I cannot overstate how weird it is to live with this many hours of daylight. We went to bed last night around eleven, our tent still illuminated from the sun. (I end up burying my head under the covers to convince myself it is dark enough to sleep). This morning, the early dawn woke me. When I got up and checked the time, it was 3:40. The whole thing is confusing and I can only imagine how much worse it might be in the winter, when this same issue plays out in in reverse with almost continual darkness.
We didn’t actually get up at 3:40, and in fact, we didn’t actually hit the road until 9. I had a pit in my stomach, my same nerves from yesterday, all the way out to the road. Realizing that letting anxiety overrule my entire day was going to make the day long and awful, I tried to focus on the present. My legs weren’t burning yet, my hip didn’t hurt much yet, in fact, I felt pretty good and the scenery was excellent. I was getting to ride my bike in Norway! It only took a few minutes before all the built up fear of yesterday burned off like morning fog.
The ride along the Hardangerfjord was a constant sequence of steep short climbs up the cliffs and dives back down to sea level with ocean views all the way. As we’d climb up, we would be dripping sweat under our layers only to shiver all the way back down the hill. We’d stop every five minutes to try to capture yet another angle of the expansive fjords around us on camera with varying degrees of success. Rolling hills make for really fun cycling.
Often it feels like we’re on a mad rush to pedal towards something we’re really excited to see, but with our route right now, the journey literally is the destination. We’re just here to soak up the incredible scenery of Norway at slow motion speeds from atop our bicycles.
After a couple of hours, the route turned in toward land. A cycle path diverted us off the main highway and we sauntered around a quiet lake and past some country houses where pedestrians and cyclists alike greeted us with a cheerful “Hi hi!” I was getting to feeling pretty jealous of people who actually live here until I remembered the part about how many hours it stays dark in the winter.
The day would’t have been complete without a really good steep climb, and with about 20 kilometers to go before Voss, we got one. The day had gotten sunny and almost hot as we ground our way up the alarmingly steep switchbacks. Halfway up though, we got a nice break with a giant waterfall streaking down the cliffs. There are waterfalls here around pretty much every corner, and we’d probably seen ten smaller falls throughout the day, but this was the biggest of the bunch. We stopped for some photos and then got back to climbing. It was over become I had a chance to feel miserable about it.
Ben – Not long after the waterfall was the top of the pass, where we were befriended by a friendly Norwegian and his dog. As I crested the summit (I had stopped to take some pictures) Bree was chatting with the man and playing with the dog, who had recently failed his test to become a rescue dog (too much playing). From there we coasted downhill into Voss, where we saved a few krona on showers by taking an icy dip in the lake next to our campground.
We whiled the rest of the day away working while watching paragliders launch from the top of a nearby mountain – landing on a grassy strip near our campsite, checking out a 13th century church, and braving yet another trip to the grocery store.