The Atlantic Road in fog
Trip Start Jul 23, 2010
25Trip End Aug 16, 2010
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We did not have long in Trondheim, so we walked through some of the smaller streets towards the cathedral. Since there was not time to visit the cathedral, we merely photographed it from the outside. The western front was particularly impressive: lots of carvings of kings and saints, all looking very impressive and very impressed with themselves. More fun were the gargoyles, as always. One, we decided, had just had a hammer dropped on his head and was very upset about it
On the way back, we walked past the bryggen (the wharf). We tried to figure out the purpose of one mechanism on the bridge but really could not. We also didn't want to disturb the biker sleeping under the bridge, so we didn’t linger. On our return to the ferry, we walked along the riverfront, then back to the wharf along the main road. We were back on board with 10 minutes to spare.
Although the sun was out as we left Trondheim, it quickly grew overcast. We started out on the upper deck, enjoying the view, but then moved down to the stern to get out of the wind. Even that grew too cold at some point, so we moved inside before lunch. After lunch, the weather was windy, with low clouds. We could see about half-way up the mountains (an assessment based upon the times the clouds would lift and we could see the top of the peaks). Numerous houses lined the seaside: some were farms but many looked like summer homes.
In late afternoon, we arrived to the city of Christiansund. The wharf was crowded with people, and we could hear music playing. When we got on board our tour bus, the guide told us that they were having the international roller-ski competition there … which we had seen covered on Norwegian news.
Our bus tour began with a trip under the fjord, in a 6km-long tunnel, which dropped steeply as one went into the tunnel itself. Seventy percent of the cost of the construction will be paid by use fees; when the amount is collected, the use fees will cease. I’m not sure how they pay for maintenance, but that seems like a reasonable way to do it. Of course, the use fees are high (about $15 to pass in a passenger car; about $85 for the bus with 15 passengers to go through).
We began by driving through the northwest part of the island of Averoya, which is bare of vegetation because of the high winds. The guide pointed out a factory on one side of the road: this is a new concern, which imports sawdust from Canada and turns it into stove pellets, as an alternative to coal.
The first stop on the tour was a stave church. The church dates back to the 14th century but has been remodeled many times. Originally, it had no paintings, but then during a 16th century renovation, paintings were added. Then, the paintings were whitewashed over during the Pietist period. Some of the church remains decorated while other parts are more barren. One pastor used his wife’s money to renovate the church, then had an enormous monument to himself built as a thank you
From the church ,we had a short drive to the restaurant where we had our dinner: a stew of klippfish, tomatoes, and peppers. It was quite tasty, and the house where dinner was served was charming. It began to rain during our meal, so the weather was at its worst when we went to see the main attraction: the Atlantic Road.
The Atlantic Road was built in the 1980s to connect all of the islands to the mainland. It is not very long, only about 8 km, but it consists of several bridges and lots of roads built on fill. Many of the islands are low and rocky, and they are exposed to the weather. During winter, storms have been known to wash cars off the bridges. We stopped at the famous arch bridge for a photo op … but the weather was not too cooperative.
The remainder of the drive could have been gorgeous in the right weather
We saw a sandy beach (which is very unusual in Norway), red deer, sheep, and cows. We learned that each tractor egg weighs about one tone, which is a lot of grass, and that farmers belong to a cooperative, where they, as a group, own the means of production … although all land remains in private hands and people get revenue based upon what they contribute. We heard about the gas installation at Aukra, which apparently sends natural gas to the UK via a direct pipeline.
Our tour ended in Molde, which hosts a jazz festival every July. It was a charming town, clearly set up for lots of tourists. There is a smallish football stadium, donated by a wealthy business owner, as well as a new spa which looked particularly appealing on this cold and gray day. We had only 20 minutes after we got off the bus before the ship departed, so Paul and I ran into town (almost literally) to take a few photos. Then, back on board.
It was 9:30pm when we pulled out of the harbor. I was tired and cold so went to lay down and read. To bed earlier than almost any time during the trip.