Cycling the Kystriksveien - Day 10
Updated 26 November 2006.
After a morning of playing with Tonka toys in the sandpit and watching Skippy on the television, P. is ready for a challenging afternoon of cycling with Janet and I. We leave in a hurry for the 14:45 ferry which I previously understood sailed at 15:00 - a quick round of goodbyes and we're off. Unfortunately we are half way across the straits when I realise that we've left the petrol stove bottle behind. I call Holm camping to check that they'll be open when we return on the next ferry, and we reluctantly reboard for the trip back again. However we get a pleasant surprise at the Holm terminal because Esther's husband is there in his car, waving the missing bottle at us so that we can stay on the ferry for the third crossing in a row rather than having to wait another hour for its return. This is very kind of him and typical of their generosity to visitors.
After hot chocolate and cake at the trading station on the ferry dock at Vennesund we are ready for the ride to Brønnøysund 55 km away. The weather is cool and very dark with heavy cloud, but mostly the rain holds off. The road is surprisingly flat, we are speeding along it at 19 kph most of the time. But it really does start to rain on us just outside Vik, the next small town. We find the Tourist Information building open and enquire about the local maxi taxi and bus times, but the maxi taxi is already booked and the bus comes by at 10 pm, so we pedal on during a gap between downpours. All the stuff on the bikes is well wrapped inside drybags, so our change of clothes and camera won't get wet, but it isn't pleasant when we stop and cool down. The next settlement is Berg, which turns out to be a petrol station and a few houses only. Since it is cold and wet and we haven't eaten since lunchtime, I'm a bit concerned for Janet and P. Eventually we find a good place to get some hot food ready about 15 km further on - a combined bus-and-postbox shelter near a group of houses off the road. I get the stove alight in seconds and we crowd in next to each other taking up the length of the short bench while the rain pings off the sloping roof and gurgles in the ditch next to us. It is nearly dusk now and unusually dark under the heavy rainclouds. A woman appears out of the gloom and steps over the roaring petrol stove, giving us a cheerful greeting as she gets her mail from the box over Janet's head.
This break was the right thing to do - the last 15 km would have been tough without some hot food inside us, but as things stand we are on our second wind and power along the road past the junction with the RV76. The road remains rather gentle in contour terms as we pedal around the final corner into a gorgeous sunset under the rainclouds on the edge of Brønnøysund. The town seems to be a pleasant sprawling place with some fine old houses, but we can't be sure where the Hurtigruten landing is! We ask a dog-walking retiree with four days of stubble and a fair amount of alcohol on his breath for directions, but he insists that we have passed the turn-off for the boat for some minutes until we try pronouncing Hurtigruten with a silent "G" and suddenly elicit comprehension and much back-slapping - ohhh, the Hurtiruten! Tha'sh in town, follow thish road!
We arrive at the quay at 10:15 pm with rain bucketing down. The waiting room (coffee, sweets and hotdogs) closes at 23:00 but the ferry doesn't arrive until 00:30; Janet investigates the bandstand opposite us but I am quite chilled, so we end up at the Galleon Hotel next door where the staff are happy to watch us spin out two coffees for an hour and half while Janet reads quietly to P., who is curled up on their best velvet-covered sofa next to her. The vast Nordlys arrives unannounced about ten minutes behind shedule, and we are soon out of the rain, strapping the bikes up at the end of the car deck by the hoist. No cabins free tonight, so we scrounge one rug (the last one) from Reception and settle down to a very poor night sleeping in the panoramic lounge on Deck 7 with four or five other foot passengers.
05:00 on the Nordlys from Brønnøysund
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