Sweden has been childs play compared to the last bit in Norway. They say that adventure isn’t always fun, I now experienced how true that is.
I received some company (my girlfriend, my brother, his girlfriend and a cousin of ours) on Monday. We had four awesome days drinking beer, eating and goofing around. My brother Eibert brought some Rohloff-oil, so that chapter is closed. It was very nice to see my girlfriend again and to spend time together. We even did some tourist things. Went to the Alta Museum where you can see the ancient rock carvings and went to the Alta samiske språksenter. There they teach the minority language Sami. We both teach Frisian, which is a minority language as well. So it was fun to talk to them, to hear about their approach.
Well, we went also to the North Cape. We stayed in Alta, so that was ‘just’ 240 kilometers. At first I was really principal about the fact, that I did not want to go there by car. Definitely not. But that would mean I could spend a day less with Ydwine. The decision was thus easily made… Besides, it was hilarious to drink beer (a Kleine Beer, the best beer there is and I’m proud to say it’s my sponsor!) with them on such a special location (that is not allowed, so keep it quit, please). There wasn’t much more to do there anyway, the fog was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife, so we didn’t see anything. That was a bummer, because it was so sunny lower down. But I have seen how long and hard the road was. I really feared it would take me several days only to reach the Cape itself, let alone to cycle back the same road to Olderfjord.
The first bit of Norway – in Kautokeino – I found out that supermarkets aren’t open on a Sunday. I had to eat a whole day of dry spaghetti (with some salt and pepper) because I couldn’t buy anything else. I was really glad I still had that, never thought spaghetti could be live saving. Thinking I had had enough spaghetti for a month we ate it again when they arrived, because that was cheapest. Well, if it is cheapest, I step over another principal…
But that lesson thought me to be sure to have enough food with me to survive more than a couple of days in the wild. Especially the road up to the North Cape, since that would be rough and you can use some fuel for your body.
On Friday, after they left, the weather changed, it got windy, rainy and cold. Nevertheless I reached as far as a little north of Olderfjord. If I didn’t had big parts with tailwind, I wouldn’t have gotten that far. In the evening the rain and wind intensed and grew into a real storm. I was tired, wet and cold. When I reached a sort of picknick area with two toilets, I took my refugee in the one for handicapped people (that one was of course a little bigger). I had no desire at all at that point to put up my tent. Finding a spot alongside the E 69 isn’t that easy either. I cooked seating on the toilet seat. Shaking of the freezing – not literally fortunately! – cold I crawled into my sleeping bag. Once at half past twelve someone wanted to get in. Another time at half past two. It was then I decided to warm up my beans in tomatosauce, have a coffee and get going. I feared the Nordkapp-tunnelen and thought there would be less traffic on the early hour. I was right, until Honningsvåg it went fine trafficwise. The weather was still very bad and I had a strong head wind. The tunnel was okay though, apart from the fact that it was 9% down and 10% (!) up.
An advantage of going up there with them was that my nephew Gregor had the bright idea to hide a bottle of Grutte Pier (Great Pier, a folk hero, now also a great beer) behind a SOS telephone booth. I could pick it up when I would ride pass it. I just had to remember the right booth. How could I not remember that?! I never drank a more tasty beer with my meal!
Another advantage of exploring the road was that I knew there was a ‘vandrerhjem’ (hostel) in Honningsvåg. I thought, why not get a bed there, take a shower to get warm, sleep a few hours to get a bit fresh, dump my 150 kilograms of luggage and go up to Nordkapp in the afternoon.
And so I did. The 33 kilometers up were really hard. Cold, wet, stormy, hard, steep and a wee bit scary (bus drivers drove like maniacs). But I got there! A second time, but now by bike. On my own strenght! I didn’t care it took me almost four hours. Down again it took me one hour and a half.
While downing my beer that evening, it also downed on me that I did it! That I rode about 3000 km to the North Cape. With a full belly and with that satisfactory tiredness I had to confess that it might not have been that fun, but it was more than worth it.