Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The day of the Troll


Today it was over the Trollstiggen- one of the iconic roads of Europe - and not just for motorcycles. We leave Geiranger and within two kilometres we claw our way up yet another impossible hillside. 

This must be a more up market cruise boat than yesterday's - the chef is clearly handling the steaks better. 


 

And the views we like being in an aeroplane 

 

 

Then down the other side and onto yet another ferry. 


 


 

Then the last mountain pass for the day and what a beauty ! Going down this one was the jewel in the Crown. Wow,wow,wow !!

It just cannot get any better than this. 

 

Do I see a problem coming up? 

 

And here comes the kitchen sink being towed up the hill! 

 

This sort of obstacle can create a problem when one is going round the corners on the bike at speed in the opposite direction. Road hog! 

 


That's better. Diana is now riding the bike  whilst I climbed up to get the photo ! The red colour on the front of the bike is from her bleeding fingernails! 



 


And I did scrape the pegs or the side stand from the bike on the road as we rounded one of the corners. In biking terms that is a sign of a bend well taken! 


 


 

And after that the rest of the day was rather tame as we wound our way along the side of the fjord to the biggish town of Molde  A shortish day after the biggies of the last two days 

We check into our hotel with lovely sea views. However Hurtigan Line obviously heard we were in town so they came and parked their boat so their passengers could see directly into our bedroom!  This is the view from our bedroom.   I am not being paranoid or anything. I could do however without the loud shipboard announcements saying that bingo is about to start in half an hour as I relive coming down the Trollstiggen pass. 

Tomorrow we head due north and out of the fjord country towards the Arctic circle. 


Tunnels I have met


Another long day. It starts off by us taking the easy  route down the hill. Then at the bottom we checked where we went up yesterday.evening.  Yes, the signs could perhaps be interpreted that we were not supposed to go up this road. But, in defence of ourselves,  as our beloved Prime Minister of New Zealand would so succinctly and beautifully put it, it was "at the end of the day actually"

 

So it was a morning of tunnels. Quite boring!  In the first 100 km we did 68 km of it in tunnels. There is clearly a strong  underground movement here in Norway I said to myself. 

 



Included in our tunnel traipse was the longest tunnel in Europe at some 24km. Yes, it took a long time to go thru. The blue lights were sometimes replaced with coloured ones to relieve the monotony. 


 


Then " enough of tunnels " we said to ourselves. So we looked at the map and decided to take "the road less well travelled". Over the mountain pass rather than thru it. A note to Robert Frost.  The road " less well travelled " at least in Norway tends to be longer, narrower, higher and twistier but hey isn't that also true of life also! Anyway enough of the deep philosophical stuff. 

So it was along the side of the fjord. The road was a tad narrow in parts. 

 

 We wound our way up into the mountains 

 

We can't say "look mum- no hands!"

 


We are not the only oldies on the road

 

Then a nice drop of Nordic rain as we head for yet another mountain pass 


 


The odd sheep to watch out for. I am sure I would feel quite sheepish if I hit one !

 

 

And into the high alpine area 

 

And down a goriious set of hairpins into the hamlet of Geiranger 

 

And into Geiranger itself 

 

I certainly would not travel on this cruise line - you can see the smoke coming from the galley where the chef is obviously having a bad day with the steaks! 

And after a long 10 day again it was time for a good nights rest. It will be a shorter day tomorrow. Two ten hour days on these twisting roads takesit out on you.  And then on top of that one has the cumulative effect of sensory overload.  

Monday, 27 June 2016

Hairpins I have met


And today I met enough to keep a hair salon going forever. Big hairpin bends ,small ones,tight ones 360 degree one, hairpins inside tunnels and so the list goes on 

The day started well with three varieties of pickled herring for breakfast. Heaven!  However I did notice that one of the varieties of herring had a funny colour. Then the penny( Kroner!) dropped. It was of course a red herring! 

But let's start properly  at the beginning. Thru a slight navigational miscalculation it was a 500 km day which, given the twisty roads made it a big day and a long 10 hour day. We start off and head up a delightful drive to a town called Oddda. Yes, it does get  Odda and Odda !  The rain came down for the last half hour so it was a case if stopping and putting on the rain jackets which is normally guaranteed to make it stop raining. And they worked a treat. The rain promptly stopped. 

 

Even the sheep on the side of the road get colour blindness as we go past. However we will scare off the elk/ moose  ! 

 


Delightful views up valleys 


And tunnels. And tunnels . And tunnels! Big ones, small ones, fat ones, skinny ones, long one ,short ones, black ones, light ones. Curly ones. In fact I think some were knotted! We estimate we did up towards 60 km in tunnels today. 

This is a dark one ( in case you did not guess !)


 

And narrow ones

 


Then there were some with roundabouts in the middle of them


 

I half expected to see a McDonald's at one of the tunnel intersections! Nothing in a Norwegian tunnel would surprise me anymore. 

And here are the Norwegian cross country skiing team practicing with their summer practice. There was a squad of them and they looked deadly serious 

 

Ther were nice country vistas and one had to remind oneself that one was in Norway and not Switzerland 



 


And is this Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Switzerland or somewhere in Norway?

 


But the answer is obvious I cried. Look at the next photo and see if you can work out - as I did with considerable thought - why this is not Switzerland 


 

Yes, it is the tiny town of Flam and a hot destination for cruise boats doing the Norwegian coast. 

And finally we get to the turn off to the hotel. 2km to go the GPS said. Well let me tell you about that 2km little sting in the tail. It was a very narrow one way only type of road.  It was the steepest bit of hill I have ever ridden on. The bends were the toughest I had ever done. It was narrow. The bike even struggled a little in bottom gear. We get to the hotel. Knees are shaking. We check in. "Oh" says the receptionist , her eyes wide open "You came up the downhill only road! And you mean to say you did it on a motorbike? ."  We all I can see is that Diana gulped down a gin and tonic very quickly after we arrived at the hotel. Laundry night has also been bought forward!  

The hotel we are staying in was apparently a Nazi baby factory in the Second World War. Nordic genes were considered desirable.  With the stunning views from the hotel I would have been more interested in looking out the window than making babies! Or is that just my age talking? 

On that note  we are in for some more eye candy fjord hopping tomorrow as we twist and turn up to Geiranger fjord. 

Before I close off a special note. Some of you might have worked out that photos taken over my shoulder whilst driving were not taken by myself. So this is to acknowledge that quite a lot ( but not all ) of the photos  in this blog are  taken by Diana. Mine are usually taken off the bike ( for obvious reasons! ) 

South to go North


So it is goodbye Iceland as we board the ferry. That does involve a long wait 

 


Some trips have been less successful than ours. The front of the bike was even in worse shape with broken forks. Needless to say the bike got pushed on the boat. Another chappie I spoke to was sans bike - he hit a big bird and came off as a result. His bike was being shipped back and he was hitching a ride with his son 


 


Fishing is big in Iceland and they have obviously used their sardine packing expertise in the loading of their boats. Bikes and cars are crammed in like sardines. In fact a sardine would have more room in a can I think. Hang on - I do not think Iceland has a sardines industry. There must be another theory so where. 

 
 

But we strap the bike down and then it is on the way. Bye bye Iceland. 

 

 

And back to Denmark with two nights on the boat. And the North Sea was like a mill pond all the way 

Then we have a night in Denmark and then catch the ferry to Norway. Some of the bikes in the queue were interesting to say the least. 

 


 


And we are in Norway heading North along lovely lakes and river valleys. All very verdant after the barrenness of Iceland. 

 

We end up for the night in the town of  Seljord ready to get into the famous fjords of Norway tomorrow 

South to go North


So it is goodbye Iceland as we board the ferry. That does involve a long wait 

 


Some trips have been less successful than ours. The front of the bike was even in worse shape with broken forks. Needless to say the bike got pushed on the boat. Another chappie I spoke to was sans bike - he hit a big bird and came off as a result. His bike was being shipped back and he was hitching a ride with his son 


 


Fishing is big in Iceland and they have obviously used their sardine packing expertise in the loading of their boats. Bikes and cars are crammed in like sardines. In fact a sardine would have more room in a can I think. Hang on - I do not think Iceland has a sardines industry. There must be another theory so where. 

 
 

But we strap the bike down and then it is on the way. Bye bye Iceland. 

 

 

And back to Denmark with two nights on the boat. And the North Sea was like a mill pond all the way 

Then we have a night in Denmark and then catch the ferry to Norway. Some of the bikes in the queue were interesting to say the least. 

 


 


And we are in Norway heading North along lovely lakes and river valleys. All very verdant after the barrenness of Iceland. 

 

We end up for the night in the town of  Seljord ready to get into the famous fjords of Norway tomorrow