Friday, September 21, 2018

Let the good times roll

Thursday 29th of July 2010

 vøringfossen
Vøringfossen

Allright, so I wake up in the morning, I step outside of my tent and GAAAAHH, all the German mobile home travelers could hear my jaw drop, what a spectacular view! From my tent I can see the 38km long Sørfjorden and the 3rd largest glacier in the mainland of Norway, Folgefonna just sort of hanging there looking like it’s going to fall into the fjord any minute – amazing!

A friendly German couple offer me tea in the morning and tells me how beautiful the area is and how much better it would be if it wasn’t raining all the time! The western parts of Norway are known for their rain. There had been quite a bit of rain during the night but this morning was looking great! I get on my bike and move on a few kilometers north to a tiny, yet incredible popular, place called Kinsarvik. The view from Kinsarvik is one of the most memorable things from the entire trip. While eating breakfast on the quay I’m situated at the end of the fjord and I’m surrounded by majestic mountains and a few kilometers behind and above me is Hardangervidda, the largest mountain plateau in Europe with a cold climate all year around. Probably the best place I’ve ever had breakfast – so far.

kinsarvik3 
Kinsarvik

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Lofthus camping (left), Kinsarvik (right)

My uncle told me there was a waterfall called Tveitafossen not far from where I was. I headed over and you can see a photo of this below. There’s a sign just before you arrive which says Warning! 2km long narrow road to Tveitafossen. The road has neither barriers nor meeting points. You are driving here at your own responsibility. There’s a parking lot near the sign for those who wish to walk the 2kms there, but the adventurer in me told me to ride my bike. One good advice from one biker to another: DO NOT ride on this road if it has been raining recently! It’s a dirt track and unless you’re riding an off-road bike you could get stuck or worse, fall off the edge of the road. Luckily the dirt track was fairly dry when I was riding so it was all good.

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Tveitafossen (left), Sign before Tveitafossen (middle), Wood sculpture at Lofthus camping (right).

The waterfall I had just been visiting was OK, but now it was on to one of the most famous waterfalls in Norway, Vøringfossen! The last petrol station before Vøringfossen was out of petrol… that kinda sucked as I didn’t know if I would have enough petrol to ride to Vøringfossen and back and then find another petrol station several miles away to fill up my tank, but heck if I was going to drive several miles back to where I was the day before just to fill petrol so off I was to Vøringfossen gambling that the petrol station would have petrol delivered for when I got back! I had no idea what to expect but I knew there was a fairly steep incline at 8%. The tourist busses where going really slow up these hills. Quite a bit of the road up here are inside badly lit tunnels, which doesn’t make this a very pleasant drive if you’re driving a heavy vehicle or a low power car. The Vulcan, however, loved it all the way to the top! :)

There are at least 4 viewpoints to Vøringfossen worth exploring; from the top, two from the side and one from the very bottom. As you can see from my photos I saw the waterfall from the top and from the sides. Next time I’ll definitely have a go at taking a hike down to the bottom. I saw some brave souls doing this and it just looked like something really worth doing.

On my way back from Vøringfossen I had very little petrol left, but I was in luck, the petrol station that was all sold out of petrol earlier in the day now had a fresh load of petrol eager to come riding with me. Next stop: Ulvik!

To get to Ulvik I had to take a ferry from Brimnes to Bruravik. In 2-3 years time there will be a bridge over the fjord called “Hardanger bridge”. They already started building it and I could see it from the ferry. A shirt ride further and I arrived in Ulvik, a small town with an amazing view from the quay with tall mountains on both sides making Osafjord, another one of the minor fjords making up the large Hardangerfjord. Recently there has been talks of building huge electric power lines across parts of the area which would be a shame as you don’t find places like this anywhere else in the world but in Norway. The government are looking into an option where they use sea cables instead, even though these are expected to be more expensive at least the nature remains fairly untouched and the people living in this area can still focus on tourism.

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Utne (left), Lothe (right).

By now, I’m not far from Bergen. I’ve never been to Bergen, and if I had another day or two in the area I would definitely visit this city. This time though, I focused on finding a camping site close to where I was as I had a very long ride back home ahead of me the day after. I took another ferry from Kvanndal to Utne. A few kilometres south west from Utne lies Lothe Camping, a small camping place with a small beach and the compulsory kiosk where they sell waffles and simple meals. 1 night in a tent with a motorcycle cost 90 Norwegian kroners, approximately US $15.

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