The Apostles, South Coast Australia
The Apostles, South Coast Australia
  • Bergen.... in the sunshine?
    • 08/08/2017
Well it chucked it down all morning but yes, now we have blue skies!

At the hostel now.

Just met an Ozzie couple who have covered 150,000km and 50 countries on bike trips spanning the last 35 years, using ”hillman” long wheelbase mountain bikes from 1985.
They have just finished a trip around Iceland and then down from Nordkapp to Bergen. Puts things in perspective!

Tourism tomorrow then just the trip home to negotiate...

Summings up and conclusions to follow...
  • standing on overhangs
    • 05/08/2017
so since leaving Stavanger, the scenery epicness has gone up a notch.
First a visit to the insanely touristy preikestolen, a great big slab of rock with a sheer 600m drop to the fjord below.
The hike is only 4km so literally bus loads of people day trip from Stavanger.
I camped by the lake and went up in the evening so not too busy.
Overnight, a loud thunderstorm, and an ensuing day of shower dodging whilst looking for methylated spirits, which I could only find at a petrol station for £8 a litre.
The outdoor shops, which actually sell trangia stoves, had none, nor did the supermarkets, which were a sure but in Sweden.

I digress, so the roads not too bad, hugging the valley edges with sheer cliff and rock falls either side.
Alternate routes are not existing, but often the main road has been upgraded, leaving sections of old road traffic free.
A sequence of complete drenchings and warm sunshine led to a short ferry crossing, then delighted to find a bit of field with a flat patch, view of the fjord and light breeze deterring midges.

Next day, rain started just as I finished packing tent, and continued pretty much all day, meaning not many photo opportunities but head down and cover some miles.
A fine day for tunnels and bridges though.
Camped on a football pitch on the edge of Etne.

Yesterday the weather was good, yes good, and the scenery crazy, waterfalls everywhere, winding roads along river gorges, peaks with snow on them.
Many a sight which would attract flocks of daytrippers in the UK are ignored as they pale in comparison to other wonders down the road.

Finishing up with food shopping at the slightly odd town of Odds, then a sting in the tail 500m ascent to my luxurious airbnb accomodation, ready for....

Today, hiking to Trolltunga, a 22km round trip, so enough to put off the bus tours, but still visited by hundreds every day. Apparently 5 years ago this spot was relative unknown, but now there is a whole industry for it.
Trolltunga is a rock which juts out over the fjord, making for some cool photos. And that's all really!
But very cool despite having to set off at 6am to beat the crowds!

This is a bit if a "cape wrath" moment for me, as seeing a picture of trolltunga planted the seed of desire to visit Norway and hence this whole trip.
Having got there, the remaining 3 days getting to Bergen feels like a necessity rather than a pleasure. Although I am sure there is plenty more great stuff to see, rain dependent!
And if there's one thing you can depend on, it's rain.
When, how heavy etc are just details, footnotes, its a fact of life here that should be accepted as the norm and taken in stride. Still, one can dream!
Under 200km to go...
  • Tunnel vision
    • 02/08/2017
Light at the end of the tunnel
Fjord focus
Blue sky thinking
Chasing rainbows
Etc etc

Real post to follow
  • The starting line
    • 31/07/2017
Day 4, raining again, drenched in the morning, but turns out to be grey with showers rather than all day non stop.
Some final peaks and troughs, waterfalls, tunnels, and fishing villages / marinas, I stop for brunch by some Swedish yachters boiling crabs in a pot, then after Egersund the landscape flattens out and cow farms take over.
The wind is behind me and make some good km, apart from a couple of sections where the sign posted route takes you down muddy footpaths. Not happy about that, this is an international touring route, not a day trippers mountain bike trail.

Meet a local lady farmer out walking dogs in the evening, she is unhappy about a refugee centre nearby, due to the fact they have come to sponge off the state, and that crime in the area has increased notably with their presence.


The morning continues in a similar vein, stinking of cow shit, but gradually fields replaced by suburbia until reaching Stavanger centre, with cruise passengers exploring the pretty streets.
Then bckkkwooom! Thunderstorm! Or what are they called, micro burst drenching. Everyone runs for cover, 5 minutes the streets are rivers and then its over....
Head for he hostel, starts raining sgson, take cover in a parking garage, meet a Nepalese guy who works on the Thompson cruise ship. Apparently their government sponsors people to cycle around the world, spreading messages of peace.

So this is the beginning of the last section, the area which inspired the whole trip, saving best for last etc etc...
So now a bit nervous about time, weather, legs, mainly weather though. There are plenty of alternate routes and ferry short cuts if required. Bring it on!
  • South West Coast Path
    • 30/07/2017
So had a day off in Kristiansand where I did absolutely nothing, other than eat huge amounts of food and watch TV. Was staying in someone's apartment spare room air bnb so relatively luxurious facilities!
Kristiansand centre is quaint grid pattern of traditional wooden houses, mainly white but with a few colours thrown in.
The city sprawls beyond this into suburbs of all shapes and sizes.
Has a very nice park, a microcosm of the surrounding countryside.
Has two cruise ships docked, so town is crawling with camera toting middle agers (sorry parents!)

This section is renowned as a beautiful stretch of coast, and it is certainly popular with the campervan crowd...
And it certainly deserves the reputation, the road is twisting and climbing and falling, mini fjords, a mixture of legitimately quaint and isolsted fishing villages and exploded coastal holiday towns, and rock everywhere, cliffs, mogetes, just road, water, rock, and bogs.
Again, everyman's right to camp is tempered by the difficulty in finding or accessing a flat piece of firm ground!

Day 1 I end by visiting Lindesnes lighthouse, the most southerly point in Norway, just in time for a pretty sunset. Not the most exciting day due to the amount of holiday makers.
Day 2 starts with some nasty steep climbs, the kind which are making car radiators hiss and my knees hurt. After refuelling on sugary products, stretching, and seat post height adjusting in the pleasant marina town of Farsund, the afternoon takes me around a long peninsula, on small roads where the campervans dare not tread, and ends with a delightful tiny tent sized camp spot perched high above the fjord, amid wild raspberry bushes. That's more like it.

Day 3 is a tough one, rain rain rain, with 1700 metres of ascent, and 30km up and down opposite sides of a fjord to cross a bridge, because the main road goes through a big tunnel where bikes not allowed.
There is a helpful map online showing the status of tunnels...
Meet a dutch guy (cyclist) hiding from the rain in a bus shelter. He is unimpressed by the coastal rollercoaster roads and traffic and declares intention to head directly inland to the mountains.
I can empathise, but actually this part of the trip is very rewarding, just a lot of effort and the rain dissuades from long view appreciation breaks!
In the bizarre and inaccessible rocky lakey landscape, the few picnic areas and such are already occupied for the night by the more adventurous "wild" campervanners, so I am relieved to find a side track and space to camp at the peak of another climb.

The rain is turning everything into a waterfall which is very pretty.


browse by location

Iceland

Slovenia

Hungary

Slovakia

Hungary

Slovakia

Poland

Slovakia

Poland

Czech Republic

Poland

Czech Republic

England

Thaliand

Hong Kong

Thailand

RSA

Zimbabwe

Malawi

Tanzania

Kenya

Tanzania

Rwanda

Uganda

Kenya

Norway

Sweden

Denmark

Germany

The Netherlands

Cuba

Cayman Islands

France

Switzerland

Italy

Switzerland

England

Wales

Scotland

England

France

Holland

England

Germany

England

USA

England

Thailand

Malaysia

Singapore

Fiji

Australia

Samoa

Fiji

Australia

New Zealand

Cook Islands

Mexico

USA

Canada

USA

England