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Sun Jul 19 2015: Swimming in Norway with ABBA

At Lysebotn Harbour, we have to decide whether to ride for a couple more hours to our intended destination for the night or to camp out here. Although the riding days are long and we are in no danger of running out of daylight, the clouds are getting very dark and threatening rain, and because we've already ridden many hours, we decide to stay here overnight and then do a short run tomorrow.

Then we see the campsite and we know we're making the right decision. Nice!

The rain is imminent now and it's a mad dash to get the tents up just as the first drops of rain are falling on our heads. Then it's time to reward ourselves with a hot meal!

Isn't it good? Norwegian food.

Actually, not Norwegian food. It's food that we've brought in from Sweden. One great benefit of traveling with other people is that you can pool your food and camping recipes together to try new stuff! We dragged a picnic table under the awning of the washroom building at the campsite and had ourselves a feast! Livin' La Vida Hobo!

World-class view at Lysebotn Harbour. Shame it's so rainy here.

It rains 2 out of 3 days in Lysebotn at this time of year, so the weather is not too unexpected. This whole area of Western Norway gets a lot of precipitation because the warm air from the North Sea hits the steep mountains of the fjordlands and as it is forced upwards, it cools, releasing all of its moisture as rainfall. Brekke, a few hours north of here gets 3500mm of rain a year. Three and a half meters of rain! That's almost 10 cms of rain a day. Crazy!

Peering out the tent in the morning to see if it's going to be a good riding day or not

One nice side effect of all this precipitation is that there are waterfalls everywhere on the high cliff walls of the Lysefjorden. This large one just outside our tent provided a nice white-noise effect that lulled us to sleep last night.

Drinking water is the cheapest thing we could find in Norway

Trying to find patches of sun in the dark skies above us

With the clouds slowly dissipating, we try to get our tents as dry as possible before packing them in. No success at all. It's such a gross feeling packing a wet tent away. It's like putting on wet underwear. Ugh.

Got our wet underwear packed and ready to head out for the day! Bye Lysebotn!

Back on the Canadian Express through Southern Norway! Choo choo!

With all the rain here, everything that can cling to the rocky terrain is so lush and green

We're hanging onto the back of Sara and Daniel's convoy by our fingernails. We can't keep up with the pace that they're running, so we just let them go ahead and we'll meet them later on in the campsite. This allows us to dawdle at our own pace, and lets me stop and take some pictures too.

This reminds me *SO* much of Iceland!

Sheep crossing. Getting hungry...

Dinner bell?

Rains create so many waterfalls along the steep cliffs around us. Very pretty, but it'd be nice to have some dry weather

It just keeps on raining without any break, the water bouncing off my tank bag and coming up underneath my helmet. I think my left boot is developing a leak, the tip of my sock feels a bit wet, but I'm not sure if it's just cold or damp. This is not the time to have our waterproof gear fail on us!

Ugh, so much rain!

It occurred to me that for the last two years of our trip we have been followed by rains. But this time it's different. It feels as if we've followed the RideDOT.com rains back to their home and we're on its turf right now. Ugh.

Ah, the home stretch. We catch the ferry from Lauvvik and it should let us off close to our campsite

Guess who we run into on the ferry? Sara and Daniel! We caught up to them!

Thankfully the ferry staff let us park under this awning. It is *so* wet!

I walked around the ferry as it took us across to the other side of Lysebotn Harbour while Neda paid the ferryman (before he got us to the other side!) They're very organized, walking around to all the vehicles with their wireless credit-card machines, collecting everyone's payment in the short hop from Lauvvik to Oanes.

The toes of my left foot squished in a tiny pool at the tip of my no-so-waterproof-anymore boot. Gross.

Just another half-hour of rain till we reach our campsite

We all pull into the Preikestolen Campsite in the pouring rain. All we want to do is get warm and dry, so we pile inside the camping lodge watching the waterworks outside. My left sock has completely wicked up the water inside the boot and is completely soaked up to my calf and the boot is waterlogged. Ugh. Now we're just waiting, trying to find a small window of time when the rain lets up a little bit to put up our tents, which are also completely soaked in our "dry" bags. Ugh. Camping in the rain sucks.

I hate when people read over my shoulder when I'm blogging.

We've been getting to know Sara and Dan a little bit more over the last few days. Sara is the documenter for their trip, and everytime we find wifi, the two of us are banging out blog entries while Dan and Neda engage in camping gear comparisons/competitions (Isn't it good? Norwegian feud).

I'm a night owl and I'm discovering that Sara is as well. Many times, I'll do my final 2AM run to the washroom before crawling into our tent and I'll see that their tent is softly illuminated from within by laptop light.

We have to eat outside because we're not allowed to bring our own food in the lodge and everything on the menu is too expensive for us

Why is Norway so expensive? They were actually a very poor country - about 750,000 Norwegians emigrated to the US and Canada from 1825 to 1925 to escape famine, war and poverty. Then they discovered oil in 1969 and have been inflicting famine, economic warfare and poverty onto tourists ever since.

Sara and Neda on the way to Pulpit Rock

Neda, Sara and Daniel do some hiking! Without me! YAY!!!!

One of Norway's most famous sights is Preikestolen, otherwise known as Pulpit Rock. It's a 25x25 metre square outcropping of rock high above the waters of the Lysefjorden and the straight drop is completely unhindered by any railing or safety precaution.

The Pulpit Rock is about a two-hour hike from our campsite. Since I'm suffering from bad allergies (and I hate hiking), I beg off this walk, and I'm so glad Sara and Daniel are hikers so they can keep Neda company.

People do all sorts of crazy things for a picture at Pulpit Rock, but surprisingly,
there has only been one confirmed accidental death here. Lots of suicides though...

About a quarter million people tourists make the trek to Preikestolen annually. It's also a popular place to do BASE jumping.

Neda the Brave, dangling her legs over 600 meters above the waters of Lysefjorden

Back at camp, we're drying everything out as soon as there is a little bit of sun

Neda's panniers are leaking really badly, just like my left boot, so when the sun comes out, we spread out all of our belongings on the grass around our tent to try to dry them out. Redneck Yard Sale.

We escape Norwegian poverty by eating food smuggled in from Sweden. Thank you, Abba!

Abba, other than being a 70s pop group, is also a brand of canned seafood that we picked up while doing cheap grocery shopping in Sweden. We have developed a liking to salted herring, so our favorite lunchtime meal is herring sandwich. Yum! Other than campsite fees and gas, I don't think we've spent any money in Norway. Can't afford it...

Money, money, money, must be funny, in a rich man's world.

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