(16) Wrong turns and misty woods
Sunday 8th July
We woke to the sound of heavy rain on the tent at our campsite in Flak just outside Trondheim.
The campsite at Trondheim
We made a cup of tea and had some marmalade on fresh bread thanks to Tim’s ride into town the evening before. It was just past midday before we made a plan for the day as it was nice relaxing in the tent with the cool breeze and no midges. After a few more snacks we laid cocooned with the rain bouncing off the tent, we decided to update the blog so far. We paid for internet connection – which was rubbish so got our money back and decided to choose the photos we would use and then head into town later in search of internet connection.
After doing our washing, we headed into town in the early evening and treated ourselves to a Burger King – £18 for 2 burger meals!!!! Tim asked for a ‘Big Mac’ to which the guy replied ‘we don’t do those here’ – oops. After all that there was no internet access and then we remembered that McDonalds do free wifi. Heading off the Mac D’s we treated ourselves to our first McFlurry for pudding and uploaded the blog. We saw a rainbow over the city at 10.40pm – the latest rainbow we’d ever seen.
We left McDonalds and headed around the city for a while, enjoying the stunning buildings and green parks. As we were further south, we marvelled at our first sunset as the sun briefly dipped below the horizon. The sun light brought out the colours of the building.
We rode the 6 miles back to our campsite, pleased that the rain had stopped and slept well.
Monday 9th July
We left camp by 10.30 and got most of our kit dry except for a few clothes which we hung off the back of the bikes. We left Flak and headed for the E39 to Molde.
After riding about 20 miles we came to the highway and came across a sign saying no cyclists. We headed off on a small road to our left which was the only other option and after 3 miles asked some workmen who told us we could ride on a road parallel to the highway – we headed back.
After a while of enjoying a good speed due to the flat road, it split and we headed left to avoid going north. As it happened this was the wrong road heading south! Tim thought we might have gone wrong so we asked a local lady who told us we could continue on this road and rejoin the highway. After joining the highway we spotted a picnic bench outside of a supermarket and had a late lunch. The rain started and got very heavy very quickly. We put on our rain gear and headed off in what we thought was the right direction. After a few minutes, Tim checked the map again as the road number was wrong. Realising our mistake we headed back down the highway for 10 miles, took a sharp left and were finally on the right road in the right direction – having ridden a total of 24 miles extra : (
The road continued uphill for sometime and the rain continued to pour on us. Tim stopped at a small shelter which contained lots of private post boxes – very common in Norway – and suggested we sleep the night there. Sharon was keen to go on and find a camp spot so we continued along the road.
After a few miles a man stopped us in his jeep and asked where we were staying. We explained we were looking for a suitable camp spot and he offered us a room at his place in the woods up in the mountains. We gratefully said yes but were concerned at the distance as we had already completed extra miles. He assured us it was only a few kms but that there was a steep track leading to his house. He introducd himself as Olav a woodcarver who lived alone. We followed him in his jeep along a winding road, half a mile back along the way we had come. After a km we turned right onto a dirt track that had a barrier. We went through closing the barrier behind us. We rode on another couple of kms, climbing gently.
Olav was waiting for us at the bottom of a steep track. He offered us help with our bags but we declined preferring to keep them on the bikes. He said the track was about 900m and he would go on up to light the fire. We started up the track and managed to cycle for about 30 metres but it got steeper and steeper and we had to get off and push, helping each other along. It evened off every now and then so gave us some respite. It varied between 15 and 45% and we started to wonder where we were heading – it was at this point that Tim noticed the batteries on our GPS tracker had run out. As we gained height, we headed into the mist and with it being late it was getting dark.
After a couple of false summits we finally reached the top and saw a few huts peeking out of the mist all of which had grass roofs. We could see that one of the cabins had a candle lit in the window. It felt like we had arrived in a fairy tale. We knocked on the door and Olav welcomed us in. We de-bagged our bikes and put them in a shed. We entered the log cabin to be greeted by ambient music (Brian Eno) a woodburner glowing away and the offer of freshly made soup. We layed our things out in front of the fire to dry them and sat down at the table
Inside the house we were staying
Sharon sat chatting to Olav as he made soup and while Tim went to sort out the wet clothes in the other room, Sharon glanced up to see Olav holding up a hand made Japanese steel knife sharp enough to split atoms and wearing clear plastic bags on his hands declaring he was a vegetarian hunter and disappeared out into the fog.
A few minutes later he arrived back in the door bearing stinging nettles and produced an amazing vegatable soup.
He said we could have a shower which consisted of mixing hot water from a bucket from the woodburner with cold water dropping a small 12volt pump in the bucket and switching it on when ready. It worked really well and after feeling clean and dry we chatted away the night about family and friends and life in the forest . Olav was an amazing man who had learned English from the radio and looked after his father until he was in his ninties. He clearly made the most of life with nature on his door step. Our room was up some steep wooden steps and we slept well in comfortable beds, full of good food.
Tuesday 1oth July
The following morning we were treated to a delicious cheese, nettle, garlic and onion omlette (we recommend making one). Olav invited us to stay longer but as we had already arranged accomodation for the following day, so we needed to get going. We chatted to Olav about his work and he showed us some of his amazing carvings.
traditional Norwegian cabinet
With the weather outside considerably brighter we headed off back down the steep track chatting about the previous evening and how we had such good fortune meeting Olav.
We rode on absorbing our evenings events. With a long way to go to get to Molde, we knew we had to get our heads down and get some miles behind us.
The road climbed for many kilometres and the weather warmed up. We continued on, the road seemed to have more ups than downs but we got into a good rhythm.
As we had left late, we didn’t stop for lunch until 4pm where we found a Rema and did a shop. We chatted to some young lads who were doing wheelies in the car park and they asked us lots of questions about our trip. They wanted to know which football team we supported and were disappointed to find out that there were English people who didn’t like football! They of-course liked Manchester United.
We continued on turning up the old 680 thinking it was the Atlantic highway. It wasn’t until a day later we discovered it was further south!
We ate dinner outside a Thai restaurant, cooking salmon and pepper sauce. We continued on for another 20 miles. The going was good with a nice temperature and quiet roads. We got to see loads of wild deer.
It took us a while to find a camp spot but in the end we found a farmer’s field on the edge of a fjord and tucked ourselves away next to some woods – before the midges attacked. We were chuffed to see that we had ridden 68 miles that day even despite leaving Olav’s at midday.
Wednesday 11th July
We managed to get going by 9.10. We rode on for 4 miles to the town of Aure for breakfast and stopped at a petrol station that had a bench. Sharon asked a lady if she could buy a litre of petrol as she filled her car and she kindly donated it to us and wished a happy stay. We received a text from the couple we were due to stay with that night who said they wouldn’t be able to put us up due to a family member becoming unwell.
We rode on for another 30 miles in a mixture of head and tail winds. We caught the ferry to Kristiansund and had lunch at the port. Tim produced a delicious pot of marmalade which he had bought as a suprise earlier in the day ; ) We both felt tired after the day before and it had got cold. We headed into town and found a tourist information centre. We were told the ferry to get off the islands of Kristiansund no longer runs and we had to get a bus as cyclists were not allowed through the tunnel. We asked the driver to drop us off immediately after the tunnel so our journey continued unbroken. The temperature had dropped dramatically and we cycled on in search of a shop for supplies (including chocolate). We found a camp spot close to the road but hidden by some trees and cooked our dinner. We were grateful for a gentle wind that kept the midges manageable!
Thursday 12th July
We woke to rain on the tent but it soon stopped. We felt tired but packed up the tent and headed on. We collected water from a supermarket half a mile on whilst the rain got harder. Sharon was struggling so we stopped for snacks in a bus shelter.
Riding back in the rain
We joined the Atlantic highway (the correct one this time!) and were disappointed to not see it at its’ best due to the fog. We headed on south and met a Swiss and German couple who were cycle touring in Norway for a few weeks. We chatted for a bit, swopping stories of our travels. It was still a long way to Molde so we headed on feeling stronger. We had to take a diversion over the mountain before Molde as we weren’t allowed to go through the tunnel. There wasn’t a lot to see so we headed to a Rema to buy dinner and sat and ate an icecream.
Outside we found some rocks next to the harbour, cooked dinner and watched the boats go by. We headed on another 6 miles to the ferry port aiming to catch the next one at 9.15pm. As we descended down to the ferry port, we spotted a great camp spot up in the woods so decided to camp there and catch an early ferry. We put up the tent and settled down for a good night’s sleep.
Friday 13th July
With the tent on a slight slop, Tim found Sharon wedged at the bottom of the tent fast asleep. He made the most of the space and spread out for a bit more kip. We got up and rode a couple hundred metres to the ferry where it was waiting. We rode on to another ferry crossing which would take us to the island of Otroy. We rode around the island which had a few very steep hills but pretty views. We took the next ferry to Brattvag where we thought it would be about ten miles to a connecting ferry to Alesund where we planned to have a rest day.
It turned out we had to cycle about 30 miles along the 659 to join the main E39 to Alsund. We rode on the main road for a while before spotting a side cycle path so we joined it for a while before being put back on the highway. This ended up being the main highway to Alesund and cyclist were prohibited to be on it. After a few nervous tunnels and waving kindly at beeping drivers we managed to leave this excitement for a more subdued cycle path again. We stopped at a campsite were we asked about the price of cabins – they were fully booked but the owner informed us of student flats in the city that were available for the same price. We rode on, staying off the highway this time and arrived at a pretty centre where there was a boat festival going on and a few bands playing creating a party atmosphere. We found the flat sorted our things out and went out to look around the town. We treated ourselves to loads of nice things for tea. It was great to have a base for a couple days to relax, wash our things and have time to look around.
Saturday 14th July
We had a lie in, enjoying being indoors for a change! We cooked a fry up for breakfast/lunch and headed off into town to enjoy the boat festival. We pottered around the stalls soaking up the atmosphere and sampling lots of local produce – including deer and elk. Tim hovered around the sweet stall a little too long due to the free sampling of chocolate….
In the afternoon we headed back to our flat and watched the last couple of stages of the Tour de France ; ) cooked a big dinner and updated the blog. Enjoy!