OK, I’m gonna keep this short because I’m absolutely shattered, but I just wanted to let everybody know that I made it to Bergen. Spent too much time arsing about and got off to a late start, then had to turn around because I forgot my overpants and lost an hour… But, if I didn’t go back for them, my privates would be frozen solid well before I got to Bergen. So I took it in stride.
Around 2:45 I was finally off for good, drove down the E6 towards Oslo for a bit until branching off towards the west of Norway on the 250 & 33. Nice twisty mountain roads, bright sunny afternoon, really good fun.
As I got close to the higher altitude mountains it got colder and colder. I stopped and warmed my chilly bones in the sun at a roadside caf in Vang, a really scenic little place by a lake with a dramatic mountain backdrop and funky triangular holiday cottages. Spend some time drinking coffee outside with a fellow biker who was out on his chopper. He warned me about the road ahead. Once back on the road, I quickly saw what he was on about. At times it was hard to believe that this was the E16, the main “highway” connecting the two largest cities in Norway… With the huge holes, bumps, and at times so narrow two vehicles couldn’t pass each other with not even a white line in the middle, this road was built to a standard even a British B-road would be ashamed of… Sogn og Fjordane must be the poorest state in Norway.
Next to the crap road is still a good metre of snow, and nice snowcapped peaks in the background somehow make up for the bumpy ride. Freezing, too. Hotgrips are great, don’t come to Scandinavia without them… Eventually I make it across the frozen tundra and enter the “tunnel section” of the journey, from about the halfway point onwards. From there to Bergen I kid you not you spend more time in tunnels than in fresh air! You come ou of a 5km tunnel, get a few hundred yards in fresh air, and you go into another 7km tunnel… Eventually your mind starts playing tricks on you and you start believing it’s actually night time, and you are driving around some dark city street with no houses on it. A local told me there are no less than 42 tunnels on the way to Bergen. I believe him.
The highlight of the tunnel extravaganza was getting to pass through the world’s longest road tunnel, a whopping 24.5 kilometres (15.2 miles) of never-ending black tube. In order to keep people from losing their minds from driving through this thing, it’s got a psychedelic “cave section” every 6 kilometres where you can park up and trip the lights fantastic. I stopped in one, it’s eeire. They have blue and yellow lights and the noises the cars make when approaching through the tunnel are seriously strange. It also seems to have heating - I drove through a “warm spot” in the tunnel about halfway through.
Only in Norway would you find the World’s Longest Tunnel connected to the World’s Crappiest Road!
Road quality improved from this point on, and I just about doubled my average speed. It’s just so much for fun when you can trust the road. Eventually, another 40 or so tunnels later I arrived in Bergen just as I was beginning to run out of light. The city has a nice metropolitan buzz and lots of pretty girls to oogle in the city’s bars and cafes. A felllow biker showed me the way to where I was going, walking around the city with me like a guide. The international biker fraternity is alive and well.
Now, I’m gonna crash out and rest up for the ferry ride tomorrow. Just as good, if I would have had to ride through another ****ing tunnel I would have had to punch somebody!
See you in London…