Nødager to Kristiansand
After a week spent doing exercises, my back pain has seen a marked improvement. I’ve managed to work out how to do some exercises whilst riding that help stretch out my hamstring and also I can stand on the bike quite easily whilst riding along Denmark’s dead-straight roads. The problem is exacerbated by sitting for long periods.
The ride from Nødager up to the port town of Hirtshals is easily described. Wet. It lets up just as I arrive at Hirtshals, although it is still quite windy. The ferry from Hirtshals to Kristiansand is due fairly soon so I make my way straight to the ferry terminal.
The motorcycles board the ferry as a group and as we start to lash our bikes to the deck one of the crew comes to tell use that they’re expecting a rough crossing; we should take extra care to secure the bikes. Now, the important thing to be aware is that there is no authoritative way to tie a bike down and it varies to a degree between bikes anyway, so when someone asks you to do an extra good job doing it everyone becomes quite nervous. Cue roughly 30 motorcyclists swapping tips and everyone hauling on their bikes to make sure they don’t move an inch.
The Fjordline crossing uses a modern catamaran which travels at an impressive pace. Despite the crossing being around 140km it only takes just over two hours. Maybe I had higher expectations for the rough conditions we had been warned of, but it didn’t seem too bad to me. I suspect some of the passengers might disagree with me though.
As I arrive into Kristiansand, the change in topography is immediately apparent. A lighthouse on the rocky islet of Grønningen greets me, and it’s obvious that this is going to be very, very different from riding in Denmark.
Five minutes after getting off the ferry, I have concluded that Norway is a country of engineers. The moment I turn left out of the ferry terminal, I’m straight into a network of tunnels heading towards my next stop for a few days. The roads twist along the bottom of valleys following the course of the rivers and then as I get further inland, I’m climbing up to the highest I’ve been since I left home. A wrong turn leads me down a gravel track, which I’m not expert at riding on and definitely not with the weight the bike is carrying. Still, change the settings on the bike and ride carefully following the tips I’ve been given and it’s fine.
I find the right gravel path and eventually arrive at the place I’m staying at. Being further north, the sky only really gets dark at around 11:30pm, and I’m treated to a wonderful view before going to bed.