Day 24 A view of 1/6th of Norway from Gausta mountain, originally uploaded by Big Al!.
I leave Oslo thoroughly bored of cities in general and Oslo in particular. It’s wet (normal), but I don’t mind because the roads are scenic, even if there is always a caravan spoiling the view, and the bike is running flawlessly. I really have to concentrate to avoid disaster while navigating, managing the bike on wet roads, enjoyjing the view, and avoiding the useless motorists. There aren’t many cars, but the ones coming towards me have no idea what "collision course" means. It’s much harder for a biker than a driver on wet mountain hairpin bends, but it’s the cars causing conflict and me avoiding it. The cars going my way are really slow. If formula one was a competition to find the slowest driver, every world champion ever would have been Norwegian. From Oslo, I climb steadily through mountainous forests, being reminded of parts of Canada, Siberia, the Pamir mountains, Germany. It’s a mix of everywhere. Then it becomes distinctly Norwegian as the road turns to reveal a classic fjord scene, steep sided, narrow, rugged. I arrive at Gausta mountain and ride the cable train to the top. It starts by going half a mile into the core of the mountain before climbing at 45 degrees for almost a mile, still inside the rock. It cost a million pounds and was built to allow NATO to build a radio tower on the summit. Oddly they decided not to finish the 100 feet from the top of the train ride to the radio tower, so you have to clamber over loose rocks. At the top there’s a cafe, of sorts, and I have a delicious freshly made waffle and a coffee while I enjoy the view. On a clear day, from the top of "Norway’s most beautiful mountain", you can see one sixth of Norway and part of Denmark. On a day like today, I can see one sixth of my hand if I hold it right in front of my face, and part of my feet if I really stare. So, with nothing to see I take the train back down and jump back on the bike for a quick ride to a nearby waterfall, once thought to be the world’s highest and apparently "quite impressive". It isn’t. It’s barely a waterfall because most of the water now falls through the pipework of a hydroelectric power station. Never mind. Back to the hostel I booked yesterday when I looked at the weather forecast, which said rain. It’s not as wet as it’s been all day, when I arrive at a hostel that’s really quite nice, composed of alpine style wooden chalets with turf roofs, and a view of the mountain, still shrouded in cloud. It will do quite nicely.