“Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains?”
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sitting on my bottom, edging my foot onto the boulder and trying hard not to look down at the 3200ft abyss below, I had one of those out of body experiences.
On the one hand, a more sensible Nyama looked on from a safe distance wondering almost out loud whether anyone had ever fallen to their death on this spot. She also seriously doubted whether in fact the Nyama on the rock really did have it in her to stand on the Kjeragbolten.
I couldn’t quite shake her off, but the reality was a little more pressing. Behind me a queue of people silently held their breaths. The force of their silence urged me to move my frozen foot. As I peeked around the rock ledge (still on my bottom) the flash of paparazzi came to life. Then the great VOH (Voice of Hubby) came into my head: “You’re the girl that never gives up!”. I think I groaned audibly. Somewhere in that eager group of photographers was Hubby – waiting and thinking I could do it.
Here, I could write a whole essay about what was going on in my heart, how my legs were like jelly, how I called out in panic looking for Hubby in the crowd below me to see if he was ready with the camera. Instead I’ll just tell you that I did it. I stood on the Kjeragbolten with my arms held high, and almost peeing in my pants. Thanks to Hubby, I do have photographic evidence. Otherwise I’m not sure I’d believe it myself.
The day we climbed to the famous Kjeragbolten was our only non-rainy day in Stavanger. It also marks the 2nd time in 6 months that Hubby and I got stupidly sunburnt – #shouldhaveknownbetter.
Despite the rain, we managed to close a complicated barge sale for the Thames Tideway project (still reeling in shock Brexit vote the night before); visit the Oil Museum and the Canning museum (both well worth the visit – Stavander is all about canned sardines and oil); drive to Lindesnes, the southern most point of mainland Norway; watch the semi-final of the women’s beach volleyball Olympic qualifying tournament between Ukraine and Austria; take a 2 hour scenic cruise of the beautiful Lysefjord and drink from a mountain waterfall; see the King of Norway sail past our restaurant while celebrating my birthday; and eat copious amounts of fish soup.
A note on Lindesnes: my usually comical, upbeat Hubby was grumpy because of the Brexit vote – grumpiness is normally reserved for me. However, since I am a classic ‘absorber’, and was a little damp from the rain, I too, was grumpy. So we drove south through beautiful mountain and coastal scenery in a state of edgy irritability. It took that long to exorcise this mood, but when we got there it was all worthwhile as you can see for yourself.
During World War II the lighthouse at Lindesnes was taken over by the Nazis. It was a strategic point so they built a small fortress in the rock with four guns and a radar antenna. The trenches and tunnels are still there and can be explored at your own risk – it was a little scary and dark and some passages were partially flooded, but it broke our moods and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring.
So, tired from a challenging hike, somewhat pink in the face (some of the glow was my pride at standing on the Kjeragbolten), putting aside our anger about Brexit, we enjoyed our last meal and a glass of wine at a fish restaurant – my birthday meal – and who sailed by? The King of Norway, King Harald Fairhair! Hubby claims to have organised this personally – what do you think?
P.s. When I moaned about my sore legs and burnt neck, my philosophical Hubby, with the cheeky dimple, pointed out that the 10km hike to Kjeragbolten and back is a little like our lives:- a bit of a risk; a hard core sweat up some difficult cliff faces; occasionally slippery; we are not properly dressed for it; we don’t exactly know where we’re going or even if we will make it; but there certainly are some great views!
P.p.s. A ‘flash’ is actually the collective term for paparazzi though there is an online dispute and a number of other suggestions have been made including a ‘pestilence’ of paparazzi.
P.p.p.s. Apart from the people hiking to Kjeragbolten and a meager audience at the beach volleyball, we were almost the only people in Stavanger. We wondered, at some point, if the rapture had occurred and we had not been taken? Turns out, everyone in Norway disappears to their summer cabins for most of June, July and August. Note the picture of the houses with grass growing on the roofs.
P.p.p.p.p.p.s. Hubby continues to gorge himself on the forbidden fruit – crab – he eats it whenever he can and cheekily glances at me throughout saying “mmmmmm” and “delicious”!
P.p.p.p.p.s. Look out for the Ukraine beach volley ball team at the Rio Olympics because they beat Austria in Stavanger – watch the fine rally in the video below.