Today, David and I cycled for 22.8 miles….. yes, that’s MILES. And over 300 feet in elevation (some of it many times). And I can still walk!
Come on, says he. Lets just go to the War Museum – after the first big hill, it’s mostly down. Yeah, right! Well, the weather was lovely (meaning the wind wasn’t blowing, and it wasn’t raining) so off we went. We stopped at a used car lot at the bottom of the big hill (dumb) but I still made it to the top without walking. And after that, most of them seemed easy.
We stopped along the way to help a lady change her tire. Turns out that her brother is farming in Saskatchewan, Canada. What a small world! And next thing we knew (well up a few more hills), we were at the museum. by this time the sun had come out, and it really WAS a beautiful day.
The museum was really interesting, in spite of the write-ups being almost exclusively in Norwegian. It’s quite amazing how many words look a lot like their English counterparts. They talked about how the Germans parachuted into Sola and area in April 1940, and they bombed and took over with very little trouble. The Germans thought that Norway would be quite happy to be part of Germany – after all, they were blue-eyed blonds like the Germans. They couldn’t figure out why it didn’t work that way. They did, however, get quite a bit of support from the older generations who had really felt the depression. They also build many good roads and other infrastructure which really help the Norwegians.
That’s not to say there wasn’t resistance. This tableau commemorated the fighting at Gloppedalsura – photos of this area in my post of April 27 – “Winter Revisited”.
Out in the sunshine again – I thought we were heading back home. Oh no! Now, we were on to the Flyhistorisk Museum in Sola. I have to interject here that this is mostly along excellent bike paths – and 2.4 miles later there we were. It is housed in a huge hanger that the Germans build – with Norwegian labour – as soon as they took over the airport in 1940. It was very interesting, as they have a wide range of aircraft inside – from gliders and WWII planes to quite modern fighter jets and commercial planes. They have some reclaimed bits of war planes that went down. They are also reconstruction a Messerschmitt bf 109, and will be raising a German torpedo bomber (He 115C) out of the fjord the beginning of June. After our waffles and coffee in the canteen, we got talking to a gentleman who works at the museum. He was only 3 years old when the war broke out. His father was away from home for 3 months, and he remembers jumping from the second story into his father’s arms when he returned.
We left just as the museum was about to close – 4 pm. Here is a shot of the cement the Germans poured by the fjord for the pontoon planes to come up… wish concrete poured now was in that good of shape.
And so, on towards home. We decided to go around the Sola airport – not much farther. then, lets go by Sola Strand (or beach). We stopped at the Ruinkyrkje (built in the 1100’s) The reconstructed bits are made of glass or glass bricks, so you can see what the original building looked like. It wasn’t open, but here are a few photos. I want to see the inside sometime – I understand they hold choral concerts inside.
Away again – this time on a road with cars… not my favourite. When we finally found a bike path, we took it – only to discover that we were going parallel to the coast, and getting farther away from home. Beautiful countryside though.
We turned around, found the right path, and finally arrived home about 5:45. I was exhausted but totally exhilarated at going so far. A cold Corona with lemon on the patio in the sun, and then we walked to the pizza place for a quick supper.
I guess I’ve proved to myself that I can do it – and we will have many more bike excursions in the future. And if we had drivers licenses, we may never had dicovered this wonderful way to experience Norway. There is a silver lining in this cloud, after all.