Day 19-1. Vikøyri to Voss via the 13.
Distance 70.4km Average 14.2km/h Max 61.6km/hr Time 4:55 hrs.
Damae woke me up sounding very excited. It seemed very light outside and we could not hear the sound of rain anymore. Damae scrambled out of her sleeping bag and opened up the door of the Macpac. We were greeted by sunshine and blue sky. Of course the tent and wing were dripping wet on both inner and outer surfaces from the morning dew, but it was great to see the sun. We were to enjoy it all day, except during the fifteen kilometre climb out of Viksdalen. We wondered if we should have headed up to Florø after all?
This was to be a slow start today. One reason was that for the first time in days we had a chance of getting the tent and wing dry. The other was that it was lovely to be able to breakfast outside in the sun. We'd pitched the tent next to a table but had not expected to be able to use it. The other reason was that I couldn't find my bike computer it had just disappeared. So before we left we went to wander round the old town just to see if I had dropped it there when getting my camera out. We also left Vik via the stave church to see if it had been handed in there. But no luck. I was rather sad, as that computer had been my constant cycling companion of a few years now.
At the stave church we spoke to an older lady and Damae took the opportunity to ask her about life in Vikøyri, and if they had had any immigrants. She told us that five families had moved from the Netherlands to Vikøyri in the last year and eventually all of them had found work of some kind. This varied from a part-time job as a nurse, to running a small farm and working part-time and finally the most ambitious a couple who had started a canoe tour company. We'd noticed that shop on the way into town, it was hard to mis with the large '30% off' stickers in the window. One of the perils, as far as we can see of moving to a place like Vikøyri is that there is little room for error or to overcome unforseen problems. In a larger town you can always get a job to earn some more even if it is only stacking shelves in a supermarket. I'm not sure what possibilities there would be in a place like Vikøyri and the nearest place of any size would be Sogndalfjøra, which is not an easy daily commute.
Armed with some more useful insights, and having not found the bike computer we could delay the inevitable no longer. The rest of the morning and half the afternoon were to be dominated by climbing out of the valley. There was no way round it other than taking a boat or two to Bergen. Still we were in the mood for a bit of cycling and quickly found bottom gear. This was the first time when we could really have done with one more low gear. Not only was the climb steep it was unrelenting.
The climb did give us plenty of time to enjoy the views and Viksdalen, the fjord and mountains looked wonderful in the sunshine. The first part of the route was out of town, past the houses and farms in the lower reaches. Damae was climbing as she does which left me the opportunity to take photos and slowly catch her up.
By one we were ready for a stop, and luckily there was a coffee and waffle cafe on a hairpin bend. As we arrived an English couple were just leaving and recommended the waffles as they were apparently very good. We sat outside admiring the view and I managed to find the stave church, and take some pictures of the valley. We were now above the tree line and there were no more farms to be seen above us. Confirming what the English couple had said we discovered that the waffles were indeed very good. The coffee was not that bad either but even as a paying customer you had to pay extra for the toilets. Ho hum.
Just as we were leaving a Dutch couple going downhill stopped at the cafe, on asking how much more there was they told us just how long they had been descending. It sounded like we had at least as much to do again. The Dutch couple had done part of the Rallarvegen and apparently cycled up from Flåm to Myrdal including the twenty-one hairpin bends. Humbled by both their fitness levels and bravery we said our goodbyes and set off up the hill.