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After a light breakfast we set off on our journey to Heddal in the unwelcome rain. The drive was certainly more pleasant than yesterday but once again, we were still surprised to see so many unsightly concrete and peddle dash industrial units amid such a beautiful landscape. We were just discussing the concrete when we spotted a reasonably large Rema 1000 supermarket, so we thought ‘why not’. We’ve checked out the Kiwi and now for our second supermarket sweep. Oh and we learnt something yesterday from our friend Tommy that Norway has a peculiar fuel pricing system that rises on a Monday and Thursday, so best time to buy on Sunday or Wednesday. The shift in price is massive as we have seen it rise from 9 to 13 NOK in 24 hours.
Once inside, Craig went in to his own little world of working out how much everything was for a microgram and then concluding it was too expense. Oh, this country will bring plenty opportunity for healthy debate, I can feel it in my water…or not, if it is bottled and Craig’s paying! Up and down each isle until our basket was full of lunch items, a bottle of ribenna and a bag of crisp for the small price of £25. The Rema 1000 supermarket was a little better than the Kiwi but overall not much between them whether that be layout, selection or price.
By the time we arrived at Heddal church it was time for lunch. A nice burger in a bun washed down with ribenna before tootling over to the church. Set in a beautiful landscape against a back drop of rolling hills and forest of pine trees the Hedda Stave Church looked rather unusual. The wooden medieval architecture looked fire damaged. We slowly walked through the gardens and cemetery before taking a 360 tour of the exterior. The wooden frame was completely soaked in tar and charcoal to preserve the wood hence why it looked fire damaged. The church started life in 1047, stands 82 feet tall with 64 different roof surfaces and is the largest of the remaining Stave churches in Norway. As we approached the church door we noticed a sign “closed for church service”. We tried the door but it was locked. Grumble, grumble. We admired the detail on the door and then had a walk around the inner covered walkway before heading back to Vin for a coffee.
We had another look at our route and plan for the next week or so before taking the dogs for a wee walk. Motorhomes were pulling up left, right and centre but guess what, they didn’t stay for long. Something told us to head back over, so we did. This time we walked by the cafe and noticed an information sign. We walked inside and asked if the church was open. The young gentleman said yes but it was closing in 15 minutes, so we needed to return tomorrow and buy a ticket (NOK60). Then a lady turn around and said we could go over and look inside but just for 15 minutes. But no guide to explain. That suited us just fine and we briskly walked over.
The door was open and we stepped inside to be greeted by a young gentleman in traditional dress, the church guide. He asked for our ticket and we explained we’d been given permission to look inside for 15 minutes. We also explained that we’d been here earlier but it was closed due to a church service. He then sighed and apologised, he had forgot to take the sign away. There was no church service and with that he began to tell us the history of the church for free. His grandfather worked on the church restoration and the original chancel was built in 1047 and a century later they extended the church to the current size. The beautiful bishops chair from 1200 and a baptismal bowl from one of the original pillars were just 2 of the many items he told us about. Marks on the walls from when men and women stabbed their knives in to the wood to hang up their coats. Swords and axes were left outside. Our free personal tour was well worth the wait.
The car park does not permit overnight stays, so we moved on to find a suitable place for the night. Rather than stick to the normal roads, Craig took a turn up a windy country lane, it was excellent. Not long in to the drive and it started to feel like Norway with snow capped peaks, still alpine lakes, sprawling forests and mountain huts. When the snow melts in the ski slopes all that water has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is down stream to the 1000’s of Norwegian lakes. Every bend brings a new body of water. The large lakes are a certainly a welcome break after the harsh winter and we spotted the odd local jump in to their tiny paddle boats and head out for a spot of tranquil fishing.
After an hour we spotted a nice little place right on the banks of a river. No idea what it is called but it is rather nice and located just outside of Linde. That will do nicely. We pulled up, cooked dinner and watched the sticks sail down stream.
Our sleep spot: Free wild camping spot on the banks of a river. No passing traffic and just a few tweety birds to keep us company.
GPS Position: N059.304144 E009.101709
Route: Kongsberg to Linde
Weather: Low 10 High 18. Rain on and off all day with the odd break allowing the dogs to nip out for a little tinkle.