Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2008-->Norway.-->Day 26

Day 26-1. A day sightseeing in Røros and an evening cycle to Langen.

Distance D 35.93 km Max 42.5 km/h Time 1.56:54 Average 18.4 km/h
Distance S 36.06 km Max 41.5 km/h Time 1.51:57 Average 19.3 km/h

A new day dawned with sunshine and clouds which wasn't bad. For us it started quite late. The campsite was quiet and we took it very easy in the morning. It was midday by the time we'd packed everything onto our bikes and were heading off into town. We'd had a good night's sleep which was most welcome given how hard we'd pushed ourselves the day before. Getting into town was fine and we ended up parking our bikes outside the big Co-op in the centre of town. There was a plethora of bikes outside the shops, some seemed to be here for the day whilst others arrived unladen with their owners and some time later left fully loaded with groceries.

Two were especially interesting. The first was a tricycle tandem which was being used by a mother and her handicapped child. Unlike a conventional tandem the two cyclists sat side by side and the trike was also fitted with an electric motor. Given the steep hills in the town this seemed like a good idea. The second was a lovely old DBS step through town bike fitted with a dog walker. Although it had been repainted by hand at some point, it still had some of the original details such as the crest on the front mudguard, ornate chainguard and rear light.

I stood around by the bikes whilst Damae went to the tourist office close by. Actually everything is close by in Røros unless you want to visit the old copper mines. She came back with a couple of maps and some information about a place to camp near to the Femunden ferry. We wondered about putting our bags in a left luggage locker in the station but decided just to take our valuables with us and leave our bikes and bags where they were outside the supermarket. Most of the bikes didn't have any locks on them so we thought our bikes would be safe.

The plan for the afternoon was to have a look round Røros. Røros was, at the time a project-Kommune looking for people to move to a live in the local area hence our interest in the place. It also had a train station with several trains in both directions up to Trondheim and down via Hamar to Oslo Airport and Oslo Sentral station. So we wandered round as tourists but with an eye to what the local area had in the way of facilities.

As tourists we started by concentrating on all the cute buildings in the old town centre. The architecture of the town centre makes Røros a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plenty of old wooden buildings, many dating from the time that the town was created to exploit the copper deposits found in the surrounding hills. Unlike Trondheim or Bergen that have good harbours and have been inhabited since time immemorial, Røros is a newcomer. Copper ore deposits were first discovered in the seventeenth century when Norway was still part of Denmark. The Danes realised the importance of the find, started mining and processing the ore and established Røros to house the mine workers.

The traditional methods of mining copper used considerable amounts of wood in the smelting process. So much in fact that if you walk up the hill above Røros to the moors you will find a landscape almost devoid of trees. The copper mining and smelting deforested much of the surrounding area and in the end they resorted to moving much of the ore to places that had trees. The season for harvesting the wood needed was in the winter as transport was easier using large sledges. Bearing in mind that winter temperatures regularly drop below -30'C in Røros you start to get an idea as to how hard life must have been.

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