I’d like to start by apologizing for the lack of updates lately. I’ve been camping a lot and that’s not the ideal place to blog. I’ve kept notes everyday, as always, and what follows is going to be a brief summary of the past ten days.
I’ve covered quite some distance in that time. I had one day of rest after cycling to the North Cape, I spent a day on the Hurtigruten, caught a pretty bad cold on the way and cycled from Tromsø to Rognan.
Day 48 (May 18): Skipsfjorden, Norway
11.38h. I was up early, despite being in bed really late, and had a very short night. After taking a shower I went to Honningsvåg to buy groceries. That’s a very windy 16km round trip. My legs feel very sore today and I’m really tired. I’m so glad I cycled to the North Cape yesterday – it’s grey and rainy today – but I’m definitely paying the price today.
Yesterday really was as perfect as it can get around here. Happy I made it. The road runs south from here on…
Day 49 (May 19): Skipsfjorden – Tromsø, Norway
9.31km by bicycle and 500km by boat.
16.10h. Utterly and totally exhausted. After cycling to the North Cape on Friday I went to bed at 3.30am. Today, Sunday, I had to get up at 4.00am. My biological clock is so messed up, it’s not even funny. I’m on the Hurtigruten now. It’s really nice to be able to relax and rest for a day, but it’s so expensive here. I spent 310 NOK on the lunch buffet. It was excellent though. The best fish dishes I’ve eaten in a long time.
I’m so tired. Can’t wait to sleep in a bed tonight…
A side note: 95% of the people on this (cruise) boat are retired. They don’t seem to like smiling and don’t look too happy. The reason I’m traveling and doing all these things now, is that I really don’t want to end up joyless on a cruise some day.
I’ve got seven and a half more hours to go. While this is a great way to recuperate, it’s like taking a bus or train to me. It’s just the fastest way to get from A to B. This is not a holiday! We steamed through some epic fjords today though. There definitely are some great views to be seen.
The weather looks fantastic, the next couple of days at least.
Day 50 (May 20): Tromsø – Nordkjosbotn, Norway
19.58h. Slept well in a really comfortable bed last night and the breakfast buffet was amazing. I ate at least four full plates of various things, plus a bowl of muesli, plus a chunk of chocolate cake. Three glasses of orange juice and two coffees.
I didn’t realize it was another public holiday today (the sixth public holiday this month…) and obviously all stores were closed again. Couldn’t buy food. That big breakfast kept me going for a while, luckily. Bread and jam for lunch. Had a hamburger in Nordkjosbotn before cycling on, but then I found an awesome camping spot in the woods just a kilometre outside of town.
Going back to the supermarket in town first thing in the morning. Pitched my tent on a hill next to a little river. I’m liking this a lot!
Weather was great (15-20°C) but some annoying headwinds. The views are still fabulous.
Just booked a train to Trondheim next Tuesday. At first I wanted to take the Hurtigruten again, but that’s just not worth the money and it’s kind of boring.
Day 51 (May 21): Nordkjosbotn – Bardu, Norway
21.35h. Nice day, nice views. Seriously incredible weather, a maximum of 26°C today. That’s insane. My arms are sunburned. I’m totally not used to these kinds of temperatures.
Another thing I noticed today is how green it is around here. The fields are green and the trees are getting young leaves as well. It’s the color of summer and this is the first time I’ve seen it like this in more than half a year. Everything looks beautiful. Felt as if I was cycling through the Alps sometimes; snowcapped mountain peaks and green valleys.
I’m camping again tonight, but I really and absolutely need to wash my clothes soon. Things are getting smelly…
Oh, and one stretch today went downhill for about 25km! That was the most fun I’ve ever had on a bicycle.
Day 52 (May 22): Bardu – Kvitnes, Norway
21.12h. I had a terrible night last night and I woke up with a sore throat and a cold. The first fifty kilometres on the bike were hard, some long climbs.
I decided to take road 825 instead of following the E10. Really good choice, it was the most scenic cycling I’ve ever done. A b-e-a-utiful road!
It was hot again this afternoon. I was sweating a lot. I drank a lot and I ate a lot. I stopped a lot too. I wasn’t feeling great physically.
Tried to find a place to free camp tonight, but couldn’t find a decent spot. There were a lot of houses near the ocean. I did see some potentially nice places, but all of them were pretty difficult to get to with a bicycle like mine. It wouldn’t have been a problem with just a backpack. I headed to the next camp ground instead and took an awesome shower. Cooking spaghetti with a view right now.
Again, everything looks so green! It takes some time getting used to again apparently.
Day 53 (May 23): Kvitnes – Gullesfjordbotn, Norway
18.22h. Tired and sick. It was a gorgeous day once again, but I didn’t really enjoy any of it. My nose is bothering me and my throat hurts a lot.
I didn’t find any stores on the way today (not a bank either, I’m out of cash) and I don’t have any proper dinner food left. That’s kind of a problem right now. I only have pasta, some bread, muesli, dried fruits and nuts. And chocolate paste. So, basically that’s all just dry stuff. Crap!
I’m camping again tonight, but I desperately need a bed. Soon. I know there’s a man with a hammer waiting for me somewhere if I don’t catch up on sleep. I expect a difficult day tomorrow…
Oh, on the plus side, I saw three moose today. After spending lots of time in New England and six weeks on a bicycle in Scandinavia and not seeing a single moose, it was almost becoming an obsession. Glad I got that out of the way!
Day 54 (May 24) : Gullesfjordbotn – Svolvær, Norway
57.95km by bicycle and 25km by car.
18.12h. I woke up a few times during the night feeling really ill, sweating and coughing quite badly. I think I might have had a fever. I felt somewhat better in the morning though, so I got on the road. The fact that I almost had no decent food was a worry too.
It’s so incredibly and amazingly beautiful everywhere out here, but I had a hard time today. My body hurt and my legs felt (and still feel) heavy. There are a lot of tunnels in this area and there was construction going on in one of them. We had to wait to get through. Some guy with a van offered to give me a lift through the rest of the tunnels, which I happily accepted. I’m so glad I got through those tunnels in a car; some would have impossible to get out of with my 50kg bike and in my condition. One stretch was 18% – can you imagine that? – uphill…
I’m finally sleeping in a bed tonight. It will be good to get some rest. I bought lots of food too. I had two dozen chicken wings and a big salad for dinner. I’m sick of chocolate paste for now. I’ve been eating that stuff with muesli in the morning, with bread at noon and yesterday with pasta in the evening.
It’s misty and rainy at the moment, I’m seriously happy to be inside now.
The past few days were like cycling through paradise. These landscapes are the most awe-inspiring I have ever seen in my life. And it still keeps getting better and better every day. Too bad I’m sick and I haven’t been enjoying everything to the fullest.
Day 55 (May 25): Svolvær – Ramberg, Norway
20.03h. Slept like a baby last night and I felt so much better today! It was a cold and overcast day, almost twenty degrees colder than the previous days, but it was actually nice weather to cycle in.
A really good day all in all and my body felt great again.
The views are still incredible. I was even considering cycling on instead of stopping and making camp, just to see what was around the corner. I saved that for tomorrow.
So, after one recovery night in a bed I’m camping again. It’s addictive, I’m really looking forward to sleep in my tent.
I’m in love with this region…
Day 56 (May 26): Ramberg – Bodø, Norway
49.38km by bicycle and 100km by ferry.
23.17h. Gorgeous day. I only cycled about fifty kilometres to the ferry today, but at 15.8km/h average that took me over three hours. I was really taking in the last jaw-dropping views of the Lofoten Islands. I also had a cup of coffee and bought a couple of tiny souvenirs in a little shop this morning.
I still had two hours to kill until the ferry left, so I just cycled around for a bit and cleaned the bike. I think I’m addicted to cycling too now…
On the ferry I just sat on a comfy chair for three hours straight. Didn’t even get outside to look at the views. I mean, I cycled through those mountains, I don’t really care about seeing them from a boat.
I’m at a camp ground in Bodø now, where I met two other bikers! A Swiss and a German guy; they’re making their way north to the North Cape now. Although they were the first bike tourers I’ve come across, they both have met several other people on bicycles. I guess I was just a month too early (maybe even the first one to cycle to the North Cape this year? Wouldn’t that be awesome?!), but that also means I’ll probably run into more of us on the way back. That’s great, because it was unbelievably nice to have some good and like-minded company for a change.
I need to buy food again tomorrow morning. A visit to the supermarket has become part of my daily routine now.
Last words on the Lofoten : I’m absolutely definitely coming back here some day.
I’ve got several great pictures, so there will be a blog post about this part of Norway later on!
Day 57 (May 27): Bodø – Rognan, Norway
19.32h. Today was a day of pleasant sunny weather – it feels like summer right now – and feeling extremely comfortable on the bike. My body feels great while cycling. I’m definitely in pretty good shape right now. As a matter of fact, it feels so great that I don’t want to stop until I’m really tired. I’m not tired whatsoever at the moment.
I ate well and a lot today. I hurried to Rognan to try and change my train ticket for tomorrow afternoon’s train to one for the sleeper train tonight. I thought the train station was going to be closed by five, but of course it wasn’t. The man behind the counter told me to wait and ask the crew. So here I am, at a train station in a small village. There’s absolutely no one here and I have to wait till 10pm. I really hope I can get on that train tonight. That would be awesome. I’m very bored now though!
22.52h. Okay, the idea was good, but it was a long shot after all. After waiting more than five hours, a blunt “no” was the answer I got. Screw this I thought and I pitched my tent 100 metres from the train station, in between some trees and next to an old railway.