Wednesday, July 22, 1998

When we get up in the morning we are still pretty tired, because it is hard to sleep in such humind heat. We get quickly get our gear together and clean the cabin in a rather unsatisfactory way as we sweep most of the dirt under the carpet. It is actually not raining for the moment.
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 One of countless encounters with sheep on
 the road..
We are early yet again, so we have to wait for a while before someone is available to take our cabin key. While waiting we take out our map and discuss where we want to go this day. We had originally planned a trip for 5-6 days, but due to the bad weather we had encountered so far, we decided to shorten it to four days. Which means we plan to sleep one more night in Norway.

Our goal for the day will be Lysebotn at the very end of the Lysefjord. From there we have to go as far as possible the shortest way home in order to be able to make it back home the following day. To get to Lysebotn you have two alternatives. Either from the west with ferry through the Lysefjord, or from the east via a small but very fun road. We of course picked that road. As soon as you get on this road it starts heading up for quite a while and you can tell from all the cars you meet that they have been over using their brakes. The smell gets pretty nasty inside the helmet. As the road evens out, you go for a while on a high plateau on a fantasticly fun road. The last part is even more fun. As you enter this part you see the road closure signs at the side of the road since this road is probabaly closed all winter long. There is also a sign letting you know that you can not pull caravans and things like that since the road is very narrow.
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 Lysebotn as seen from Eagles Nest.
It informs you about the coming steep serpentine road ending with tunnel turning 340 degrees! This road is absolutely gorgeous. Much more fun than the very popular Trollstigs road. It is not as crowded and you won't risk coming up on busses who refuses to see you in their rear mirrors.

(We had a nasty experiense going up the Trollstigs road 1996. We had been forced to stay behind a slow bus for a while. He was driving in the middle of the road and used all of the road while turning so there simply was no room to pass. But finally it seemed like he was going to let us pass, but maybe he just shifted gears slowly. I gave full throttle and Stefan behind me tagged along. Niklas who was last had to quickly break. I just barely made it by I thought, and then I knew Stefan was behind me. I wondered rigth there how in the world Stefan would make it. He had to lift up his left leg to slip through between the bus and the stone wall on the left side. When we stopped at the parking where everybody stops to enjoy the views, we stood there with our hearts pumping hard. We found scrape marks on Stefan's motorcycle, but luckily only on his side stand. It was obviously a rather narrow passing manouver! The bus driver had apparently not seen three bouncing head lights in his rear mirror, or else he simply ignored us!)

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 Lysebotn and the Lysefjord.
Down in Lysebotn you can fully enjoy the peace and quiet. It is a wonderful little place where highways and stress do not exist. You are so far away from everything that you can't even use your cell phone. Probably the only location on the trip where it did not work. Not so strange when the mountain walls steeply rise 1,000 meters all around you. I believe this is Norway's most narrow and deepest fjord. This place is also a base jumping paradise, one of the very few locations where it is still legal to throw yourself down a mountain. The base jumpers free fall for about 10 seconds before they release their parachutes and land on a strip of grass where the mountain meets the fjord. From there they are picked up by a small boat. It is really impressive to see them jumping. Last time we were here we took the ferry leaving Lysebotn and the ferry stopped so we could all get a good view of a couple base jumpers as they death defyingly threw themselves down towards us. You could hardly see them as they started they dangerous descent and it looked like they would hit the rock wall any second. When it looked like they were just slowly floating down towards us, they had a speed of roughly 200 km/h. That's when you realise exactly how high these mountain walls are.

Posing travelers
 "The Gang of Four": Niklas, Stefan, Claes & Lars..
After our happy reunion with Lysebotn we turned around the same way we came. Up on the serpentine road again! This is the kind of road you try to beat your record time on each time you drive it. You accelerate, break, turn and accerlerate again all the time for 15 minutes. And when you get up you take of your helmet and just smile at the others. Where the serpentine road ends is where you find Eagle's Nest. It is a building hanging out over the edge and you get a very good view out over the fjord and the tiny village Lysebotn below. There is also a restaurant here, so we grab the opportunity and have some lunch. We of course had hamburgers again. As we were eating it started to rain again (how unusual!). With rain gear back on again we head back the same way we came for quite a while. We drive for 4-5 hours before we stop to book a cabin for the night. Just enough wet we change socks and get some rest. We also buy some food to have for dinner as well as for breakfast the next morning. We find out cabin and fall asleep immediately.