I was trapped. My plan to leave Laerdal was to take a ferry, but the ferry port had moved to the other side of an impenetrable tunnel.
Initially I tried my luck hitchhiking. Almost every big white camper van is equipped with a bike rack, and a good number of them are unused. My luck was not with me, or perhaps my unkempt beard proved too intimidating for these tourists to stomach.
So instead, I took the bus. It was a gamble, as space is never guaranteed and the driver may reject cyclists at their leisure. It was Sunday however, and the bus was almost empty. After heaving my bike into the cavernous luggage compartment under the bus, I was on my way to Sogndal. The bus shot through the tunnel and directly onto an awaiting ferry which departed not 2 minutes after the bus boarded. On the other side more tunnels followed and finally the town of Sogndal came into view. I disembarked and immediately set off up the fjord towards my next destination, the Nigardsbreen glacier. The road followed one of the twisting limbs of the Sognafjord, past droves of families out in boats, kayaks and on the occasional rocky inlet, all making the most of the perfect weather. The road hit the end of the fjord and instead started trailing a large river up the valley. The going got a bit tougher but I was rewarded with a sudden and lengthy downhill portion that seemed to go on for far longer than I had climbed. At the base of the descent I passed through a short tunnel and came face to face with a hi-vis vest toting horse rider. A cameraman lurked nearby. A photoshoot perhaps? I cruised by and there, hiding in a nearby rest stop was a man and his cow. Okay, I think some sort of farmyard based modelling shoot. Norweigans are a strange, eccentric bunch so why wouldn’t they drag some poor farm animals out onto a remote road for fun? I was wrong, oddly enough. It was an art project. The owner of the cow was a self proclaimed artist who intended to drag the poor thing across a traditional stock route over various mountains towards Oslo. He had already been at it for several months and was hoping to make make it by the end of the year. The horse and cameraman were simply bemused locals tagging along. I continue on past the madness and turn onto a small road leading up into the mountains.
As the road rolls over hill after hill, following a large rushing river, I see mean looking clouds loom ever closer. 15kms from my destination, the clouds stop looming and start throwing whatever they have handy at the ground. Rain mostly, but also the odd lightning bolt. I would enter a tunnel, escaping the rain for a brief moment, only to find that the downpour on the other side was twice as heavy. I was wearing my summer gear so before long I was soaked to the bone and made my destination the nearest flat place within sight. I spotted a fishing sign pointing tova side road and followed it down to a small unkempt field. There was some dead grass at the far end which I used to hastily erect my tent and tarp. I fell asleep to the sound of thunder and lightning booming overhead.