Day 11-1. Train from Oslo to Haugestøl then by bike to Flåm
Distance 80.2km Average 10.8km/h Max 41.0km/h Time 7.24 hrs
We awoke to heavy rain at twenty to five, and managed to get back to sleep before the Psion started singing. We packed up the tent and bedding quickly and whizzed down the hill to the central station. That was a lot easier than going the other way, and was great fun.
Perhaps unsurprisingly there was only one window open in the train station and this time in the morning. As a result Damae got the tickets with only eight minutes to spare and we rushed to the train. On asking we were directed to the last carriage of the train, a huge goods carriage which turned out to be locked. In something approaching mild panic so we inserted both bikes into the entrance of the next carriage, which was just big enough to take both bikes, and Damae went off to find a conductor.
Damae returned with an apologetic conductor. He opened the connecting door to the goods wagon and after taking the bags off the bike we were able to get the bikes through. Unfortunately we had to take the bags with us which meant walking through two and a half carriages. We sat together until Geilo, when hordes of 'Norway in a Nutshell' tourists entered the train. I tried and mostly failed to take some pictures of the views from the train. A couple turned out OK, particularly these of the light and clouds; these types of skies were to be a feature of the next week, the contrast of light and dark etched on my mind. A few others show typical views of the Norwegian countryside, and of how high we had climbed already.
From Geilo we stood as one of the seats we had been sitting on was now occupied, and moved to the end of the carriage. Once past Geilo the train did not take long to get to Haugestøl; somewhat less than the couple of hours it took on the bikes in the summer of 2006. I then wandered down to the guards wagon in preparation to pick up our bikes, and sat down on the floor next to a lady with two dogs. Damae stayed with the bags to throw them out whilst I was getting the bikes. At Haugestøl all went to plan, and a large number of bikes, including ours, were off-loaded quickly and efficiently. It was clear that we were not the only ones intending on going up the Rallarvegen today.
We put our bags back on our bikes and cycled up to the starting point of the route. It was nice to see the multi-functional hotel, cafe, outdoor shop building again, this time at the begining of a day's cycling instead of after a wet night spent camping on the Rallarvegen, We picked up some Rød sprit, and looked idly at the cycling gloves in the outdoor shop and bought some yummy cake and muesli flapjacks from the restaurant and washed down with lots of good strong coffee. We called it lunch and enjoyed it very much. I asked if we could have the recipe for the flapjacks but apparently it was a trade secret they were not about to divulge.
As we were preparing to leave, a young Italian asked if we had any chain oil but then decided we had too little for his needs. We were to pass him and his group a bit later and then very much later we were to meet up again in Hallingskeit, and cycle down to Flåm together.
Our cycling day started well, as we cycled up the relatively gentle inclines. It was much easier from Haugestøl than the other way round. Here we started at at thousand metres above sea level instead of six hundred. The weather was kind today, it started off sunny and warm, and the Rallarvegen lay in front of us looking rather benign and cuddly. Later in the day we were to be reminded of the latitude and altitude and how the weather can change. For now it was just great fun.