Norway. What a beautiful land. It’s called the land of the midnight sun. It called a land of fjords. It’s also a land of ferries and tunnels. Norway ranks third in the world with it’s total tunnel length of 1338 kms.
We left Nordkapp in the morning and rode south along the same fjord as when we arrived. It’s funny, the same road in the reverse direction could be an entirely different place. You end up seeing many things missed the first time through.
Riding south we tried to cling to the coast. Beautiful fjords and empty roads dominated the days. Our luck remained as clear blue skies lended the contrast to barren landscape, green valleys and bright, multi-colored wildflowers.
Camping was easy as there was always a place to set a tent, usually with an incredible view. Every village had its own small market making fresh foods readily available.
On our second day as we rounded a bend, a pulloff rest stop beckoned us to stop and enjoy the view. As we were pulling in a bike passed us headed to Nordkapp. He slowed and made a u-turn, then pulled in and joined us. He was Italian, the “Born2be Bearded Biker”, Alexio.
We chatted about each other’s trips and FB friended each other before we both headed again in opposite directions.
The scenery of Nordland, or northern Norway, was incredible. We would set an alarm to wake us at 0700hrs. The Arctic circle was 1000 kms south of us, so it was still always light. After coffee and coming breakfast we would ride until we were tired in the evening and start looking for a campsite. There was very little traffic this far north. These days were fantastic.
After several days we needed a break, so we decided to head toward the Lofoten Islands. The barometer was dropping and rain was coming so we rented a hut for two days to catch up on laundry and our blog.
Catching a ferry to Andenes, on the Andøya peninsula, we found our campground in Stave, nestled between the beach on the Norwegian Sea and the mountains.
Arriving to a beautiful, warm afternoon the contrast of the green mountains and blue sky behind us and the white sand beach, blue waters and a almost sunset, was fantastic. The morning brought rain. The temps stayed chilly, about 50°F(10°C) and the heavy foggy mist obscured all but about 100 feet of our view. We had chosen the perfect rest day off the bike.
Looking towards the beach
The following morning the fog was heavy and low, but the rain has stopped. Loading up the bike we road out into a magical land. This type of morning ads an almost mystical, eerie feel that add another dimension to photos. Rounding a bend I spot a multi level waterfall.
Easing into the muddy, dirt road we ride across a wooden bridge crossing the waterfall. On the way back, Melanie hopped off and captured a picture of me riding back across the bridge, Yellow Donkey’s lights punching a hole through the heavy mist.
As we left the island and rode into southern Lofoten the weather continued and the tourist buses increased. We decided to ferry over to Bodø on the mainland and what looked like much better weather.
Stopping at our first poor campground past Bodø we found a corner with grass for our tent in Saltstraumen. Saltstraumen is a narrow channel flowing into Saltfjorden and out to the Norwegian Sea. It is known for the strongest tidal current in the world 40km/h.
Good decision. The weather was much better. The E6 is the fast inland route down to Trondheim, because this section is considered boring. We were told by another rider to take the coastal road, the Fv17, also called the Norwegian National Road. This road is longer, more scenic and has 6 ferry crossings, if you don’t veer off. What a great road! Great tarmac with winding and twisting roads following the coastal fjords. Traffic was minimal, camping was again plentiful and there were glaciers around every corner.
On the first long ferry of the six we were told to look for the Arctic Circle globe on a small piece of land. This signaled the crossing back into Nord from Nordland. The nights would start being longer again as we continued south.
At the last campground we were told about a cool place, Torghatten. This granite mountain has a large hole through it near the top. The hole measures 160 meters long, 35 meters long and 20 meters wide. This started as two sea caves eroded by wave action 10,000 years ago when the sea was 105 meters higher than its current level. At Torghatten there are traces of humans from around the mountain. You can journey through time, from the Ice Age to the present. The hike takes about 30 minutes to get to the cave.
After a few days of riding this route our 19th anniversary was coming up. I found a Bed and Breakfast on the island of Tautra, just outside Trondheim, the Klostergården Bed and Breakfast. We arrived mid afternoon and were treated like royalty by the owner.
The owner brews their own beer and distills their own whiskey. Behind the BnB are the ruins of a monestary built here 900 years ago. I was quite honored when the owner wanted me to be the first to try a Saison beer from the new batch. We had a delicious meal, Melanie with cattle meat and I with Salmon. After the meal, the owner gifted us a couple samples of their first whiskey distilled and a small pitcher of water. It had been casked in 2013 and was 114 proof, so smooth. Perfect!
As we rode further south to he mountains would become higher, the walls of the fjords steeper and the tourists…way too many. As Jason would say, “I am fjorded out”.