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Day 75 ......Stokmarknes to Andenes.....129 km ......(total 6,290 km)

I rode 32 km today and then seemingly jumped into a cold swimming pool and cycled another 97 km. After about 50 km of being battered by the rain I thought and spoke to myself “In any normal country this rain would relent soon. Stay strong buddy stay strong “. 

When it comes to rain Norway is not a “any normal country”. It does relentless rain very well. At least it wasn’t windy. Well, not excessively so. 

Andrew from Yorkshire who I met yesterday had stayed in the same camp overnight and we set off together. Him on his minimalist all carbon fibre streamlined bike and me on my lumbering all steel semi trailer. After 2 km I unleashed him and within 10 mins he he was out of sight.  Both of us on our way to Andenes some 130 km away . Just at slightly different speeds. 

The first bridge of the day (there were 4) afforded a great view .

Boat sheds galore enroute. Some stocked with traditional Norwegian fishing skiffs .

Some boat sheds with decided character and attitude. 

I love it that in this part of Norway kids ride their bikes to the nearest countryside bus stop , park up their bikes unlocked , go to school and learn to speak impeccable English and then come back to the same bus stop later that day and their bikes are still there. 

The dramatic “cliffs falling into the ocean “ type scenery of the past two days gave way to wide open expanses of marsh type land with more rounded hills. Some very long and straight roads too. Akin to driving across the Scottish highlands. Complete with Scottish type weather too. 

The craggy mountains were still there but just further away and I wasn’t riding in their shadow. 

Even got to see my first ever live reindeer too. Complete with fjord cruise ship in the background that photo bombed the shot. Quintessential Norway. 

The biggest hills of the day were the bridges . Climb to the summit of one of those in driving rain on a bicycle carrying 25 kg of gear and you know you’re alive . Especially going down the other side. I have concluded the Norwegian engineers LOVE an arched bridge.

Barren , windswept , and wet . For a loooong time . Oh , and after 90 km , cold too. 

A countryside bus stop was the prefect refuge for a lunch stop.

The only thing I over took all day was this fella. On his way to the local hamlet to do his shopping . On a major road in this weather no one other than me seemed to bat an eyelid. No aggressive honking of horns as cars overtook him . No abuse shouted . No gesticulating. Norway. 

Spotted my first Norwegian navy boat. You’d want to be committed to the cause to sign up for the navy in this country me thinks given the climate you’ll be operating in. Costa del Sol it ain’t . 

Quite a few people have asked why take the  Lofoten Islands to go north . The answer lies in the route. Stay on the mainland and you will be greeted by countless tunnels a cyclist is banned from cycling through . There is a series of cycling routes throughout Europe called the EuroVelo Ways. This particular route is named the EuroVelo One and runs over 8,000 km from Portugal to Nordkapp. It’s also known as the Atlantic Way. You can download a GPS file that shows you the route in detail and follow it for its entirety . I haven’t / didn’t.  The route chosen in Norway was done so to enable cyclists to ride north through tunnels that they were allowed to pass through. Just so happens that also means visitig the Lofoten Islands . 

Now you know. 

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