Pining for the fjords

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June 9, 2016 by loscobos12

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The trip started with the normal forecasts of doom, as the pilot breezily explained that the delay to our flight to Oslo was caused by an unexplained warning light which had come on whilst landing in London. He assured us that although they hadn’t worked out the cause, he at least was happy to fly in the plane – the rest of us had no choice.
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Neither Rob nor I knew much about Norway other than its reputation for being home to a large population of trolls. Short, grotesque, and repulsive, Josh was waiting with his bike when we landed.
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As we headed out of Oslo and into the hills, we took the chance to observe the local wildlife – strange blonde bipeds with ski poles and wheeled feet glided down bike paths. Later we saw our first polar bear, glancing through the window of the “Taksidermy” (Which I believe is Norwegian for Taxi Company), we saw a scene of carnage – skulls on the floor, and not a cabbie in sight. The beast itself was in the window, but stood very still as we passed.
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After a couple of days riding, the rain started and fell so heavily it soaked us through. Our road took us along, and sometimes through, a hillside next to an enormous lake. The stretches through tunnels were dark, noisy, and felt dangerous, but after spending all day in the rain we came to enjoy them like a gang of aquaphobic troglodytes.
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Eventually the rain stopped, and we climbed up onto Hoth-like plateaus of snow and frozen lakes. At Haugastøl, we left the road behind and set out to become the first cyclists of the year to make it the 60+km down the Rallanvegen – an old navvies track down a valley with no road. At the point where Josh started only being visible in the snow drifts from the waist up, we realised we were fighting a losing battle and took the decision to turn back before an unexpected crevasse took it for us. Whatever pride we’d lost was restored as we took the train through our impassable valley, and the conductor told us we were pioneers.
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At the point where the train guard compared us to Robert Falcon Scott, Josh decided his trip had peaked and headed back to Oslo and then to Manchester.
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It was a struggle, but Rob and I soldiered on without the benefit of Josh’s language and navigational skills. A few days, a couple of hundred kilometres, several thousand meters of climbing and seven very uninterested reindeer later, and it was time for me to go home, leaving Rob to stay another week.

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