After the last update, where we were at the glacier, we made our way towards Bergen, taking the ferry from Lavik to Ytre Oppedal. Arriving in the outskirts of Bergen we abused free coffee and internet at IKEA again and did web updates. We found a late-night camp at a co-op, but in the morning (Tues 10th April) we awoke to find it was still under construction, oops! We weren’t in the way luckily and made a sharp exit.
We found a camp site just on the entry to Bergen and called in for a much needed shower. After freshening up we headed into Bergen centre in search of a birthday coffee (Sharon’s treat, from her birthday money her folks wired to her J). We’d heard good reviews on a place called Kaffemisjonen so called in there. Weren’t impressed sorry, seemed very geared up for coffee snobbery, even giving me a little spiel about where ‘todays beans’ were from and what flavour notes we should expect… What we received however was a lukewarm cappuccino and mocha, with flavour notes of ‘did I really just pay THAT much for THIS’. Not really my favourite flavour if I’m honest. Too painfully British to complain. Missing Costa. (is that like a typical brit missing fish and chips on holiday in spain?)
Coffee’d up we took a walk into the city centre, it was freezing, especially in the harbour. Took a look in the fish market and avoided the ‘Whale burgers’ :-S Saw lots of monuments and sculptures and found our way in old Bergen which was cool, everything made of wood, the street floor, walls, buildings – much of it replaced but clearly some scarred and pitted original timber, god knows what that timber witnessed in the years of sailors coming ashore.
Back to the campsite to get some washing done and get an early night. Lots of cats on the site, rubbish internet and ‘worse for wear’ looking people camping and using the facilities. Terje (I still struggle to pronounce his name without me sounding like a foreign douche) got in touch via facebook and we agreed to meet the next morning.
Wednesday morning we weren’t quite up when a defender parked along side us. I jumped out and met Terje. We chatted for a long time and he kindly explained that the camp site we had chosen was ‘not the best’ and that it in fact was known for being a place where alcoholics resided, as it was cheaper and less hassle then renting a house under those circumstances! Ah well. We’re all about seeing the real world we are!
Later on after some shopping and internetting we met up with Terje again and he took us to Gamlehaugen, to a castle built in 1900. We walked around and chatted with him and his Rottweiler. He invited us back to his for a coffee (really good black coffee, never thought I’d say that!) and he showed us some pictures of the great places in Norway that we couldn’t visit due to the time of year! He also gave us tips on places to go – funny story (to me) – before Xmas I saw a video on facebook of this scary looking tunnel. I asked Terje about it, turns out he was the one who posted it! It was due to be closed off in the next few weeks as a new tunnel was nearing completion.
Terje gave us a couple of beers, a book (A2A) and after declining his kind offer of his spare room, escorted us to a nice secluded wild camping spot. Thanks Terje, great to meet you J
In the morning we took a walk on the trails around where we slept, beautiful place, and nice walk in the morning sun before hitting the road. We headed out to Jordalsvegen, the tunnel mentioned before and drove up and down it. Pretty freaky, dark and narrow, with holes broken out through the rock like windows into the valley below. We videod it, it should be online soon. Sharon was scared and wouldn’t let me get out and explore! I think Terje telling us about the locals being afraid of the rocks falling in from the ceiling had something to do with it.
After the tunnel we headed a few more k’s up the road to Stegastein, a walkway built on a hill overlooking a beautiful Fjord. On the way up the road the views looked amazing, probably better than Geiranger, but the weather deteriorated rapidly into snow and the cloud descended. Up at the top and on the walkway, we could barely see anything! Ah well. Can’t win them all.
We pushed on down the E16 and saw Tvindefossen, a large multi-waterfall before joining the E13 and passing through the Vallariktunnelen – complete with underground roundabout. We slept in a layby near Sekse.
Friday 22nd We carried on down the E13, it’s a great road, getting narrow in places and feeling off the beaten track despite being a major road. In places it was really quiet and the views just non-stop.
I think it was on this road that we climbed up out of the greenery and back into the snow, with busy ski slopes open along the way. Norway is strange. There are some places where the ski season only starts in summer, due to the winter just being too severe. Sharon and I both wished we could ski. Might have to convince our friends Stu and Beth to help us out with that!
After a long drive we made it to the Preikestolen car park. It was 4pm and sunny. I convinced Shaz that despite us both being tired from driving that we should hike it to Preikestolen in case the weather was rubbish the next day. So off we went in a bit of a rush. What a hike, its not easy for two unfit brits! The walk is amazing, steep climbs where you feel that you are ascending a waterfall using boulders as stepping stones, crossing huge worn-smooth expanses of exposed rock, climbing up and down where wind and water has worn them away. I’m sure it must be tame for seasoned walkers but the way it has been laid out (with the help of Nepalese Sherpa’s) really makes it feel like an event climbing up there. Once up there it is scary. There’s no railings or restrictions and you can easily tumble to your death. But its so worth it, I wish the pictures could do it justice but I was probably just a little bit preoccupied with not stumbling off any of the 600-metre-high ledges.
After the hike back down our legs were like jelly. Back at the truck we knew we weren’t allowed to camp at the car park area so were planning where to go. One of the site staff wandered over and struck up a conversation with us about us driving all the way to Norway in our Landrover. We explained where we’d been and what we’d seen and he said ‘well, after a long drive, why don’t you park over there where no one can see you and stay the night’. Awesome. We had a well-deserved sleep. Bed at 9:30pm!
Next morning we were both aching, and slowly got ready and hit the road to Stavanger – back up the 13 and onto a ferry from Tau into Stavanger. We passed through town and had a quick look, before heading for the 3 swords monument, Sverd i Fjell. Whilst taking photo’s two local girls wandered over in full traditional dress (the dark haired girl celebrating her confirmation day, and her friend taking photos). I asked if I could photograph them and they obliged! I probably seemed a bit weird but wanted the shot haha.
We headed out of Stavanger on the E39 and took the coastal route headed for Oslo. We were going to cut through but found a few roads were closed so decided to just take the main route.
Images might be a little out of order due to different uploads from phone and from camera