13

From our church car park we skipped the city of Stavanger and headed straight to ‘Pulpit Rock’, experiencing our first car ferry from Lauvik to Oanes, a short 10 minute crossing on the Ryfylke scenic route costing 116 NOK (£11.14).

We didn’t fancy parking on the road side so paid the 200 NOK in the main car park, which is also a little closer, so it would just be the 2 hours each way on foot.

The website and signs in the car park advise you to wear appropriate footwear, take plenty of layers for changeable weather and adequate food and drink; standard advice. We complied, but many of the oriental tourists on their way down were still dressed in their city clothes and loafers!

Bang on 2 hours, including several breaks, we reached the top after a more strenuous climb than we expected and took the necessary photos.

Many of the reviews online comment this to be an easy to moderate hike. We’re relatively fit, but the nature of the path and scrambling on the rocks, we feel it would be a tough hike if you have little experience and low fitness levels. Suitable footwear is also advised, how the loafer wearers managed we don’t know, we suppose the need to capture a photo has no limits?

On our way down a lady asked if we’d seen her husband, about 60 years old, fairly large with white hair and beard! We hadn’t, but apparently he’d set off down at 5pm; it was now approaching 8pm. We would’ve passed him if he was about. She continued up to search for him, not looking very able herself.

Not knowing what to do, we simply continued down and found Santa enjoying his summer break! Thankfully, someone had started to walk up to tell Mrs Claus.

After refreshments we drove on in search of a place to stay; annoying truckers because I wasn’t comfortable going above the 80 km/h speed limit around fjord roads I didn’t know.

We finally stopped in yet another church car park and had a quick Smash potato supper before bed.

The next day was a shower day, meaning we didn’t hit the road until well into the afternoon. Feeling a little sore from yesterday’s hike, we had a short stroll around the ‘Fairytale Forest’. A local wood with creepy sculptures from popular fairy tales.

Continuing on the number ’13’ road, which included another ferry and a short break in the village of Sand, a lovely place on the shores of Sandsfjorden, we felt like staying but we ploughed on into the evening; along with more truckers.

With a headache from the drive through countless tunnels, around fjords, past waterfalls and up and down mountain passes, we spent the night overlooking the town of Odda.

Taking the road ‘550’, which runs parallel with the ’13’ on the over side of Hardangerfjord, we passed the cherry trees and road side stalls selling punnets. Another ferry crossing and we were back on the ’13’ and soon on the E16, a road which connects Bergen to Oslo. We’d already made the decision to miss Bergen, due to time and fuel.

After the Laerdal tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the world at just over 13 miles, we arrived at our destination in Laerdal village. A quick walk around the old town and we settled down to watch Belgium beat a weakened England team. Least we qualified from the groups.

To date we have accrued approx. £48 in on toll roads and £30 on ferry crossings, and we still have 1,200 miles to go to the North Cape.

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