Going North 2018 – days 16-17
Thanks to the drying room and the Austrian drying/ozonator device, our gear AND helmets were perfectly dry in the morning. Very well, because it started to drizzle again. After our breakfast we said good-bye to this time capsule of the fifties. We headed north and as predicted, the drizzle stopped. It was a nice winding road between steep mountains. We reached the Sunnylvsfjorden and the fjord lived up to its name – a ray of light burst through the clouds. What a view!
We continued our ride through the mountainous landscape and stopped in Stranda and took the rapid ferry over the Storfjord. When we arrived, it started to rain, as predicted. The landscape was still beautiful, although it was raining quite thoroughly. And there was already the next ferry in Vestnes. And an enormous queue. After waiting for ten minutes, the thing moved and we embarked the large ferry. We had come right on time, because we were one of the last to enter the boat, the rest had to wait for the next in 45 min. On the trip we had THE Norwegian snack: pølser aka hot dogs. After 35 min, disembarking also went very quick. I followed the signs for Atlanterhavsveien, the big highlight of today and the reason to go so north now. It is also known under the English name “Atlantic Road“. The signs guided us through farmland and along the coast.
It was less rainy here on the coast, but with some stiff breeze. A very relaxing ride. We finally approached the section of the 8 km that leads over bridges and small islands….and there we go! The Norwegians are very proud of this construction work, it was elected “construction of the century” and is advertised in almost all tourist publications. And I have to say it is…….very disappointing. I’m sorry to say that, but given all the attention, it is disappointing. The first bridge, the Storseisundet bridge, is quite impressive in its shape and twisted angle, but that is about it. the rest are small, short and low bridges. I have seen much more impressive ones, even in Norway.
But ok, been there, done that. Soon after, we reached our destination for that day, Kristiansund. The city is nicely situated on several islands with typical Nordic style houses in bright colours. We stayed at the Thon Hotel, a modern, but functional building, we even had a view on the harbour.
After some personal hygiene, we decided to try a sushi bar in the centre, after all the fish should be fresh here, shouldn’t it? Although the employees didn’t appear Japanese, actually more Phillippinian, the sushi was quite all right, the fish was really fresh. The combination with mango sauce was interestingly savoury.
On the next day, the harbour was filled with sunshine, in the background big black clouds. We had breakfast with a great view on the harbour, again with a very generous breakfast buffet.
The start was very late today, only at 11 a.m., but the weather was rather mixed and it was only a 260 km ride to Geiranger. The ride was very beautiful, although we had a very “Irish” weather first. Riding along fjord shores with great view on the surrounding mountains, there was even a little pass (500 m)! I did not take a lot of pictures, the weather was unfortunately not the best for great photos. There were occasional showers, but we were dry and warm in our fantastic Stadler gear.
We stopped for a late lunch in Åndalsnes (home of “the Andals and the first men”?) in a funny place. Very familiar, very easy-going, very casual and organic food. The food was good though. Interesting place. From then on, the highlights of the day were lined up. However, the weather got worse and it rained continuously. This might not be unusual for Norway, but I didn’t have bad weather for four consecutive days for I don’t know how long.
The Stadler suit hardly had seen any rain, even at the Iron Butt Rally. But I was glad to have it. The heated grips and seats also improved the wellbeing. Posh riders, LOL! The Trollstigen was next. Not gigantic compared to some roads in the Alps, but quite impressive for Norway. A number of hairpins and the mighty Stigfossen waterfall, quite a sight. I had done it in sunshine, so now it was time for heavy rain. Normally, you would stop to take pictures with a view, but in the driving rain, there’s no point. It was chilly up there, only 7 degrees.
One the way down, we passed the waterfall at the Gudbrandsjuvet, but were too lazy to leave our cozy place on the bike. Down in the valley, we rode on the ferry to Eidsdal. Only a few minutes later, we continued on the last ascent for today. Still in nasty rain. The landscape was nevertheless beautiful, without the abundant clouds it would have been magnificent. Finally we got to the Ørnesvingen viewpoint with a panoramic view on the Geirangerfjord, another UNESCO heritage. The eagle road down to the fjord is one of the most spectacular roads in Norway. Some minute later, we arrived soaked on the outside, but dry on the inside at our hotel for today, the traditional “Utsikten Hotel”, or View Hotel, in other words. I had reserved something special: a rook with a panoramic view on the Geirangerfjord. The hotel might be in need of a refurbishment, the rooms are small, but the view on the fjord is fabulous. If you don’t have a room with a mountain view.
Tomorrow, it will be a “long” ride to the capital Oslo. Very likely in nice weather.