It’s just before 9.30am and I’ve returned for the final time into the centre of Trondheim. Steven and Anita have been good hosts for the past two nights; I’ve eaten and drunk well, I’ve learnt a little about how the Norwegians live their lives (the good and the not-so-good…), and on a practical level I now have a full set of cleans clothes and all ten pieces of equipment that need charging have indeed been charged. Yes, I did say ‘ten’*. I’ve also hacked off my beard. This took some doing as I only had one disposable razor remaining. I survived the experience unbloodied. Talking of things medical, I have been bitten on my feet of all places, probably in Steven’s garden on Saturday evening so now have, literally, itchy feet.
I haven’t given too much thought to today’s cycle. In a few minutes I’ll return to the point where I arrived on Sunday afternoon just outside the cathedral, the end of the pilgrimage path and the Eurovelo 3. Eurovelo 1 continues via the car ferry to the piece of land just to the north of Trondheim. There’s a passenger ferry nearer the centre of town which is probably a longer trip but the car ferry does require a cycle out of town. Tonight, a return to camping I imagine although I have yet to examine the options. That’s a job to do on the ferry. More later.
* They are:
- Mini iPad
- Mini keyboard for Mini iPad
- Rear bike light
- Front bike light
- Old Power Monkey battery
- New Power Monkey battery
- GoPro camera
- GoPro extra battery
- SLR camera
Well, it might be 25. It could be more; it could be less… I am on target to reach Europe’s most northerly point by the end of the 100th day of cycling as my average is currently around 77 km/day with fewer than 2,000 km left to cycle. But that plan might be scupered by the terrain of northern Norway as well as the weather. On the latter point, it doesn’t look great for the next week or so; cold and potentially wet.
I’m expecting Trondheim – where I am currently spending my second night – to be the last major settlment that I visit before arriving in Nordkapp. That said, there are still plenty of small towns and villages through which I will cycle along the way as well as a whole host of campsites and no doubt service stations. With some hostels and perhaps a few WarmShowers hosts thrown in for good measure I should be able to survive the next few weeks in one piece. Let’s hope that the bike does as well. I’ll be following the Eurovelo 1 cycling route and avoiding the main road – the E6 – as much as I possibly can. Wild camping? Perhaps… Let’s see how things pan out over the next few days. Quite a few ferries will be needed, starting tomorrow morning with a boat that takes me from Flakk to Rorvika. The longest ferry I will need is the one from Bodo to the Lofoten Islands. I’ve always assumed that this move away the mainland is to avoid tunnels through which cycling is banned but from what I hear from others who have been there, it’s no bad thing to be visiting the islands anyway.
You may have noticed that in recent weeks that I have not been great at writing about the day that has just happened at the end of the day when it did happen! The days are increasingly long and to a certain extent more physically challenging. So, as from cycling day 76 I’ll be seriously cutting down on what is written here. I will, however, be prioritising the photographic / video aspects of the website and hopefully posting more than once a day (as I have done for the past few days) but what I write will be severly curtailed. It will also mean that there’s a greater incentive for you to read the book when it is available at some point in 2016. That said, remember that the books contain little of what is written at the time. I have in the past gone out of my way to avoid copying and pasting from the website and I have no intention of starting to do that for book 3. A blog and a book are fundamentally different creatures and they need to be written from different perpectives.
All that said, I will keep responding to any comments made here, on Twitter or on the Facebook page. Advice, suggestions and offers of help are always welcome.
The journey continues…
A day spent in and around a rather damp Trondheim with Steven, Anita and Annie…
Click here to see the detailed statistics of today’s cycle.
Again, another late update…
I knew it would be a relatively short cycle on day 75; ‘just’ 40 km to Trondheim where I had agreed to stay for a couple of nights with a guy called Steven who you may have noticed has contributed many comments to this website. So, there was no real rush to leave the campsite where I had coffee with Jeanet the Dutch cyclist (see cycling day 74) before setting off on the very pretty corniche road around the coast in the direction of Trondheim. I crossed Jeanet a couple of times but also a young German cyclist who had wild camped in the area somewhere the previous night. He was a carpenter back home; good to know that such jobs still exist and are people are being trained to do them!
There was a small mountain to climb before I arrived in the centre of Trondheim which I wasn’t expecting but as a coastal town there was of course the payback of the downhill ride on the other side. Much bigger than I had imagined but I soon found the end of the pilgrimage point, the cathedral, where walkers were arriving to be congratulated by their friends. No celebration for me as I still have another 1,800 km to cycle but I did chat with a cyclist from Switzerland who was also on his way to Nordkapp although his timescale was more elongated than my own. Then Jeanet arrived and I chatted to her once again…
I exchanged text message with Steven and arranged to be at his house for 5pm which gave me a little time to wander around. I bumped into a retired local doctor twice who told me where to go although he knew nothing of the ‘famous’ bicycle lift. I stumbled upon it and watch a group of children having a go. I fear me and Reggie would have been a little to heavy for the mechanism. Then a couple of beers in a nearby pub – the first beers I have bought in a bar since Germany! – where the barmaid was obliged to carry the beer glass over the street to the outdoor seating area ‘for legal reasons’. Dahls beer. A decet pint.
Then to Steven’s place to meet him, his partner Anita and their daughter Annie. Oh, and the kitten. Very cute. More beer was consumed…
For pilgrims this is the end of the walking or cycling path… For others, well, just another nice town en route…
No commentary needed…
Click here to see the detailed statistics of today’s cycle.
Again, a day on which I expected only to cycle a modest number of kilometres but which in the end turned out to be significantly above average in terms of length. It was made somewhat easier by this:
It was of course the final payback for having climbed all those metres at the start of cycling day 72. They are now gone as I am back to sea level on the coast. Trondheim is only 40 km away to the east but I have achieved something worth noting; I’ve cycled from the Mediterranean Sea to the Norwegian Sea. Not many people have done that!
I followed what remained of route 3 – the road route 3 rather than the Eurovelo cycling route 3 that I haven’t seen for quite a few days (albeit in the guise of the Norwegian cycle route 7) – to where it joined the E6 (the road!) about 20 km from the campsite. The busy E6 is the road I had escaped by taking on the big climb three days ago so I wasn’t that enthused at the prospect of rejoining it. I paused at the junction of the E3 and E6. Traffic was low on both. Saturday morning seemed to have discouraged all but the most workaholic truck drivers from taking to the roads. For the next 10 km I followed the E6 before escaping east along route 700 for much of the rest of the day.
One of those days when I could have paused every few minutes to take a photograph. I probably paused at least once every 10-15 minutes; deep valleys, fast-running rivers, waterfalls, interesting old buildings, curious (at times comical) signs, a place called ‘Å’… They all made suitable subjects for my lens as you can see below.
Six campsite were marked on my map as being potential places for an overnight stay. The first was too near (and I never spotted it anyway), the second wasn’t too near (but I never spotted that one either…), number three was a distinct possibility – located after more or less exactly 75 km – but required a 3 km cycle from the route 700. I would take my chances. At the end of the rough track I found a beautiful location next to a lake, but a dodgy campsite. Scruffy, no real place to pitch the tent – the choice was next to the sanitary hut (it couldn’t be described as a ‘block’) or next to the entrance where large black flying monsters were waiting in numbers ready to pounce upon their next human victim – and the owners were not there until 8 pm. I was given a short tour by the chap who had been subcontracted the job of ‘greeting’ any passing trade (I think he was a long-term resident). His lack of enthusiasm for the place was only outdone by my own. He left me to pitch my tent under the cloud of snarling flies. Should I stay? I checked the electricity box – rusting cables everywhere and certainly no possibility of recharging my batteries – so I scarpered back down the track to route 700. The little adventure had added 6 km to my cycling day but so be it…
I could see Orkanger on the coast on my map. It was all downhill. The next campsite didn’t exist, the next was in a scruffy town; the prospect of staying by the sea was now too tempting. I kept cycling. Alas in Orkanger the sign told me that the site was no more – see taped over symbols below – so I continued the few kilometres to Viggja where I finally found a campsite worthy of the name. By the sea, busy with kids running around tripping over my guy ropes, friendly and cheap – just 100 NK. Next to me is another cyclist – Jeanet from The Netherlands – who was good company and in exchanged for a brownie she used my iPad to check her flight details. It wasn’t such a formal arrangement but at least it meant I didn’t feel guilty about not sharing my precious two cans of beer with her.
Tomorrow (OK, let’s face it, today as I am once again writing this late) is Trondheim. The end of the Eurovelo 3 ‘Pilgrims’ Route’ and the last significant town before I embark upon the final 2,000 km of the ride to NordKapp.