Of all the things I thought I might hear on this trip, that wasn’t top of the list. More about that later. There’s so much to tell that I’ve updated the Norweigan Highlights page so you can find out more about this lovely country, and Tim has provided some techy bits for me to keep the proper bikers happy too.
So, we’re at Stage 2, day 6 and a rest day in Trondheim and about 3,000 km done so far so a well earned rest at that! What a week it has been too. Norway (as I’ve said in the highlights page) is quite simply stunning. Having left Fredrickshavn and arrived in Gottenborg on Sunday, we had a very wet ride up to Rygge (south of Oslo) and found most of it was best done on motorways. Not the most inspiring and, to be honest, a less than promising start. However, after a good sleep and a nice swim (ahem, yes, this was not one of the more basic hotels) we were ready to start again, the sun was actually shining and the winding roads of Norway beckoned. They did not disappoint. Every time you thought ‘well, that was a great bit of road and a nice view’ there was another great bit of road and even better view. Such a lot of contrasts. I’ve wondered all week why I’ve been feeling so tired. I think I’ve been on senses overload. At first I thought the low speed limits would be a pain, but actually they allow you to soak it all up. The end of day 2 was up along the amazing route 51 through unpronounceable national parks and ski areas (roller-skate skis for summer practice was something else!) to end up at our Fjellhotell. What a gem. A cross between a ski chalet and a school dormitory, our super room had about a mile walk to a loo and a shower but you couldn’t have wished for a better spot. In the middle of nowhere. Gorgeous. Interesting observations:
- Norweigan people are very friendly once you get a reason to chat. Up until then, they seem to just stare at you. Now, those amongst you who ever played the staring competition game as a kid (as we both have) will know that will have put us in good stead and soon got to competent status in the stare-off caegory.
- When there is ‘good music tonight’ advertised, you might think it would be some Norweigan folk or better still, rock band, ready to get the place buzzing. Some rather less conventional bloke singing Michelle My Bell and then playing Santana on his organ (steady) didn’t quite meet expectations. But the beer was good and an early night after a long day is a good thing.
- An early night is ok as long as a) it actually gets dark, and the more north we go, the lighter it gets and b) that there’s not some crazy alarm going off at 5.45am. I was bolt upright listening to all the Norweigan voices thinking ‘someone will know the door if there’s a problem’ but then wondering whether I could be arsed to actually get up and investigate. Tim on the other hand just grunts a ‘go and check it out if you’re worried’ before going soundly back to sleep. So I decide to sit tight and hope for the best. It was fine but unfortunately all the mad, healthy Norweigans decided to stay up and enjoy the moment…..
- It seems that although there are many bikers that do the lovely roads of Norway, there are very few Brits.
- Fjell hotels are a haven for hikers and they are prolific sandwich makers to take for a picnic. It was like being in a sandwich factory there was so much spreading and piling up going on. So I decided to join in. Unfortunately by the time I’d dropped the English reserve, there wasn’t much left but I did the best I could. The hard boiled eggs were a bit of a risky strategy for a first timer though. All worked out in the end.
Route 51 continued to be inspirational (I go on about it in the Norweigan highlights page so won’t repeat it here, and the next day proved even more fantastic than the last. It was a long day too but well worth it and those mountain pass roads will be good practice for the Stelvio.
Things wot I have learnt…
- Scandanavians speak to each other in English as it’s too difficult to learn each other’s language. A real bonus for us.
- Although I envisaged warmish sunny days, we have had our fair share of cold and wet. ‘The worst summer since 1977’ it seems – figures.
- That you need to use engine braking on steep down slopes to save the brake fluid overheating (boiling) and going too thin. No brakes = bad.
- Diesel on the road in wet conditions also bad and I was more than a tad concerned when it happens to be in the bit of road on a corner that you need. Thankfully negotiated it all ok but was a bit of a tester.
Day off today, but tomorrow – Sweden! Bring it on…