Day 15 – Skudenshaven to Hirtshals

Today was the day that we started on our way home, a trip that would take 2 days to complete. We had a busy day planned, a trip into town to do a bit of sightseeing then packing up and riding down to the ferry port at Stavanger to catch the overnight ferry to Hirtshals in Denmark. I woke up with the sun beating through the window and lovely blue skies again. We had been really very lucky during this trip to have had so few days of rain, things could have been very messy indeed. I got up and went downstairs, took a shower and got the camera ready for a day of snapping photos.

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Arvid arrived in his big old 4×4 and for the first time in weeks we took a ride on 4 wheels. We headed to his house first for a spot of breakfast before heading into town. First stop was the Skudeneshavn Motorycle Club where Arvid and Hans hang out. They have a building they rent which has a workshop area and a “club lounge” to hang out in. Really nice setup and one that other clubs in the UK should consider. We had a group photo taken and were given a club patch each as a keepsake.

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We parked in the town and walked around the harbour and the narrow streets. The town is very pretty and full of character, white wooden buildings topped by orange tiles, boats tied up along side. I was very much reminded of places like Disney or a film set, surely this town couldn’t be real?

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We walked around the streets, taking in the sights and soon Arvid surprised us with a stop at a tiny cafe/waffle house run by an old local gentleman. The place was a real curiosity shop full of a mish-mash of items on tables and shelves. A map on the wall showed the locations of many of the visitors to this tiny little shop. We had waffles with jam and coffee and it was damn tasty.

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After we had filled our bellies with goodies we had a walk around the main park in the town, taking a look at the moonstone, so called because it kind of looks like a meteor that is sat out of place with the surrounding rocks.

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The view from the park across the bay was very impressive and Arvid told us stories of his growing up in the town.

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Arvid suggested we go back via Liv’s work so we could say hi. On route we passed a childrens playground which was of course an excuse to egg Paul into playing on the toys.

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We stopped at Liv’s and had a coffee and biscuits before heading back to the car and then back to pack up our gear at Hans place. Arvid whisked me to the local store so I could buy a ton of Firklover Chocolate for my girl Caroline back in England. She had asked me to get some and I dare not not take any back!

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So we packed the bikes up and got our gear on, although we had a day and a half left it was still a sad moment. In hours we would leave Norway and say farewell to Arvid, Liv and the country that had shown us some of it’s wonders over the previous weeks. We mounted the bikes and along with Hans we rode down to the supermarket car park where Arvid and Liv were waiting to say goodbye. A few minutes later we were heading off back towards Stavanger and to the meeting point where Han’s friends would join us.

Arriving at the port we joined the queue of bikes already there waiting. The ferry looked pretty impressive from the outside, bigger than I expected. We got Hans to take our final photo in Norway, all of us feeling a bit tired and sad to be leaving behind such am amazing country.

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We got the bikes on, a bit of chaos involved and panic as the bikes were lined up in such a way that strapping them down was a nightmare. Then, bags in hand we headed up to find our cabin and get changed so we could relax for the rest of the night. One thing I learnt from the first overnight trip was to pack the panniers and topbox so you can easily get to what you need as you can’t come back once you leave port for the open sea. Paul’s experience and advice with the ferry process helped a huge amount!

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The boat was pretty nice with a lot more facilities than the Harwich to Esbjerg ferry. I was really impressed with the level of decor but that is from a person who has never been on ferries this size before. The cabin wasn’t actually as big as we thought but still big enough for our needs with 2 pull down bunks and 2 fixed lower bunks.

We changed and headed to find a place to eat and drink, meandering through the corridors and dodging other passengers dragging suitcases behind them. We found a couple of restaurants, one of which was a proper sit down and dine affair the other more a self service cafe which is the one we opted for. The food was pretty decent and not over the top price wise and we sat eating watching the sunset over the sea. Once dinner was over we had another wander, locating the bar, shop and reception. We bought some wifi passes and I popped into the shop to look around before heading back to the lounge area to try and catch up with the news from the rest of the world and update our social media pages. Unfortunately the wifi was once again pretty awful so apart from a brief and slow conversation with Caroline over Facebook little else was done.

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Hans arrived with the rest of the gang and we spent a bit of time planning the route for the next day before heading off to bed.

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