Day 15-1. Gjerde to Sogndal (Kjørnes Campsite).
Distance 65km Average 15.4km/h Max 42.8km/h Time 4:10hrs.
We awoke to the sound of light rain and the realisation that we were not going back up the mountain to the glacier centre. Damae was for some reason rather more tired than the day before and I had no interest in unpacking lots of cooking gear again.
So I wandered off to the general store and picked up some high calorie buns and cake that were to be our breakfast. One was a rather boring white roundal with icing on it and the others were a square of puff pastry with sliced almonds and custard in the middle. Today was a tea morning as the small teapot sits in my handlebar bag and is much less work to unpack. Breakfast done it was the usual packing up of sleeping gear and the tent. Damae sorted out the last of the drying of clothes and we got ourselves ready to go. We returned the couple of tokens for the shower and headed downhill back onto the main road.
This will be much easier than going uphill we naïvely thought. But as usual with such ideas on a cycle tour it was not to be. There was a stiff breeze heading up the valley even stronger than the one that had assisted us on the way up. We had to pedal on the downhill sections as well. Ho hum. On the way past the Jøstedalskraftwerk we stopped there in the vain hope that they might just be running tours still. But sadly the official Nowegian end of summer was in force so there was no chance, so Damae took a picture of the entrance tunnel. A departing contractor chatted to us briefly and apologised for the weather. Apparently the worst summer for rain in Oslo since records began. We hoped it would be a little better for our short day in Oslo.
The rest of the ride to Gaupne was uneventful, we stopped to take a few photos at the point where the river had flooded. The water appeared to be about a half metre or so lower, and there was not sign of the spray kicked up by the frothing flood waters. A bit further down there more Flåklypa Grand Prix (a wonderful animation from the Caprino Studios ) style views. I feel that the 'other worldness' in Norwegian films and art are more to do with a different reality than the act of interpretation itself. What Norwegian artists create is different because the reality of the Norwegian landscape is so different to that say of the Netherlands or even Britain. You could paint a picture of Flåmsdalen or the Rallarvegen just as it is, and people would not believe that it was a real place. Further down we passed a quarry, no matter how beautiful a place is it has to sustain the people who live in it. Thus quarries are as essential as orchards or flocks of goats. Just before the junction with the 55 I took another picture this time of the bridge to show how much the water had subsided.
At this junction we stopped for a bite to eat and to look at the tourist information boards. There was not so much to see and do as summer was officially over and done with. So we headed off towards the first climb of the day. This started round the ninety degree bend at Marifjøra and did not finish until the bend above lake Hafslovanet. The strong wind we had had up to now deserted us when we most needed it to keep us cool when climbing. We stopped twice on the way up to adjust clothing before stopping at the car park at the top to brew up some tea. Of course it then started raining properly so after finishing our cuppas it was on the bikes and down the hill. It was still raining. We stopped a little further down at the end of the Hafslovatnet before it disappeared down towards Kjørnes to look at the view and watch the powerful current.