The Button

Despite losing to Belgium we were keen to be somewhere to watch the next game. We knew Trondheim had a big screen like Kristiansand, and since it was on our route, we set a target to be there in 5 days time.

A slightly easier drive along road ‘5’, we viewed the Boyabreen Glacier, before picking up the ’15’ and spending the night by the fjord in Grodas.

Heading towards the famous Trollstigen (Trolls Path) and Geiranger before that. We continued along the ’15’ and experienced a little taster of things to come on the mountain pass.

Turning off the ’15’ onto the ’63’ which runs along the Dalsnibba Mountain Plateau, we viewed snow still left from winter; gradually melting in the summer heat.

Starting the decent, which included a couple of hairpins, we pressed what we only refer to as ‘The Button’. Not knowing the correct name, or how it worked at the time, it’s basically the thing that limits your speed down steep hills.

After one of the tight bends we met a gentleman controlling traffic, presuming it was due to the old tractors which passed on their way up.

A short wait later, we were allowed to move down and around the next bend, realising something else was occurring as we noticed a couple of queuing coaches and a tow truck making its way down behind us.

Inching further down with the cars in front, we noticed several people resting on the grass, so we assumed one of the coaches had broken down at a very inconvenient place!

Following the advice of the fireman, we took the near hairpin as wide as possible on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. With sweaty palms and adrenaline pumping through our bodies, we made the turn and saw the coach hadn’t just broken down, somehow the back wheels had dropped down the inside gutter and the front end was lifted and pointing across the road. No wonder some of the passengers were drinking beer!

With a good view of the drop on Hannah’s side we squeezed through and on past the fire engine, wondering how the larger motorhomes behind us would fair and what the plans were for the tow truck on its way.

A few more bends later, we squeezed through another gap past queuing coaches on their way up, and eventually found somewhere safe to pull over to calm down, but were left wondering why no one was stopping the flow of traffic up or down, as not all vehicles were slim enough to pass the gap.

Working our way down with ‘The Button’ engaged, we enjoyed views of Geirangerfjord and Ornesvingen (Eagle Road), which we were soon climbing it’s 11 hairpin bends and avoiding roaming goats.

Due to the recent experience, we chose not to stop at the viewing platform on one of the bends, instead stopping at the top to take in the view.

Reminding Hannah that neither of those roads were Trollstigen, we decided to save it for another day and spent the night a few miles short of the pass; with just the river and sheep for company.

With half a haircut (the clippers ran out of charge!), we set off to tackle Trollstigen in the morning before the rush of coaches arrived.

Not knowing if we would be going up or down, we were slightly relieved it was down. With screams of “press The Button” from Hannah, we negotiated the 11 hairpin bends quite uneventfully considering yesterdays ‘ordeal’.

After a brief stop to refill our fresh water tank, Hannah took the driving seat (now the scary roads had finished) to take us to the Atlantic Road, another of the scenic routes linking islands with 7 curved bridges.

We found a car park for the night near a north facing cove and the odd deer. Before setting off the next morning, we walked along the cliff tops to old German defence bunkers.

After a long days drive, we spent the evening just outside Trondheim next to the sea, we watched on as some filming of a man in a Mustang occurred along the road beside us. We concluded it was the Norwegian equivalent of Bergerac.

We made the short drive into Trondheim and parked for free (as always) about 40 minutes walk from the centre. Choosing to walk, although cycling would have been very easy along one straight road, we viewed the Cathedral, Old Town including Trampe Sykkelheis (bicycle lift) and the Fortress; overlooking the large TV screen, which was now showing Sweden vs Switzerland to a near full crowd of yellow shirts.

We moved the van closer to the screen and quickly ate our supper as people filtered into the viewing arena, a full crowd looked likely. We were allowed in this time, but had to remain at the back with Stanley.

Laying out our picnic blanket, we settled down behind the seated spectators and the many seagulls looking for food.

The crowd cheered when England were awarded a penalty, and cheered even more when Kane converted. The hundreds of seagulls seized the opportunity, swooping to steal bits of unguarded pizza and hotdogs, knocking over pints in the process.

Three minutes into injury time and the crowd bounced in a sea of yellow as Columbia equalised, where did they come from? Were they left over from the Sweden game, in one yellow shirts suits all?

During the chaos someone purposefully threw a whole pizza onto the ground, the seagulls surrounded it like Columbians on the ref; pecking and scuffing the ground until nothing was left.

Extra-Time. Not looking good.

During the next 30 minutes we watched nervously, praying it doesn’t go to penalties. Some of the crowd started to leave, so too did some of the seagulls, the others remained on the ground with cramp.

Penalties. Do I not like that.

Still in daylight, as the sun doesn’t set here until 11.29pm, we were sure that was our World Cup. Hannah threatened to return to the van but stayed for the torture.

  • Falcao – No! Kane – Yes.
  • Cuadrado – Git! Rashford – Get in.
  • Muriel – Knob! Henderson – Here we go again.
  • Uribe – Oh, aye up! Trippier – Aye up!!
  • Bacca – AYE UP! Dier – We’ve done it!!!

We found a car park in the Lade area just outside Trondheim. Like many back home, we speculated about England going all the way as we tried to get some sleep.

The next morning we walked along the coast, still discussing England’s chances. World Cup fever had really set in and we tried to make plans for the next game.

After a trip to the launderette to wash our pants and bedding, we hit the road up the E6 towards Nordkapp, still at least 20 hours drive away.

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