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Chapter 5: Svinesund - Kristiansand

Once again we change the crowns from SEK to NOK. On the Norwegian side there is an information bureau. The friendly lady sells me the desired booklet "Sykkelguide Kystruta". Without this book the tour would be rather without sense. It is written in three languages (N, GBR, D) and gives hints on accommodations, which is the main thing meanwhile. The coastal cycle path is named R1 here and marked by red signs.

Gamlebyen Frederikstad

We have to ride about 2 km on the E6 and then you see the first red R1-sign. They use the old track of the E6, but there is much traffic as well. Then there are some side roads to Sarpsborg. From there I cannot help and ride on the main road 111 with a fine cycle path and tailwind. Before Frederikstad is a high bridge, but let us avoid this and visit the old town Gamlebyen, surrounded by the original fortification. The old town was built about 1663 and has not been changed since then. There is no traffic and you can relax within the old romantic lanes.

Bridge, Ferrypier Frederikstad

Promenade at Frederikstad

The real center of Frederikstad is reached by a ferry boat across the river Glomma. It doesn't last long to find a hotel (City Hotel) and once after a while we have a comfortable lodging and a larger town around. The restaurants along the promenade of the Vesterelva are full in the evening sun, where they sit to see and to be seen. As well as the residents of the numerous boats at the pier. I end - you will know already - at a Chinese and do what I can to fill up the gap of food of the last week. It is the first Restaurant since Skagen.

Frederikstad Pilsener

In the hotel the minibar must give place for a 1.25 L bottle of Frederikstad Pilsener. This is brewed here on original recipes, as is to be read. It tastes very well but costs as much as a bottle of good vine at home. I have peeled off the label to show it here. In Norway they have a high tax on luxury foodstuffs like alcohol and cigarettes. And on Sunday no one sells any alcohol except the restaurants, which may be full on this day.

15 Thursday, 1.8. Frederikstad - Larvik, 120 km

Typical Norway?

At the breakfast in the City Hotel I am surrounded by retired folks, some of Schwaben - I can tell you: I meet them always and everywhere. Out of Frederikstad I get lost and have to ride back for 5 km to the church of Onsøy and the R1. We have pine forests and corn fields. The last 10 km section to Moss shall be an unpaved path. I have a look at it, but it looks very rough. So I prefer the main road 118 with a cycle path.

Food is sold at the Road

The town of Moss will suffer that I have not seen anything of it, because the ferry goes off within the next four minutes. At the ticket counter a caravan behind me honks impatiently, he wants to be in time as well. OK, he succeeds. On board at first I must look on the map, if I am on the right boat: Horten, that is alright. The ferry needs about 30 minutes to cross the Oslo Fjord. I look towards the main town of Norway but cannot see the bulky towers of the town hall. I have been there twice, more than 30 years ago.

Crossover Moss - Horten

At Horten "the road of Storgaten shall be a mass of flowers" (guide). I go there but don't find the flowers. I follow the bike signs and end at a beach with lots of bathing folks. The signs point to the left and that means to the direction where I have come from. Under the cloudless sky I walk around among the naked bathing folks with my loaden bike and they look curious. But I don't find a proper continuation of the path. So I follow my mental orientation once again, go inland and then on the road to the south (with tailwind, I cannot believe it). Suddenly the main traffic and the bike sign comes up from the left, but there was only the sea before? The solution: there must be a tunnel under the bathing folks or so (Holmestrand Tunnel, 1378 m).


The next section of the path is an adventure, sometimes rough and muddy along a park. A mountainbike guy shows me his mattocks. From the spa town Asgårdstrand we are back in the civilised world again. It is rather touristic and they swim everywhere on this day like at the Mediterranian Sea. I have the wind from behind and the sun from ahead. I would like a shelter for the face against the bright sunlight. But in the shops I always forget to look for a new cap. Once I end in a DIY store (Bomarked).

Ring en Gang...

The Smallest Ferry

On some camping grounds there are free huts announced. This is promising. Now follows - as is to be read - the smallest ferry of Norway. There is a shabby hut, a street of ants running on the floor. If you want to get over you must ring a bell and this is to be read from an adventurous sign: "Ring en Gang...". I ring the bell and it is to be heard from the opposite shore. But nothing happens. While the ants creep into my sandals I get a photo from the adventurous sign.

Ferry at Tenvik
I observe the opposite bank again and at last detect someone sitting on a chair in the shade. Hard work as it seems. I must interpret the signs in the right sense: at every full quarter of an hour he will come over. So I must wait ten minutes. Just at half past I ring once again and now the ferryman comes along.

I pay 5 NOK and then ride among the fields and forests of the islands Husøy and Nøtterøy. At Tenvik there is the next ferry boat, just waiting this time. You can now have a nice boat trip and by the way avoid a fair section of the overland route. We pass the idyllic island Veierland, where the ship lands two times, and then go back to the main land.



This is near the big seaport of Sandefjord. It would have been possible to come here from Strömstad by ship, but this would not have been the sense of the affair.

The last section to Larvik leads on the main road. A last rest in a bus cabin, today this imay give some shadow. At the timetable it is to be seen, that a bus will soon arrive. And there it comes and stops, just for me. I wave him to continue and the driver laughs. In Larvik there are two hotels, "Rum ledig" is to be read at the first one. But the second - Quality Hotel Grand Farris - is announced to be a "Cycle Friendly Accommodation". So I choose this one but am not sure, if this is the cheaper. Around the corner there are two China restaurants to choose. Thereafter a walk around but there is not much to be seen.

Skerry Rocks(near Larvik)


After this hot day some laundry must be done. I use the old trick: roll the clothing into a bath towel and then trample on it for a while: the clothing is nearly dry afterwards. The burnt parts of my nose, ears and elbows are creamed with Penatencreme today, this works as well as on a soft baby's bum.

16 Friday, 2.8. Larvik - Kragerø, 76 km

The sun has gone again but the wind comes still from the right direction. I pass the sleepy town Stavern and rush to the place Helgeroa where a boat shall wait. We have just 10 am, but there is no boat and no pier for a ferry is to be seen. I ask some locals, fishermen or so, and they say the next boat leaves at 12.00. The early one has gone at 9.30 am, they paint the numbers on to the gravel ground. So to wait 2 hours or go the land route over 45 km? I think I can master two hours of wait time.

Helgeroa Marina


At first I sit on a bench and think it over. But a slight drizzle starts, so look for another seat. We have a couple of huts here, named Helgeroa Marina. There are some shops and the sanitary facilities for the boat people at the pier. I find another shop at the camping site and there it is: the new cap for 50 NOK. In the Marina Mode Shop I find some caps twice as expensive. Meanwhile the ship has arrived, so we go on board and the time is soon over.


Time Table Helgeroa - Langesund

The journey through the skerry islands is a wonderful experience again, not worth to be missed. The ship passes the rocks nearly at an arm's length, at one point there are only centimeters left to pass a narrow gap. At 1 pm we arrive at Langesund.

Among the Skerries


Narrow Gap

Now it is due to one self again to proceed. Up and down and then there is a fork to decide what to do. There shall be "an exciting section of the route, well known for its rich flora, through the woods to Aby". The word exciting stands for unpaved and hilly. The alternative route is the E18. Let us accept the challenge, if one likes to push his bike up and down he is right here. But the nature is impressive, let us say pristine skerry forests. At last there is a funny sign warning of a dangerous downhill. And if you stumble down there with your loaden bike you must apply the front and back brake and the bike still tries to be faster than you.

"Exciting" Section



Another Mailbox


We arrive at a sweet and silent region, it seems that the world ends here. And the cycle path climbs up again in the same manner, as we just have come down. No, we find a connection to the E18 and absolve the few km within the dense traffic. Then up and down to Valle and the last 26 km to Kragerø as the rest for today. In the woods there are nice lakes and at the coast scenic views. Once I find a blank skerry rock above the road and this is one of the best rest places. One is tempted to stay there for a longer time.

The Heather starts to bloom

A Beautiful Restplace

At Kragerø there is a tunnel to come into the town. It is a nice place and I try to go to the Ferieleiligheter at the island Øya whatever this would be. The people there tell me that they are full. But they are very helpful and call to the opposite Hotel Victoria to book a room for me. This works and I say thank you.

Some things to do yet: look for the timetable when the boat will leave tomorrow (9.35), buy and write a postcard to my friends Krögers corresponding to this funny name of the town and finally buy some food for dinner, as usual shrimps and cheese.

Kragerø Panorama

The Whale of Kragerø

In the evening I look out of the window and have the idea to use my field glass which is deep in the panniers. And I discover something curious: a whale! Yes, a whale, but this is made of a skerry rock and located at the opposite shore of the island Øya. I will go there tomorrow. Moreover there is much traffic outside, but not by cars or busses but by various boats.

17 Saturday, 3.8. Kragerø - Tvedestrand, 65 km

During the breakfast in apprehension this and that falls into my front bag. Then I ask a clerk to open the garage where my bike is. And I ask him if he knows something about the whale of stone. But he only looks stupid and may think: "What a fool, this guest". So I go to the other shore and take a photo and now the reader may judge, if he is a fool, this guest.

I then go to the boathouse where the ferry shall leave. Everything is sleepy and it doesn't look so as if at any time a boat will come. Another couple comes up, they are from Oerlinghausen and cycle from Göteborg to Kristiansand. They prefer to stay at Youth Hostels and are very content with these. They once had seen an elk with a calf, hard to believe.

After some time a taxiboat comes along. We put the bikes inside and then the boat dashes off, as fast as an automobile. Minutes later we leave at Stabbestad. The next 20 km are hilly again and we come to Øysang. From here there is a boat connection to Risør and one can save 28 km on the road. The other couple prefers to cycle but I go to the boat. Of course there is no boat, we have 11 am and the next boat will go at 1 pm. But many people stand around, they are waiting for a taxi boat. After thirty minutes the taxi boat arrives, meanwhile there are about 60 waiting persons. The boat takes only 50 of them, the rest must wait one hour - the cyclist with his loaden bike as well of course.

Within one hour one can write a bit, walk around, take some photos and doze. As the boat returns I am not so foolisch and enter the boat in time. A fat girl shows me where to place the bike. A couple with a children's buggy must stay back for another time. The crossover is very nice and I think more enjoyable than the land route. And it is easier.



We arrive at Risør which is called "Den hvite by ved Skagerrak" (The White Town of Skagerrak). Today it is black of crowds. At the harbour there are lots of large wooden sailing boats and it is to be read: Risør trebåtefestival. At the promenade there are various tents and one has to pay entry to come in. I ride out of this trouble as fast as I can. The access roads are blocked, may be there are no park areas available yet.

After some time the couple of the morning comes along and they are enthusiastic of the route. Now they want to go to  Risør in spite of my warning. They want to visit the Salt Water Aquarium, may be it is not so full in there. After the fork at Bossvik the traffic decreases. The slopes and hills get more calm as well. The kilometers melt away in the nice landscape. Finally there is Tvedestrand as it it is glued to a slope above the bay. In the brochure is to be read: "Sørlands smilehull" and this means "the Dimple of the South coast". It looks fine and I decide to stay over night there.

Tvedestrand Frontside

Tvedestrand Backside

The hotel is booked this time. In the tourist bureau they only know a nearby camping ground with free huts. There is no choice, I must go there. As I start "uptown" a sharp whistle comes from behind and they bring me my purse which I have forgotten in the bureau. Seems to get worse with my scatterbrain. May be I had realized it at the supermarket around the corner. After shopping I ride to the camping site at the E18. There is a Pension nearby but today I would like a hut again. The camping ground is behind a fuel station and not much romantic. I get a hut, but there is nothing inside, no cooking pots nor dishes and no bed clothes.

I go to the petrol station to phone at home. But the display of the telephone says "Bytt Batterie". The clerk is not able to fix it. So I am missing for three days once again. Back at my hut I look outside if the other couple will arrive, I think to have heard something about a hut. But may be they do not stand on this.

Campinghut at Holt

When I have finished my meal (200 g Krepsehaler von Fiskemanen) I sit outside and have a nice view to a sheep's meadow, a wood in the background. I can tell you exactly: there are 11 white and one black sheep. The leading sheep has bells and when it scrapes it sounds like a concert. After midnight all sounds calm down and I think it was a nice evening anyway.

18 Sunday, 4.8. Tvedestrand - Kristiansand, 136 km

Houses at Tvedestrand

During the last two days the distances were not so long, so I will have a longer section on the last day of the tour. So I go back to Tvedestrand though it would be much faster, to go to Arendal along the E18 or so. In the pedestrian area there shall be the "probably most narrow house in Norway". May be, it doesn't look so impressive. On the roads there is nearly no traffic because it is early on Sunday. At Kilsund we have a phantastic Fjord panorama.

Panorama in the Skerries


I then come to Arendal and find a bench with a good outlook. The next section to Grimstad is on the main road. At Grimstad we pass a hole in a rock wall.

Rock Wall at Grimstad
I then reach the 2000 km limit of this tour, but just then are looking around for the continuation of the right route. I find it and finally there is a last "highlight". One can enter the Western Main Road or the old Kings Road, 8,5 km defined as "undulating earth roads" in the brochure.

Bridge at the Kings Road

Western "Main Road"

It starts like the washed-out bed of a creek and leads steep uphill. Then a high bridge over a canal, a boat comes just along. Then nearly a canyon and it is hard to carry the loaden bike up there. As I come around a corner there is a resting woman with a mountainbike. She is rather sporty and I am slower. But at the steep sections she has to walk as well. Once she must stop to receive a call on her mobile telephone. Gradually the difficult parts of the route are mastered and when the first houses come up the path gets better. A man with a children's trailer and a sleeping boy in it is very friendly and explains the matter, that this once was the main route from Oslo to Kristiansand.

I find myself on another main route, and this is the E18 for some kilometers. After the fork to Lillesand I have a rest. And there the mountainbike lady comes along, probably she has stayed to the old rout somewhat longer. The pay for the stress is the meanwhile sunny weather. The landscape gets colourful again.

The River Tovdalselva

From Lillesand there is a 12 km long stretch through the woods, not so interesting but a fast ride. We then reach Birkeland and the river Tovdalselva. This river shall be one of the best salmon regions in Norway. Now we have the last section of the tour and this is one of the best. The landscape looks like a painting, pretty colours and a good wind.


Near Kristiansand the traffic gets dense and finally we are on signed bike paths among the highways again. There is the big Varodd Bridge to cross. Who does not like this, can take the bus - so to read in the guide. I cross over lost in thought: the tour is over but the labours as well.

Hotel Sjøgløtt

I choose the Hotel Sjøgløtt at the Østre Strandgate, this is fairly near to the ferry station. The hotel is very fine, private and not so expensive. A walk around to the promenade, the ferry port and the main places, and then as fast as possible into the Chinese restaurant.

In the evening I draw the itinerary table which is complete now.

19/20 Monday/Tuesday, 3./4.8. Kristiansand – Hirtshals - Return

The first thing this morning is to book the ship to Hirtshals, the ship Christian IV will leave at 1.30 pm and arrive at 5.45. So it is much time to look around. At first I go to Posebyen, an old part of the town which was built since 1641 with right angled streets. The white painted houses are mostly nearly original.



Then I cycle (without baggage) up to the peninsula Odderøya. There are nice views and one can see the ruins of bunkers and cannon basements from the last war. The cannons covered about 8 to 10 km and were installed to prevent an invasion. And in fact: there never was an invasion.

Kristiansand Panorama

Early enough I get my baggage from the hotel and go to the ferry port. We meet on lane 1 again with the motor-bikers. Questions: Where have you been? How many kilometers? They made over 4000 but I made 2000 without motor and that is even much more crazy. On board I take my rucksack with me. The sun deck is too windy today. Of course the sundeck is the most windy place because it is on the top of the ship. I go two decks deeper and find a nice place among the lifeboats. The rucksack is my pillow and a chair on its side a shelter from the wind. This is a nice voyage.

At Hirtshals I get a room at Hotel Hirtshals Krø. I cannot prepare the return by train because the railway station is closed. Today I have a pizza again: Hirtshals Fiske Pizza. There are nice octopusses on it and I wonder, if these have come from the north sea.

The next morning we go to Hjørring with a private train. Then it is only possible to take a bike into an express train if one has a reservation. Of course I have none. But the officer succeeds to get the reservations per computer, 15 minutes before the train arrives. From Fredericia the train goes straight to Hannover, so I am at home within 12 hours. My wife Heidi, our dog Lotta and a French guest scholar are waiting already on this globetrotter, who comes back with some more kilos in his luggage (catalogues and brochures, lump sugar and confiture...) and some kilos less on his ribs.

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