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7 Friday, Haugesund - Leirvik, 87 km

Today the big meeting will happen. It is strange to think about it - it was planned weeks ago and now the day has come. I have to ride 35 km to the ferry boat to the island of Bømlo, this is done within a short morning. Not without some rain and I share a bus hut with a black snail. Let's speak about snails later, this snail may survive as I thoroughly carry my bike over it.

Haraldshaugen Riksmonument, Haugesund



The village of the ferry pier is called Buavåg. This time the ferry just arrives. And again I am ignored by the cashier, but I won't argue about that.

At noon I arrive at the island Bømlo. We have planned to start for the meeting at about 2 pm (past the last day at school before the Norwegian summer holidays begin). So there is some time to hang around and I find the proper spot for this: a village named  Bømmelhamn ( in German: bummeln= to dilly-dally). I find a nice Spar Shop with chair and table in front of it. Now I can consume the last yoghurts from the morning's breakfast buffet. Moreover some German tourists have arrived and they now unload their fishing equipment.

At 1 pm I start at the pier of Langevåg. We have a stretch of 50 km to meet anywhere. The landscape of this island is hilly with heather areas and rocks, so we ride up and down on short steep slopes. And another rainfall occurs, time enough to hide in a bus stop with a good overview to the road. I pass the Kulleseidkanal and some time later there he is, a cyclist with a high gear transmission comes up a hill. And it is Terje. We celebrate a heartily welcome and some time later retire to a proper rest place for a welcome-beer. We soon figure out, that we have met exactly at the middle of the Langevåg - Leirvik section.

I soon realize that I have to push some teeth more to my gear ratio. But my gear shifting is very noisy meanwhile, may be I should have had an overhauling of all parts at home before starting on this big tour? But there were months without any problems and I had thought "Never change a winning team". Let's discuss later about it.

Suspension Bridge to Stord

Meanwhile we just pass the two new suspension bridges leading to the island of Stord. Some time ago these suffered from strange movements and sounds during certain strong winds. They say, this was nasty but not dangerous. Meanwhile they have stopped this by the construction of special spoilers to divert the winds. We just have a tailwind again - curious. At the end of the second bridge there is an artificial tunnel to let the wildlife animals pass the deep cut of the road in the landscape. The greenland above the tunnel is the most expensive pasture land of Norway - so they say.

We have now arrived at the island of Stord and a heavy rain is the welcome. So we enter a shopping center which was built in the botany like anywhere else. In a glass porch we sit on garden chairs and test them on water proofness. Then we are soon at home and I can enjoy all the comforts of a hospitable house. I am very impressed as Terje shows me a map of South Scandinavia where he has signed all roads he ever had cycled. These are nearly area-wide all big, small and tiny roads of South-West-Norway. "This is the work of my life" he says. And now I know, why I had to push some teeth to my gear ratio before...

For dinner Turid presents a tasty fish meal. After some lingual problems we find out, that the fish is "Seeteufel" in German and monkfish or anglerfish in English. It is said that this fish is one of the most delicious of all. Moreover Terje has produced a nice fancy cake. And I am not sure if I behave quite well with my cyclist's stomache. But let us agree: hosts always enjoy their guests welfare and so it is again.

For the end of the day we go out for a walk, "About 7 km, OK?" says Terje. And we walk through a nature reservate named Hystadmarkjo. This was not reachable for public folks for a long time so it is very original. A wild forest and some stone fields, these are the rests of prehistoric graves. The view to the fjord and sea is very romantic, a nice place to meditate for a while.

But the rain comes back and we hurry home. I think we have enjoyed a full day with rich impressions. I soon go asleep, while Terje has to inspect his garden and collect these nasty brown snails, invaders from somewhere and now manifolding improperly.

8 Saturday, 21.6. Leirvik, 22 km

Of course there is a program for today and I may choose between a boat trip or a mountain tour. In consequence of the weather conditions we choose the mountain tour. So at first we cycle up to the height of 400 m. "Sometimes this area is my evening training course" Terje says and I admire his condition. I must push the bike, when the slope gets too steep.

Finally we lock the bikes and continue on the steeper gravel path. Chatting we reach the peak, this mountain is named Kattnakkjen and it's height is 724 m. It is a pity that we cannot see anything due to the misty clouds hanging around. Behind a wall we sit in the shelter from the wind. I success to produce a photo using the auto timer and so this memorable moment is presented in the internet.

At the Kattnakkjen

The Hosts

Temporarily Departure

Soon we are back at our bikes and then fly down through the increasing drizzle. We are soaked wet when we return. But Turid has conjured (gezaubert) a dinner of reindeer ragout with cranberries (Preiselbeere). I never ate meat of a raindeer in my life - it is very delicious. After all this we have a nap and then start for a walk to the town. As everywhere modern influences may have taken this and that from ancient romantics. The new built buildings are not so scenic. Small shops often have to quit due to the super market outside in the botany. And since they have built the suspension bridges some ferry lines have been abandoned too. So many locals own an electric car, because these can pass the bridges cost free.

Terje tells me a lot of the country and the history. If I had remembered everything I could not write it all. Meanwhile - as I think - we are friends more than by Email or Internet alone. We will prove it tomorrow...

9 Sunday, 22.6., Leirvik - Bergen, 76 km

The weatherforecast has announced a fine morning, so we start early at about 9 am. The big Farewell - when will we meet in Germany? In any case "Auf Wiedersehen" corresponding to Turid at first, because Terje will accompany me to Bergen, where we will live in their apartment for two days.

A last photo at the road with my old approved bike - then Terje flies ahead round the next bend. I just add some teeth again, when I hear a cracking noise at my rear wheel which is blocked. The derailleur has blocked the spokes, so the bike must be unloaded and put upside down on the grass. Terje comes back and I make a resigning sign from afar. We then try to bend the derailleur to it's correct position, but all we achieve is, that it breaks off the frame. "There is a ship from Bergen to Hanstholm" Terje says, and that means, the journy is over. On the street a small titmouse (Meise) flutters to death - nothing pleasant just now and I am in a state of shock.

What is to do? We will get the car and bring the broken bike back. Thereafter we will think it over. Until they come with the car I roll back standing on the pedal. This works good downhill but won't work doing all the way down Scotland! Then the car comes along - didn't we say "Auf Wiedersehen"? Now we begin to have some positive ideas. At first the moment of the break was very fortunate for I can get so much help from my friends. It would have been much more difficult at the Shetlands or the Scottish Highlands. Then there is a bike shop at Leirvik and the owner will come though we have Sunday. And finally he accepts my credit card...

A repair of the bike will not work. It is too complicated do do it within some hours and other parts of the bike are worn too (50.000 km lie behind). So let's have a new one - "a bike for your life" Terje says. I would be content with any crock. And in fact we find a proper bike "for my life", not so expensive as one would expect in Norway (cheaper than the old one was 9 years ago). The name of the bike: DBS Spinova from a Norwegian company but produced in Sweden.

For the next couple of hours you see us dismantle parts of the old bike and fit them to the new one as there are: fenders, rack (this is broken too), saddle, seat post, odometer, pedals, clamp for the handle bar bag, pump, accu, tires (they were very expensive). The remaining parts of the old bike, which has seen good parts of Europe, stay behind and may go to pasture.

Now let us say thankyou for all the help and the perfect technical assistance. Turid offers an additional meal and then it is late afternoon when we part again: "Auf Wiedersehen". But we insist to go to Bergen today. Now in midsummer it will be dark very late. We prefer the direct route on the E39, the NSCR runs the other way at the western part of Stord. Naturally the speed is high and so one cannot enjoy the landscape as usual. Once I see some salmons jumping in the sea, but that is a bassin of a salmon farm. On the other hand we are very lucky with the weather, one day earlier or later would have been awfull. But now the sun shines and we have - guess - tailwind.

As we come near the ferry Terje is far ahead and waves hectically. I do not understand at once, but then I do and hurry along. And when we reach the pier the ferry is just going. So we have to wait for half an hour - not too bad I think. Then we sit on the boat to Halhjem and the crossing of the Bjørna Fjord lasts about 50 minutes. "This is the time to eat something" Terje says but just now I am not hungry. So I get the attack while we ride up and down around Osøyro or so. Mastering some machine gun fire from a military area we come to the ruins of the Lyse Kloster, Norway's first Cistercian monastery founded in 1146 (it is very convenient to write this information from the guide because there is an English text too). During the last centuries the Kloster was mainly used as a quarry, so there is not so much left (e.g. they built the Rosenkrantztower at Bergen out of this material).

Later we see far away the house of the composer Ole Bull on the island of Lysøya. It seems that this house is mainly famous due to it's onion spire which is to be seen in many catalogues. And then the final "killerhill" (230 m) awaits us - the guide says this is the hardest climb since Jossingfjord. So I walk the last stretch of the climb, Terje was more ambitious. We share the nice rest place at the summit named Fanafjell with some midges and have a nice view. Soon we fly down again and reach sealevel - so what for did we climb up all the time? Don't ask such questions or stay at home.

The last attraction for today is the Fantoft Stave Church. This looks a bit sterile and new. This church once had been burnt down by some fanatics, but was rebuilt and now everything is fenced and locked.

We arrive at 10.30 pm and have a final dinner out of the bags. And now we are very tired after such a day...

10 Monday, 23.6., Bergen, 22 km

This day is dedicated to the town of Bergen which does not welcome us with the best weather. The first thing to do is to purchase the ticket for the passage to the Shetlands tomorrow. This is done at the office of the Smyril Lines. Then we have time for sightseeing as to look at: the old wooden houses and wharves at Bryggen, the harbour, Hakonshallen and the Rosenkrantztower, Mariakirkken and the dark backyards of the former trading center. They once had planned to break all this down and build a modern bureau and shopping center there, but today this part is on Unesco's World Heritage List.

We then ride to the "Gamle Bergen Museum". There are old houses and one can go in to watch an old grocery shop or the collection of old toys. We end in the shelter of a roof from the drizzle and have a lunch. We go back high above the town along the traditional Fjellveien. There are nice viws down to the town. We pass the Floibanen which is pulled up the hill by steel cables. Just now the cabin comes along. Moreover there shall exist a song about the Fjellveien to be about a tragic love and a sailor or so.

Finally we return to our flat in rain and dense traffic. We go shopping and have salmon steaks in the evening. In the steady rain at last I must go outside for three times until I success with a telephone call at home. They got some rumor of my bike-desaster and now I must explain...

Chapter 3. Shetlands und Scotland (Highlands)
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