Jul 24, 2010

Well, I guess it's a nice view here...

The first big change of plans we made, was to swap the E6 with the Coastal Road and enjoy the world's most beautiful bike ride.

Seven days ago, we parted ways with the world's nicest hunting family, to continue our quest. Despite the sadness of leaving, it felt good to be back in the saddle. The first day bestowed us with hot sunshine and a bad road choice, adding an extra 20km with more than a little climbing, but rewarding it with a beautiful view over distant snowy mountain tops.

Six days ago, we were woken up by the tent doors flapping in the wind - the consequence of some rebellious pegs having made a short dash for freedom. As soon as we exited, the tent followed suit. However, both tent and pegs were captured as a result of a careful search. After fighting our way through the morning wind and drizzle to a petrol station for lunch, we chatted over a cup of coffee with two toughened-by-long-life German cyclists. The more we advance towards the North, the more cyclists we meet, as the road choices get narrower by the day. Mostly they are coming down from the North, but sometimes going up from the South. In the latter case we sometimes end up catching up and passing each other several times a day, getting extra motivation from the feeling of racing and a surge of pride and content when the other group turns out to be slower. But really, there is not much point in trying to race the short distance cyclers. Even though biking the length of Norway is popular, most people are on 2-week missions.

That evening, we had several hours of blissful weather, so we continued climbing up and racing down for much longer than we had planned, to enjoy the movement through the beautiful landscape.

Five days ago, we were once more woken by the tent doors flapping in the wind and rain. We had managed to park our canvas palace on the best wind-exposed spot in the area, so we packed up fast and made our way to the ferry with no more than a banana in the belly. As the rain got heavier and heavier, we didn't stop before the next town, where we met two boys from the South of France. They made an interesting spectacle, because they had even more improvised luggage solutions than I did. I didn't feel too crazy any more.

When we landed with the last ferry in the evening, planning to cycle another 13km or so in the rain, until the next place that had a name and possibly some toilets, we saw the two Germans, mentioned before, who had passed us unnoticed, and rented a camping hut with four beds... Do I even have to mention how hard it was to stop showering in hot water and how good it felt to sleep under a roof?

Four days ago, we woke up early and packed with German efficiency. The first 50km were done in no time and as the road went on relatively flat all day long, we put up the tent - again in the rain and again in a kindergarten - earlier than usually. It felt as if we've been somehow deceived by the universe. We should have entered the promised fairy tale land already days ago, but the gates seem to be closed for us and the windows covered by thick white mist curtains.

Three days ago, we pedalled uphill right into a hideously dense cloud with visibility for about two metres off the road. It must be a beautiful view! or I am sure it looks amazing! are the prevalent comments about the landscapes we pass. For a short while, the white curtains rip open and we grasp a glimpse of the bright green road banks, a fjord and ragged snowy mountain tops. The snow is creeping closer and closer to the sea level. No wonder it feels so cold!

As if the cold and rain weren't enough, I had a flat tyre just about 6km before the last ferry of the day. Having almost two hours before having to hop on the boat and cross the Polar Circle, I wasn't too discouraged and pushed for a kilometre before hearing a sound made by one of the most useful inventions of mankind - an advancing car. We stopped it the moment we saw it turning around the hill and asked for help. Alice cycled on, while I was conveniently stashed in the German motorhome and drove to the port. Once again, we got much more than we bargained for: they changed my inner tube so fast and professionally that I could do nothing but watch in awe; they cooked a three course meal, including red wine and strawberries with quark, and invited us to dine with them in the warm waiting room; they advised us to sleep on the heated floor of that waiting room until the first boat in the morning; I even got a hint of a job offer! More than anything else, I am learning German in this country.

Two days ago, we crossed the Polar Circle and continued battling with the elements - earth, wind and water all united against us to keep us back, until I decided to summon my own blazing fireball from within myself, since the natural phenomenon was nowhere to be seen. It works for a short while. Is the fairy tale land also affected by the economic crisis or does it have something personal against us? We managed to force ourselves through the heavy bullet-like horizontal rain until we saw a tempting shed, with an open door, behind a kiosk. We spread out our dripping stuff all around the mice-poo-infested room and went briefly back out to see the sudden appearance of the most amazing sunset and clear sky, revealing the oddest shapes of the mountains around us. Wow, the fairy tale land does exist!

One day ago, in the morning: legs - meet wet trousers! Feet - meet wet socks! Guilty girls - meet the very angry man coming to work! Oops. Leaving ASAP. That day, it was the birthday of Alice. That day, the wonderland opened up for us and showed its beautiful side. All those stunning mountain views! The struggle - it was all worth it! We had the almost-British second breakfast (baked beans and Wasa bread) and the almost-French lunch (real bread and Camembert cheese), we even had a reason to take out the camera to capture some views. Before the evening, we arrived in Bodø, to make ourselves comfortable in the big warm homey house of the friend of a friend of a friend and prepare for a well-earned day off.

Next stage, unplanned: the Lofoten.


Day 17: 108km; ferry: Flakk-Rørvik; camping on a beach in a village.

Day 18: 124.84km; camped on a field near houses, asked permission first.

Day 19: 89.43km; ferries: Lund-Hofles and Holm-Vennesund; slept in a camping hut.

Day 20: 120km; ferries: Horn-Anddalsvågen and Fjovika-Tjøtta; camped in a kindergarten garden.

Day 21: 118km (Triin) or 124.31km (Alice); ferry: Levang-Nesna; slept in the waiting room of the Kinsarvik port.

Day 22: 95.3km; ferries: Kinsarvik-Jektvik, Ågskardet-Forøy and Vassdalsvik-Ørnes; squatted in a shed.

Day 23: 82.62km; slept in warm beds in a house.

Day 24: day off.

Distance cycled since Trondheim (in 7 days): 744.5km.
Total distance cycled in 23 days: 1909.14km


beth said...

(and "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" to Alice)
that is all x

Jesus said...

Now you began to understand my wise comments about the best and the worst parts of the camino :)
You rock girls! I am so proud of you!

Triin said...

Thanks you, mes darlings! We are well enjoying the two days of sunshine on the Lofoten at the moment, bu the clouds are slowly gathering again.

And I hacked (=foun the wormholes) the tourist information computer to make it let me into the internet. I am so proud of myself too.