We arrived in Namsos late last night after cycling 99 KM. (We still haven’t cycled a Century) The previous day we cycled 95 KM so now we need a day off. Our bodies are telling us to take a break to help recover a bit. Normally, we wouldn’t cycle that long a distance but both days we could not find a suitable place to camp, forcing us to continue.
We’ve cycled 700 KM since Bodø along the Helgeland coast, ferry-hopping across fjords and from island to island. Jan and I have now surpassed the 2000 KM mark in Norway and judging by the squeaking of our chains it’s probably time we look at changing out some or all of the transmissions on our bikes. There is no time to do that here but we’ve given them a good scrubbing to get all the grit out from between the gears, etc. The chains have been cleaned and oiled and should last for another week or two until we can find some replacement parts.
Jim cycled with us for one more day out of Bodø but we said our farewells at the Kjellingstraumen camp site. He needed to make a few more miles per day to get to Bergen in time for his flight back to England. It is always great to meet like-minded people on the road. There is an instant kinship there and I’m sure our paths will cross again.
As much as the Lofoten is spectacular and impressive, the Helgeland coast is equally magnificent. Tens of thousands of islands, islets and skerries dot the coast line, making this a kayaking paradise, however, we have seen only a few, despite it being a popular activity here.
The cycling along this coast and on the islands is equally great. Little traffic on narrow roads through beautiful scenery. We’re following the Krystiksveien, or KV17, a 650-kilometre road between Bodø and Steinkjer. There are some variations as it’s easy to take small secondary roads, especially out to some of the islands. We’ve lost count of how many ferries we’ve taken, how many tunnels we’ve gone through and how many bridges we’ve crossed. The infrastructure connecting all these islands, peninsulas and towns is absolutely amazing.
We crossed the Arctic Circle on the ferry from Jetvik to Kilboghamn and after more than two months of constant daylight, both here and in Iceland, we are now experiencing a phenomenon called darkness. It’s quite amazing how quickly this has happened as the combination of dropping below 66 degrees and the advancing days of summer have made the days shorter. Still, the sun now sets at 10 pm and rises again at 4.45 am. I think we are going to have to dig up our head lamps from the bottom of our panniers.
Alba and Gérard have been performing very well, considering this is their very first bike tour. Norway is not the easiest place to cut your teeth cycle-touring but they have embraced it wholeheartedly and we are loving their company. Wish they could carry on longer but sadly they will have to go back to Barcelona in a couple of weeks.
While wandering around Namsos, we found a Thai restaurant that offered a lunch buffet. This is an automatic stop for cycle-tourers. Buffets provide the best value for the money, especially in Norway where food in general is expensive, but food in restaurants is very expensive, and as a result we have not eaten out very often. The buffet was 99 NOK ($17.50) per person and had a chicken curry, a beef dish, a couple of rice dishes, pad thai and some deep fried dumplings and egg rolls. All I can say is that the restaurant did not make money that day. We arrived at 2.30 and the buffet looked a bit empty but the proprietress assured us more food was on the way. As the food appeared we made more trips to the buffet until we were quite stuffed. Good value!
We now aim for Trondheim and from there we will decide what to do. Stay tuned.