Friday, September 2, 2016

The Scandinavian Adventure: Kristiansund — Trondheim

(Saturday, June 28th 2014)

When we woke up this morning, we found our tent covered in bugs — again — somehow we really must have had a clue about how to find the area in the campground with the most bugs, remember this had happened during our first night in the tent in Vikersund too.
Well, what was it they told me all the time: those things that do not kill you will only make you harder.
Of course we got through that too, even though this time the bugs came like a cloud over us and we rushed our stuff out of the tent to pack it, in a less buggy area, into our pannier bags.
The cafe that had those nice burgers last night also offered breakfast, which we enjoyed very much.
Our plan for the day was to see if we could get our bikes on the ferry to Trondheim early, so that we would afterwards have a chance to walk around in Kristiansund without having to worry about them. Not only did that plan not work out but the ferry that I had believed to leave at 12p.m. did actually not leave before 2:30p.m. Yes we had checked it yesterday, but unfortunately I had completely forgotten that today would be a Saturday…
Well, it didn’t matter too much since we wanted to spend a night in Trondheim anyway, and now we had a couple of hours to kill in Kristiansund.
We were lucky though, as the day was chilly but sunny, so it did not matter too much to stay outside.
With some visits to bookstores and grocery stores for supplies, where one of us watched the bikes outside while the other one went inside to get what we needed, those hours were gone fast.


Soon we had boarded another ferry.
The distance between Kristiansund and Trondheim is only about 197 km, so it would have been doable in possibly two days of bike riding. But when I researched this part of our ride I could not find a safe road to travel on. I was not certain the E39 would offer us a shoulder to ride on, and all roads that would possibly have allowed us to stay away from that European Road were dead ends at some point. So the only way I saw to make it to Trondheim was to take a ferry. We could even have re-embarked on the Hurtigruten last night, it would have left at around 2a.m. to arrive in Trondheim early in the morning. But with the experience from our last embarkation on a Hurtigruten boat fresh in our minds and knowing that it would mean we would not get a cabin unless we were eager to break our budgets, I didn’t like the idea too much to start with, so I never suggested it to Solo as a real option. If we still had been behind our schedule, maybe I would have considered it.

This way we had a good night’s sleep in the tent — well at least I had — and an enjoyable ferry ride in the afternoon.


Since we hadn’t pre-booked any hotel or hostel, our first task in Trondheim was to find a place to stay. So we stopped at the first hotel we saw on our way toward the city center, and learned that we were this time not — like in Bergen — outrun by foreign tourists. No, this time Norwegians from all over the country had come to Trondheim and booked their rooms far ahead of us.
But at least we got a little tourist map and an indication from the receptionist where we might have a chance to find a room for the night. First we wanted to try the tourist information though, maybe they had other ideas of where we could stay? Well, it turned out much more difficult to find the tourist information than what we had expected, and once we got to where we believed it to be it was closed. Of course. It was a Saturday evening with beautiful weather. The best reason to close an office early in Norway during the summer months: sunshine.
Well, this actually goes much further than this.

In the winter of 2004 it had rained continuously for more than 60 days in a row in Bergen, when the weather forecast finally predicted a day of sunshine. The Bergens Tidene — one of the two local newspapers of Bergen — had the following headline about it (from my memory): „Parents please warn your children before tomorrow, so that they don’t get scared. Because that big yellow thing in the sky, which we will get to see tomorrow morning, is not a UFO or some other dangerous thing, it is just the sun coming out for a couple of hours.“
People were advised to enjoy the sunshine with a breakfast on the balcony. And on the actual day the papers news editorial staff closed the office and published not a single update for an hour so they all could go outside and enjoy the sun.

So expecting a tourist office to be open on a sunny Saturday evening…well your chances of winning the lottery were bigger.
I knew that close to the cathedral of Trondheim there was a so called Pilgrimshjem — a place to stay over night for those who had followed the old pilgrims route from Oslo to Trondheim — so we found that and had to find out that also here was no bed available. They even had placed a sign outside that they had no room left, so no one would have to come in and be rejected.
Somewhat prepared for further rejections, we made our way toward that hostel that the receptionist at the first hotel had pointed out for us. Following what must be one of the steepest climbs I had ever made on a fully packed bike — as we did not dare to try the bike-elevator.
Yes, you read it right. Trondheim has a bike-elevator, where you place your right foot on some sort of track and have your left one on the left pedal of your bike, which rolls next to you on the street while you are pushed up the hill. But it seemed that one would need some training with this before attempting to use the elevator with packed bikes like ours.
Eventually we arrived at the hostel and I went inside to ask for a room. They had none.
So we took another look at our map when I discovered hidden in the corner an advertisement for a youth hostel. Since they had given both an address and a phone number, yet I had forgotten to bring my cell phone with me, I went back inside the hostel, which just had to give us the bad news and asked if they could call that youth hostel for us. The girl at the reception was so nice to do so. And after I confirmed that it would not be a problem for Solo and me to share a room, we had secured the probably last available room in all of Trondheim!
Solo was at the time already fully prepared to walk around in Trondheim through the entire night and to catch the first train out of it.
But sometimes one gets lucky after all.

Upon arrival at our accommodation we asked immediately if we could keep the room for two days, as we knew we would have to wash some clothes on the next day and so not be able to leave Trondheim too early. Luck had it that this was no problem.
So we moved into our new room and started getting ready for the evening. Now that we knew when we wanted to leave Trondheim I could try to secure some train tickets for us…
On Monday morning we would take the first train out of Trondheim with the direction of Mo i Rana, or so we thought.

Again we had failed to consider the Norwegian cyclists into our equation. Without a phone I could not call the Norwegian Railway Service (NSB) but had to rely on their chat, which took a while before it was my turn in the queue. And the first thing I was told when I asked for tickets including bikes for Monday morning was that there were none available for Monday at all. Ups.
But there were some for the earliest train on Tuesday. I discussed it with Solo, who was eager to get back on the bike by Monday, so we changed our plans and booked the train on Tuesday. Yet…you cannot pay your ticket — when it includes the fare for a bike — via chat or the internet page of the NSB. You have to call them.
Well, I explained to the lady I was chatting with that calling was a bigger problem for us as we had no phone. Thankfully there was a solution for that one: we could just go to the NSB office in Trondheim early on Sunday to pay and pick up our reserved tickets. Sometimes I love it when things work out after all.

After this new adventure included in our little adventure we had become hungry and went out for dinner. Finding a pub which served us some food was at least easier than finding a room or train ticket today…

What a day!


You can find more photos from Norway on my website.