Day 4: Rauland – Rjukan (“rest day”)

Less than 50k planned for the shortest day of the tour – so we had a bit of a lie-in and a slow start, before we coaxed our sore limbs on the bike and set off to Rjukan. It was a chilly 8 degrees in the hills, but we soon warmed up on the initial climb, up to an elevation of about 1000 m above sea level. There were a few more ups, but also some lovely fast descents. About half way, we stopped for coffee and waffles at the Hardangervidda Nasjonalparksenter in Skinnarbu, with great views over the fjell. (We were promised free entry for one if we mentioned them in our blog, but didn’t take them up on the offer, as we just stopped for a drink.)placeholder://

After an exciting last downhill into Rjukan, we found our somewhat daunting looking hotel, but were pleasantly surprised by the simple but functional room, the powerful shower, and the offer to park our tandem right there in the foyer!

The Intersport next door had a bike workshop, where the friendly mechanic trued our wheels (the spokes had settled and stretched a bit) thoroughly, if for a premium. I also purchased a gel saddle cover to help with my unmentionable.

Coffee and pastries were had in a little bakery, and we stretched our legs a little on a brief stroll through the town. Rjukan is probably best known (at least to our British friends) as the location of the heavy water enrichment plant, as featured in the film The Heroes of Telemark.

Dinner was a quick snack from the kebab shop opposite our hotel, then we set another record for an early night in anticipation of a tough Day 5.