Having come off Hardangervidde and over the new bridge spanning the famous fjord, we decided to use the other new route opened up in the last couple of years , the Jondal tunnel, upon our way to Agder from Bergen. This tunnel is 11km iirc and connects the town famous for glacier and summer skiing, with the other modern day tunnel under the Folgefonne ice cap.
Bergen 0900 , route Åsane , Kvamskogen, Norheimsund
Tørviksbygd (ferry port) 1040 - allow 2 hours from bergen , we were lucky with almost no traffic!
Off ferry into tunnel at Jondal
Røldal 1315 lunch break: good place with a shell garage and shop , and a public play park at the school in sight of the main E134.
Røldal d 1400
Haukeli c 1500
1600 circa Åmot - esso garage in deepest Telemark
1700 Kvitsied on the Rv 41 to Agder from the E134
1820 a Åmli. , circa
2012 d Åmli
2110 Hjem in austre aust' agder
Monday in mid july turned out then to be an excellent day, very little as said to Hardanger being none in bergen due to holidays and a 9am start. Also with reasonably rapid traffic over Røldal and haukeli where the utne and jondal ferry traffic meet to make for long columns of traffic behind camper vans and lorries. Most all traffic then swung south at Haukeli to go the long, boring way down Setesdal which for us is the long side of the diamond , with the road being not much better than Nissedal as we discovered later.
Following the E134 looks right and it was, but the road gets pretty twisty in places with ovetaking in a holiday-laden car not possible for a long way. But to use a sailing term, velocity-made-good (VMG) we were on the right side of the diamond, making gradual progress south but also rapid progress eastwards on a good vector for our destination this time in AuAg. So driving 70 in 80 zones was not so irritating and it kept the car sickness away in all those corners through darkest Telemark.
The main "risk" in our route plan was taking the Rv 41 over to Vrådal and Nissedal. Firstly there is the slow run down through Kvitseid and then the formidable alpine ascent of the "bealach" over to Vrådal. This has maybe as many as 12 hairpins half of which are steep as hell on the inside. It could take considerable time behind a lorry or caravan, there are a couple of places to stop and chill out though rather than get frustrated. I must cycle it one day!
The descent to Vrådal is more gradual, but i do not fancy either approach in winter with the family in the car ,better the diversion via Lunde methinks. In any case a tip for agdering or osloering is that if telemark has a different winter hol week then vrådal is a bargain outside this and has a chair lift to access higher level xc skiing and enough slalom to keep the teeners happy too.
None of the routeplanner web site recommend this route though if going anywhere in the stretch west of Kragerø, sending you instead down Drangedal from two different ways south of the E134 ,naf being over to Vrådal. This is a real dog leg for anyone west of say Brokelandsheia, meaning at least half an hour on the E18 working back on yourself. Drangedal is twisty with plenty of slow speed limits anyhows!
The next big risk for us then into the unknown was Nissedal and the "endless lake" of Nisser: would it prove to be a twisty hell of oncoming traffic and pent up elg behind each bush? In reality it is only 40km long with an average speed of 60 i would say achievable in summer. Also there are several roadside cafes or "kro"s and a selection of beaches with a stunning view to the mountains over the lake in the NW. I now understand the local fascination with owning a cabin at Nissedalen , just two hours to drive and breathtaking scenery. Much preferable to Drangedal with or without family. Especially when considering the next sections.
Treungen to Åmli consists of sections as you will find most of the way to Birkeland along the RV 41, some long straights in anonymous woodlands with twisty bits then and again. Foot down , 80 ahem and the rest!
Åmli was our agreed stop: it has both cafes, shops and an excellent swimming beach on the other side from the damn. Unfortunetly the cafes all shut by six on a monday it seems , but luckily it was 29'c still at 6pm with a light sahel of a breeze wafting up the valley. This was the hottest it had been all day, so a pause to cool off car and corps was well needed and we savoured an hour at the bathing spot and more on shoving esso garage junk food down our gannet like throats.
Åmli south is well known and goes quickly most of the way until habitation begins again nearer Fiannsvingen. The route then from The E134 is a good vmg one, deep running more or less due south for most of the way towards Tvedestrand area. Also with little traffic and plenty of overtaking possibilities. The locals have their own special speed limit, around 110 km/h which is actually only about 65mph , a far more sensible summer limit imho for such sections.
From fiansvjingen Then it was just 25mins home from joining the E18.
So given over an hour for ferry stuff, two fifteen minute stops, one hour long, one then two hours at Åmli it took twelve hours, but only seven hours driving and we had five hours of breaks. Alone in a "flash motor" with just a couple of coffee breaks, then good timing for the ferry and you are over west to south east norway in eight hours.