Unfortunately we woke up to a rather rainy gray sky in the morning. It wasn’t pouring down, but the clouds hung deep and some of my plans for the day had to be changed due to the weather.
I had originally thought that, with some good weather, we might have the time to put in a detour and ride our bikes toward the Svartisen Glacier (Blackice Glacier) before making our way toward Bodø. This would have required us to put in about 30 kilometers extra, but would have given me the possibility of taking photos of Norway’s second largest glacier on the mainland, which with its starting point at 20 meters over sea level is Europa’s lowest and best accessible glacier. The Svartisen Glacier has 60 tongues and covers about 370 square kilometers.
But with the restricted view of this day it was no point to go there after all.
Instead we decided to shorten our route quite drastically and only go to Halsa — the village where we bought our dinner the evening before — by bike and continue our journey toward Bodø by bus. This would have meant that we might have a chance to spot the glacier at least from the bus’s window.
We arrived on schedule at the bus stop and started waiting. Minutes passed and no bus arrived. Double checking the schedule of the bus revealed the error in our plan…we were there a day late, the bus would not leave from Halsa on a Thursday.
I knew from my original plans that there was a ferry going from Vassdalsvik — some 30 kilometers from where we were — to Ørnes from where we might again be able to catch a bus toward Bodø. But would the ferry leave on a Thursday and more importantly would it be one that we still could catch at this point?
We didn’t know. Without a free WLAN connection for my computer I had no chance to get online and find out…but then I remembered that I had saved a couple of bus and ferry schedules onto my hard disk before Solo even arrived in Norway. With a little luck this ferry’s schedule would be among them.
We were lucky, not only did I find the schedule for the ferry to Ørnes and the bus from Ørnes to Bodø, but also were they still reachable for us, even though that meant pedaling 30 kilometers to Vassdalsvik first.
Due to the not so nice weather and the fact that making the ferry was the key to making it to Bodø on this day, we went back on our bikes and pedaled with only two short breaks to Vassdalsvik. We had spent so much more time on other days than what we would have initially expected that we couldn’t take a chance today and spend more time on breaks.
For the first time we met other cyclists, packed with even more luggage than what we were carrying along. They were coming from Vassdalsvik, and must have gotten over from Ørnes by taking the early morning ferry. For us it felt as if they had chosen the harder ride. They had to climb the hills that we now were cruising down. Not that these were necessarily steep climbs but they were long ones.
We made it to Vassdalsvik and the ferry pier with two hours to spare. If we had hoped for a kiosk or a cafe our hopes were crushed once more. But at least we found another Venterom to wait for the ferry, which we used not only to keep from getting chilled, but also to dry our now sweaty clothes.
The ferry ride itself was a short trip again, so we arrived without any more problems in Ørnes.
Initially we had thought to ride our bikes from Ørnes to Bodø — a ride of almost 120 kilometers — but the experience from the past couple of days had taught us that we hadn’t a really great chance to make this trip in just one day, and even the nearest campground would have been a ride of 88 kilometers, nothing you’d like to start on at 4 p.m.
So the bus to Bodø was our best option, if the bus driver was to accept our bikes on the bus…
But before we could find out about that we had to wait another 1.5 hours in Ørnes for its departure, time we spent having an early dinner or late warm lunch at the nearby pub.
Thankfully the bus driver allowed us to bring our bikes onto the bus. Since this was a long distance route, we weren’t allowed to have them in the passenger section, but actually had to get them into the luggage compartment below. It wasn’t easy to get them in there without breaking off parts, but Solo managed it, so we, as well as our bikes, got our spaces on the bus.
After arriving in Bodø a little more than two hours later, we had to find another hotel to stay at. As so often before, the first hotel we stopped at, to ask at the reception, was fully booked already. By now we feared that what happened in Trondheim and Bergen before would repeat itself, so we hadn’t too much hope when we found another hotel and I went in to ask for an available room for the night, hoping it would not break our budget if they had one.
But we were lucky, they not only had a room for us, they had it even for a reasonable good price.
Now we had pretty much everything we needed, still well fed from the earlier meal at the pub and now spoiled with comfortable beds and a bathroom en suite…
Tomorrow we would try to make our way to the Lofoten Islands…would Solo’s concerns — inspired from his earlier experiences in Alaska — about how it would look there be proven right or would we be able to actually enjoy a ride so far north?
You can find more photos from Norway on my website.