The day after our visit to Bergen, it was almost dry in the morning, so we cycled without rainwear for a long time. Just when we were ready for a break, we saw some kind of hardware store with a cafe. We were hardly inside or rain started to pour down. We didn’t want to have lunch outside like that. So we were glad that the lady running the shop was willing to prepare sandwiches. Half buns with a slice of cheese and ham. You can’t walk on one leg, so we ordered some more. She understood our needs, so when we finished our 2nd cup of tea, she put the kettle on the table.
On their website, we had seen that the campsite we wanted to go to had a TV room and a kitchen. That made us cycle on in good spirits and in full rain gear.
About 12 km from the campsite was another shopping mall (most shops in this country are in malls), where we wanted to do some shopping, but first the pizzeria called. It was four o’clock; second lunch or first dinner? We arrived at the campsite around six-thirty. A friendly lady came to welcome us and informed us that the owner worked at the ferry service that evening and that the next day, if we did take the ferry, we could pay him there…
We found a spot for our tent on the grass next to the service building and put all our luggage in the kitchenette. And conveniently hung our wet clothes to dry there as well. And then it seemd a good idea to cook and eat there aswell. Fortunately, there were no other guests with the same needs, because the smell of ‘wet dog’ was terrible. But we did have dry and warm clothes again the next day, which did make the start of another rainy day a lot easier. We put the hopefully correct amount in the owner’s letterbox – suppose there were 2 ferries -. But Rolf turned out to be the conductor at the ferry entrance and seemed happy with our chosen solution.
The crossing was not long, but exciting. It was so foggy that at no point could you see both sides at the same time, but halfway across it seemed for a moment as if there was no mainland at all. Very unreal.
Because of the wetness, we had left the I-Pad in the handlebar bag, which worked fine the previous days because there was only one road and that one turn was quite memorable. Now we were riding on the well-signposted Nordsjøruta – the North Sea route – which was missing a sign at one crucial spot…. So we cycled 5km up a dead-end peninsula. At a very picturesque bay we discovered our mistake. Nice to have been there, too bad about the extra kilo- and altitude-metres. We tucked the I-Pad into its waterproof case.
To console ourselves, we stopped at a bakery on the way back to score some tasty sandwiches. As we stepped outside, it started to rain heavily yet again, so we topped up the sandwiches with coffee and consumed them on the spot. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to get dry any time soon, so after the coffee we carried on anyway. Now we found the ferry without any further misses. This ferry would take 40 minutes which gave us the opportunity to sit inside. Those after us would find soaking wet chairs and puddles on the floor….
By now, we had booked an airbnb in Leirvik, 35Km away. We had earned it! We cut corners off the route here and there to get there a bit faster and ate another pizza (Oscar kebab) to warm up and took a packet of soup from the supermarket. That was a good choice, as we had missed the fact that the flat only had a microwave – no hot plate – for cooking!
The next day, Tessel was struck down with a nasty cold. We were already planning a rest day and decided to stay an extra day. The first day we were invited for coffee and cake in the afternoon. Tessel was just taking a nap so Oscar went alone to the gazebo, where he met some English friends of hostess Laila and a little later daughter and son-in-law. It was an enjoyable afternoon during which our tool kit came in handy to repair the robotic mower.
As we moved on, Tessel and the weather had brightened slightly. We cycled over 2 hefty bridges to the beautiful island of Bømlo where we had tea in the coffee corner of a supermarket just as the only downpour of the day broke. The rain gear did not come on that day and we ended up pitching the tent in Haugesund in the sun, overlooking the North Sea.
The next day we cycled 50km to Nedstrand, where a superfast foot ferry took us to Stavanger. The campsite there was more like a park (no fence around it and plenty of passers-by) with tents, campervans and caravans (though a good toilet house with warnings to lock your bike properly) and super full, so the next day we hurtled south for yet another rest day.
It’s crazy how on the one hand the rain forces us to be in the moment; constantly adjusting plans, focused on the environment to be safe and as comfortable as possible and at the same time we feel rushed, almost ‘on the run’. It’s exhausting. Tessel’s cold justwouldn’t really clear up and in the cabin where we arrived, first Oscar and then Tessel got a mean stomach flu. We were glad to be inside, outside it was wind force 7 and gushing from the sky. The next morning, we were too weak to cycle to a shop. So we stayed a third night here too. Oscar got to borrow the campsite owner’s car to do some shopping. Ricecrackers, maria-biscuit, broth and a tin of carrots/peas for grandma’s famous ragout for when things pick up in the evening. But… then the sun breaks through and the next few days are really predicted to be better. Better times are in sight.
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