is a tourist Mecca. 
It is a bit like Milford Sound in New Zealand which is a similarly crowded place when tour buses arrive and guests go out on the sightseeing boats. 

I have selected some photos that show the road, the farms, the scenery. 
You can see what I see from the back of the bike.

Come, ride with us...

 

 
Farming high above the fjord on steep slopes.
 
N



 
Over the saddle and into farmland. Sheep, some cattle.
 


 
 

 
Down the mountains to the ferry...
 

Up we go to the Trollstegin highway.


 
Another splendid National Tourist Road centre.
Stunning building. The roof mirrors the jagged mountains and the angle of the rill echo the shapes.
 
This cantilevered viewpoint gave us another bird's eye  view of the road.
We watched for come time as buses, bikes, motor homes, trucks navigated the corners. Dick has some good photos of these on his blog.
 

 
Relax, sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

 
We descend into a valley with lush grass, potato fields and barley.
 
Just riding along to the next ferry ride...

 

 
Over the bridge to Molde.
 
Delicious cod for dinner.

Days 28 and 29 Seljord to Stalheim to Geiranger 990 km

 Two days of sensory overload.
Mountains, rivers, waterfalls...
Fjords, snowy mountain tops...
It's  the mind that imagined and the hand that created all this....

Good roads..
Each day has several major ascents and descents on switch back roads.
Yesterday we saw the most amazing lookout point at the summit of a zigzag.
Beautiful design which made us feel like we were flying like birds over the road we had just ridden.
By chance we met the architect and the contractor who were on site.
It's the people who imagine and create...

Tunnels galore...
100km of tunnels Monday 80km tunnels yesterday...
20% of each day in tunnels.
Some new tunnels with technicolor lighting, 
Some tunnels with spirals - a continuous left turn for several km had me puzzled for a moment.
My brother is a tunnelling engineer and I have been thinking of him and the tunnellers around the world.
It's the people who imagine and create...

We ride through farm land.
Small fields on hillsides with freshly mown hay
Freshly spread manure
Some sheep, some cows in the fields.
Cherry orchards, apples, berries...
In this country with only 3% arable land...
It's the people who imagine and create...

Ferry rides - for our own fjord cruise
Lots of cruise ships in quite small ports. 
200 ships are due in Geiranger this year. Five on one day.

It's the food each day and the hands that prepare it...

It's Dick who imagined and created this adventure.

I am blessed.

Photos are delayed for now.



 
Wild raging torrents...
 

 


 
The view from our bedroom window at Stalheim Hotel.
And the Stalheimsklem is the route we rode up. 
A one way road for downward traffic. 
The steepest twisted road I have ever ridden on.
I prayed, many angels came, we arrived safely.
 

 
The GPS. Sometimes the pink spaghetti was piled on top of itself as we went down corkscrew tunnels.
 
This cantilevered view point let me feel like a bird flying over the landscape.
The National Tourist Routes in Norway are greatly enhanced with marvellous opportunities to observe the surroundings from especially built structures.
This structure is new. So new that the architect and the engineer were on site with others while we visited.
 
 
Eivind the architect from Code Architecture  and Steinar who oversaw the construction.

 



 

 
Aurland Tunnel 27 km with artistic lighting. This is the longest tunnel in Europe 
 
The Bu tunnel with roundabouts lit up in blue. Useful roundabouts - we needed to go back the way we had come.

 
The mouth of the Bu tunnel at the end of the Hardanger bridge. The longest suspension bridge in Europe.




 

 

 

 
Charming Annu served us coffee and cake.
Fuelled up we were ready for the Geiringer descent.
This photo is from the public domain showing the road down the mountain.
 

Plenty of hairpins.
 
Geiranger our destination for tonight.
High in the hills we can smell the exhaust from this Cruise ship in port.
 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Day 27: Hirtshals, Denmark to Sefjord. Norway. 217km by bike, 4 hours on the ferry.


 
It has been lovely to be back at the Sea Front Hirtshals Hotel in a familiar place.
Not for long. 
Time to do some laundry and to listen to a storm crashing around through the night.
All calm in the morning.
 Fuelled on herrings for breakfast Dick took me down to wait to board the Colorline ferry.
A crowd of men on little motorbikes collects behind big girl Orlanda and Henry on his Honda.
Young Vidrar is quietly excited as he perches on Orlanda and is inducted as a junior Team Kiwi member.

The four hour Super Speed Colorline ferry trip is comfortable for us and there is more space for the bikes on this ship.
The crew put on live singing and dancing performances for the children. Much shrieking with delight.
We see lots of people doing duty free shopping. Not an ounce of envy. The only spending we do is for fuel, accommodation and food. Life is very simple on the road. 

I realised toward the end of our time in Iceland that I had begun to compose songs again. First a tune hummed inside the helmet - lovely reverberations in there. Then some words. I am not concerned with retaining them. I just love the sense of freedom and joy that allows this to happen. 
It takes a few weeks for all the 'other things that colonise my mind' to fall off the back of the bike.  
I have just looked back and on the post on day 21 I quoted From the Song of Songs 2:11-12
The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth;
The season of singing has come. 
 
 

 

 
Vidrar.


Children are having a lovely time on the ferry.
 
 We are off...
 
Through too many tunnels to count as we leave Kristiansand in southern Norway.
 
 We stop for a break 100km up the road.
I asked some locals to interpret the menu. Basically a  selection of hotdogs or baked potatoes.
So here we are having a sausage in a bread roll with fried and raw onion and mustard. 
A reminder of Iceland.
 

 
We ride through many km of tree lined roads with white 'cut here' marking along the edge.

 
Some road works to exercise our off road riding.


 
Ah... The sun shines in Norway.
 


 
 Lots of wonderful twists and turns...
 

 
Typical houses today
 

 
 Home for the night. Sefjord Hotel.
 
Vegetarian ravioli with ricotta and mushroom sauce, green asparagus, beetroot sprout garnish for me and moose burgers, vegetables and lingonberries  him.

A lovely start to our ride in Norway.