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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Norway's Disco Tunnel - The Laerdal Tunnel

We drove a lot while we were in Norway.  Many of the roads of Norway follow the water line of a fjord, or tunnel through lots of rock along the waterline of a fjord or cross a pass from one fjord to another.  The average tunnel seems to be about a half mile long, but it's not at all unusual to drive two or three miles in a tunnel.

The longest tunnel we drove through was over 15 miles long.  It was late at night, after a long day of hiking and driving.  It was a surreal experience, because nothing changes mile after mile.  It almost seems like you're sitting still and the tunnel is flying past you.  I think that's why they built the discos.

As you approach a "tunnel disco", the first thing you notice is an ultraviolet glow in the distance, directly in your path.  As you strain to see what's ahead - a bizarre ultraviolet glow grows larger and larger.  As you pass into to the disco, the entire tunnel suddenly expands to three times it's normal width and height, a massive cavern of rugged rock permeated with the eye-bending purple color of black lights.  The first disco appeared about four miles into the tunnel.  There were two more, at eight and twelve miles.  The glowing caverns did a great job of waking me up and keeping me from dozing off from fatigue and monotony.  That's one of the main "real" reasons for them, another being to allow tractor trailers to turn around in case the tunnel is blocked.

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