FlÅM

We are currently in a carpark alongside the main road to Bergen, which is about 150km away. Our original plan, to stay at the head of the Næroy fjord was scrapped when I looked past roadworks, a mining operation and through rain to a narrow, they-shall-not-pass kind of road, chickened out and turned back to the main road at Gudvangen. One of those afternoons – two Polish drivers were washing down their tourist bus, so I asked if we could use the hose to fill up our 120l fresh water tank, which was looking pretty low. Very helpful guys, gave me the hose plus their nozzle attachment, and waited patiently in the rain as I filled up. Turning the nozzle off, however … well, the thing came off, dropped to the bottom of the freshwater tank. My new Polish friends smiled, and politely offered to open the tank for me, which would have resulted in 120l of water flooding the bottom of the van. No problem though, I opened the bottom drain, they waited patiently in the rain, sharing helpful comments in Polish (I think the comments were helpful!). Drained all the water, scrabbled around and found the nozzle, filled up with water again, as my Polish friends waited in the rain …

IMG_4164We also travelled through the world’s longest motor tunnel … The journey was broken up with rest stops every 6km where you could pull into cut out areas, bathed in soothing coloured lights, before beginning the next section. For ourselves, 24km was long enough – we wanted out.

We’ve had a great two days since coming away from the glaciers. Last night we camped at the fjord, about 5km from Flåm. Very noisy, as it turned out, with trucks engine braking down the hill, or straining up it. Nevertheless, we watched huge cruise ships come up the fjord, there were waterfalls all around, and we spent the better part of an hour watching dolphins just a short way below us.

Today we got into Flåm early, got the bikes down and headed off towards Myrdal, 20km away, but with an 850m climb. Absolutely stunning ride. The road is in excellent condition, the gradient mostly gentle (8%) and very little traffic. The last 3km really goes uphill, at a fairly constant 15-18% and on gravel.  Heads turned as we flew up the inclines, thighs of steel … the Bosch motors were of some assistance.

Note: We’ve both got full suspension mountain bikes, but with a small Bosch motor, powered by a 500Ah battery, which gives us around 120km assistance on flat roads, around 50km when doing mountain trails. The slow 18% grind is exactly when we need a bit of help, now are getting older & more rotund. The bikes give as much as you do – you stop pedalling, no assistance. At 25km/h assistance cuts out. I saw a stat showing 70% of bike sales in Germany are now e-bikes. And they last – My son-in-law and I did 2600km last June, Geneva to Lisbon, and I’ve clocked over 10 000km now without a hiccup (holding thumbs).

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Umpteen turns at 15-18%

Lots of people walking their bikes down this section. I’m happy to say that Swiss trails were a great training ground, and we swooped/fluttered/staggered around many steep corners, mostly in control. Video coming as soon as I get free WiFi.

On the way down we stopped at Kaupanger to see the Stave Church – a traditional style comprised of large wooden columns supporting the building, which has wooden cladding reminiscent of boat building styles. The church dates from the 12thC … and, like many churches we’ve stopped at, either closed or too expensive to view, or both!

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Kaupanger Stave Church

Our current campsite is hard up against a river and then serious cliffs comprised of Anorthosite, in a layer 2km thick. The info board states that the next closest layer of similar size is … on the moon!! For myself, just happy to be here, warm, beef stew on the stove, rain absolutely tipping down – contented

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Home sweet home, outside Gudvangen

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