Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2008-->Norway.-->Day 6

Day 6-3. Røldal to Lofthus contd.

It took Damae more than ten minutes to appear in view, after having done the climb at her own pace. By the time she finally reached me on the hump it was a quarter to twelve and the tea was ready to be drunk. We decided to have an early lunch and rest a bit before carrying on. The weather had been turning as we got near the top of the pass cooling us a bit. Now that we had stopped we could have done with some sunshine, but even so we were quite sheltered and were not feeling the cold.

As we were preparing to leave, a sheep with a lamb in tow arrived looking for some excitement. They were nowhere near agressive as the sheep we had seen a year before on the Voss side of Vikafjellet in Sogn og Fordane and in any case we'd finished eating by the time they arrived. It was half twelve when we started the descent down the other side of Røldalfjellet. The first bit was flat and as we carried on we were confronted with a variation on the landscape that looked a bit like the moon. I remember seeing pictures on Brian and Karen's site but the reality was still quite amazing. The ratio of rock to green stuff swung the way of the rock as the small old road wound its way between the mountains and cliff walls.

Then we saw the view and the descent proper, and stopped to take photos for the album and the road and more importantly put our rain gear on. We'd cooled down during lunch and going downhill we would be in a stiff breeze for the next fifteen minutes and not moving. There was no way we would warm up until the road flattened out and we would have to start pedalling again. Below us was a lake with the new main road running across it, which then disappeared into a second tunnel. We were glad to be on this road as the views and scenery had made the climb well worth it.

Luckily there was not much in the way of traffic and we had the road pretty much to ourselves. The road surface was about as bumpy on this side of the hill as on the other so it wasn't all plain sailing. The hairpins were a lot tighter than on the descent into Røldal the day before and we had to brake quite hard a few times. It was breathtaking to be racing downwards through the chiselled landscape. Just after the lake I stopped again to take pictures looking the other way back up the hill we had just descended. Looking back it was quite hard to pick out the road as it was the same colour as the rocks around it. Here the lake turned into a stream and the gurgling noises it made were mixed with the sound of vehicles entering and leaving the tunnels. Then it was time to enjoy the remaining hairpin bends before we re-joined the new road. It was not flat here either and we accelerated equally dramatically down towards each bend braking hard before accelerating again. Eventually the fun was over and after a short pause at the junction chose a break in the traffic before moving off, downhill once more.

This did not seem to cause drivers much of a problem, the road was fast and wide and we were moving at forty to fifty kilometres per hour. Then I heard the sound of a car slowing down behind us and then it started beeping its horn. The first time made us jump as did the second and third times. I turned round and yelled at the driver and finally the car came past, the driver shaking his fist at us as he disappeared into the distance. Surprisingly the car had Norwegian plates on it: we'd got used to courteous behaviour from Norwegian drivers.

By now we were starting to get a little low on water, so on seeing a cafe by the road we stopped. I wandered in and asked if we can have some water. The reply was to direct us to the toilet (5 kroner for non-customers) where I could fill up bottles from the tap. The toilet, like the cafe, had seen better days, so with some trepidation I filled our bidons and bottles. Luckily the cold tap was broken and was running merrily. The water was as cold as the becks on the tops and looked quite clear. Thanking the lady I left, got back to my bike realising that I had left my helmet in the toilet. Once this had been retrieved we hopped on our bikes and headed onwards. The main road continued to demand our attention, moving fast, cycling defensively and trying to follow the route marked on the map. I was map reading and noticed a small section of the route took us off the main road and onto what looked like quieter roads through the hamlet of Usikten. I spotted the sign at a junction and indicated to Damae to stop. We both looked at the map for a minute or two and then took the turning. It was a relief to be away from the main road, until we reached a barrier, that is.

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