Friday, May 13, 2016

The Scandinavian Adventure: Vikersund — Noresund

(Friday, June 20th 2014)

The day started with a nice cup of hot tea — and that one was needed — after my first night in a tent since my childhood days, when I would occasionally sleep in a tent in my parent’s garden during summer holidays. 
Unfortunately it had turned out, two days ago, that the self-inflatable sleeping mat that I owned did not pack into a very small size, so I had to leave it back home. So at four a clock in the morning it got rather cold in my sleeping bag. But I still managed to get some more sleep until being gently woken up by Solo, who was preparing some hot water for tea and coffee.
It was then that it turned out that we had chosen the wrong spot to pitch tent the night before, because now our tent was surrounded by bugs and mosquitoes. Which meant that we would have to be fast to break tent and leave the campground, since we didn’t want to get too bothered by those bugs.

The first challenge of the day was to find some place to have breakfast which already had opened its doors. Since we hadn’t seen any such place the day before on our side of the Tyrifjorden and most of the city’s life was taking place on the other side anyway, we made our way back toward the town center. A nice local pointed us into the right direction toward Vikersund Catering, who not only offered a catering service but had a little cafe which served us some nice breakfast. And a chat with the lady behind the counter not only encouraged us to go on as planned but also gave us a hint of where to get back onto the route toward Flå.
Since we had encountered some gravel roads the day before, we added another stop at the gas station to clean our bikes before leaving Vikersund.
We would follow the 280 until it met the Fylkesveien (Fv) 148 near Sysle. Here we had to make up our minds. Should we continue to follow the 280 toward a village called Krøderen, sharing the road — without a shoulder to ride our bikes on — with trucks and cars, or should we take the Fv 148 and follow a smaller road toward Flå?

Since the Fv148 was looking good we decided to leave the 280 and the traffic behind us to follow the smaller roads instead.
The weather had improved a bit since the day before and now we were following roads into the countryside of Buskerud, giving me the opportunity to take photos along the way.


Far too soon we encountered the downside of our decision to take the small road rather than sharing the 280 with the motorized traffic: gravel.
And not just a patch of gravel, but gravel tracks for 8.2 km. Sometimes it was a thin layer of gravel on a hard surface, which is easy enough to cycle on, but occasionally we encountered the deep gravel into which your wheels sink into and which makes it hard to keep your balance, so there we had no other chance but to push our bikes instead of riding them.
If we had made good progress until we encountered the first traces of gravel, now we started losing time again. And not only that, but riding on gravel means using more energy to travel over the same distance than what you would need to go on pavement.
We stopped for a short break, in the forest that we were riding through, to have some protein bars.

Not too much later after this short break we had to make another decision: taking a detour into the village of Krøderen for a serious lunch break or continuing our ride toward Flå without the break. The decision was easy as we both were hungry. So we turned into Krøderen only to find out that the next cafe would be another 15 kilometers from where we were. Thankfully the local supermarket offered some food. So we got some grilled chicken and rolls to share among the two of us as well as something cold to drink.
Still we had almost 44 kilometers left to reach Flå and had only made around 35 kilometers since we had left Vikersund earlier this day.
So there was no time to lose and soon we were back on our bikes, considering another stop in Noresund, where we were told we would find a cafe on our way toward Flå.



The good news about the road between Krøderen and Noresund: it was paved. No gravel! What a relief!
But soon I noticed that Solo, who usually would ride ahead of or at least close to me, was falling behind. While I had found my rhythm, I lost sight of him. I thought he was close behind me until I looked back to find out that he was not.
Apparently what was good enough food for me to refill my energy-storage was not good enough for him.
So when I reached the junction toward Noresund, where we would have to decide to either go into the cafe or continue without detour toward Flå, I waited for him and was told, when he arrived, that he had to take a break. That he wanted to treat us to some nice cosy beds in a nice hotel in Noresund instead of going on toward Flå on the same day. 
Considering the fact that we had made only about half the distance between Vikersund and Flå and that it was already around 4p.m. a wise decision.
So we found a nice hotel in Noresund, which not only offered us some cosy beds but a three course dinner for a special price on the shore of Lake Krøderen.
And not only that, but in the evening I had a chance to go out and take some nice photos along the Krøderen…sometimes shortening a day’s trip gives you more than just a shorter ride :-)


Now of course we were two days behind our original schedule…



You can find more photos from Norway on my website.