Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2007-->Scandinavia.-->Day 19

Day 19-2. Vikøyri to Voss via the 13.

The rain had left the air quite clear. Now that I was far ahead, Damae stopped again briefly and took a photo which apparently includes me in it. Niether of us have been able to find me even on the original photo. See if you have any luck.

After another hour or so I decided I really needed to stop for a cuppa. Luckily I spotted a small parking space cut out of the hillside, and cross the road to it. Without rushing I dug out the kettle and put it on. I saw Damae finally coming into view a couple of minutes later and took a shot of this, just as one of the few cars we met passed her. By the time she had reached me the water had boiled and the tea was nicely brewed.

We stood around enjoying our tea and some things containing calories and fifteen minutes later we decided to finish what we had started. I was determined to reach the top without another stop, and from what I had been able to see round the next bend it looked do-able.

Do-able turned out to be almost an hour of climbing, and I arrived at the top and waited for Damae to turn up. The landscape had changed again as we were now above the tree line, and the tops reminded me a little of the high landscapes of the Lake District. One advantage of the sun was that it remained warm even at this height. I felt no need to put on extra clothing as I waited, in contrast it was my first chance to cool down properly since starting the climb.

Looking around I noticed a rather curious lump of rock ahead of us. Round the left hand side there was what appeared to be the old road, and driven through the middle of the lump was a tunnel. Not being well versed in the economics of rock blasting vs tunnel blasting I was not quite sure why they hadn't just blasted away a bit more of the left hand side and made the road wider. Perhaps the rock on that side was unstable, hence the tunnel but it puzzled me and continues to do so to this day.

Damae arrived and a little later as we were almost ready to go a German couple heading the other way in an old Renault camper. I asked them if they could take a photo of us which they did and on thanking them wished them a 'Gute Reise'. They looked at us a bit surprised, then chuckled wishing the same for us. A smile moment.

So it was time to do battle with the next section of the 13 first the tunnel. This or so the sign says was over a kilometre and we were thankful that it was such a quiet road. What we didn't realise was that the road although it looked quite flat was still climbing. We noticed this as soon as we set off, the gradient was immediately apparent albeit significantly less than what we had just cycled up.

Now sheltered from any breeze we popped out the other side to a different landscape. There were large flat areas ahead of us and we could see snowfields and a complete absence of trees. We could well imagine why this road is closed in the Winter, and why in Autumn and Spring the tunnel can be blocked by sheep looking for shelter.

What was almost as exciting was to see the road heading downhill; a big change from the morning. This section turned out to be reasonably flat with some downhills and a few short sharp climbs. It was much easier and more varied cycling than the climb and the road remained surprisingly quiet until we started the descent proper, which would not start for another fifty minutes or so.

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