28 May 2008

The way to Trondheim

After Bodo I follow the coastal route - lots of islands and lots of ferries. Sometimes the islands are so small that I ride for only two hours between two ferries. With a car you pass such an island in about 5 minutes... still on one of the islands I see a farmer bending over a the fire red hud of a real FERRARI! Too many short distance trips - I think he is fixing the engine.

I come to a place that I name "Halfpipe Hill" because it looks like a massive skateboard ramp. There are lots of tunnels here and I seriously dislike tunnels. So if possible I ride a detour on a small deserted road over the pass. Here I find a lake that is so still that it reallz looks like a mirror! I decide to stop and spend the afternoon paddling in a little boat that lies on the shore. There is nobody here who could mind me taking the boat. On the other hand there is also nobody here to help me if I sink. Oh, well...

The days down the coast are relaxing as you can see on the next picture. Midnight sun, mild temperatures and just beautiful nature.

Sometimes I don't feel like setting up camp - now it is daylight for 24hours anyway so it doesn't feel like it's night. After 10 hours on the road, I often just crash somewhere in the middle of nowhere, cook dinner, read a little and then sleep. A place might look a little shabby like on the first picture below. But then it might just be a matter of finding the right angle... you turn around and you have the most stunning lake right at your bedside :)

Alpha and Omega - The place called "A" and "O"

I have to say it again: Lofoten is an incredible place! The nature is so stunning and when the sun shines it makes you want to forget the rest of the world.

The last town (or the first - depending on your way of seeing things) is a place called O. It is written A (with a little circle on top). Alpha and Omega - the beginning and the end :)

I stay here for two days because it is the 17th of May - Norwegian national day - and there are no ferries running. There is a little plateau at the very end of A/O where i decide to pitch my tent.
The view is fascinating - the coastline of Norway spreads over the whole horizon and I also see the last little Islands of Lofoten that can only be reached by boat. Soon I have a friend - a seagull. It decides that mt tent offers interesting insights into human life plus a profitable output of breadcrumbs and oats. Every evening I go to bed saying "good night" to the little bird and when i open my tent in the morning I see it shrieking away from the sound of my Hilleberg-zipper.

On my free day I hike around A/O. Beautiful scenery, waterfalls, fresh water lakes, tiny fishing villages and snow on top of the mountains.

Then, I take the 4 hour ferry to Bodo on the mainland and continue riding the coast down south. The weather is so good that I just sleep in the open, my sleeping mat on some fluffy moss. I love it!

15 May 2008


When Rene boards the Hurtigruten (there are about a dozen ships, this one is called Richard With) I am already awake, so why keep sleeping until ten? So I just start off as well.

Vesteralen is very quiet at 4:30 in the morning and so I have a couple of sleepy hours before the human part of the world wakes up. There are lots of birds chirping and whistling. A very big eagle (with a white tail) circles above me!

Unfortunately, the weather decides to give me a solid shaking and it starts to hail again. 5 centimeters fall in no time and the road is covered with snow and ice.
I cycle for about 100km today until I reach the village of Melbu on the most southern tip of Vesteralen and take a Ferry to Lofoten.

I sleep right next to the Ferry terminal (Fiskebol) in a deserted building. The next morning, the weather changes and the sun comes out. It is impressive how much this changes my morale!!!
I ride along the coast on a narrow dirt road until I reach Laukvika, a sleepy little fishing town. Here I have lunch directly on the pier and in the sun - ahhhhh.

Lofoten is such a fascinating place that takes your breath more often than you actually manage to breathe in and out. Who hasn`t been here should definitely put this on the agenda of one of their next trips!

Later, in Henningsvaer (very pitoresque, to use this nice french expression :) there is a lot of fish drying on wooden skeletons in the sun. This fish is famous on the coast of northern Norway. One of the fishermen gives me a bite to try - you eat it just like this... very chewy... but real tasty. A good snack - way better than whatever MARS, KRAFT or NESTLE have to offer.

No, this is not dried fish, this is juicy fresh salmon with boiled potatoes and green asparagus. Yummy and cooked on my camping cooker. Who says you have to suffer while riding around the world?



After Hastad, Rene and I reach a group of islands called "Vesteralen". We decide to visit the city of Andenes on the northernmost tip. Reaching far out into the Atlantic Ocean, Andenes is a center for satellite and rocket science. There are antennaes of all kinds and shapes everywhere...

Just before Andenes, we stay a night on the beautiful beach of Bleik - hundreds of meters of white sand. We are tempted to go swimming but back off as the wind starts to pick up and it is 4 degrees Celsius in and outside the water...

After Andenes, Rene decides to head back north. His plan is still to cycle to the north cap and to the Russian border. He wants to explore Lake Inari, a massive Lake between Finnland and Russia.
We spend a last night in Risoyhamn where Rene will take the ferry (Hurtigruten) back to Harstad. Hurtigruten is a coastal service that was established around 1900 and mainly used for transporting post and goods. Today, a lot of tourists make use of it and the 11 day cruise along the coast of Norway is a costy but rich experience.

The problem with Hurtigruten is: in some harbours they stop in the middle of the night. One of those is Risoyhamn. We decide to camp close to the pier and find shelter next to a closed restaurant. We start off with reasonably good weather but soon the wind gets fresh and it starts to hail. We soon learn that the weather in Norway is very unpredictable during the month of May - sunshine, rain, sunshine, hail, snowfall, sunshine, hail... it all comes in intervalls of 15 to 30 minutes.
We manage to cramp together and stay dry until the ferry arrives. It is 4:30am. The sun is already up.

There goes Rene. And I am on my own again.

Leaving Tromso

With a heavy heart I leave Tromso on the 2nd of May 2008 after a morning coffee (is there another place for coffee in Tromso than Verdenstheatret?) with my brother Jan and close friends.
In Kvaloya (about 20km outside the center of Tromso) I meet with Rene, another German who is travelling on a bicycle. (We met at a BBQ the evening before and he spontaneously decided to join me for a week or two.)
Together we start into new adventures. We plan to take a ferry to the next island called "Senja".
Helen (a colleague of Rene) will accompany us to he ferry on a daytrip and then head back to Tromso.

On Senja, Rene and I spend a couple of relaxing days fishing and taking it slow. The weather becomes stormy and it starts to rain. On the loose and mossy ground the pegs of my Tent don`t hold and I have to use my bicycle as an anchor :)

In Hastad, we are to lazy to pitch up the tents. So we just set up camps in a little wooden pavillion in the city center. That`s where the press gets wind of us...