Kristiansand - Bergen - Shetlands - Scotland - England
1 Saturday, 14.6., Journey from Braunschweig to Kristiansand
The North-Sea-Cycle-Route keeps you to be alert. Especially when you
left this route last year amidst the most beautiful landscape. That was
in Kristiansand at the southern part of Norway. How to get there this
time and how to continue? We have friends in this region and these are Turid
and Terje Melheim who live on the island of Stord which is
just crossed by the NSCR (we change Emails with Turid and Terje since
many years and once at our Neisse-tour we met them
on the route). Moreover there is an impressive documentation of the NSCR
Opening Tour in 2001 in the Web. Everywhere and as well at
the islands Bømlo and Stord there were festivities and receptions for
the participants. So this time
it is challenging to visit these northern (and as we think dull)
and to combine this tour with a visit at our friends.
There is a proposal to get to Kristiansand by bus which is going daily
from Hamburg to Stavanger. It is amazing that this busline exists and
who will use it? Later we will learn that Norway is so expensive and
many locals like to travel to Germany and enjoy the cheaper markets.
But the bus does not accept bicycles except they are disassembled and
hidden in a cardboard box. So this will be to strenuous. My favourite
travel agency does a good work instead and I get the cheap
weekend-ticket until Flensburg , the ticket on to Hirtshals and the
ship voucher to Kristiansand. They only forgot the bike tickets. And I
will have to change trains 5 times (Uelzen, Hamburg, Padborg,
Fredericia, Hjoerring). I try to reduce the luggage as much as
possible in order of the slogan: take as much for three weeks as for a
weekend. So this time I leave my heavy Canon camera at home and will
use a simple digital camera and can shoot more than 700 photos cost
(finally I got 442).
I start on Saturday the 14th which seems to be better then Friday, 13th
for the superstitious travellers. Unfortunately the last event at home
is the death of a small
bird, which crashed against the glass of our garden window. I remember
end-to-end tour 1999 which was introduced by a bird's shit on my head,
that was a lucky charm. Let us await what will happen this time...
Meanwhile I sit in the comfortable train to Uelzen, and there is the
station built by the famous artist and architect Hundertwasser. So
somewhat warped and twisted and the underground crossing looks rather
In the next train to Hamburg I meet a local of our village, so we chat
until Hamburg where we part: he will go to the island of Sylt but I
won't. I enter a private train of the company named FLEX. May be they
have taken over some old stuff of the Deutsche Bahn resp. Deutsche
Reichsbahn of the former DDR. Anyway on the high bridge of Rendsburg it
is recommended not to use the
toilets to prevent that the settlers below get something unpleasant
on their barbecue...
After I arrived in Denmark the conductor immediately reclaims my missig
bike ticket and I have to pay in Euro. I get 20 DKR back, which will
end without success in a telephone slot at Esbjerg. At last I arrive at
Hirtshals. There is so much time yet and I am hungry. I remember the
Fiske Pizza" from the last year and enter the first Pizzeria
pedestrian area. I get somewhat like Pizza marina
and it tastes well.
Some shops ahead there is the "right" Pizzeria with the Hirtshals Fiske
Pizza, but this is much more expensive. Eventually you should get used
to the high cost
of living if you go to Norway.
It is a long time now to wait until the ship will leave. At 11 pm I
watch the sunset and the full moonrise. I linger around in some waiting
rooms and cafes whith closed booths. At last some busses arrive and the
pessengers are served with instant meals like burgers or so. Finally on
board of the ship, the nice hidden
places behind stairs or cupboards are immediately occupied by the
bags of some friends from the far east. I find the room with the
chairs, where you sit and watch the sea gliding along with the full
it (I sit in the front row). And finally the sleep wins the fight. In
morning the backside hurts after sitting all the time. Can one cycle
such a night, bleary-eyed?
Yes, one can. Past 7 am I come off the ship, I am the only cyclist -
alas! At Kristiansand I look for a bank to get money from the automat
find one. Impatiently I want to start - the lost night doesn't bother
all and I am fully motivated. Soon the (nearly not existing) traffic is
behind and we enter the old Postal Trail. Here you mainly meet joggers
dog-leading people. The old trail in 1790 to 1880 was part of the west
mainroad from Kristiansand to Stavanger - so to read in the Cycel
Guide. They may have had
some trouble with the slopes and the quality of the path's surface at
time. And they had no motorized vehicles except stagecoaches drawn by
horses. I prefer to walk at the steepest slopes as well to avoid aching
- I have learned from the last year. So I am not so sportive but
success and don't suffer from this trouble this time.
2 Sunday, 15.6., Kristiansand - Lyngdal, 110 km
We reach the lake Kvislevann. Here they
have built a dam in 1861 across the lake. 20 years later the route was
closed - anyway. Today the cyclist enjoys this passage and we have a
first panorama photo. Then we
rush downhill and reach a tarmac road again, there is still as much as
traffic. Now we admire the beautiful world of flowers. Once for ever I
Norway is all but dull at this season. We see the lupines, cloves, fox
or wild pansies (Stiefmütterchen) aside the street, mighty rhododendron
bushes in the gardens of some picturesque estates.
Now there is the occasion of a shortcut. But better let us enjoy the
and perform a nearly 10 km circle. The most scenic places are near the
fjords with their shining surface and rocks and the coloured
boatshouses ashore. The eye
laughs looking around. Now we reach Mandal,
the most southern town
of Norway. At last I find a bankautomat and feel like a civilized
But may be I am spoiled by the free nature and botany already and we
out, that I never will enjoy to pass larger towns (we have read about
effect in various tour reports).
The weather gets dull more and more and around Svennevig
or Spangereid it starts to rain. At an
abandoned petrol station I rest under a big roof
and think about sense and nonsense of my expedition. But we we are
on tour not for the first time, so some rain will not bother. For the
10 km of today there is a climb of 210 m. This seems not to be
so much, but we have a 100 km stretch in our legs already. And you must
there are various ups and downs, so the height difference may summarize
twice as much. But at last we fly down to Lyngdal and find an
at the Rosfjord Strandhotel. "You pay half
of the price" the boss
says, but it is still rather expensive. So the dinner at the restaurant
too expensive as well and I consume the last sandwiches from home and
chocolate. Meanwhile the sun has come out again and we have a fine
view of the Rosfjord.
At breakfast there are some German mechanics (transport gear or so).
They as well as me have two stomaches. The second of mine is the handle
bar bag eating some yoghurts and two rolls. The mechanics have plastic
fill them without any shame with numerous sandwiches from the buffet.
the boss comes up and says (in German): "The women are angry on you.
rooms look like a piggery."
3 Monday, 16.6., Lyngdal - Flekkefjord, 110 km
Now we have "Kaiserwetter" as we say on a day without any clouds. There
is a wide view and mighty colours everywhere. I resign to enter the
official route which climbs up to 130 m through woodland. The mainroad
Lyngdalfjord is more promising and this is finally true. There is few
may be this is not always the same so the cyclists may cross the hill.
last we join anyway at the road (Nr. 43).
We reach Farsund, a jewel with the bridge, white houses and the boats
at the pier. In the outskirts we pass some industrial areas and then
are back in the botany with the nearly unnatural colours and scenes. A
with flowers around it and some mountains in the background, or a
of a bicycle with flowers are fine motives.
After some 5 km on gravel we reach the village Borhaug.
The road is closed and some people run around with cameras, mirrors and
folders under their arms. "What's that?" I ask and learn: Filmshoots.
ask. "No, this will be an action film" they say. "You need an actor,
James Bond or so?" I ask,
but just a joke and I fail to enter the glory of the world of movies.
I buy a big bottle of Fanta in the next shop and watch the actors some
But there is no Julia Roberts or Richard
Gere, may be they
have just their breakfast lunch.
I head on and have my break some time later within the most wonderful
landscape. Some nice houses, the sea, the mountains far behind and a
picturesque little haven. It would be nice to stay here longer. Nearby
there are some rock paintings of the bronze age, 3000 years old. I read
about it afterwards. I have to fight with the cap of the Fanta bottle
which cannot be closed
properly. Finally a tricky construction of handkerchief and knot
Along lonesome paths we reach a height of 120 m and then run down to a
fjord. Then up to 190 m on a gravel road. As I just push uphill as
German caravans from Rendsburg (remember the High Bridge and the
come along. I see them some time later at a nice lake with their tables
chairs, coffee and cake, enjoying not to sit at home under this nasty
all the time...
I must climb up to 220 m now. If you add all the heights of the day
afterwards you will find out, that you have done more than 1000 m
height and you will not miss the Alps. At the downhill to Kvinesdal the
ride and not this alone nearly finds its end. There is a small sink on
the road surface and with a speed of 45 km/h I bump into it. I feel as
I come off from the saddle and nearly fly ahead over the handle bars.
But I succeed to keep steady and from now on I am more cautious. At
Kvinesdal we may wonder about the
distances: there is a sign 31 km to Lyngdal, where I have come from.
But my odometer shows
67 km - and that was all mere landscape.
Now there is the E39, which is unbearable, though it would be possible
to use a tunnel instead of a 160 m climb. The cyclist better enters the
Norwegian Main Road again. The guide claims: "...the masonrywork of the
bends brings you up quickly...".
But there are no walls but simple guardrails and no one brings someone
up, it is all to do for oneself in his sweat. Moreover a guy on high
roller skies overtakes me and soon disappears around the next bend. I
believed the bicycle to be the most effective human powered vehicle,
now we must think it over. May be it is better to do the next tours by
skies and rucksack, or a small trailer behind? I didn't see the roller
guy again, may be he has gone another way ore was thrown in a ditch at
steep downhill following.
This time we have to overcome 240 m after the 100 km stretch of today -
just as yesterday. We reach the village Feda
on the other side side of this roaring tunnel and we would have reached
this place within 10 minutes. Up above the next tunnel is yawning. The
rumble in and out and I am sure, inside there you will find your secure
end. Fortunately a mighty guardrail prevents from any misuse. So we
going up and down and the landscape is fine. At last there is a strange
deposit for certain muds, may be they are not suited to be used as
garden mould. For some 100 m we are forced
to use the E48 - a nightmare. Then some signs pilot the cyclist on
steep gravel paths. I imagine a neat cavalier with his sweet tender
as he has to carry his and hers, bike and baggage on this stretch. The
is a construction site, there they have knocked rocks big as a piano on
path. The only solution is to unload the bike and ballance over several
After you are properly in sweat you see a waterski lift construction
down in the fjord and may refresh optically. So the end for today is
Flekkefjord. I soon find a (comparable)
reasonable priced accommodation at the Guesthouse
Bondeheimen. The more generous traveller may reside at the
Grand Hotel or First Hotel Maritim. I pay my bill with the credit card
again and three
keen women are busy to operate the card reader automat (Ratsch-Ratsch).
They were not far away to smash the card to garbage and then I would
been a beggar. The shops are open and I buy a proper stuff for supper,
Krepsehaler von Fiskemannen and Cheese
and (by mistake) raisin rolls.
The plan for the next days is as following: just in a week the ship
will leave from Bergen to the Shetland Islands. This happens only once
the week, so the deadline is mandatory. The weekend is determined for
the visit at Turid
and Terje and I gladly await it. Terje wants to come from ahead on the
Bømlo, this could be on Friday. So the
route is easily bearable
until then, but as usual I say "You got what you got".
4 Tuesday, 17.6., Flekkefjord - Nærdal, 125 km
We leave Flekkefjord on a lonesome road within an original landscape
with rocky cliffs and mountain lakes. We have 170 m height and then run
to a road blocking again. They are busy to clean the rock walls from
material. I remember the accident of a friend, who years ago ran with
motor bike into such a blocking and was severely hurt. But there is a
stopping all vehicles far in front of the barrier. There is a high
platform as wide as the road based on hydraulic pillars. The cyclist
may pass, all the others have to wait and this may last up to half an
We come to Åna-Sira and in sight of this
picturesque scene you will wipe your eyes. But thereafter the highest
point of the Norwegian stretch of the NSCR with 275 m is waiting. Not
an hour later we run down again to the Jossingfjord.
Moreover the name Jossingfjord is a symbol
of Norwegian resistance against the German occupants. There are some
signposts and you can read about the
activities during the early World War II. In the February 1940 the
British destroyer Cossack followed the
German supply ship Altmark with 300
British prisoners of war into this fjord and freed the captured
compatriots. Then there are two ancient houses from the 17
th century under a rock edge. I just see them in the corner of my eyes.
There is a bizzarre rockwall ahead, they have milled the road into it.
We cross a short tunnel, not dangerous this time as I walk up in it.
Behind the tunnel we find a fine rest place with beautiful views down
fjord. A couple from Halle, Germany has arrived (by car) already and
they enjoy their
Finally a 180 m climb, and then we run down to Hauge
and the small village Sogndalstrand at the
coast. This time the passage through
the village is blocked because someone likes to paint his house from a
platform. The cyclist has no problems once again. Now we pass Nesvåg
and you can compare the pictures of numerous brochures with the real
The next stretch is nice and lonesome through heather and moorland
riddled with rocky hills. Always when we run downhill with the highest
speed on the deepest point there is a cattlegrid to prevent the sheep
around in alien areas. But the cyclist must brake down and cannot save
high speed for the next slope. At last the gravel route is not quite
comfortable, but soon we reach the road again and with high speed but
not so nice we
At first this should have been the final station for today
but now it is too early yet. So we pass this town quickly except the
supermarket. At the old bridge Hestvad bru
from 1843 a rest is a must. But then we have such a nice tailwind that
we stay to the main route Nr. 44 for a while.
After some time there is a stretch of the old Westland Trail again.
This is a hard work but it offers a stunning landscape. There are
mighty rock cliffs
burnished by the glaciers of the ice age. At the lower areas there are
bassins with a rich vegetation. Now and then we pass a small creek with
waters. The path itself has killing slopes. I found out that the best
to get up a steep hill is to pull the bike behind with one hand at the
post. In consequence of the extraordinary views we even do not
the strenuousness of the winding path. At last a steep downhill leads
towards the glasses of a greenhouse at the end of the path. So keep an
on your brakes...
The landscape immediately turns to be flat now. This is nor quite
typical for Norway and this landscape is named Jæren.
So we have a good progress with the tailwind. I know: there will be
another highlight today. At first we pass the Hå
Gamle Prestegard, an arts and culture center. There are a lot
of people listenig to a speaker, who surely tells something about art
or culture. I pass the group and a stonewall but then end in a meadow.
So I have to return and pass the stonewall and the group once again.
they were not too diverted.
But the "right" path does not look very comfortable as well, a narrow
grass trail leading to the banks of the river named Håelva.
And there it is, the highlight of today: an adventurous suspension
bridge. Of course I prefer to walk over it. Just behind the bridge we
reach the village Nærland and the guide
promised a hotel here. I do hard to find it but at last there it is
behind a flagpole, the Nærland Gjestegard.
So we have a
roof above our head and the dinner comes out of the shopping bags.
We start into a wide farmland, passing the lake Orrevatnet,
a bird reservation area. The helpfulness to the birds does not apply to
the road. There you see the flat rests of them, once three young oyster
catchers have been run down, one after the other. A small seagull sits
at the road and cannot
fly. And I cannot give any help. Back at the coast we find a long
and this is rare in Norway.
5 Wednesday, 18.6., Nærland - Skudeneshavn 62 km (79 km)
At last we reach the village Mekjarvik
just in time to reach the ferry boat to the islands Kvitsøy
and Karmøy. Departure is 1.50 pm, but why
does the boat go off already as I come around the last bend? I enter
the quay and after some time I understand: I have annotated the
departure times of the opposite direction. The correct departure was
and now we have 12.30. The next boat goes at 15.25, but then only to
island of Kvitsøy and then returns and not
17.20 the transfer to the island of Karmøy,
where I want to
go, will be reality.
So we see: it is good to have some spare time to overcome such an
eventuality. So what to do within the next three hours? Let's have a
look to the oil rigg near the quay, this is maintained at this place.
They wind up some pieces of wood up to the higher deck. Interesting!
OK, then there is the lighthouse at Tungenes
some km from here. So we go there and look around. A nice place! And
meanwhile the sun shines, so it would be nice to find a comfortable
restplace for the remaining time. I return to the headland at Mekjarvik
and set my camp into the bushes. Just as I feel comfortable the
gallopping of a horse comes up and a girl nearly shoots over the neck
of the horse as they suddenly are forced to stop at me. Sorry, I didn't
await a horse at this
tiny path. But now no one can disturb us and we make photos, write
notes, read maps or just doze.
Then the ship to Kvitsøy goes off. I shall pay later on the second part
of the journey, the conductor says. Now I have some hours to inspect
island of Kvitsøy. A fresh wind is blowing. The best view is up above
at the church. In
the shelter of a wall one can sit down and think about the
world and this and that. As I have completed with this activity I
the pier. There is not much to be seen. Only a man in a boat has
problems with the motor, finally another boat must pull him out. OK,
the rest of the time is spent in a wait-container, it is drizzling
Eventually the ship arrives and brings me across to Skudeneshavn.
Don't be angry, that they do not ask for the charge once again. May be
sit enough for it. At Skudeneshavn I must find an accommodation. There
is the first guesthouse unlocked, even the rooms inside are open, but
human beeing around though I ring the bell and crie "Hello". So I go
outside again and ask a young man for the second guesthouse Reinertshuset.
"Just here, I call the woman, if you really want to charge" he says.
lady comes up with the key, and so I get the ownership of an ancient
Norwegian house as they are typical for this and other towns hereabout.
pay at once - tomorrow morning I shall leave the key in the door - many
thanks for the credits.
Some things are to be arranged now: get money, go shopping, two
telephone calls. I must call Terje where I am meanwhile. "There you are
already?" he says. We keep to our plan on Friday so I have two more
unhurried days. I enjoy the
rest of the evening. In the guestbook I read, that members of the
opening tour of the NSCR 2001 have slept here too. I write something in
the book as
well: ...now I have a whole ancient house for my
own, I never had that before...
The morning starts with a thunderstorm and heavy rain. But so long I
sit warm and dry. I have so much time and only want to go to Haugesund
today. I start with a walk up to the view point in the park. There sits
group of school children, may be they are fom France Guyana or so -
so. They are griddy and I do not stay long up there. Then there is a
"moonstone", this is a stone as large as a fist and looking quite
different from the surrounding rocks.
6 Thursday, 19.6., Skudeneshavn - Haugesund, 60 km
About 10 am I leave the house and have cleared everything properly - as
I hope. We ride along the western coast of the island Karmøy an there
are pretty views. Most of the route is on the road. This area is called
the cradle (origin, Wiege) of Norway. You can read: "This entire area
Avaldsnes has been chosen as the Millenium Site for Rogaland country.
Harald Fairhair made his seat in the vicinity after uniting the nation
in 872". So some towns around here get profit of this fact and praise
their museums, heritage places etc.
After an easy ride today I reach the high bridge above the Karmsund
over to Haugesund. On the bridge is a killing traffic and the
passenger/cyclist track is about one meter wide. Expect difficulties if
someone comes from ahead. And there it is, resp. she, a woman comes
along. Just a heavy truck has rumbled along, so one can make a step on
the carriage way for a short moment and the woman can pass.
At Haugesund I just leave the tourist information as a heavy rain
starts. The boy of a neighboured fish shop pulls me and the bike into
his shop. I can wait there until the rain stops, meanwhile I get friend
to a large fish in a bassin. Thereafter I look for the
Best Western Hotel Neptun which is classified as friendly to
cyclists. I can confirm this fact - cyclists get 30% discount. Then
there is a nap, shopping and relaxing announced for the rest of the
day. In the evening I watch the soccer game Brasil - Camerun in the TV.
Camerun wins 1:0 and this is quite unusual.
Chapter 2. Stord and
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