Day 36-3. Horten to Larvik contd.
Shortly afterwards the signs took us onto a gravel road which started climbing. This turned into a foothpath/cycle track that steepened sharply and ended with a chicane at the top, oh, and a sign telling us to turn left. Damae walked through the obstruction and we had a five minute break at the top. We were both now rather hot and clothing adjustment was needed before we pushed on through another set of slightly inconvenient barriers.
It was actually quite close to tea time. We decided to look for a spot for a cuppa and a bite to eat and not long after we found a lovely spot with a picnic table, a view and a portaloo nestling under a tree. We had a light meal in the sunshine, made use of the facilities and carried on our relaxed journed towards Larvik. We were not that far from Sandefjord, less than fifteen kilometres when we rejoined the main road.
The real work of the day would start after Sandefjord as the terrain would get more and more undulating. For now we were enjoying the open flat countryside, golden wheat ready for harvesting, dappled sunshine and good signs. It was now six in the evening so we didn't stop in Sandefjord choosing to push on down the coast. In places the cycle track was squeezed in between the road and large overhanging rocks. Half an hour later, not long after we'd passed a Jotun factory we spotted a big supermarket across the road and stopped to do some groceries, have a quick drink of milk and eat something that we'd call dinner. It had been quite hot today so we took the opportunity to rehydrate and take on calories.
Both Tønsberg and Sandefjord showed signs of the property boom in Norway. The large urban areas are full of new flats and houses. In the smaller towns in the countryside hytte have sprung up like mushrooms to feed the desire of city dwellers to be in the great outdoors.
I thought about the conversation we had had with the owner of Grønnestølen Gaard during our first night in Norway in 2005. He couldn't understand all the road and house building. Why did people need to get from A to B more quickly than the previous generation? Why all the rush to fill your life with activities? Why can't you have a simple hut you walk to instead of a family sized home you can drive to? I still have no answers for this but assume that there will be a major correction in hytte prices when the oil starts running out and it becomes too expensive to travel to your hytte in the country for the weekend.
After our half hour stop we carried on towards Larvik. We knew that the route after Sandefjord was at least as rolling if not more so than the route so far. As we have mentioned before, this is the hardest type of terrain to cycle in. If you are on the flat against a stiff headwind, or climbing up a big hill you can settle into a rhythm. Our progress was not spectacularly fast today and at twenty to eight we were still over thirteen kilometres from Larvik when we rejoined the main road and the campsite (at Vasvik) was a bit further along. The sun was getting lower in the sky as we crossed the railway line and a few minutes later passed the stone church at Tjøllingvollen.