Tour to Norway July 2022.
July 6th Wed
I took a while to sort out just what to take for this trip. The forecast is a bit dire…rain and not necessarily warm. I have taken motorcycle clothing for wet and cold but not so warm. It’ s a funny day to leave on and a funny time. I do not leave home till 5pm or so. I got my last tasks done and a bit of weeding in the garden. It has not rained…everything so dry.
So, watched Wimbledon. Great tennis ..especially Nadal and someone called Taylor Friske. 5 sets later and Nadal just won. I saw the end after I had arrived at Jo. Jo is leading this little tour up to Norway and since he lives in Norfolk I have gone to his house to meet him and then ride onwards to Harwich.
Its all rather strange , setting off in the direction of Norwich and not London. Usually we head to Dover or Portsmouth or Plymouth….always the London road. So feeling a bit strange I first get petrol…it costs £27 to top up the tank. That is £1.89 a litre. Its going to get worse in Holland and Norway. Off via Norwich to Bergh Apton. Meet Jo at his house, finish watching Nadal win his tennis match and then it is off to catch the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland..over night. Bike is good, been serviced since Greek trip and got its MOT.
We arrived at the ferry terminal where I promptly dropped the bike. Its side stand did not go down properly and over it went. No real damage…scrapped hand guard. Lots of bikes and we talked too late to one after we got on board and so it was late to bed.
7th July Thurs
After a short nights sleep..we were woken by the tannoy 1.5 hrs before arrival ie 5.30am. ..we disembarked into drizzle. But it stopped and as we queued for passports we could see there were squally storms around and it was windy. We head to Amsterdam to meet with Fred. Fred is Dutch, he is very tall and skinny, I will learn that he likes to go fast on his bike and that he runs a trucking business specialising in moving flowers. He talks nine to the dozen at high speed. He lives in England but had a day here before the trip. There were going to be two more riders but they sadly pulled out because of job reasons. So the three of us.Fred is 50, Jo is 60 and me 70 ish!
Because Fred knows his country he leads today. He says there are no police in Holland so disregards most speed limits.! We have about 190 miles to do to the next ferry which leaves from Emshaven near Groningen. I think we do not have much leeway on time. It is very windy and squally showers persist. We bat along the A7 and head for the causeway across a polder. Stop in ? For lunch. It is a picturesque town with waterways. We stop for two lifting road bridges and watch boats pass through.
Not enough time to enjoy . We don’t really have enough time for lunch. On we go, this time even faster and I am at the back doing catch up at 100 mph.! Told you Fred went quick! Its not for long and we arrive in the most desolate of places to get the ferry.
Lots of other bikes. This time bikes on last and we finally get herded on and strapped down. Its 3.30pm so we enjoy the delights of the boat till an early very expensive 39 euro supper. It was a buffet and good. Drink included!! Went to bed early. But Jo had disappeared even earlier feeling queasy. We are told it will be rough and the boat was doing some monumental shudders from time to time as it worsened. But stabilisers doing a magic job and I have no problems.
8th July Friday.
Kristiansand to Stavanger.We docked late after the worst night at sea the ship had had for a long time. Jo hated it and did not sleep till 3am apparently. Jo”s troubles continued. His bike would not start, flat battery. We think the bike alarm had been going all night. He had a starter pack thing with him so was able to connect to his battery and got the bike going.
Weather okay and off we go. We wriggle along the coast on a smaller road than the main road. Pretty Norway! High light is seeing Josserfiord and reading about its wartime history. German U boats were hiding here and the brits attacked. We walked a short old road tunnel.
Getting back to the bikes , Jo ‘s bike again did not want to go. Started and stopped. He finally took a fuse in and out . This reset the engine codes etc and it decided to go. Something to do with sidestand and stalling the engine to park on a hill. This was to plague him again.
Stavanger was a bit of a surprise to me in the evening when we came upon a bar with transvestites and dancing on table tops etc. Fred, who had won £400 at Black jack on the boat, was enjoying watching which we all did but we finally left Fred and went back to the hotel.
9th July Sat
I thought it was not raining but it was drizzling. Today we make a trip inwards to Lysebotn and back to Stavanger. It rains on and off, not too bad and we get along pretty well going higher and higher up to the snowline. It gets colder and colder and windy as well. Not great but nearly there.
We can see well enough and it is pretty. Stop for photos. Here it is pretty cold…6c.. but very soon down to a cafe and then the ferry back down the fiord. Jo’s bike does not want to start! Dead to the world but just showing very briefly a grid to put a code in. He gets on the phone. It rains and the wind blows. Fred and I put more clothes on and warmer gloves. There could not be a worse spot to breakdown. Its bleak in this weather. No trees, no shelter.
You can’t detect the cold and wind in the photo but Fred shows his dejection.
The ferry leaves at 12.15pm. It is decided that we leave Jo to his Harley help, making sure his phone has battery etc. The scenery is lovely and soon we are making our way down and down to the fiord via a road with contiuous hair pin bends and a wonderful old tunnel about 1km long. We arrive at the bottom and see the ferry just coming in. Apparently its late but its not yet 12 noon.! Within minutes its loading and very luckily we get on. Off at high speed…25mph, calling at various points and also showing us interesting things about the fiord by nosing up to a waterfall, Vandals Cove and a certain rock. We warm up.
Jo phones and let’s us know his bike is going. Electric transmitters muddling with his key fob seemed to be the cause. Input code was given and now Jo knows it. He came down the hill and saw the ferry in the distance . He had to ride all the way back the way we had come. In the meantime we get off the ferry and head back to Stavanger.
Huge cruise ship in port and as we eat dinner in a very trendy restaurant it leaves, looking enormous . As we walk back to the hotel at 10.30pm a large mass of young are queuing to get into nightclubs, police cars are cruising by and even our Fred feels too old to join them!
10th July Sun
We are up early as it is going to be a long day. Stavanger to Bergen, not just via the main road but lesser roads. And ferries…we do three ferries today. The weather is sun and cloud which is fine. Its not brilliantly warm but we are dressed for that. It is a great biking day. Road surface very good, great sweeping bends and lovely scenery. We stop here and there and relax when getting the ferries. Fred, who hates mornings, is enjoying it all too. We pause at a very lovely waterfall, Steindalsfossen.
Take various photos and I fly my drone to take photos of the falls. Fred has a drone too. We had both tried to take photos earlier with the drones at an earlier spot. The software wants to update and I do it later in the hotel.
We arrive in Bergen about 6.30pm. Nice hotel on the water. On that side it looks like several houses ….disguised! Fred wants a drink straight away!! Later we head out to get a meal. We have to curb Fred’s penchant for expensive bottles of wine and expensive restaurants. Neither I nor Jo can afford it. So when we opt for a fish market restaurant to eat in with only bottled beer to drink he is somewhat disgusted. He does not like food.! Afterwards we wander around and explore a very trendy fish restaurant that also sells fish and acts as a food market as well. Eventually find it has a bar in it. Fred buys me a drink so that he can have two. He downs glasses of wine like water. It is still day light at 10.30pm. We head back to the hotel but just before, next door, music from a bar beckons Fred and with a smile on his face he waves goodnight. He has found a busy bar and will no doubt be there a while. We head to bed!!
11th July Mon
Good breakfast and we are off a bit late. Sun and cloud and not too windy so bits of water look glassy smooth. We head towards Sandane our destination for tonight. We do not stay on the main road but wander off it this way and that. A ferry is waiting for us as we arrive in Brekke and we drive straight on and off it goes! One photo highlight is a herd of goats on the road with a big male all shaggy and long horns.
Good lunch outside in a cafe that Fred spotted. Poor Fred lost a bit of ham from his sandwich to two seagulls who swooped down when he walked away from the table! Very opportunist.
We arrive about 5.30pm in Sandane. I get time for walk . Some people are taking a dip in the sea! Amazingly the sun is shining and it has hit 21c for the first time on this trip. We sit outside for our pre diner drink. Really nice.
12th July Tues
Wild lupins by the roadside, farmers seeing to their livestock , grass cutting and silage making with old tractors and machinery, amazing tunnels with bends and roundabouts in them, bridges with views and the ferries. All to keep us occupied as we bike our way up the coast. Three ferries today. Bikes go on first and all is very efficient and quick. The ferries can drive in each direction so no turning around, real drive on drive off. Some bigger than others but much the same design. They are a very important part of the main road.
We bob on and off the main road but finally reach what is called the Atlantic way. The road runs across a series of low rocky islands connected by bridges and tunnels.
The last tunnel, one of the deepest in the world going down to 250 meters and 5.5 kms long, takes us straight into Kristiansund. Seems to be a port for offshore operations with large orange ships in port.
We eat in the hotel served by an irish lady married to a Norwegian. There was an irishman in the hotel last night! Drink..wine is expensive but we are trying to curb Fred’s penchant for ordering a bottle.
13th July Wed
Still a heatwave in England but I wake to sunshine here this morning. The rain forecast keeps backtracking and the dire warnings of rain yesterday…90%..did not happen so keep fingers crossed for future days. Today we are heading for Veiholmen, our furthest point on this trip.
Two biggish ferries, lots more bridges as we snake our way to Veiholmen. Before Veiholmen is an island called Smola. It is low lying, rocky and scrubby. It has population of wild sheep…a rare breed now of very hardy sheep who live outside all year round. They have very good wool with a fine layer below and tougher wool above. We stop for lunch in a place belonging to some Norwegians that Jo had met before. He told us that they had staff shortages in Norway just as we have, and that this was the worst summer weather they had had in the 9 years they had lived on Smola. Just our luck! They had all their family working away as waitresses etc.
After lunch it was just a small distance to Veiholmen . The road lies across a chain of low lying rocky islands. It reminds me of the Hebrides…Jo thought like the Orkneys but I have not been there!
Hotel sits on the edge of water and I get a splendid large room with a balcony. A short walk later with Jo while Fred relaxes in the bar. This is the point at which our journey has reached its furthest from home. Tomorrow is a day off and then we start heading back down Norway.
Hotel at the back.
Veiholmen from drone
We ate in the building with the grass roof.
14th July Thurs
Good day to sit tight. Wake up to rain and grey skies. Have nice lie in,late breakfast, and then catch up with photos and emails. In the afternoon when the weather improved went for a small walk and played with the drone. It was rather windy for it but took some photos. Tried to get the follow function of the drone clear in my head. Not totally successful but will give it another go. In the evening we all went to a kind of shed place for an evening meal of Tapas . Fred very excited by finding a bottle of Pineau de Charantes. Its a kind of mild liqueur you drink from a small glass. Comes from a place in France near Fred’s girlfriend’s house.
This place is tiny and compact and the drone photos shows this. Very close community and I love the lack of property demarcation…you can wander between houses as there are no fences, walls etc. The houses just sit in the grass as such. A typical fishing village .
15th July Fri
After taking a few photos we were off in dry weather but it was not to last for long. We had soon stopped to put on rain gear. We head south to Kristiansund and then gradually turn inland. We go up troll valley…trolldalen and trollvei. Then it was up a parallel valley to admire a lovely waterfall called Trollstigen.
The road up and the waterfall
Many hairpin bends up to then take a walk to view the falls from another angle…and the road.! I tighten the chain on my bike as it was making a horrid noise. That improves it…think it may be on the way out.
Down to Valldal for the night. It is on the edge of Geiranger fiord. Fred had a beer in his hand before I had my room key! It had rained on and off all day but as we arrived it was dry. In England they are gearing up for 40c !
16th July Sat
Our usual kind of weather as we set off. We are going to go high so have many layers of clothing on. Its about 11c. I had to tighten my chain yesterday as it was making horrid noises so hope it lasts. I fear it is on the way out and has tight and loose spots. It has now done 23,000 miles which is very good. Jo’s bike has problems every day with starting. He never knows if it will start normally or not. There is no single reason..quite random. If it does not run normally he has to take the main fuse in and out to reset the electronics. Slightly tedious for us as we sit waiting.
Ferry early on and then its upwards.
First we reach Geiranger the town, which is a bit like Fort William with souvenir shops etc. Then up to Dalsnibba. Its at 1500m and is a point that over hangs the valley we have just come up. We can see our road before Geiranger and after it. Many tight hairpin bends. It is cold up there. We rush around taking photos!
Nearly disguised against the rocks.
We have to have photo of bikes !
After, we go down a bit to a lake and give the drones a go over the icy lake.
Then down and make miles on sweeping bends , in and out of tunnels and ferries , and in lovely scenery to Sogndal. The hotel is quite enormous with two concessionary restaurants in it. Fred who has headed for the bar is not allowed to carry his drink around to other parts and gets pissed off! So, we head into the fairly dull looking town and find a trendy and lively Chinese restaurant. We are served by two Iranian students studying at Sognadal University. Everywhere we have stayed we have had foreigners serving us. Portuguese, Spanish, Irish, to name a few.
17th July Sun
Its another dribbly wet cloudy day and still pretty cold..11c. But we are a cheerful trio on the whole. Fred is somewhat hung over. Our first attraction is a very old stave church at Kaupanger. It was built around 1140. Unfortunately it is closed so we take our photos of the outside and on we go.
It is up to another snowy pass where we see one or two tents of campers. Its miserable weather up here.
We see the first Brit on a motorbike and we chat to him at a view point further on and down the road a bit where the weather is better. He has been touring for 6 weeks and mostly camping. He says he has seen no other Brits . …one campervan. The viewpoint is amazing. Fred flies his drone and takes these photos.
If you enlarge this last one, Jo and I are standing there together.
Down to the fiord/town below for lunch and then it is time to do some mileage but only after visiting a loo with a view over a river! Many tunnels and some with blue round abouts underground!
Then the Viking centre. We paid for a tour which was brilliantly done by a very droll man.
Arrive pretty late. Road was a touch busy and road surface wet. The rain has not ceased much today . Hotel is near Odda at Trolltunga. Its restaurant is shut so taxi ride to a new restaurant up a small valley to arrive with a view of the Folgefonna glacier at a farm called Buer. We had an eye-watering expensive meal with food at £50 ahead for 3 courses of very good food and two bottles of good wine chosen by Fred. The food was good value and served by the female farmer who has set up this restaurant in a barn like building with a view of the glacier. Highland cattle wander around outside. From here you can take a trek up to the receding glacier.
Compare this to photo below. How the glacier has receded…
18th July Mon
Wake up to a dismal rain look but yet again we make the most of it. Within a few miles we have seen at least 6 waterfalls and launched a drone to photograph the best. All the rain that has been falling this summer in Norway has at least enhanced our views of the rivers. Many are raging torrents . Its a plus side for us. We then saw another Stave church. This time it was open !! All wooden with decorated ceiling and walls.
Usual stops and then I get the opportunity to arrive at the hotel earlier than usual while the other two repeat a road up the mountain…the one where Jo’s bike refused to start . I enjoyed a bit of down time. I washed my hair and then went for a walk, up the mountain. Discovered that it was a ski slope with lifts etc. Weather currently much better….not a bad day.
19th July Tues
Sunny !! We are now wending our way to Kristiansand. The large mountains have been left behind and now it is more rolling and gentle. The exception to this was a tiny road we went on with some very steep and sharp hairpin bends both up and down. Tricky. We had relaxing eating stops and arrived at the hotel about 3.30pm. The temperature was in the high 20s which was very pleasant. However in England it had risen to the high 30s. Reports from home was that it was very unpleasantly hot. It was a day when records were beaten as 40.3c was reached. In the evening I then received the shocking news that houses were on fire in Brancaster Staithe, the fire having begun in a harvested field behind to the south. We have never had an event like this in Norfolk. Later I heard that houses were burnt in Ashill near Swaffham.
We in Kristiansand went out to eat in a lovely restaurant with a view of the harbour ..Fred found it.! I went back to the hotel about 10.30pm while Fred and Jo trotted off in the direction of music playing…
Fred enjoying himself!
20th July Wed
We relax as much as we can whilst having to get out of our rooms by 11am. Put stuff on bike which is in underground hotel car park, and take a wander along the main street. Its hot, high 20s, hottest day of the trip!! Eventually we make our way…short hop…to the ferry and line up with a mass of other bikes. Amongst the many we found one Brit and 2 Scots. Most were Dutch who obviously like coming to Norway.
Boat is not bad..same as going out… Fred decides he is not hungry so I eat with Jo about 9pm . After that Jo went to his cabin and for a change I went and found Fred who was playing Bla k Jack in the casino. I sat beside him and watched him play. He had 3 bets/deals on the go. He kept on buyng me glasses of wine so after while I went to my cabin too.
21st July Thurs
The boat was meant to get in at 9am but having left late it did not make up the time and we arrived at 9.30am. We had a tight gap between that ferry and the next one from the Hook of Holland which left at 2pm. Off we set behind Fred at high speed…way outside speed limit. It rained at times and the dual carriageway was quite busy. Alone I would have gone much slower. But thanks to our speed we made the boat with half an hour to spare.
It was pretty full of scruffy Brits with screaming children. But we survived and Jo and I went our separate ways home. My chain was making horrid noises by the time I reached Swaffham. But made it home by about 10.30pm..
PS. Looked at front sprocket later…very worn out. ..and I had had the bike serviced before I left. It looks very similar to two I have worn out before !!…photo