Posts Tagged With: bicycle

Jotunheimen to Oslo – from the mountains to the sea

Having been to Nigardsbreen Glacier, the most northerly point of our Norway tour, we aim for Jotunheimen National Park.

On the way we pick up some very delicious raspberries of a farmer for 30NOK. A rip off unfortunately, as we discover them in the supermarket for 20NOK about 30min later.
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Arriving in Lom, we stop at a Stave Church and the tourist information centre where Logan picks up a 2013 calendar with pictures of Norway.

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We drive over a pass, overlooking Norway’s highest mountains of up to 2469m. There is even plenty of snow up here still and many glaciers make their way down.
Gjende lake is described in the travel book as Norway’s most beautiful lake. Unfortunately we arrive there when the sky is dark grey and rain is just starting to fall. We are very low on diesel and feel a little too nervous to stay, so instead just drive on, hoping to finally find a petrol station.
The mountain scenery is incredible and distracts us from our worries for at least a little while.
Finally in Beitostølen, we discover a petrol station – thankfully!
After filling up diesel, we backtrack a few kilometers and then turn right in a private toll road called Jotunheimsvegen. The entry fee is 80NOK (11€/$13), pretty expensive I think at first but considering that this is privately owned and supposedly the most beautiful mountain road in all of Norway, we are happy to pay.
Along the road we pass a few small huts and houses and many lakes. Some cows block the way and even though we almost hit them with our van, they only move out of the way veeeery slowly.
We make camp here on Jotunheimsvegen for the night. Logan is off fishing again, comes back soaking wet but as (almost) always: without any fish.

Oh we’re not the only ones from Australia! This campervan parked next to us at the Stave Church in Lom. The raging river is also in Lom, while the other three pictures were taken on Jotunheimsvegen:
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In the morning the road takes us to Skåbu and then onto Lillehammer. The scenery changes drastically from a treeless mountain landscape to green fields, forests and blue lakes.
Lillehammer was host to the winter Olympics in 1994, so we are driving up to the well maintained ski jump and athletics track. Logan even does three 800m rounds on the track and I time him. Next time I’ll bring my “cheerleader pompoms”!

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Eventually we drive on to Oslo and the find-a-carpark game starts all over again. We are driving back and forth, doing u-turns, searching, looking.. THERE! What’s this? I can’t read the sign and get out to translate it. Within 5 seconds a bus arrives and angrily beeps the horn at us. I run back to the van and the game continues.
We decide to leave the city centre and drive west. There actually seem to be streets in which no parking tickets are required. Since the sun is still out, we get the bicycles and ride back into town.

Oslo has a beautiful mix of architecture but I mostly prefer the older style buildings:

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Flowers are to be found everywhere throughout the city which I personally enjoy looking at very much. The colourfulness of the city continues along the harbour. A very colourful Indian bus is displayed at the front, along with a young boy playing the drums, a guitarist, fairy tale figures and green elephants (which I think are part of a music festival).

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The port also has a small beach and grassy area to relax or enjoy the day with the children.
I noticed a lot of young women have children here, probably because Norway is said to be the most child friendly country in the world.

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The best surprise of the evening are the swing dancers who probably belong to a dance club. We keep watching them for quite a while and I keep laughing and smiling at this genius dance style. Some people even wear old fashioned clothes.
I really want to join a dance class now!

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More on the fantastic Oslo Museums in the next post!

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Lucerne: the city, the lake, the mountains

Since Naples we can’t ride our bicycles anymore because Logan has a flat back tyre so we finally decided it was time to find a bicycle store to get it fixed. Unfortunately the only bike store in Lucerne is closed today but just when we want to leave, Logan discovers a tube automat. That’s right! Like a cigarette automat, this one sells tubes! How convenient. 

The next challenge is to find a car park. We come across the big bus park next to the train station and decide to risk staying here for the day. There is no parking meter so we don’t need to/can’t pay. (I still don’t know whether we were allowed to park here but we were lucky enough to not get a ticket.)

While Logan is changing his tube, I’m having a look through the nearby park and the Vierstättersee. The lake is not just one of Lucerne’s biggest attractions, it is also somewhat part of the city. 

 

We’re riding past dozens of students enjoying their lunch time at the water front, a street artist presenting his Ice Age painting and swans trying to snatch some bread from the passing tourists. 

Lucerne is enjoying a warm break from the long swiss winter and it seems as if every Lucerne resident is out and about. The streets are filled with joy and laughter and the cruise ships are overflowing with tourists. 
Arriving at the end of town, we turn around and this time navigate away from the water front, into the city. 

  

At a shopping mall we have lunch and once we’re back outside, unlocking our bicycles, we are being stopped by two police men. “Are these bicycles your’s?” I wish I had asked: “Would you mind if I just take out my camera and you repeat your question?” I wasn’t quick witted enough and responded: “Yes?!” Then they asked for our lock and key as proof. 
Rather amused about this occurrence, we ride through the city, browse through a couple of shops and eventually arrive at the popular chapel bridge.

   

The Chapel Bridge is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River in the city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, the bridge is unique since it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with most of the centuries old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city’s symbol and as one of Switzerland’s main tourist attractions.

 

Leaving Lucerne and the Vierwaldstätter See, we are driving past some beautiful mountain scenery and eventually find ourselves a camping spot for the night at a lake not far from Lucerne. There is even a waterfall nearby. 
Logan tries his luck fishing for a couple of hours but has to give up after two hours, blaming the fishing rod for not having caught anything. 

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Country side town, Colmurano

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The white blinds are glowing from the sun shining against them. I open the one on my side and see blue skies and tall green grass. I’m feeling lazy today, no actually I feel like I would just love to enjoy the day, the view, the sun! We are having breakfast and grab the bikes to cruise up into town, as we need a few supplies. I realise that even though we drove through town twice yesterday, I can’t remember anything at all. Did we see any shops?
We are simply stunned by the views from the top of the village and stop for a few photos and some video footage at the stone wall that is built around the town centre. Four small alley ways lead around the stone built houses and there is a tall clock tower at the highest point of the town. Logan discovers a small shop in one of the stone houses, the door is open and we gather that it must be a fruit and vegetable shop. Four bananas, two apples, tomato sauce with olives and tuna and even a scrubbing brush for the dishes land in our bag.
A few meters down the street we go past a hardware store and Logan wants to go and buy a plunger as he blocked up our delicate kitchen drain (it actually is a hose) with two noodles. He thought pushing the pasta in will make them go through and now we can’t do the dishes anymore. 6Euros. Thinking about our tight budget I convince Logan to try differently at first. I’m hoping that a bit of the toilet chemicals we got will help dissolve the pasta.
We keep on looking for another grocery store but can’t seem to find one… “Wait! Logan, this is a shop too!” Italians haven’t really got it with advertising I guess. I only realised “house number 48” was a shop because a man just walked out the door and I saw food when riding by. Funny. We also grab some spaghetti and a packet of cookies, which I empty only 10 minutes later. Oops.
While I sit down and read my book “Inside of a dog” by Alexandra Horowitz, Logan goes for a 70min run. In the afternoon I boil up some water to “shower” ourselves and then to wash our (95% Logan’s) dirty clothes. Yupp, I’m feeling quite neo-hippie or whatever you’d like to call this lifestyle.

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