Today was one of those days that just got better and better.
The forecast was rain, so to what a lovely surprise when we opened the blinds to sunshine. Breakfast followed by a shower then pack up and off. We climbed the vertical Dalen rock road and waved goodbye to the Telemark Canal. Within 5 minutes we had snow at the side of the road and with each mile the snow got wider and thicker. We stopped a few times to set up the go pro video, so we could film our route. Craig is a perfectionist, so set up took a wee while (video to follow in next few days).
Not long and we were admiring aqua marine lakes, sheer cliffs, purple heathers and views to make your heart melt. The best bit we weren’t even on the mountain pass. But a few miles further on we climbed higher up a mountainside and into a succession of windy roads. The air was suddenly cool and the villages, sometimes no more than a few houses and the odd chapel. The vistas were stunningly pretty with long views up to the rocky mountains ahead. An hour or so passed and our tums started to rumble, perfect timing to pull in to the picnic spot. The wispy grey clouds were now starting to lift and glimmers of blue sky and sunshine made for a nice walk once we’d ate our lunch. The lake with mini waterfalls, a few bridges and stepping stones for making the walk a bit of fun. Mac n Tosh were all for going for a cool dip but the smell of wet dogs didn’t appeal, so we settled for a paw paddle instead.
A few kilometres just out of Valle and we turned up the mountain pass. The pass only opened a few days ago, so perfect timing. A long but gradual climb until we had walls of snow towering over the top of Vin the motorhome. It was ace. With not a soul or car in sight we had this huge wilderness all to ourselves and it felt special. The waterfalls where gushing from the thaw and the frozen lakes were starting to crack. Occasionally, you could see trickles of water underneath the ice. Sometimes the melting ice was so blue it looked like de-icer. We spent the whole day stopping at waterfalls, gawking at untouched and just naturally beautiful mountain peaks.
Off the pass, we parked up on the tourist information centre and went to check it out. It was closed! Shall we stay or shall we go? We opted to stay. Craig cut his hair then went for a quick blip on the motorbike whilst I took Mac n Tosh for a walk. We had a walk around the tourist information grounds with a number of old museum houses that were in need of some TLC. Either boarded up of completely rotten suggested this place does not get many visitors. I followed the path around until I arrived at a little bridge and then halt! Mac did not like the sound of the rapids and was absolutely terrified of the water. Tosh was fine. I went to pick him up but he refused, so I didn’t force. I moved a few feet away and reassured him it was OK. He couldn’t get away quick enough! Instead we had a walk to a golf course and small farm before heading back through heather, marsh and bogs.
Mac n Tosh crashed out, so we decided to go for a ride on the bike. The weather was pleasant and so we headed over to Lysebotn. It was 6pm but it doesn’t go dark until around 11.30, so plenty time to explore. The road to the top was certain a challenge for our little motorbike. We encouraged our little monkey bike to keep going and it was at this point we named it Eor, our little donkey. Craig dangled the carrot to encourage him up the steep inclines with our two butts weighing him down. Whilst I used my air whip to gee him along. Both of us shouting ‘giddy up little donkey” to each other through the bluetooth intercom. The chuckle ride was superb and much more challenging and fun than the mountain pass. Equally, the scenery was more dramatic and the colours much more vivid.
Once at the top, the air went cold sorry not cold, friggin freezing and fog descended in a nano second. As we reached the pinnacle we just slowly dismounted Eor. The cold had got to our bones and we looked like we were in need of hip replacement. We slowly thawed got mobile and debated should we carry on or not. Talk about stupid! But the view down the fjord was stunning and so tempting. “I know, lets go down to the first bend” Craig’s famous last words. Half an hour later we were still slowly rolling down the long and very steep road. But each bend lured you to the next, teasing you further down the cliff road. It was so steep it took an eternity and with every mile we managed to climb down the mountain, an inch! Eventually we reached the bottom and wow, what a stunner. No wonder this fjord is claimed to be the prettiest. Emerald green sea, tumbling waterfalls and lush valleys. A wander around the end of the fjord, gazing down the valley until we realised…we have to head back.
Surprisingly! it was a taxing and slow climb to the top, mollified by some attractive waterfalls that we missed on the way down. The road snaked up the mountain in a series of short, acute S-bends, but a mile or so up we reentered the slog of a tunnel. Dark, damp and steep. Little Eor was rather hot and sweaty by the time we reached the top unlike us who were shivering like mad. It was so so cold and we still had 30 or so kilometres to go! We shivered all the way home and when we arrived back at Vin we sounded like darlics because we were so cold. Time for something eat, bed and a final smile at sunset (11.30) as we reflect on a brill day.
Our sleep spot tonight, the tourist information car park in the middle of no where with cracking views all around and a few shy but fluffy sheep.
Route: Dalen to Sirdal
Weather, low 11 high 21. A cold start but by mid afternoon it was toasty until we went on the bike to the back of beyond and it hit -5!