Day 18-1. Fjærland to Vikøyri by boat and bike
Distance 18km Average 13.8km/hr Max 41.2km/h Time 1:20 hrs.
We awoke to the sound of rain, it was, as forecast, still wet. We did the shower and breakfast thing choosing once again to make use of the kitchen and enjoy the warmth. We had a bit of a rush to get going as we wanted to get the first ferry to Balestrand and then cross to Vangsnes. So we headed back to the ferry terminal enjoying the views on the way. The fjord was still pretty stunning even though there was no sun to be seen. The rain was a bit wet but we made it to the ferry just as it arrived.
The strangeness of the fjord landscape was still with us. The architecture of the buildings and just the way everything looked fascinated us this morning. The short cycle to the terminal delivered one of my favourite views of the whole trip, Damae cycling in front of me whilst the ferry approaches in the background. Although wet the air was still the surface of the fjord only being disturbed by the wake of the approaching boat.
So the day was starting well, despite the poor weather. When we walked onto the ferry it appeared that our return tickets to Balestrand were good for Vangsnes, as the route went to Balestrand via Vangsnes and not the other way. This also meant that we would not have to get off one ferry and wait for a second one. Cheered up we stowed our bikes and went up on deck.
The ferry journey was to be divided into three parts: the beginning, the middle and the end. Still enjoying the scenery we spent the first twenty minutes or so on deck as Fjærland disappeared slowly from view. We decided that the fjord probably looked better in the mist and rain than on a sunny day. It was just so picturesque, the cluster of small brightly coloured houses by the ferry terminal some with turf roofs, a large functional building that had been divorced from its partner 'paint' many years before. All of the buildings, no matter how large, were dwarfed and dominated by the high hills and the green waters of the fjord.
I took lots of pictures of the fjord and the glacier we had not visited. The mist was hanging low in the fjord sometimes a scarf draped around the lower slopes at other times looking more like candy floss carelessly discarded by one of the Norse gods. As long as I can remember I have been fascinated and delighted by misty mornings: from walking through the fog to school as a six year old, then later cycling to my secondary school as the mist poured onto the road over the hedges of the adjacent fields and to this day on my commuting journeys whilst living in the Netherlands. This part of Norway is a very special place, maybe not so strange as Nepal, India or China but still remarkable that people were able to survive here. Still wonderful to see the tongue of a glacier dripping down the side of the mountain. Damae amused herself with some Damae art and photographing a cute house with a turf roof.
After taking a portrait/self-portrait and yet another picture of the glacier tongue, we bumped into the American woman again, and we took photos of each other for posterity. Once again Stan and Damae on one photo. Then very soon afterwards Damae chose to escape the cold and wet and went down to the almost deserted passenger cabin, whilst I took a few more pictures of the clouds, mist, fjord and mountains. Once in the warmth of the cabin we made use of the catering facilities to enjoy a small snack and some subtle product placement in our trip pictures. We also suffered from boredom in this, the middle part of the journey.
Damae seemed determined to get a nice photo of me whilst doing product placement activities, before turning her attentions to taking a set of interesting photos of the interior of the boat. Finally she tried to get a nice picture of the both of us. As you can see I was being most co-operative this morning.