It's amazing what Norwegians can do with cherry stones
On from Bergen inland and we came to the first proper fjord country. A couple of short ferry rides across deep dark waters brought us to Lofthus on the Hardangerfjord. The first night was in a guest house with an owner from the Basil Faulty School of Hospitality and Humour, so we looked up the hill at the local Hostel which was part of a boarding school, closed for the summer, surrounded by cherry trees overlooking the fjord. The atmosphere was completely different and homely with large communal breakfasts in the mornings with local produce - cheeses, fish, salami, berries - which kept us going all day.
We walked high into the mountains up steep forest tracks and past waterfalls. Lots of bird life including woodpeckers of both green and greater-spotted variety. Eventually, we came out of the trees onto the plateau overlooking the fjord.
This is one of Norway's prime fruit-growing regions with apples, pears, plums - and cherries.
In fact, a cherry festival was about to happen with lots of activities revolving around this particular fruit, including the World Cherry Stone-Spitting Championships. After a carefully reheared warm-up routine, contestants stand at a barrier and, with a carefully coordinated thrust of the diaphragm combined with finely-tuned curling of the tongue and pursing of the lips, the stone is directed at high velocity in a perfect arc, coming to rest close to where the judges are waiting to measure the distance with state-of-the-art laser technology. I was hoping for a "wild-card" entry on behalf
of the UK until I heard that the favourite had a season's personal best of 14 metres! At this point, I thought discretion the better part of valour, feigned a groin strain and cried off.