Day 35-1. Strömstad to Sandefjord by boat, then the NSCR to Horten.
Distance D 56.71 km Max 46.0 km/h Time 4.11:22 Average 13.6 km/h Distance S 56.71 km Max 43.0 km/h Time 3.51:21 Average 14.7 km/h
We awoke early to a typically damp and sunny Scandinavian summer's morning. By a quarter to nine most of our belongings had been packed into our panniers and we were enjoying breakfast. At twenty past nine, with plenty of time to catch the ten o'clock sailing, we were ready to go. After a quick look back at the cute huts we sped out of the campsite and headed towards the ferry terminal. Five minutes later we passed our ferry and parked our bikes next to the ticket sales kiosk. Ten minutes later we were standing at the front of the rather small queue. It looked like today's sailing was not going to be busy which suited us well.
Once on board, we found a space on the aft deck in the sun and sat outside as the ferry left the harbour. Bye, bye to Strömstad, this was the third time we'd been here in four years. Ahead lay a journey of two and a half hours, but we still didn't know what we were going to do with the rest of our day. We had time to think about it at least. The ferry started by threading its way out of the skerries between Strömstad and the Skagerrak.
It was a day to take photos: ferries and ports make for interesting subjects and today was no exception. Damae has always had a soft spot for little lighthouses and this part of Scandinavia is littered with them (and presumably, the wrecks of ships). Whilst Damae was taking it easy, I wandered round the deck and discovered some potted plants round an area with tables and chairs covered with a large canopy. Although the boat itself was quiet the blue sea was quite busy, with small yachts with sails furled, trawlers and bigger ferries all crossing the sea in different directions.
Whilst we were enjoying the voyage we started talking about what we were going to do with the next three days. Damae asked how many kilometres we'd done so far, and when I said about two thousand three hundred, she commented "Why don't we try and make that up to a nice round two thousand five hundred?". I was a bit surprised as in 2007 she had been adamant that she wanted to do nothing for the last three days. It sounded like a great idea to me so I grabbed our road map and had a quick look. The easiest thing to do would be to revisit parts of the Norwegian NSCR in the area round Sandefjord.
So I suggested up to Horten tonight and tomorrow we could visit the Midgard Senter that we'd cycled past in 2005. Then we could head to Larvik and camp there for two nights. The following day we could do a circle from Larvik to that cute little town of Helgeroa and back. This was a good idea as we'd only done one of the possible routes between Sandefjord and Horten in 2005, and we'd cut off a couple of short sections near Helgeroa and I think completely by-passed Stavern. We had a couple of days to cycle these sections, all we needed now was a map. As it turned out later, a timetable for local ferries might have been useful too.