16 June 2008

Welcome to Great Britain!

Rain and sheep - what else did I expect?

Back in Norway, (to be precise: back in Trondheim) I took the occasion to visit the production of Lundhags (see Equipment overview) one more time. They had supplied me with fantastic outdoor gear for the winter and now their new summer collection is out.
Here on the coast it finally rains and a cold wind is bashing into my face from the North-West. I am able to test my new jacket and pants. Very light fabric! It weighs almost nothing and has a minimum pack size. But it keeps me perfectly warm and the wind and water out. Great. Thank you Lundhags!!!

The cycling path along the coast is fantastically marked! It is part of the North Sea Route that follows the shores of the North Sea for 5000km through Britain, Benelux, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I meet lots and lots of cyclists here following this route bit by bit, Another holiday, another country. A fantastic international idea.

Compared to the Norwegians (who usually look at their own shoes when they talk to you and look at your shoes when they try to hit on you), I perceive the British as very polite. Everyone greets you with a jolly "hello" and asks where you are headed or where you come from, how you like Britain...

The coast between Newcastle and Edinburgh is a mix of sandy beaches and rough cliffs and volcanic rocks. I often sleep right behind the dunes and enjoy the evenings looking at the sea, the birds, the waves.

In Edinburgh I meet my mother Margit and her friend Gabi who are on a holiday trip through the highlands. We set off to explore the capital of Scotland with its unique ancient architecture - very tall stone buildings and small alleyways (so calles "closes"). Edinburgh ran short of space and so the buildings had to be erected higher than usual.

I stroll around without knowing where I am heading and find an old cemetary where Adam Smith (18th century Economist, Philosopher), author of "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" is buried. Inmidst massive monumental graves I find this tiny plate (see picture) with just his head and name on it and think to myself: "What a modest man he must have been..." when I realize that the green is sprinkled with these little plates. They lead to a gravestone the size of a shopping window surrounded with tall fences. Not the most modest way to end.

Gabi, Margit and I spend a couple of relaxing days on a camping site outside Edinburgh and enjoy the sunny weather in the city center with coffees, ales and bar food. Holland wins against France and Czech Republic looses against Turkey. Tonight, Germany will play. But by then I will be on the road again, somewhere between Edinburgh and Glasgow on my way into the Scottish Highlands...

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