Day 9-1. Free Day Dragsvik to Balestrand and back.
Distance D 19.06 km Max 49.0 km/h Time 1.05:41 Average 17.3 km/h
Distance S 19.26 km Max 49.0 km/h Time 1.05:14 Average 17.6 km/h
We woke relatively late and decided to take it easy. Balestrand and the supermarket there could wait until the afternoon. Breakfast was a leisurely affair finished sometime around ten and we made some sandwiches just in case. With the view and the sounds of people messing around in boats, even I had little desire to rush and Damae was in diary and reading mode. So it was good that there was no reason to rush today. Our first rest day of the trip lay ahead of us and it would be a good chance to take it easy and enjoy some views. Yesterday we'd done the big climb over Vikafjellet and tomorrow Gaularfjellet lay ahead of us. So some R&R today was ideal.
Damae was busily reading books for her Masters course so I sat around feeling ignored: Damae in her diary said I was being grumpy, so I guess it was true. It would have been a good idea for me to keep my travel diary up to date. However as I'd rushed to get all the 2007 travelogue up just before we'd started this trip I just didn't want to write anything and this feeling was to stay with me the whole trip. I contented myself with taking pictures of Fjærlandsfjorden, Balestrand, watching the fast ferries come and go. I'm always impressed by these boats, not just the sense of speed in the relatively narrow fjords but also the long plume of spray in the wake. The only downside is they are a bit expensive if you take your bike with you. The wake from the second ferry took five minutes to reach our shore.
I also spent some time trying to get to grips with the panoramic picture function that my Olympus SP570UZ camera offered. The results were not overwhelmingly good and I rapidly realised that if the camera was not 'horizontal' each time you took one of the panorama photos then you got some quite strange effects. I also discovered that it was quite hard to find out what 'horizontal' was or perhaps more accurately how to produce a panorama that actually looked like the view. See what I mean? The reason for trying this functionality out was that creating panoramas by joining up photos on the Iyonix at home takes some time (albeit a lot less than when I first started doing this). However, processing images like this on the computer, you have complete control over the picture size, quality and can for example rotate each individual image so that they are 'horizontal' when you come to join them up. With the panorama function on the Olympus SP570UZ the camera throws away the individual images and saves only the panorama. This makes re-working an image a little more difficult. In the end I managed one good panorama which only needed a little tweaking.
Still I had already got to appreciate the 20x optical zoom the camera offers, but was a bit annoyed by the zoom ring on the lens. This made it virtually impossible to use the camera and zoom at the same time with only one hand. I should really have thought of that at the time I bought it. Still with the 10Mp modes I could take a shot and crop it later whereas with the C730UZ 3Mp I would zoom in and hence crop at the time of taking the photo.
We lunched at around midday and finally hopped onto our bikes as it approached one. We cycled round the end of the fjord watching the world go by. The views were nice in the sun, but we both felt that the fjord, in the mist and drizzle of summer 2007 had been much more atmospheric, brooding and enticing. Today Balestrand looked just cute although we were not really complaining and we wandered into the small huddle of the village centre in search of a supermarket and the Tourist Information. We managed to find everything that we wanted, not that that is a great achievement in a place as small as Balestrand. After going to the tourist office where we discovered that there was a free open network in the harbour, we picked up some cherry tomatoes from a supermarket and headed to the quay to sit in the sun and eat lunch.