Come back later… You did? Good. I’ve been sitting here procrastinating. Amongst other things I’ve been reading up about why there are different kinds of number plates in Norway. I thought there were just two but actually there are quite a few more. Read this if you need to procrastinate. I then started thinking about astrophysics and more specifically the sun. At this latitude in Norway – 61° north – it isn’t really getting dark any more. I mentioned this in yesterday’s post. The sun sets at about 11pm and rises at 4am. But it doesn’t go far away. We all know this, no? (You should have listened to your physics teacher at school or watched a few of Professor Brian Cox’s programmes on the TV…) But tonight I am watching the astrophysics in action! There’s a hill opposite my pitch on the campsite. Here it is:
When I arrived earlier this evening the sun was just above the tree on the left. I thought that in a while it would disappear behind the hill, but, of course it hasn’t. It has slid down the edge of the hill to its current position. This demonstrates very effectively the whole 24 hour sunlight thing which I will observe for the first time in the next few weeks. Tonight the sun will disappear beyond the horizon for five hours before climbing at its shallow angle once again on the other side of the valley. At which point it’s worth remembering that the sun isn’t moving at all…
WordPress have just updated the app that I use to write these posts and the whole process is far more troublesome than it was until yesterday. Apologies if the formatting is not up to scratch.
Lillehammer was my first port of call today. I have to admit that I was struggling with the cycling in the first few hours. Reggie was feeling my pain as he too was making an annoying clicking noise, again. I continued to follow the western side of the Mjøsa lake although I was joined by the motorway traffic that crossed over from the eastern side via a bridge just a few kilometres north of last night’s campsite. I have, alas, been blighted by the traffic for much of the day since.
Major upgrade work is taking place on the E6 south of Lillehammer which meant that the old road that I was following was being used for the traffic heading south for much of the time. Not pleasant at all. At least the cycling route 7 reappeared. If you remember from yesterday I had decided to abandon it by following the western side of the lake. Did it cross via the motorway bridge? On my map it is just that; a motorway bridge. How did a cycle route manage that?
Lillehammer has a famous name because of the 1994 Winter Olympics and more recently the TV series. It’s the seventh host city through which I have cycled since summer 2010 after London, Rome, Athens, Barcelona, Paris and Oslo. That’s one of those things that cycling gives you time to work out. It’s a pretty enough place and still sells itself on its Olympic connections – the World Youth Games are being held there in 2016 – but it is difficult to see just how such a small town managed to host such an event. It must have been heaving. Where did everyone stay? How did they get there on the one/two lane motorway? I’m curious. I know that it was probably a much more intimate thing than Putin’s multi-billion dollar winter games in 2014 but even so.
Anyway, moving on… Which is what I did. My plan was to call it quits after about 50 km and I even found a contender for campsite of the night just opposite the town of Granrudmoen. It was a tiny site and the reception was only open in the evening. I sat down for a while and ate an impromptu cheese spread sandwich while contemplating whether to stay or not. It was only 2pm. Did I really want to spend the rest of the day doing nothing here? The answer my body would have given would have been ‘yes please’. My head, well… After about half an hour of perusing various maps and websites I cycled on to… no idea.
I remained on the western side of the river, the motorway having swapped back over to the east at Lillehammer. Then I asked someone – a cyclist – about nearby campsites. She pointed me in the direction of two which were both on the other side of the river so, for the third time in the day I crossed over to the other side of the water. When I found them, both sites were next to the motorway so I just kept cycling. My energy levels had clearly been boosted by the cheese spread sandwich. More sites appeared but they were still sitting next to the motorway so all got rejected. Then, shortly after a town called Tretten, I decided to escape the noise of the motorway by climbing the valley. What a good move! Great views looking down upon the steep-sided valley, its river and its motorway. Fantastic cycling getting the heart pumping. Even though it was late in the day I seemed to have stopped worrying too much about finding a campsite.
Eventually I did have to come back down from my lofty position to do just that. I thought there was a campsite in Fåvang but despite what my map indicated the three old men who I asked and who didn’t speak a word of English between them still managed to make it clear that there wasn’t. Then the two German walking pilgrims distracted me from my impending accommodation problems. They were staying in pilgrim refuges along the way and we chatted about our respective journeys.
Finally, after a lengthy stretch cycling on the E6 that had now been downgraded to simply a main road I stumbled upon Elstad Camping. Great site, great views… just a shame that it too is next to the busy road heading in the direction of Trondheim.
Tomorrow, however, I’m hopeful that me and the E6 will go our separate ways as I take a more direct route through the mountains and it heads over to the west…