Day 17-1. Kjørnes campsite to Sogndal, Boat to Balestrand, second boat to Fjærland then by cycle to Fjærland campsite
Distance 8km Average 13.5km/hr Max 30.7km/hr Time 0:35 hrs.
Shall we cycle or wimp out and go by boat? The brief respite from the rain of the previous evening had been just that. Then I had mooted the possibility of taking the boat to Balestrand and then the connecting boat to Fjærland. It would give us only an hour and a half to view the glacier museum or so we thought, but in this sort of weather it seemed the best choice. The most likely plan for the remainder of the trip was to head back to Balestrand, camp there and then spend a couple of days cycling up to Florø.
The morning rain and the wind blowing up from the direction we wanted to go made the decision very easy. Thirty-five kilometres in the rain with a headwind along a fjord we had already cycled or a nice modern fast ferry. It was 'no contest' and we headed down to the Sogndalkai with a few minutes to spare. Once on the boat we stowed our bikes and sat down in the cabin. It was a shame that the weather had been so bad. What we did not realise was that it was going to remain like this for only another two days.
The trip was fine and the ferry was, not surprisingly rather empty on this wet Sunday morning. I took a few photos in the first quarter of an hour but it was best to stay warm and dry inside. I did manage to find the harmonious tunnel we had cycled through on the way to Sogndalsfjøra, and took a picture of curious white plastic tunnels across the fjord from Balestrand. These turned out to be a sort of greenhouse used for the commercial growing of berries. The journey took around an hour and we then disembarked at a somewhat wetter Balestrand. A gentleman started speaking to me in Norwegian and then switched to English. "The weather is not so good for cycling" he said wryly. "At least it is not snowing" I replied raising a smile in his face.
We sought cover in the canopy of a closed shopping centre. In a fit of forlorn hope we looked for a left luggage office so as to be able to lighten our load. We had no idea just how far from the ferry the museum was, nor if there was a stiff climb to it or not. The boat to Fjærland arrived and we joined to line of people waiting to buy tickets. A couple in front of us seemed to be asking an awful lot of questions for such a simple transaction while the rain tapped on our helments and dribbled down our jackets.
Then it was our turn and we bought two returns for us and our bikes, found a dry rain free spot for our bikes on the car deck, pfaffed a bit and then climbed the steep steps to the passenger cabin. We chose a prime spot facing forwards looking through the rain spotted front screen which was lucky as suddenly the cabin started to fill up and by the time the ferry departed there was not a spare seat to be had.
So we sat and ate our lunch as the the ferry made its stately progress up the rainy misty drop dead gorgeous fjord.There were a few leaflets on the boat and we scoured all of them to see if there was any more useful information as to the precise location of the museum. No luck. However as I was reading one of the leaflets about the Glacier museum I suddenly noticed that there was a campsite close to the museum. The solution to our immediate problem was to stay at the campsite and then visit the centre at our leisure. Damae did not need convincing so our plans changed.
Shortly before arrival we headed back to the bikes to sort them out. I took the opportunity to take some photos of the dripply wet fairy tale landscape. Once off the boat we paused again as the fjord looked wonderful. With the knowledge that we could camp at Fjærland the run up to the campsite and then the museum was less hurried than it would have been. We actually bumped into the campsite first so decided to put up the tent and wing and dump our stuff before heading to the museum.
It was of course raining lightly and rather difficult to see what ground was wet as opposed to sopping wet or soaked. In the end we put everything up and spread the new tarp out to cover almost all of the space under the tent. Although it was futile to hope that we could get any parts of the tent dry it seemed to be a good idea not to get the underside of the inner tent any wetter.