Saturday, June 04, 2011

Squiggly Roads

Woke up to sun and immediately drove off along the coast -- The North Sea/Viking Road --that runs from Kristiansand all the way up to Bergen, where it becomes the Atlantic Road and wends its way up past Trondheim, at least. it's a gorgeous drive; not too many towns along the way that are larger than a few houses, but the tiny narrow roads wind around the lakes and fjords on the coast. We tried to pick roads with higher numbers -- the higher the number, the "less used" the road is, and often the more scenic, and took rv44 most of the way to Egesund before we started our way north to pick up the ferry in Lysebotn so we can motor down the Lysefjord

it's a car ferry, not a cruise, so it's a bit slower and while they have dubbed it a "tourist ferry" and there is a bit of narration done by the captain of the ferry, it's mostly just a slow, scenic trip down the fjord, which is extremely steep and lovely.

But we barely made it in time to catch the ferry, despite leaving whta we thought was a ton of buffer -- we intended to arrive at 2 for the 3pm ferry (when they only specify 20 minutes, really) but we had to drive up the Lysebotn road...a fantastic, looping, turning, narrow-hairpin-curve road that climbs up over the mountain and back down again to the ferry port. In about 10km. The road up is narrow and rather hair-raising, but it's the downward journey that really sets your teeth on edge --- the GPS looked like a clump of spaghetti, really, and you actually go through a tunnel at the end that backs up under the fiteen or so hairpin turns you have already done. It's wild. We had to wait a few times in the wide placesi nthe road for oncoming cars to pass, and had a few close calls with the narrow roads on the curves, but this is why mark drives and I do not!

We did make it, though, and boarded the ferry in plenty of time to enjoy the four hour cruise along the fjord. We sailed close enough to one of the waterfalls to feel the spray, and we even got to watch The Amazing Goat Rescue -- on one of the tiny coves, there are three goats. It's just a tiny triangle of land surrounded by steep cliffs, but three goats graze there near a small waterfall and they have been there for quite a while, i guess. Except today, they only saw two goats. A bit of searching revealed that one of the goats was way up in the rocks and had apparently become stuck in a narrow crevasse. The captain stopped the ferry, backed us up, and two of the crew went down in the rubber boat to land on the steep scree, clamber up to where the goat was stuck and pull her out. They don'tknow how long she'd been there -- probably at least since yesterday -- and the two men had to pretty much carry her back to the lower part of the little outcropping and get her into the grass. They said she didn't appear seriously injuried, and by the time they managed to get the boat back onto the ferry, the goat was at least eating the grass around her and appeared to be moving.

They had a bit of trouble with the dinghy -- Mark thinks they'lll be doing some emergency procedure drills in the future.

But, goat safely retrieved, we continued on. The ferry goes all the way to Stavanger, but it does make one last call in Lauvik, which is a bit closer to where we are spending the night, so we got off the ferry there and drove to our hotel for the night, Byrkjedelstunet. Our room i very comfortable, which a huge bed (with a single mattress, so I don't fall into the middle!) and we're in a set of buildings that have sod roofs, a pretty common sight around here. It's kind of weird to see grass growing on the roof, but it's used all over. It must work, or I assume they wouldn't do it any more, right?

After dinner, we drove back up the tiny twisty road to view the Gloppelsdura Glacier Scree -- a huge 100m thick clump of giant boulders that were knocked loose and pushed around by the glaciers about 10,000 years ago. They are impressively large, and Mark even climbed out intot he field so i could take a picture with some sort of idea of scale. otherwise, they could be tiny rocks by the side of the road, instead of giant boulders the size of busses. Or larger. We didn't know how deep the pile of boulders was, but apparently some of the holes we saw are really deep.
Tomorrow? Off to Stavanger and the search to do laundry, I think. Mark is really excited about the Oil Museum (and clean socks, I think).

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