There are two strange vehicles on the road. Land Rovers. Old ambulances from the British military. Now furnished to function as campervans, or as we call them ‘cambulances’. Norway, here we come!
The air is fresh and cool and the sun is heating up four bodies which now stand squinting at the winter-white mountains beyond. Joe and me, plus our English guests, Ruth and Tony.
Spring was in full swing at home when we started, but you don’t need to drive too far up the mountain before the season is still lagging behind. Our first destination is Jørpeland (and the Pulpit). The route we had intended to take is still closed for the winter (over Suleskar), so our best option is over the mountain pass Haukelifjell (E134). It’s okay. I have not driven here for many years, so it’s a good opportunity to see this part of Norway again.
We spent the night at Smørbekk, in a resting place. For Joe and me it was the first night in our new cambulance ‘bedroom’. More specifically a compartment on the roof. We slept well, but discovered that we must solve an issue with condensation. It didn’t really help that we had parked up next to a big river either. The air is damp and cold here at night.
Now however, we are warm and dry and excited about what awaits further west. Our intention was to head on to Røldal and from there head south to Sand, Tau and Jørpeland on the RV13. A phone call the night before to my aunt in Jørpeland changed our plans.
‘Take the outer road’ she said. This meant heading on towards Haugesund and just before this western town, taking the E39 down to Arsvågen and from there a ferry to Rennesøy. ‘It’s so beautiful down along Åkrafjorden’ she continued. Since the fine weather might not hold up the next day, she recommended that we took this road now while it was sunny.
I snap some photos. Turn around and see our cambulances parked up by some tourist shop that has not yet opened for the season. We’re alone here and on the road so far there has been very little traffic. We start up the vehicles again and move on. The roads are dry, tunnels more frequent and we have a good run on the winding roads down to Åkrafjorden. We stop at Langfoss waterfall for a cup of tea and some snacks. I buy some waffles for us all with jam and sour cream.
Sun is shining while we’re admiring the waterfall and the fjord. Apparently we are not the only ones. I hear a big bang as I snap some photos. At first I don’t quite understand where it comes from. It turns out that five cars have ended up in a chain collision, right in front of the waterfall. The drivers use the next hour to fill out paperwork and place the blame. Meanwhile, we finish up our waffles and enjoy the beautiful day. We help out some stranded motorists by jump starting their car and perform the job of photographer for other travelers, who want pictures of themselves in front of the beautiful waterfall.
From mountains and fjords we end up in the archipelago admiring the open North Sea as the ferry takes us from Arsvågen to Rennesøy. The day has given us an incredible contrast between winter-clad mountains and plains to the springtime archipelago. From Rennesøy there are tunnels to Stavanger. It is bank holiday and therefore little traffic. When we arrive at the port to catch the ferry to Tau we have to wait a little while. Some American tourists ask us if this is where you head on to the Pulpit Rock. We nod “yes”. Actually our plan was to do the walk up there ourselves this night, but now we are too tired and will wait until tomorrow.
We left Smørbekk at about 8:00 and park up our Land Rovers at my aunt’s place at about 17:00. We have not rushed, but have had a very nice drive over the mountains today. Yet it feels very good to have finally arrived! A hot dinner and Kvefjord cake! While we toast, I check the weather forecast for the next day, SUN! Perfect for our trip to the Pulpit.