Following our walk from the previous post and before our boots are even dry we hit the Ryfylke route. Its a great drive which offered up plenty of wow factor right to the end of the day when we bed down in Sauda on a harbour wharf and did clothes washing... Thank goodness I am getting right old washer woman's hands from washing in sinks all the time.
I think having a good walk really lifted our spirits and although all is mist and rain and up and down and winding roads seen through fogged windows, it's still all very impressive. And especially today because we are doing the Prekstolen walk. Pulpit rock, as it's known looks down down down to the waters of a fjord. It's impressive and the view is awesome (Here used as the English superlative meaning awe inspiring and not the passé American usage which can be applied to a cat shitting on a doorstep or someone eating two Big Macs).
Unfortunately it's a bit of a cattle market to get there and back. A sort of human banger racing event. Coach loads of struggling, sweating, limping, tourists keen to keep their trainers clean. There are of course many able bodied folk but throwing all the different capabilities into something this strenuous on narrow paths is bound to cause congestion and a wearing of patience. I must add I do not count ourselves among the elite by a long chalk But seeing impending rain heading our way we took no prisoners on the downward leg. Literally reaching the van as a torrent fell about us.
Another night of free camping. This time on a charming waterfront overlooking a bridge and large mound that was magically lit by a late evening breakthrough of sun at 11.00pm.
Stavanger. I have long harboured a wish to go to Stavanger. It sounds so cold and desperate. Battle horns will be heard and mighty axes will be found embedded in oaken doors. Or... There will be many British tourists fresh off a P&O cruise all looking around the very quaint styled old harbour town area buying everything from troll figurines to Norwegian hats. We spend a pleasant hour or so then skiddadled off to find what the tourist books describe as "A charming stretch of endless beaches and quaint industry"... The cynic in me might suggest that the more obvious attractions of the copious stench of spray on cow shit hovering over the fields and lots of slow moving tractors would be more accurate.
We did turn down one little path from the main road to enjoy a picnic in some woods but found the proliferation of 'no bum sex' signage a little too suggestive of what might me expected if not indulged in. Suddenly this route came to the end with a thank you notice bidding us goodbye. Strangely only after this sign did the odours and tractors go and were replaced with fantastical smooth rocky mounds and boulders. The sort of vista you might see in a spaghetti western with a Stetson wearing cowboy shooting his rifle in. Pools and grassy mounds stocked with groups of different farmyard creatures huddled together with all the camaraderie found only on the cover pictures of The Jehovah Witnesses 'Awake' magazine.
Just arrived at a lovely little campsite in a bay. The sun is shining, irds are tweeting and the view is gentle and relaxing. We take time to clamber over rocks and look at the colourful array of seaweed and sea anemone visible in the clear, lapping water
We finally reach Kristiansand sometime after this. It's got a huge natural park area where we rambled for 6 or 7 km before getting to the ferry point only to be told it would be delayed for 2 hours. Denmark will have to wait but we are eager to leave Norway. It has been an interesting time and undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places on earth but come on Norway. Sort your shitty weather out if only for a couple of months in summer. There is little point of having long days if they are dingy and wet! We complete the 2 hour crossing sometime after midnight and catch a few hours in a noisy truck stop before I literally pull Rachel from her bed at 6.30 and we head off. There is no real plan for the next few days because we have to get through Denmark, Northern Germany and half way down the Netherlands in 5 days. Not a huge distance but it is us, we don't like to hurry and with our 60mph sort of limit it will take time. More in the final chapter next time.