Friday, June 28, 2019
Bekkjarvik – Hufthamar-Bergen
Guest post by Janel
Four days in, we certify ourselves as matpakke experts. I’m especially pleased to find a jar of gooey egg salad.
Today’s main ride, from Bekkjarvik to the Hufthamar ferry dock (where we’ll catch an express boat back to Bergen), is a short one compared to the previous days — just 23.6km.
Our paper guide offers several optional add-on detours. We’re feeling both strong and confident, so we decide to consider the longest, which departs from the main path just outside of Storebø. It’s an out-and-back across not one, not two, but EIGHT distinct islands, which would bring today’s total distance to 47.7km.
We do have to catch the ferry at 15:00 in Hufthamar, so we’ll see about timing + how we feel when we get to Storebø.
The way from Bekkjarvik to Storebø is hilly, curvy, and obscenely scenic. Vroom.
#humblebrag on my blog day: I’ve been leaving my e-bike on the lowest setting almost the entire trip. It does offer me some help going up the steepest hills, but not a whole lot. I think the most helpful thing is simply KNOWING that, hey, if I run out of juice in the middle of a hill, I can always turn on the gas — so I might as well give it everything I’ve got.
And I’m stronger than I thought I would be! My gym rat days are years behind me, but my legs still feel great carrying me up hill after hill. I even get bold letting myself pick up speed coasting down a few serious slopes. It’s a far cry from quaking in my boots four mornings ago. I’m proud of myself!
Storebø comes around quickly. We unanimously opt for the out-and-back detour across the islands.
I don’t think anyone anticipated that it could possibly get any prettier, and yet: island-hopping by bike in Norway has got to be peak landscape.
Bridge after bridge has us sailing across pristine ocean, mirrored above in the rare blue sky.
Traffic thins to a trickle — not a whole lotta reason for anyone to drive out to the end of this road.
That is, unless you have a bike, and can stop smack in the middle of whatever bridge you like. Then, the spectacular views are worth every push of the pedals.
We get out to the very end, where the road runs out. Matpakke time. The egg salad is exactly what I want.
Can’t linger too long since the ferry waits for no one. Zipping back across the eight islands is a literal breeze: we are propelled by a healthy tailwind.
Hufthamar is just down the road from Storebø, and our luggage is waiting alongside a few fellow riders. We rearrange our lives such that all panniers are free of personal belongings.
(here’s a good/superfluous opportunity to reiterate that I hate the word belongings. doubly when they’re personal)
Isam gets bad info from a couple locals, causing us to temporarily board the wrong ferry (we’re lost! and we don’t know the language!).
Luckily we turn back just in time to hop onto the correct boat, an express ride straight into Bergen harbor. We cruise past the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a gorgeous/enormous sailing ship that we later discover is in active use on sail training voyages.
We also spy what’s got to be among the world’s most ostentatious private yachts. It’s less inspiring than the Statsraad Lehmkuhl.
We heft our bikes and bags back to Bergen Base Camp, where everything looks good to go.
After four days on the bikes, our legs are tired, but it’s “the good kind of tired.” Nice riding!
Quick check-in to the Thon Hotel for two more nights in Bergen. M+D and John are called by an afternoon nap, but it’s too sunny for Isam and me to stay indoors. We equip our least-stinky civilian clothing and get our meander on.
A full circle around Bergen brings us past its university buildings, where Isam attended classes 14 years ago.
We sit a good long spell and think about how we got to where we are right now, sitting on this bench, listening to crows do their thing on a Norwegian rooftop.
On our way back, we spy a real estate listing for an ISLAND. A steal at 8.2M NOK — just shy of a million dollars. No wonder it’s already taken.
The whole gang reconvenes in the Thon lobby. M+D arrive late after losing their way in the hotel’s labyrinthine corridors (editor’s note: the corridors are standard hotel issue).
The “light evening meal” tonight is all your regular salad, bread, cheese, and deli meat spread… plus HOT DOG SOUP. It’s exactly what our biked-out bodies want. I think everyone has at least two bowls’ worth.
(but no full casings. so NO additions to the Hot Dog Count. my blog day, my rules.)
We’re starting to get smarter about strategy, which basically means we eliminate Dad from the game as fast as possible.
On the walk back to the hotel, Dad’s got the munchies for something salty. He tries several 7-11s to no avail. I remember a grocery store just behind the hotel, and that does the trick.
The one person who hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol tonight gets the giggling fits and falls down on the street.
Hot Dog Count: 24