We turned right at the T-junction and almost immediately went into the next tunnel. The sign at the entrance said 8.6km – the longest tunnel of the trip so far. At around the 2km marker, we heard a roaring behind. A large lorry was bearing down on us, and – as we obviously going too slow for his tight schedule – raced past, making us feel rather nervous. Would you overtake in a dark, narrow, 2-way tunnel with a bend coming up? At around the 6km marker, we saw a flashing, orange light up ahead in the distance.
‘What’s that?’ I asked.
‘Dunno, but we’ll soon find out!’
We couldn’t believe it when we got to it. A roundabout controlling a 4-way junction! I was so surprised, I wasn’t quick enough getting the camera out.
Tunnels continued to be a major feature of this western part of Norway, the fjord area. Often, you’d come out of one long tunnel just to be outside a couple of hundred yards before you were back in another one. Many of them had junctions in them, some were even motorway type slip roads. Quite a few spiralled you like a helter skelter in the dark, either up or down inside some huge mountain. We got quite used to them in the end, especially as being in a tunnel often meant you weren’t driving along some kind of ledge masquarading as a road, hanging off a cliff several hundreds of feet above a fjord with nothing more than a tiny concrete wall to stop you careering off the edge.
I will just digress a little here. In the summer holidays, back when I was 10 years old, we were all out for a drive one day when an altercation with a lorry resulted in our car leaving the road and somersaulting down into a ravine. To this day, I’m sure that this incident plays no small part in me easily feeling out of my comfort zone on certain types of roads, and I am indebted to Geoff for being my absolute rock with the driving in these situations.
Despite the challenging driving though, the scenery was utterly amazing and well worth the trip. Our days generally followed a similar pattern. Drive for the morning and then wander around in the afternoon. Most nights we wild camped, but occasionally used a campsite – usually when I had loads of washing to do and needed a washing machine! Ferries were used a couple of times to cross the Hardangerfjord at different points, and altogether we spent about a week exploring this part of Norway.
I’ve found it so difficult trying to decide which photos to post and which to leave out, that in the end I thought the best thing to do would be to make a short slide show to give a flavour of the area. Enjoy!