Data is still an issue so just one picture tonight but I will update with others later in the week once my 10gb monthly allowance is replenished, hopefully on Wednesday.
Let’s start back at midnight last night. Earlier in the evening there had been many comings and goings involving several cars, three caravans and many people. I do find it interesting observing people on campsites, trying to work out who they really are. Sometimes you get the chance to ask them. Sometimes it would clearly be inappropriate to do so but last night I was tempted.
“Excuse me, why do you keep moving your car? Why have your friends turned up with two more large caravans and now disappeared? Why are you cleaning your own van with a vacuum cleaner at midnight? Just out of intetest but also because it is bloody annoying for the rest of us!”
I did sleep, eventually. I asked the British chap opposite what he thought of all the nocturnal cleaning activity but he was more philosophical about the whole thing than me. I had introduced myself to him on the night I arrived – Saturday – as his car had been the first I’d seen for quite some time with British number plates. He explained he was with his wife Catharine. Curiously, over the 36 hours I spent on the site, Catharine never appeared from the caravan. I wonder whether there’s a story there too… Enough of this little soap opera of Camping Oslo Fjord. On with the cycling!
I cycled again into the centre of Oslo but this morning it was in the sunshine. I thought yesterday how reminiscent cycling around the fjord was to cycling the corniche road from Italy into France and along the Côte d’Azur. With the sun now shining that was even more the case today. Steep sided hills up to the edge of the water, a busy road funnelling the traffic in the direction of Oslo, well kept houses overlooking the fjord, jewel thieves waiting to pounce… I can’t remember there being a segregated cycle lane back in the south of France however so this was a definite improvement from the cyclist’s perspective.
After breakfast from the 7-11 and coffee on the main pedestrianised street leading from the train station to the royal palace I headed over the Den Norske Turistforening (DNT) office to see if they could offer any advice with cycling to Nordkapp. What I was really after were maps showing locations of campsites, hostels, cycle routes and tunnels where cycling is forbidden. If you remember when I was in Dusseldorf, the WarmShowers host I stayed with had all of these from when she had toured in Norway. Alas that was a few years ago and now it seems that everything has moved online. The woman I spoke to in the DNT office was extremely helpful and she did what she could to point me in the right virtual directions. Some of the websites I was familiar with, some not. I’m clearly a fan of the online world but I hope I never give up on paper. It doesn’t care about 3G coverage or data allowances, it’s just always there. I do have a map of campsites in Norway that I picked up at Camping Oslo Fjord however. For everything else I’ll have to rely upon the Internet.
Architecturally, Oslo is a fascinating place. A whole new area of the town is being developed along the waterfront with some striking modern designs including the sunglasses-required gleaming whiteness of the new Opera House. As I made my way through the north and east of the city, however, I got the chance to see some of the older parts of town. Many of the buildings reminded me of those in Tirana, the capital of Albania, having been painted in bright coloured patterns. I’m going to have to post another picture aren’t I? OK… If I run out of data tomorrow it’s your fault.
The first 10 km out of the capital We’re beside the route 4 road. As the cycle path – also route 4 – curved its way past the neat tower blocks in the suburbs there were some serious climbs. Not long but steep beyond belief. My guidebook describes Oslo as ‘Norway in miniature’. Here were the hills that I was expecting to kick in much further to the north!
I did wonder when, even if, I would see a sign for cycling route 7. That’s the one I had been following into Oslo and the one upon which the Eurovelo 3 piggybacks all the way to Trondheim. I seemed to be heading east all the time. This is easy to identify as whenever I’m cycling north I rarely have a problem reading the screen of my phone which is clamped to the stem of the bike because of my shadow. That wasn’t initially the case today. Would the route 4 take me too far east? The suburbs continued – very nice ones I have to say – as did route 4. The hills started to become mountains in the distance but it wasn’t until early afternoon that I saw the first route 7 sign. I immediately dispensed with using Google Maps and let the signs take over. There did a pretty good job.
The cycling today seemed to tick every box. A bit of urban, a bit of suburb, lots of countryside, long flat sections, short steep climbs followed by high speed descents, mainly good quality cycle path but occasionally on road… Even the weather seemed to want to get in on the act. Predominantly sunny in the morning but later in the afternoon a rain storm to rival the one experienced as I cycled into Salamanca all those weeks ago in Spain. I cowered under a bush for a few minutes before returning into the open. I couldn’t really get any wetter than I already was.
I chatted with some Germans who were walking to Trondheim and shortly after the storm to a couple of German cyclists who had started their journey in Nordkapp. I met a moose that stared at me as I took its photo from a distance and compared moose-spotting notes with a Norwegian lady who reassured me that they were only a danger if you happened to be standing between them and their baby moose. My moose was just idly chewing on grass; I don’t think any offspring were in the vicinity.
The storm was a curious thing. I thought it had blown in the other direction but when I paused at a supermarket and stared into the sky I could see storm clouds to my right and blue sky to my left. The ground was bone dry. Was I outpacing the storm? A storm that would inevitably catch up with me and drench me again? Please no… It did give a certain impetus to the rest of the cycling day as I headed for the campsite at Langset trying to ensure that I arrived before the storm to erect my tent.
That I did and now, after a few hours on the site I have come to the conclusion that it was heading east rather than north. The only ‘inconvenience’ with tonight’s site are the planes flying overhead in the direction of Oslo airport and the occasional train trundling over the bridge a kilometre or so away. That said, give me those two any day compared to the traffic noise of the previous nights. And so far, no one has yet started to vacuum their caravan. The night, however, is yet young…