Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2008-->Norway.-->Day 34

Day 34-3. Halden to Strömstad contd.

Our raincoats stayed on for another three quarters of an hour, until we neared the top of a climb. Here I caught a glimpse of blue sky and the rain seemed to have finally stopped. I waited for Damae to catch up: the road was similar to the one between Strömstad and Svinesund on the NSCR in Sweden. Undulating, thus hard to get into a good rhythm, views limited to corners and crests of hills whilst running through forest and woods. Still the blue sky was nice to see as were occasional bits of farmland between the trees.

This road, heading towards the border with Sweden, seemed to have been forgotten by Statensvegvesen. The deep concrete kerbstones were lying at a forty-five degree angle in many places as though they were on a very long tea break. Who travelled on this road, how many cars per day came through this small unattended border crossing? Who cared? A little worryingly we were cycling towards a dark cloud again as our little bit of blue sky disappeared from view.

At twenty past four Stan reached the border with Sweden. It was marked by a modern sign and a stone monolith dating from 1883. One side Sverige, the other side Norge. It was put there during the timeof Union between Sweden and Norway. It was also marked by an abrupt join in the road surface although, rather curiously the white lines at the edge of the road seemed to have been done in one go. I wondered if cross border tendering of public services had reached this part of Scandinavia.

Well with that bit of excitment over we carried on up the undulating winding towards Skee. The sun made another feeble attempt to come out, but it looked like we could expect to get very wet before we reached Strömstad. We arrived at this junction not quite sure where we were. The signposting was stright on to a place not on our map, or left to another place Åmål a hundred and twenty seven kilometres away and also not on our map. It looked a bit like straight ahead would take us up and possibly away from Strömstad. Neither option felt right but after a few minutes squinting at our road map we took the turning to Åmål. (Actually the other road would have taken us to Strömstad as well, I discovered later).

We travelled South for a couple of kilometres with the headwind making its presence felt, until Stan took a left turning, on a hunch. This road headed West and the lie of the land just started to feel uncannily familiar. Eventually I popped out at a main road to find a sign to Strömstad and a friendly NSCR Cykelspåret sign in surprisingly good nick. We'd been here before in the summer of 2007 as we headed followed the NSCR. We'd hit the 164 that used to form part of the E6 and would take us into Skee and that scary turn across a busy main road that we'd done the previous summer in torrential rain.

This lifted our spirits a little as did seeing faded Cykelspåret signs that we'd seen the year before. We trundled our way through the now more open but still rolling landscape toward Skee. We didn't have far to go now to Skee and sure enough we soon we were following NSCR signs round the edge of the town and towards that rather busy road we had to cross to get over the railway line. Or did we? Damae took the initiative and suggested we cycled straight on through the housing estate that sat between us and the railway line. When we got to the small station, we spotted a pedestrian crossing. As a 'safety' measure there was a set of barriers that made it difficult to get a bike across the line quickly. Hmmmm. I ended up on the line for a few seconds having to remove a rear pannier to get the bike free after helping Damae get her bike through the gap. Still no harm done and it had been a lot safer than crossing the old E6 in the rain the year before. If you wanted to play safe you could remove the bags and carry them across before fetching your bike.

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