Our day has been punctuated by waterfalls today, but with quite a lot of driving, some of it quite strange!
We’ve changed altitude a lot, sometimes in the open air, sometimes in tunnels. The gradients on some of the tunnels is quite extraordinary, and one of them corkscrewed round through 360 degrees, leaving us facing the same direction but much higher up. Like one of those multi-storey car park ramps but bigger, faster and with bare rock sides…
There have been many tunnels, some as short as 150 metres, others several kilometres long. Perhaps the most impressive where the tunnels either side of the Hardanger Bridge which both had roundabouts in them. Susan grabbed a quick snap while we were driving but its a bit blurred thanks to the low light levels, but you can see roughly what’s going on. The centre pillar is part of the rock the tunnel is carved out of. The Bridge itself runs directly from one tunnel to the other, way above the fjord below and well below the top of the mountainside.
We also encountered some sheep wandering around on the main road (a test of my emergency stop abilities).
And roadworks. Lots of roadworks, mostly with minimal delay, even when some fairly heavy duty engineering is going on (road widening typical involves blasting away solid rock faces to create more space. However we managed to catch one set of roadworks which close the road for around an hour at a time, then allows the traffic through one way, then the other, then closes again. I guess it is the only practical way to do some works when complete closure isn’t practical. A couple of teenagers where selling snacks from a trolley to the queening cars. We opted to use the time for a cup of tea and a bit of a read, and of course to admire the view. Which has been fabulous. All day.
We discovered Låtefossen on our route through and stopped for a quick photo stop.
We made a deliberate detour to visit Steinsdalsfossen, a waterfall you can walk behind. It was pouring with rain by the time we got there, but we waited it out and the rain eased a little so we made the walk up and under. It was worth the extra driving for the experience, and the rain at least had the advantage of keeping visitor numbers down so we had the place mostly to ourselves!
Our final waterfall was at our stop over for the night at Skjervsfossen. I did some research into stopping points beforehand and this one looked like it might be nice, but it isn’t. It is amazing. There was no-one else in the car park when we got here, so we pulled into a space right on the edge overlooking the valley. We can hear the waterfall and we have sat and watch the mist form, roll down the valley, dissipate and reform. It’s now dark, but I am already looking forward to removing the blind in the morning and lying in bed watching the view again.
And then there are the toilets. There was a block of toilets here that looked perfectly serviceable, but they knocked them down. In the UK that would be the end of the story. But here, the knocked them down so they could build some stunning architect-designed toilets. I opened the door and my chin nearly hit the floor. I yelled at Susan to come over and look. There was a huge glass panel in one wall and the floor overlooking the stream that feeds the waterfall. We have used some “loos with a view” before (particularly in the huts at Thorness Bay) but this surely tops them all. I delighted later in watching another group make the same discovery, with the same shock and delight.