Day 12-2. Flåm to Sognsdalsfjøra.
During the boat journey we had been inactive, so Damae had dressed to be warm whilst doing nothing. As a consequence Damae warmed up very quickly once we started going and after ten minutes or so we stopped for a clothing adjustment/photo session. The weather was closing in slowly but surely but for now it was warm enough. However, although we did not know it at this time, we had seen our last sunny weather for a few days as we headed up towards Sogndal. The 55 although a main road was remarkably quiet, possibly as it was now tea time for any self respecting inhabitant of Norway.
As we were cycling along we noticed what appeared to be apple and pear trees in what appeared to be orchards. We were now as far north as Northern Scotland and yet here people were growing apples. After we investigated a little it turned out that this is one of Norway's major fruit growing areas, something that neither of us expected.
We toiled on and within an hour we found our lovely spot at Nornes to stop for yoghurt and tea next to orchards with views of Sogndalsdalsfjorden and Sognefjorden. We made some cheese sandwiches and ate them with fresh cherry tomatoes bought in Flåm and enjoyed the views. It was here that we finally agreed that Sogndal would be a good place to finish our exertions for the day. We needed to make Damae's panniers waterproof again and to find a way of stopping further damage, before heading up to Jøstedal. Sogndal looked like the biggest place we were going to pass through before then. Going up to Hafslo seemed to involve a longish climb and with the day cooling of and the clouds thickening we didn't wish to end the day both wet and tired out.
The remainder of the ride along the 55 was fine, occasionally a van with green number plates would whizz by without giving us quite enough room. Indeed although car drivers and trucks seemed to give us plenty of room the light vans were consistently bad at this. We suspected that the green plates denoted commercial status, which was confirmed later in the year by our Norwegian teacher. Lone plumbers and electricians in a rush to get home for tea we guessed.
Still the road was not that busy, bearing in mind it was the only one along the fjord and on the plus side there was some evidence of support for cyclists. In a couple of places (including just coming into Sogndal) where the old road had been superseded by a new tunnel, the old road had been given over to pedestrians and cyclists. One of these sections was a tunnel with wonderful acoustic properties: you could build up a four note chord with one voice as the first three notes rang back and forth inside the tunnel for up to ten seconds. This must have been one hell of a noisy tunnel when all the main road traffic went through it, certainly not one I'd have wanted to cycle through. Still it was something to look forward to on the return journey back up the fjord.
All that remained was for us to reach Sogndal. Coming round the final bend of the old road section we noticed a campsite next to the road. We were happy to stop there and then, as the weather was feeling like rain. Indeed as we started putting up the tent the odd drop of rain fell. Fortunately we had sorted everything by the time the rain started properly. The view from the tent across to the bridge in the centre of Sogndal reminded us very much of some of the scenary in the wonderful Caprino animation 'The Flåklypa Grand Prix'. We tried out using the wing at the open end of the Citadel, and although there were advantages to this it just did not work quite as well as putting it above the side entrance.
The rain had settled in for the night so it seemed. The clouds hung low over the tops of the fjord and glowered; the darkness in contrast to what daylight remained. It was so dark that I managed to take a couple of blurred photos so took more care with the rest of them. I cooked whilst Damae sorted out the tent and after washing up and a shower we hit the sack. It was not quite ten when we turned in but we were really rather tired.