Day 1-3. The cycling starts.
A little further up I spotted the small dip and bend in the track that I remembered from last time but couldn't place on the route. This is pretty much the only steep climb on this section, the rest being fairly flat. What makes this exciting is the steep drop and climb, with a sharp bend in the middle covered in fine loose grit. In 2006 there had been a a small group of cyclists stopped out of sight at the bottom of the dip just to add to the fun and games. Although my T400 felt better than I remember my 'Limit' feeling, I negotiated the bend rather gingerly. I managed to take a glance at my computer and noted that I was doing more than twenty-five kilometres an hour as my tyres ground through the grit. Damae had whizzed down it with far more gusto and I only caught up with her after the crest of the hill. This bit of excitement over we stopped a few minutes later to relieve certain needs as we were not sure where the toilets were in Hirtshals.
All that remained was to finish the journey into Hirtshals. This was easy now, as we both started recognising the route, and the signposting was good. We passed an example of Danish cycling humour shortly before we entered the city limits of Hirtshals. On the way into town we passed Hirtshals Fyr and decided to stop and have a cuppa. Next to the car park was a small field with a couple of picnic tables in them which made it the perfect spot. So far the trip had been great, better than if we'd taken the train all the way. We'd got to cycle part of the NSCR in Denmark and I wondered if it would be fun to do it all again. Having drunk our tea we headed into town with the idea of buying some groceries. We would not get into Kristiansand until midnight and the idea of trying to find a supermarket the following morning was not appealing. We wanted to get on with our route straight away.
Heading into town we found the supermarket we'd used in 2006 and Damae volunteered to go in and spend our money. I was OK with this having dashed round it last time as it was about to close. Plus it was nice to sit peacefully in the sun on my three legged chair. Peacefully right?
This I managed to do quite sucessfully for about ten minutes before a gentleman by the name of Michael decided that we were going to have a conversation. This consisted mostly of a number of short and cheerful monologues about how much cheaper things were in Denmark when compared to Norway and general comments that things were better in Denmark when compared to Norway. Okeeey. I did my best to explain that we'd been to Norway many times and yes we knew there were differences but to no avail. Still, it did make a change to be accosted by a stranger who didn't want to help me find my way to Jesus nor wanted to relieve me of some loose change for a cup of tea.
Damae came out as Michael was winding down and giving subtle indications that he was ready to shuffle off. Aha! Like a jobbing comedian with a new audience, he realised that he could start all over again telling Damae this time how much cheaper everything was in Denmark and how we should buy loads of food here now before we cross to Norway (ignoring for a moment that we only had four panniers each and all of those were rather full). Finally he seemed to realise that we were about to leave, and cheerfully left us to our packing. Just one of life's happy souls I guess.
All that remained to do was to eat some tea before finally heading down to the harbour. We cycled slowly from the shopping area towards the campsite looking for a quiet place to stop and eat. A few hundred metres further along and right next to the campsite we found some empty picnic tables with a view and sat down to enjoy some food, salad and potato salad with fruit for dessert. This we washed down with some fruit juice and were hungry no longer.