We had talked about maybe staying a day but decided to move on to Stavanger, and plan our best route to the Preikestolen, our main goal for the trip. So we had breakfast, packed up our stuff and did a small hike back to the main road where we found a good spot for hitchhiking at a busstop.
As mentioned before in the previous post a main theme to the trip was having bad luck in good spots and good luck in bad ones, and this was to be the first example of having bad luck in a good spot. We stood there for quite a while, perhaps an hour or an hour and a half untill we got a ride. As also tends to be usual though, the rides we waited long for also took us quite far, and Orian (turns out I got the previous name right, but from now on there will be more mistakes, and this is probably one of them haha) took us all the way to Stavanger.
When we got there after a bit of a drive the weather was slowly getting worse. The clouds grew darker and upon arrival there was a slight drizzle falling down. We discussed the possibility of staying at a hostel and taking a ferry and a bus to the start of the Preikestolen trail, and to see how much this would cost us we looked for and found the tourist information centre. As we looked at our map and discussed the plan another two guys with backpacks walked in, who also turned out to be Dutch, were also hitchhiking and who's goal was the Preikestolen as well. What are the chances right? Their names were Rick and Bernhard, a bit younger than us, sitting around 19, and we would run into eachother several times from this point on.
After getting some food at McDonalds we (the four of us) looked around on the internet to look for hostel prices, and found them to be too steep. Along with the ferry and bus ride it would cost too much for our liking, and so a new plan was made: to backtrack a little bit to Sandnes, and follow the road further east into the country to another ferry at Lauvik.
The road from there would take us to the Preikestolen from the south, while the ferry and bus would have gotten us there from the north.
So after dinner we walked through the centre of Stavanger to the nearest road that would take us in that direction. This is where we split up again, because getting a ride for four people is ofcourse nigh impossible.
So we left them at their spot close to the centre and moved further down the road ourself, walking to the city edge (which thankfully wasn't very far at all) and setting up our position there.
Now at this time the sky was completely overcast and the drizzle was getting thicker and we were getting slightly wet, but we had decided to push on and make it as far as possible. It wasn't too bad yet.
After a little while of standing there we suddenly heard a honk and saw waving arms from a car as Rick and Bernhard passed us by with their ride. And not two minutes after we got a ride too. Her name was Anita and she would take us to Sandnes. She was a nice lady who worked as an engineer who designed plans for laying oil pipes under water. The vast majority of people in the area of Stavanger work in the oil industry as we were told several times. Orian worked in the oil industry as well.
After reaching Sandnes we were a little bit lost as Anita didn't know the town very well. She dropped us off at a place she went to shop at, and from there we gathered intel as fast as possible.
After asking around for a while we had a direction to head to, and so we started walking again. By now we were taking turns carrying the tent which was quite a nuissance throughout the trip, at least for me. I hate having to carry stuff around in my hands, that's not what I have a backpack for, but it didn't fit in there or in Willem's. So carrying it in my hand it was!
Eventually we made it to another bus stop, not an ideal position but it was shelter for the rain, which was coming down a bit harder now.
As I was standing out by the road trying to catch a ride a guy walked past who started a conversation with Willem. He wanted us to come with him to his place, where he could give us some food and where we could wait for the next bus to come later on at night, but Willem declined. There was still daylight left, and we had more road to travel.
This turned out to be to our benefit as soon after another car passed us by, then turned around at a roundabout and came back for us. In the car were another two very good-looking young girls, who were bored and had decided to give us a ride just to give themselves something to interesting to do.
Especially the driver could have been a photo model, she was that good looking. Another major surprise haha! What's more, they were going to take us all the way to Lauvik.
Now this was one of the harder names I've had to write down, and I'm not at all sure if I got it right. The girl in the passenger seat was easy enough, Marianne, but the driver was called something like Reinhilde.
Her English was really good, which was understandable enough since she had spent quite a bit of time in England as an au pair. After maybe an hour's drive they dropped us off at Lauvik, which turned out wasn't a town but just the ferry port, and lo and behold: Rick and Bernhard were there already!
The ferry here was just a small one, not like the big ships at Stavanger or the one that took us from Denmark to Norway. Just enough room for a few cars that got put over onto the other side in about 15 minutes.
It is a paid ferry but as we walked on (we had arrived just in time to catch one) nobody bothered us to pay, even while we walked past one of the ferrymen. So we got over to the other side scot-free.
Unfortunately none of us had thought to ask around for the next ride during the way over and so everybody drove off, which left us standing there having to wait 30 minutes for the next batch of cars. So we decided to walk and see if we could get a good sleeping spot (by now it was around 22:00 I think).
Not too far away we saw a sign for a house or a cabin, so there was a chance of a roof over our heads. We walked until we saw a little harbor area where a man was still at work. So we approached him and asked if he knew of or had a place for us to stay. Turns out he rented cabins out to people, as well as boats for the lake etc., and if we wanted we could stay in his barn. He didn't have any empty cabins left and at any rate he didn't figure we had money or wanted to pay for a place to stay.
So we walked up to his place while he finished up, and he showed us his barn, which was quite big and had more than enough room. Thanks to Lars we had a roof over our heads that night, and the ability to let all our wet stuff dry, and even the ability to fill up on water.
We put down a plastic sheet to lay our stuff down on and laid our stuff to dry. Willem and I played another game of chess before going to sleep.
The following morning
We could sleep in for as long as we wanted, but we woke up quite early nonetheless.
Lars wasn't around anymore but we had thanked him the previous night for his hospitality already, so he knew we were grateful.
We knew the weather report too. It was going to clear up at 12:00. Before we moved out though Willem wanted to see if he could catch a sea star he had seen the previous evening, so we moved back down to the harbor area and as he and Rick and Bernhard looked in the water I got out my book to do some reading (Anne Frank's Diary, I had never read it before untill I decided to buy it shortly before we left).
Eventually they caught a few sea stars and we decided to move on. This time Willem and me got dibs on the first ride, so we moved back up to the road.
The small harbor area.
We didn't stand up there long. We had quite a bit of luck. We had missed the cars from the ferry but as we stood by the road Lars' neighbour from across the street walked up to check his mail, and started a conversation. Eventually he offered to take us to the Preikestolen, driving us all the way up to the start of the trail! His name was Ingval, and he was here on holiday from Stavanger. He had quite a lot of bad weather the previous week and told us our timing couldn't have been more perfect. And he was right: the clouds were almost completely gone, and there was only good weather coming up for the rest of the week.
When we got to the start of the trail we thanked Ingval, and decided to get some postcards from the giftshop for our family. We didn't have to carry them around either as the shop clerks could send them for us.
After hanging around for a little bit and eating some ice cream we started our hike to the top of the Preikestolen.
It took us about four hours. It can be done faster but we were ofcourse carrying our backpacks, each weighing in at about 20 kilo's, while everybody else was just carrying some food and water.
Suffice to say the climb eventually got quite hellish as I was not in a good enough shape to do that climb with that backpack, and I paid the price haha. When we got to the top my legs were beat. But the sights along the way were beautiful and very well worth it. Besides, now we would get to sleep on top of the Preikestolen!
Around the start of the trail
And wouldn't you know it? Ahead of us we ran into Rick and Bernhard, who had actually gotten in front of us while we were lounging about at the start of the trail.
Nearing the top!
The actual Preikestolen! From the edge it is 600 meters straight down :)
At the very edge of the Preikestolen
Enough to make you feel a bit queasy, isn't it?
I also took this video when we first got there.
As evening fell, it got quieter and quieter untill eventually there were only a handful of people left.
We climbed further on up the mountain to stay in the sun as long as possible, played some more chess, and eventually got driven back down again by the mosquitoes.
Bernhard and Rick stayed up on the mountain with some German friends of their's that had run into trouble at the border carrying illegal substances with them, who as fate would have it managed to get to the Preikestolen on the same day as them. Now it would probably be a good time to say that Willem is in the police academy, so we decided to take our distance from these guys.
After dinner above Preikestolen, seen on the right below us.
When it got dark enough we laid down our sleeping bags. It was around 23:00 but it was still very light because we were so high. The sky was clear and the moon was out in force, so it never really got so dark that we couldn't see.
My sleeping bag at the edge of Preikestolen :)
And then, the following morning, we were greeted with this view...
What a great view to wake up to, isn't it?
This was approximately around 4:30. It gets dark late, and bright early.
We decided to skip breakfast and leave early before the crowds arrive. There already were some people that had arrived earlier during the night, and more would surely follow very soon.
One of the few small lakes you'll find on your way to the top
We were high enough up the mountain to stay above the morning fog, and it led to some awesome sights!
Nearing the parking lot again.
Back down at the start!
And this is where I'll finish the story for now... More to follow soon(er than this time)!