31 December 2007


Again, an old year ends and a new year begins... just as I write this I can see from the livingroom window how a massive green northern light spans over the whole sky all the way from west to east or east to west (up to you). Beautiful and mysterious - its particles move with the solar wind and so its shape changes in waves. At times fast, at times slow - just as our lifes do. New Year's Eve - for many of us a time for wishes, a time for changes.

For me? Quit smoking? More work-out? Spend less money on shoes? Hell, I wouldn't say that I am momentarily wishing for a lot of changes.

My bike soon needs a new chain, though.

If everything goes ok, I should see a large bit of Europe during this year 2008 and then find myself somewhere in Middle America or Brasil by the end of it. I hope to see quite some of you folks on my zig-zag-way there.

I wish you all the best, joy, luck, love. And your secrets kept secret. 2008 is the year of honesty. Don't tell a lie to anybody. But, hey - also beware to not ask a question when you're not ready for the honest answer.

If you get bored in the course of the year, here are a couple of books that I read and recommend to read. Some of them are written in German - my apologies no the non-German-speakers. As a replacement you might want to read the fantastic book by Mark Twain: "The awful German language".

5 December 2007

Tromso Winter

Almost a month has passed since I arrived here in Tromso. The city is very lively and an important cultural and economic center in the north of Norway.

My brother Jan, his girlfriend Elin and I live in a small flat just outside Tromso. Over a huge bridge, past the airport and through a massive tunnel it is just a 15 minute ride by car or bus to the center. Bicycling takes a bit longer because the bridge is very high and during storms you have to push your bicycle because otherwise you risk ending up being a flycyclist into the fjord. The 2km long tunnel that connects our end of the island with the center of Tromso is also closed to cyclists due to the poisonous exhaust gases inside the tunnel. So it's all the way over the hill past the University and back down on narrow icy roads into the Center - roughly 50 minutes.

On the pictures above you see Tromso and some of its wooden houses in the center.
You can also see how my bicycle takes a rest during bad weather with the other stuff - hanging out next to Elin's kajak. Tromso has a nice town center with a long pedestrian zone. Believe it or not- the pedestrian zone has FLOOR HEATING. Too many people hurt themselves during past winters and after nobody went shopping anymore the shopowners had to come up with some idea to get people walk the streets again safely. On one of the pictures you see the pedestrian zone with its Christmas decoration. See that nice ice-free strip on both sides? In the front left corner is a cafe/bar where I work from time to time. Inside you find a nice atmosphere, good music and the oldest cinema in Norway. Every spring they host an important film festival here. Good that I stay until spring :)

As you can see, my brother and I have fun with the dogs. Here we use a so called "Spark" to race around the neighbourhood. It's a mini-sledge that people use for better balance when walking on very slippery icy days. We didn't feel much like walking so we modified the Spark with two high powered engines: Naita and Ronja... and "Whizzzzzzzz...." off we go!

Now this next one is almost embarrassing...
But the ones who know me better should have guessed that I end up baking Christmas cookies at home and then sell them on the local farmer's market, no?! :)

14 November 2007

Arrival in Tromso

After 2607km and 30 days I arrive in Tromso on a mild and sunny winter day! Tromso connects to the mainland with a very long and high bridge. It feels unreal to let the cycle roll down the bridge into the center of Tromso...
Does the first part of the ride around the world really end here and now?

On the market square of Tromso my brother welcomes me with his two husky dogs Ronja and Naita. Ole, a journalist from the local newspaper "Nordlys - Northern Light" is there too...

My bicycle has once again done a wonderful job! One single flat tyre between Berlin and Tromso was all that needed fixing.
The new set of clothes that I am using since my meeting with Lundhags and all other equipment worked really well.
Happy and relaxed I am looking forward to spend the polar winter with my brother and his family - hiking, skiing, dogsledding.

In the early spring of 2008 I plan to hit the road again. Then it will be down the coast of Norway, England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Marocco. The idea is to take a sailboat from the Canary Islands (off the Maroccan coast) across the Atlantic Ocean... to South America?

But now first - a big cup of hot tea.


Norway. What a fascinating country!!! Coming from Finland, the landscape changes drastically. I am now able to see much further in the distance and see massive mountains rising more than 1000 meters straight out of the fjords or the ocean.

In Nordkjosbotn I am very excited to take a last turn on the road - Tromso is now 75km straight ahead.
At 11am the sun rises just above the horizon. In two weeks from now there will be no more direct sunlight up here. A long night starts that lasts until the new year...

Finland blues

There isn't much to say about Finland here. The road from Karesuando to Kilpisjärvi is straight - very straight.
It is weekend so there are only a few cars and even less trucks...

North of the polar circle the sun only rises a few degrees over the horizon. It is basically always "blue hour" - all colors fade to blue. This strange light plus the emptiness and the monotony of the landscape create a very melancholy environment.

After the town of Kilpisjärvi I cross the border to Norway! After a snowy pass I now have to ride down a long descent into the Skibotn-Valley. Riding downhill proves very dangerous here. The road is in poor condition and extremely icy. There is plenty of ice everywhere in this valley! On the roadside where water runs down the rock it turns into beautiful shapes...

After 38km downhill I am exhausted and at the same time relieved to arrive in one piece at the bottom of the valley. Now I am just a dayride away from Tromso!