Firstly back to yesterday.
Set off with the sun on my back from Tromsø under a cloudless sky. What wind there was turned out to be a slight tailwind. As I crossed the bridge from Tromsø old town a whale passed below me and lifted its tail almost as though as a wave to see me on my way and passing the Arctic “Cathedral” one last time a visiting gospel choir from Mississippi was standing on the steps practising a song that seemingly included the words “farewell Nick and good luck on your ride “. The birds were chirping and then one in particular seemed to get louder and louder to the point of being irritating.
Suddenly I realised I hadn’t gone anywhere . It was my alarm. Everything had been a dream.
As I opened the bedroom blinds I wasn’t at all surprised to see rain lashing the windows . This is northern Norway after all and it’s only summer. I had spent two nights in an extremely comfortable Air BnB apartment hosted by Toneli (of you're ever in Tromsø I’d recommend her place) and was reluctant to leave . However there was the small matter of two ferries to catch and 105 km to ride . Not only was it wet but today was the first day but was cold enough to see your own breath .
Barn of the day award went early to this number .
Likewise the bridge of the day award. It went within the first 30km
I met Phillip from Poland going in the opposite direction and who ate an entire packet of chocolate wafer biscuits and downed two strong black coffees announcing proudly it was his breakfast. He had nothing good to say about the weather in Nordkapp aside from “I hope you have warm clothes”.
I bet the views are stunning when it’s not belting rain.
Waiting for a ferry in the wet and cold the only place dry and sheltered was the maintenance entrance to a warehouse. Lunch dining room it became for me.
Rustic old barns and traditional fishing boats with drying racks would probably make a good picture under blue skies. Especially given the backdrop.
As I’ve said. Blue cloudless skies and I imagine the scenery would be breathtaking.
That was all yesterday .
Today dawned much the same. Overcast and cold. I had met a Dutch cyclist at camp who unsurprisingly was very well organised to the extent he had a book that outlined every camp spot and petrol station and Hill over 5% gradient between where he was and where he was going. He took great delight in pointing out that 6!km after starting out we had a 5 km hill of 8% and then at 45 km a 8 km hill of 8%. A cheery start to the day then. Thankfully 2/3rds of the way up hill 1 it became a tunnel. The longest of my trip too.
Shortly thereafter I bumped into these 3 amigos. Sebastian , Vincent and Felix. They’re from Munich and cycling to Nordkapp for their summer vacation . At this stage we were 380 from Nordkapp. I asked when they expected to get there . “Tomorrow “ came the reply . At age 17,19,18 there’s some something refreshing about the exuberance , optimism and naivety of youth. 380km in less than two days of cycling in this weather and terrain? Being German they’ll probably make it .
This meeting the top of the second Hill of the day. Happy to say it’s gradient and length were as Mr Dutchman said. 8 km and 8%. Glad to say it only took me 1 hour and 23 mins to climb to the pass. Passed a few herds of reindeer on the way up which made it easier. Marginally .
At the summit it was howling a wind to forget and as I looked down the other side I saw two cyclists who were pushing their bikes up the hill towards me having given up the fight against wind and gradient.
No sooner had I summited and started the perilous descent into the next fjord when a rainbow majestically appeared in celebration of my achievement. It was a definite highlight of the day .
Rainbow shot #2
Descending into the next fjord my frozen hands trying to ride the brakes unconvincinly I saw an approaching car stop suddenly and both occupants jump out to take a photo of something. Looking over my shoulder I could see why. It was either the surprise of blue sky or the scenery that had got them interested . I stopped and took the same.
75 km of rain hail hills and howling wind we’re enough for the day however the scenery was still stunning.