Day 1. Utrecht to Bergen. Via Schiphol.
Distance Cycled 21km. Average 15km/h.
The sun was warm and the light intensely bright. We'd burst out into the drop off point at Bergen airport thinking of Jeroen & Miriam. They had been making dire predictions of rain and the cold that we should expect on arrival in Bergen (ever since we had said we were going to go cycling in Norway). Nothing could have been further from the reality that greeted us.
So far it was going well. Jeroen had dropped us off at Schiphol early so that we would have time to pack the bikes into the boxes (bought at Schiphol from KLM). This also gave us plenty of time to find the check in desk, and navigate our way through the chaotic crowds on the busiest weekend in the year, with the large bike boxes balanced on a standard luggage trolley.
The plane flight left on time, with our bikes safely in the hold and we arrived at Bergen to discover with some joy that our bikes had made it safely, even thought the boxes had been damaged. A short half hour putting the bikes back together and the luggage on them and we left the baggage hall.
We had one thing to do before we left Bergen airport (which incidently does not have a flat runway). In the airport concourse we found a cash machine, and pulled out our first Norwegian Kroner ever.
The ride into Bergen from the airport was a mixture of bewilderment and exhilaration. We asked each other several times "where has the cyclepath gone" as roadworks made it difficult to see where we could cycle. The landscape not being the flat plains of the Randstad consisted of climbs and downhill sections and plenty of switchbacks. In a taste of things to come, our speed varied wildly from 10km/h to 45km/h. Our excitement mounted at the prospect of starting the route proper in a couple of days.
It was at this time that Damae began her long quest to master the art of map reading. This was due to the fact that her bike had the attachment for the map holder and was not the result of a burning desire to look at the maps all day. We had a number of small but interesting diversions on the way to Bergen. At one point we were heading south towards the first ferry.
Things took a turn for the worse on entering Bergen for two interesting reasons. The first of these was to be honest nothing to do with Damae or her nascent map reading skills. We'd been told by the owner of the hostel we were to stay at that it was just off the E39. So we followed the E39 on the map towards Bergen but with increasing exasperation on my part could not find any of the streets we needed.