Sometimes you get lucky …
We woke up in the middle of the night, 6:00am, pitch dark, Niki making grumbling sounds while I put on tea – it’s a full-service campervan this one. We had a good night’s rest at the marina in Jørpeland, which cost us 150NOK, but well worth it, and with substantial savings to be had – read on.
A light breakfast, we got the bikes ready and set off towards Preikestolen, our outing for the day. Only 9km away, with a small climb of around 400m, but far better value than the 250NOK for parking, or an equally outrageous price for the 10 minute bus ride.
On the way up, still cool, with very dense fog, we were passed by a number of people coming down who had made even earlier starts in order to see the sunrise. General disappointment with this, as by now the visibility was down to no more than 20 meters. A 2 hour walk took us the Preikestolen, but so wreathed in mist that we might as well have been 3 feet off the ground. Not to be rushed, we enjoyed our time watching other tourists taking advantage of the absence of vertigo, and sitting with their legs over what we knew to be a 604 meters above sea level – and that’s the fjord directly below us (oh, that’s 1981 feet for those non-metricated Luddites).
And then the clouds broke up. And then the mist lifted – I need adjectival help on the views along the Lysefjord, over the Preikestolen itself, the mixture of cloud and reflection in the waters below – all while rediscovering my own sense of vertigo!
The walk back was a little more crowded, given that busloads of school tours and others had been arriving – a bit of a China Yellow Mountain memory, for those who have experienced the mayhem of a million (yes, literally!) people on a single mountain.
My heart went out particularly to our German neighbours. The Germans may well have invented the current iteration of the walking stick – carbon, adjustable, soft grips, multi-colours, rock/sand/snow varieties etc etc. They use them with careless precision, a sort of Tetonic thoroughness in placement of tip, angle of incline, steady backward thrust, and all in silence. I can imagine their national pain when Spanish tourists come by, reaching down or up to their grips as no-one has explained that these are, indeed, the adjustable model. Click clack as the sticks are jabbed willy-nilly into cracks, onto rocks, spearing the occasional tree in passing. It’s like putting a choice lamb roast in the microwave – you can, but why would you?
And then there’s this: A couple in full wedding regalia (albeit with her in hiking boots rather than high heels – sensible Norwegians!) beginning married life on a high … or is it on the edge? Time will no doubt tell.
Oh, and a big shout out to this kid and his friend – diving in Jørpeland harbour and pulling out dumped tyres – Good on you! I was so inspired I’ve picked up empty plastic bottles at each stop today.
And to end the day … a lovely carpark right on the Lysefjord. Look at those views to our left & right, and all for free. Great job, Norway, on providing outstanding dumping/water facilities – UK listening??