Sunday, 30 July 2017

Saturday 29 July - Odda

Where's Bertie? He's in a deep pull-in alongside route 13 just north of Lono (exact location: 59.75157, 6.78482).

An early alarm had us on the road before 7 this morning. There was a certain amount of grumbling, but we knew that we needed to be early to the parking area for today's walk, as it's a particularly popular one. Being a Saturday with some sunshine forecast would make it even more so.

For a chunk of the drive along the scenic fjord, with valley sides covered in orchards (it's a major fruit growing region) I was busy trying to download maps for our walk, so I didn't get to enjoy the scenery as much as I would have liked. I did pay attention as we started bumping our way through a set of road works which looked like a building site, as someone had nicked the road surface for a few kilometres:

The wheels fell off our plans (not off Bertie!) six kilometres from where we were going. There a sign prohibited motorhomes from proceeding any further. Back in the days of Colin we could have ignored that sign on the basis that he was a van, but we really can't deny Bertie's standing as a motorhome, so around we turned. Yes, we could have parked in the overflow/motorhome parking area, but that put us 6km from where we wanted to be and I wasn't feeling inclined to remove our flexibility as to start and finish times by catching a bus.

Thus we didn't get to walk 21km (probably with unbearable crowds) to stand on this:

With no fallback plan, we simply headed for the nearby town of Odda to have breakfast and consider what to do instead.

Taking solace in a huge bun for elevenses. The Norwegians do a fine range of such buns.

It must have been about 8am when we arrived in the town car park. It was gone 5pm when we left*. Much pottering was done in the meantime, as well as much perusal of the tourist brochures by me.

We also established that the town is in a pleasant position at the head of the fjord, with these views along the water:

Deciding that we could do better than the town car park for the night (although there is no prohibition on overnighting, even though there's an official motorhome park almost next door which costs 200NOK and only benefits by having a view and electricity), we eventually decided to move on.

Being picky, we didn't like the first spot we tried, and there are always so many options in Norway that we thought we'd just drive on a while. A parking area by a tremendous waterfall would have done the job nicely if it had been four hours later, but at tea time it was full to bursting.

Then came a series of ski car parks that we either rejected as not being scenic enough, or for having a 150NOK parking fee, or for having a prohibition on motorhomes. Then came the road along which I'd wanted us to go for a walk tomorrow, but there we were thwarted by a width restriction. It was another of those days!

Eventually, on this narrow road where we thought there would be no options, we found this pull-in and immediately saw it's potential as our home for the night. We are far enough off the road and the road is a quiet one anyway.

The scenery is superb. It's just a pity it is being marred by low cloud and rain. The rain started about 2pm and has hardly let up since, so at least we can grasp a silver lining from not being able to do the walk we wanted today: if the day had gone to plan, the return leg would have been in the rain.

(Post blog note: so often when out backpacking we have plonked ourselves down on the ground for lunch, only to find a bench just around the next corner, or have settled for a mediocre pitch, only to find the ideal spot within the first ten minutes of the next day. So it was this morning when we passed at least eight places better than the one in which we had spent last night. But, as I've said before: they all look the same once it is dark or the blinds are drawn at bedtime.)

(*There is a 2-hour time limit, applicable from 8-13 on a Saturday. We took our chances with flouting it.)

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