Early Start and Long Day.: Larvik to Oslo. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

August 20, 2013

Early Start and Long Day.: Larvik to Oslo.

I decided to go to Norway next and caught an overnight ferry to Larvik. The only other bikes waiting to board were eight of the Harley Davison type with riders in full leathers and fringe-jackets chatting in Norwegian with an Oslo accent. The biker talking most was well into his sixties and had a mane of silver pony-tailed hair; though, they were a mixed age and gender group.

It was good to be going somewhere. Good to get out of Hirtstal. It had been good in Hirstal the few days I waited for the sailing to Iceland back in July when the campsite was full of other travellers; now all the other travellers are gone as the Summer draws to a close and, I'd the melancholy feeling of my life passing by and I should be moving on too.

The ferry arrived as scheduled at two in the night and it was fine when I rode off following the line of bikes, cars and trucks out of the port and along well lit streets. At a roundabout, I turned right for Sandefjord and soon the way ahead was residential and unlit, so I stopped at a bus-shelter to wait until daylight. I had no idea when that would be at latitude 60 north in mid August, but reckoned it'd be around half four-five: a couple of hours so, I rolled out my mat and the sleeping-bag and settled down to sleep. I wasn't asleep long when Is awakened by a car stopping. It was getting light when I looked and saw the driver get out and stride across the road where he put a newspaper in a post-tube at the garden gate to a house, then return and get back in the car and drove off.

I packed and was on the road at half five. The sky in the east was still red and there was a nip in the air making me stop and put on gloves. Then I saw the sun break and rise through the trees, and with a cloudless sky, it would be yet another fine day. I had forgotten water, so stopped and filled the water bottle at a petrol station on the way into Sandefjord and on the other side of town, stopped on a service road overlooking the busy E18 motorway which I would shadow on smaller roads for the rest of the day.

For most of the morning I'd to keep consulting with the map in order to keep going in the right direction. The quiet country road went from village to village with white wooden houses where orchard-tree-branches bent under the weight of a ripe crop of apples. I passed rolling fields of yellowing oats which contrasted with the dark green slopes of pine woodland and oxide red wooden farmhouses.

I lunched in the sun on the grass lawn outside a Remi 2000 supermarket where I bought only, bread and cheese plus bananas and an apple, costing a total of one hundred and twenty-six kroners, or thirteen stirling. A lot, though the bread is excellent whole meal and I'll be making it my stable, eating to both lunch and dinner. The cheese is brown and has a unique sweet taste which I like.

When I got going again, the road dropped steeply down a few switch-backs to Holmestand on a narrow stripe between the Oslofjord and ganite cliffs. The road onward continued by the fjord with the rocky wall on the inside, a busy road without much of a shoulder, though the cars slowed and gave me space when passing. This road led most of the way to Drammen, a city forty kilometres west of Oslo, thence it was a well marked cycle-path the rest of the way numbered E18, the same as the motorway which it ran parallel with most of the way.

The suburbs of Oslo are villages and satellite towns between wooded hills, so there was an awfull lot of climbling. Having not had much sleep in the preceeding night my legs felt stiff. And there were lots of licra-clad cyclists in fine training form that climbed swiftly by me. Then the final three kilometres to the campsite was a killer steep hill, all the way from the fjord to the wooded hills that surround the city.

I arrived done out and said hoarsely to the receptionist, "one person and a tent" and as she looked at me quizzically, I said "I'd like to camp" "It's one-hundred and eight-five kroners to camp" she snapped. I think she had had a long day too. It was the most I've every paid for camping and it cost an extra ten kroners for a shower.

I'm debating while I write, whether to stay a second night as a day isn't much to do all that needs doing; like, doing something with the rear-brake so I can stop better, and lots of other things lease not update this journal.

I liked the contrast between the blue-green stalk and yellowing heads in this field of wheat.
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Lunch: bread and brown cheese.
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The campsite.
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A typical house, this one with shops on the ground floor.
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Michelin map of Scandinavia and Finland.
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Today's ride: 165 km (102 miles)
Total: 4,575 km (2,841 miles)

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