24th May 2005 – 19th Jun 2005
TRIP ROUND THE BALTIC
May24th 2005 (26250 on the speedo)
And so begins another motorcycle trip. Horrid damp, foggy. Cold weather and I am waiting in a petrol station just above Dover for Clive. He went to see his son near Windsor while I saw my children in London. He arrives, we get petrol, and down the hill we go to get our ferry. Its delayed..various number of reasons…the french and 2 broken berths, technical problems, the wind etc. We finally get to our booked Formula 1 in Calais by 11.45pm french time. Great start but ‘we made it’.
Cloudy 15c. Set off about 9am. As per usual ,Clive’s autocom not working, something wrong with his mic. Together we have had nothing but trouble with our intercom system which we have had for just over a year, so this was nothing new. He can hear me but I cannot hear him. As we go past Sainsbury’s I shout down the intercom’ box of wine’. We had nearly forgot. The 3 litre box of wine is a great way to carry wine on a motorcycle. That done off we go with all our first day thoughts. Neither of us bike to music, instead enjoy our own thoughts. After all the hard work of leaving all our affairs in order so that we can take this trip, it is relaxing to have the peace of the motorbike even though we were steaming along the motorway through France and then Belgium. My thoughts always begin with what I have left behind. Had I forgotten anything( yes,ringing Kay). Then to musing on the fact that, apart from Clive, I had not spoken to anyone even though I had spent a night in France and was now in Belgium. The anonymity of Formule 1. My bike was heavy but balanced but not sure how I had 3 full panniers when my clothes were in one. Also I had a tank bag, a bag across the back AND a rucksack. Its a bit big for what I had in mind. It has all my valuables in it. The idea being that I can just walk away from my bike with all my moSt Petersburgrecious belongings on my back. No fluffing around. That is the theory; in practice I have been fluffing around too much. Ear plugs, glasses, intercom, contact lenses etc. It will improve as we get into the flow.
Weather improves. In fact it ends up hot, quite a shock since we have had such cold weather at home. Put my digital camera on its new tank mounted bracket and take a photo of Clive at 80mph on the motorway. Its going to work.! Hope for some great photos. We both get fed up with the autocom. End the day at a campsite on the Rhine at Koln. Huge barges going by and friendly germans telling us where to camp. Sunny. Brilliant spot. 297miles
May 26th Thurs
Woke, having slept in the crack between our 2 single air mattresses, to the sun beating down on the tent. We went off into Koln to find an internet cafe. Clive spotted one brilliantly. Then ,following Gps we eventually found a BMW shop for help with our failed autocom. It was shut.! Then realised that it was a bank holiday. That would explain all the bikes on the road and the shut petrol station. Strange,…its a Thursday. By the time we finally got on the motorway to Berlin it was about 12.30 and we had gone nowhere far.
Clive had a mission to get to Berlin. It was quite far. 500 km said someone. In the event it was about 300 miles. We arrived at our campsite at 8pm. We had made rather pathetic progress with frequent stops. Going along at 80mph we should have done better. But it was hot and we were not acclimatized after such horrible weather in England. So we stopped for drinks etc.
We were also suffering from 3 day stiffness. By now we had ridden nearly 800 miles and my wrists, knees and elbows were suffering. I noticed Clive was twitching too. Legs out, standing up, arms shaking. I was twitching around. I put on another gadget of mine , a throttle rocker which helps rest your right hand on the accelerator. That helped my wrist . I stuck my legs out. Etc.Hopefully things will now adjust.
Motorways on motorbikes are not great. Boring. Nasty in rain. Started to notice that a lot of car transporters were heading our way. They were Polish and Lithuanian. In fact , amazed at the amount of trucks heading back home , full up with goodies from Germany perhaps. Mostly Polish and Lithuanian , and some Russian. Saw a few birds of prey including a kite .
Played around on the motorway with my new mount for my camera that allows me take a photo on the move. It really is for those moments when you drive by and wished you had taken a photo. It has been made by Wensum Enginneering of Norfolk to my design. Practicing!!!.
Stop at a campsite is by some lakes near Potsdam (Werder). It has bull frogs in it and lots of mosquitoes. Are the bull frogs going to keep us awake? We had a great meal by the lake serenaded by the bull frogs. miles 368
May 27th Friday
A day visiting Berlin. We begin by biking to a dealer to sort out our autocom system. But after 2 hours of going from dealer to dealer we have given up. Two of Clive’s wires are faulty. It is hot. We ride into Berlin in t-shirts. I map read us very successfully to Checkpoint Charlie where we leap off our bikes parked right beside it in the middle of the street. Take photos with aid of the 2 soldiers there and off we go again. Done. Next Brandenburg Gate. I lead with the map but detour because of roadworks. Clive gets fed up with this and seemingly knows better. The heat is getting to us and the bikes. The traffic is jammed and Clive hates filtering…he has metal panniers… Its 35c on my temp gauge which I have strapped to my windshield strut. See and photo the gate (unimpressive due to traffic and roadworks) and now all we want is shade and a nice cafe. Wander slowly but police stop us because I did not precisely follow the double arrow lane markings on the road! I think they just wanted a look/ see. Eventually spot somewhere. Germans all friendly.
Relaxed finally. Followed GPS route back to our campsite near Werder, stopping in the centre of Potsdam to do internet. Had difficulty finding one but did! Still very hot …it is going to get hotter and is a heat wave. It was raining 3 days ago so we are sort of lucky. Another meal in the camp site restaurant by the water to the accompaniment of bull frogs after having had a swim in the lake.
May 28th Sat
Its my fathers birthday so send him a text. We wake after a noisy night from nature. When the bull frogs finally gave up, the dawn chorus started. 8am and 20c. We have not reckoned on this kind of hot weather. Clive has leathers and I have a heavy leather jacket. We prepared for the North Cape (of Norway)! We have waterproofs as well and are ready for all weather but …this is hot.
Off we go after packing up under a cloudless sky. Heading due east we are soon in Poland. Still plenty of transporters carrying second hand and crashed cars east to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Russia; even on a Saturday. Main road dangerous with lorry tramlines and busy, but after a while we turn off and take secondary roads. Very green, lots of trees and cereal crops. Cars come by very fast and the road surface is variable. So much more modern than 10 years ago when I drove out in the car with my children.
There was a breeze today which helped us and the temp stayed around 30c. In the end we did 301 miles and camped at Torun, a nice old town by the river Wistula. We had a swim in some indoor pool…rather municipal. Then sat by the fast flowing river, having a drink. Tourism is beginning. Things are more expensive since my last visit but a beer by the river costi 1 euro. Went to eat in the old town in an old converted granary. Very interesting meal. I had meat with cranberry and mustard sauce.
May 29th Sunday
Clive wakes me at 6.30am. Too hot , sun on the tent, can’t sleep. So impatient…off he went while I slept some more. The tent was shaded again. Hot though and off we went at 9ish , already 25c.
On our side roads it was very pleasant rolling countryside with tree lined roads or forests. Woodland is extensive here. Many lakes too, dot the landscape. Farmland with cereals gives way to some sugarbeet land and then more pasture. Many cereal fields have admixture. As we near Lithuania there are more cows. See the odd storks in fields or standing on their high nests. A couple of buzzards too. I like looking at wildlife, trees, old buildings and people. Clive doesn’t seem to notice these things! He likes water. I am the photographer because I am always finding things to photo.
The roads have varying surfaces…from good and new to very patched and bumpy and some potholes. Lorries do not do the roads any good. One little road we went on bumped all the way to a tiny village where we realised we were lost. It made the residents day! I loved the sign ‘wypdakti’ and 2 cars bumping. ‘wipe out’? Railway lines from unused tracks were bumpy to cross . The warning sign was a picture of a steam train. There were many unused tracks.
Stopped in Augustow in a hotel. Cost 130 zloty (32 euros). Food cheap at about £1.50 for a main dish. Miles 247
May 30th Mon
Set off 9.30am. Wonderful newly surfaced road to the border between Poland and Lithuania on secondary road. Lots of’ lily of the valley’ under the lovely hardwood trees of the dark forest that the road runs through. First notice wooden houses. Wanted registration documents on border otherwise fine. Immediate impressions…lots of grassland, no fences, wooden houses, single tethered animals (hobbled horses and cows tied by horns)scarcely dotting the grassland, man cultivating small field with a horse, small areas of cereals, strip farming, lady milking single cow in the middle of counrytside, lady hand hoeing a field beside a modern generating station. But an air of prosperity as roads good or being improved, new houses being built etc. We stop for a drink in a modern cafe with old fashion wooden hut containing the loos!
The modern is rubbing shoulders with the new. Tiny smallholdings subsist in old wooden buildings/houses surrounded by huge tracts of farmland being farmed by large businesses I guess. Little old ladies in traditional dress sitting on doorsteps or tending the holding. They mostly have electricity, whose pylons run all over the countryside. They like the colour yellow. Many wild lilac bushes as there were in Poland too. Secondary roads likely to be dirt but main roads better.
Weather cooler today, perfect for biking, until the afternoon when, as we near Latvia, it starts to rain a bit and gets colder. Cross Lithuania in about 6 hrs easily (about 220 miles) and enter Latvia. Stop about 12 hour later on our way to Riga. Hotel double room costs £30 (same as Lithuania). On whole seems to be about half the cost of UK. Miles 254
Cloudy and about 14c. spitting with rain. See Riga on the Daugava river. A nice but unexciting place perhaps. It had NO road signs anywhere near the centre but we made the right choices and headed north along the coast. Latvia has lots of uncultivated, but previously cultivated, land, which now grows dandilions…lots of yellow acres. Trees in abundance. We left the main road to see a little inland and went to Limbazi. The road was graded dirt and pretty sandy in places which I found a bit tricky! Then some tarmac, some dirt, on to Salacgriva. Back to the coast and very shortly its the border and into Estonia. Latvia had been under 200 miles to cross. Its tourism was very fledgling …for instance it was impossible/difficult to find a postcard. Not many hotels , or cafes.
We intended to stop short of Tallinn but in the end could not find good hotel and had to go on, now in the pouring rain. Hotels relatively expensive as we realise Estonia is much more into tourism. The scenery was not much to miss in the bad weather as it was forest most of the way, occasionally interspersed with grassland (unused) and some fields which were being farmed. Road very good . Traffic has got less as we head north and east. Now on a level with north of the Orkneys( or Stockholm!) Houses now remind me of Norway.
June 1st Wed
Rained all night. Set off in light rain for Tallinn. Did internet for a while , cafe etc . City modern and vibrant compared to others. Prices not far off UK. Then head for russian border and Narva. Intend to spend the night near the border ready for the next day. Weather disgusting; cold, 7c, and wet. Conditions not great; road surface changeable with roadworks. Amazingly found hotel (they are well signposted but not always suitable) that had swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi! Same price as night before, about £45 but it does include breakfast! In communication with Sokolov who knows of our progress. Miles 152
2nd June Thurs
Dry but 10c. Leave at 9am, petrol to use up the kroons ( money), and then on to the border. 1 hour later and we are through. The border guards had been helpful and friendly. It was bureaucratic but not horrid.
Set off on bumpy main road. Lots of giant hogweed. Turn off on to secondary road and head for a huge bridge that will allow us to miss St Petersburg. Endless neglected fields growing dandelions. Somehow we miss the bridge and end up having to go through St Petersburg. Sokolov has given us directions to her country house, north of St Petersburg.
Without the GPS we would have had worse trouble than we did. No road signs, no road numbers. We did some loops! It was no better the other side really because names were in Cyrillic script and few road numbers. After an extra hour or two we got close, 5 mins away and finally phoned her! She has had built a smallish wooden house in what was forest .Now it has more houses around. About 150 miles.
3rd & 4th June Fri/Sat
Sokolov’s house was good. She drove us around the surrounding area and pointed out things we would never have worked out ourselves. Friday evening we went to St Petersburg to her flat. Very nice flat right in the middle, near a church sited on ‘bleeding feet’ or something. Huge meter thick walls to her mansion. On Saturday she drove us to Pushkin to see Catherine the Great’s palace and another palace. Started to feel done with culture. We were also driven around town past lots of vast palaces and churches and czarist buildings of every kind. They were all beautifully painted on the outside. Inside might not contain all that which is original since many were looted and neglected.
Then back to the country in the evening to rejoin our bikes. Two ‘friends’ of S’s came too. The weather remains unseasonally cold but at least the rain had held off.
Sokolov remains much the same and has worked hard on her two houses and should be proud of them. Russia has changed hugely in the last 5 years. Supermarkets, free enterprise etc. Police were corrupt and much bribery is common place in the society. We felt safe . Roads were bumpy and potholed mostly. Trams looked ancient. Rubbish being dumped in the countryside (no rubbish collection service). Fields uncultivated but there are signs of something happening. Lots of abandoned old communist buildings and ironwork.
5th june sun
The long day light hours meant that we had had some very late nights with Sokolov. Hence we made a late start off at about 11am. We were heading for Finland and the border crossing at Vyartsilya. It meant just following the A129. It was raining! It stopped for awhile but remained damp with wet roads. Forested! Wooden houses. Bumpy road that finally deteriorated to dirt after Priozersk. Wet dirt…it was quite good to start with but had an increasing number of rather wet bits. I took it steady but with 50 more miles ahead to the next town it was a daunting prospect. However it was Clive who came a cropper for some reason. He is more confident than I and more capable and his bike is better suited. I came round a bend and there he was! He was okay, bruised, covered in wet sand. His helmet was damaged. His pannier had come off and the lock broken. Damaged crash bar and broken cylinder protector. Poor Clive. However, and luckily, the dirt came to an end shortly after and in pouring rain we carried on to Sortavala. Passed by 3 American cyclists bicycling to Murmansk! They were not so young and looked exhausted in the rain and the wet dirt road can not have been easy. Arriving in Sortavala, we burst into a cafe in all our wet clothes, where amazingly we found a Moroccan who lived in Finland and who spoke English (and Arabic).! He led us to an hotel. We were wet and dirty. Miles 170
6th June Mon
Dried out, we spent our last roubles on cheap petrol and headed for the Finnish border. Late start and we got there about 11am. Russian side was tedious repetitive paper work. Seemed strange they wouldn’t let us go quicker. Finns were quicker but considering we were EU citizens entering the EU it was bureaucratic.
Clive then seemed to have a mission to reach the North cape of Norway that day. On and on we went through repetitive forested countryside. Neater, tidier, better roads than Russia. People speak English well. Petrol same as UK. Finding an hotel or somewhere to stay was a nightmare. Very expensive. Weather had deteriorated to heavy showers so in sometimes pouring rain we drove all around Sotkamo and then finally went to Kajaani. Hotel cost 65 euros for the room. Miles 270 plus from the going round in circles! Did try a ‘hut’ but they wanted 60 euros for that.
Clive ‘s side ache already getting better from his fall. One pannier having to be strapped on.
7th june Tuesday
Sun shone as we packed our bikes but it was still cloudy and grey and only 10c. This day reminded me of our world trip for it was now very similar countryside to the Yukon and Alaska etc. We are nearly 66 degrees latitude north! Forest still growing strongly though. Good road gently curving with many short straights. Occasionally see a Finnish person striding along with 2 ski sticks as though out touring on skis. Came to the conclusion that they could not cope without their skis and had to pretend they were skiing! Old people walk around with 2 ski sticks too. We see some reindeer and one Elk that Clive cleverly spotted. We reach Lappland and I wonder where it is that Santa Claus ‘hangs out’, little knowing that we are heading right for the spot! Temp falls to 8c; it drizzles from time to time and I wonder if I am going to be warm enough at the North cape in 2 days time. I have my heated handle bar grips on and my heated waistcoat now. We are whizzing along these empty roads doing about 70mph. I notice one or two strange birds…must look them up. We stop about every hour for a drink . Without further ado we arrive in Rovaniemi and straight away find a fine hotel…makes up for last night.! Then discover Santa Claus is 6km further north on the Arctic circle. We will check it out tomorrow! Realise we are a long way north and wonder how far north Anchorage is.
Most Finns speak wonderful English and this town is modern and vibrant. Miles 222
8th June Wed
Set off to take photo of our bikes on the Arctic circle opposite Santa land! Clive behaves badly. No more to be said ! Head for Inari. Fairly uneventful, but following a strongly flowing rive ,we reach Kittila. At this point I want to take one route and Clive another…so we do and arrange to meet where the road joins. Mine was expected to be dirt and Clive’s not . Mine became dirt for 30 miles and Clive’s for 38 miles! We ended up meeting at the same time, and on we went. Wooden houses painted maroon continue to dot the landscape and I wonder what on earth they all do in the winter and what job they might have. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember the long winter as these houses stand in idyllic locations as long as the weather is warm…by a lake, overlooking a river etc.
Several reindeer on the road but no more dirt road. Notice that the silver birch are only in bud; further south they are out. No petrol stations and I am running out of petrol. However because Clive is with me I am resigned to running out. In the event my bike does 60 miles on the red light and reaches a petrol station in Inari ! Having looked at one of two hotels (82 euros) we stay in a ‘hut.'(42 euros). I cook some kind of a meal ! Whilst out walking by the river in full spate with snow melt, I see 2 golden plovers. Midnight light is with us. Still light at way past 11pm. Miles 236
9th June Thurs
Head onwards further north. Snow lies in old drifts by the road. Trees are mostly shorter but it is sometimes hard to imagine how far north we are. Reindeer wander across the road, very ungainly out of the snow. Some have pink antlers! Soon come to the border with Norway. We need to change money. Not stopped at the border, no shops, no petrol, nothing. We are in Norway just like that. Go to bank in the first town. A lot of people speaking a strange language. Lapp? Sami ?
The last couple of days we have seen quite a lot of bikes heading the other way. Appear to be Germans or Dutch but not Brits. Have not seen any British vehicles or bikes, bar 2 camper vans last night, during the whole trip so far.
The landscape changes with snow clad mountains to either side. Finland gently rolled but now we have more bends (nice for motorbikes) and rockier terrain. Reindeer still pop out on the road. North we go; until we stop short of the Nord kapp at Olderfjord. Our plan is to stay here 2 nights and do a there and back to the Nord Kapp tomorrow. We have already found out it is going to be expensive. Norway IS expensive. Hotels are out so we are in a hut again and this one costs 490 krone per night.( about £40). This hut has cooking facilities and a bathroom and could sleep 4 (quite squashed !)
Got there early, relaxed and then had a walk in the hills. Saw 2 Irish bikers and had a chat. They are staying here too. Miles 177
10th June Friday
Still cloudy weather and still 10c. Off to the Nord Kapp. 84 miles to go. Dress up for the weather as we have for the last few days. I bought an extra fleece in Finland and so my layers are; 2 long sleeved fleece tops, my heated waistcoat(done up but not switched on),waterproof jacket and finally my heavy leather jacket. On legs have my leather jeans with some cordura trousers on top. It takes time to get dressed!
On the way we see reindeer dotted everywhere just like sheep in Scotland. Trees die out about 20 kms north of here (Olderfjord). Very scenic as the road follows the sea. More and more bits of snow beside the road. Amazing tunnel that connects the Nord kapp. Costs 68k for one motorbike one way and plunges downward under the sea to 212 metres below sealevel.
The Nord kapp is bleak and cold, 5c for us today. The centre costs 190k per person, a rip off price . Naturally everything else is as expensive. Shame. Still the major goal of motorbiking here has been achieved and we take all relevant photos.
Several bikes are making their way there as we leave. No Brits on bikes seen yet.
Go into Honningsvag on the way back. It was rebuilt in original style after the war. Huge cruise ship in the harbour and all the people on board being bused up to the Nord kapp!
Make our way back to our hut for a second night in Olderfjord. Saw a large eagle , golden or sea, some puffins, eider duck, and other seabirds and lots of baby reindeer! Stay up till midnight and take photos on the beach of the partially hidden midnight sun. It is perfectly light. Miles 172
11th June Sat
The weather is better, brighter and 12c. In the petrol station down the road we meet the first English on bikes we have seen. They are on their way up.
The scenery is lovely, Clive says magnificent. Wonderful quiet fjords. Lots of snow covered mountains ,tumbling down to the sea. Snow is at about 200m above sea level. Trees only growing up to about 300m above sea level. All reminders of how far north we are. But the weather improves and the rivers are becoming real rushing torrents from the melting snow. Many streams are cascading down the hillsides and there are some great waterfalls. We go past Kafjord where the Tirpitz was sunk as it hid from the allies during the war. A few reindeer are seen. There has been more snow this year than lately and it has been a cold summer so far. We notice lots of people fishing and find out later that someone has sabotaged a fish farm and thousands of farmed salmon are on the loose! Catches of 11 salmon have been had. We did notice children fishing too!
We keep going. Clive wants to get to Nordkjosbotn because the Irish say its a good spot. We see them on the road as they are travelling this way as well. They came up this way too, hence the knowledge. We do get there, 293 miles. A long day. We get a hut for the night. 280k for the cheapest. Have a drink with the two Irish. That was difficult….supermarkets stop selling beer at 6pm and wine can only be bought in wine monoply shops which keep shop hours. So Saturday night and its difficult to find a drink!
Clive rode off to get a midnight sun picture 6km down the road. I could not be bothered having stayed up the night before. He succeeded.
12th June Sunday
Beautiful morning, clear sky. We were indecisive about whether to go on a day trip to Tromso. Also wanted to change our ferry ticket as we are ahead of our schedule and could catch an earlier ferry. Ferry offices shut on Sundays. In the end decide to give Tromso a miss and set off around midday on our route south. Lovely road weather and scenery. We stop and do the oil change on my bike (30330 miles). Its hot! 23c! Time for less clothes on. Head on past Narvik . Snow clad mountains still with us. Bright green grass and trees and the blue sea. Main road has a few tunnels and a ferry which takes 25 mins. We happened to get the timing right and only had to wait a few mins before it arrived. Lucky, as it only goes every 1.5 hrs. Stopped very shortly after at Ulvsvag. Not very good spot. Slack people running it, but right beside the sea and good view( as ever). Miles 195
13th June Monday
Another lovely morning. We set off earlier than usual ,9am, because we are not sure which ferry home from Bergen that we are catching. Later on in the morning we stop in Fauske and phone the ferry company. We change our booking at a certain cost! We have taken less time than we thought we would.
We lunched by a lovely rushing river little knowing what was round the corner. It was warm and very pleasant. Dressed for 23c we had had some cool moments in the morning going through some of Norway’s tunnels. If they are not concrete lined they are very cold. A long tunnel means …cold. But you come out of the entrance and get a nice warm feeling from the outside air. Worth the cold??
After lunch we set off again, past a couple of reindeer and then round the corner of the climbing road on to a snow field. Snow was lying at 400+ metres and we went up to 700m on the Saltjellet. Right at the top was where the road goes through the Arctic circle. All snow covered ,the temp had dropped by 10c; couldn’t wait to get back down to sea level!
In the afternoon we climbed more passes and went through more tunnels. After Mo i Rana there was definately a feeling of being back in civilization. The railway is now beside the road. It only runs as far north as Boda, just inside the Arctic circle. Finally stop just short of Mosjoen, near Straum. Miles 264.
14th June Tuesday
In spite of some evening rain last night, we woke to a dry day. It was cloudy but after setting off we realised that we were heading for better weather. 3 hrs later we were in bright sunshine.
Gradually the road is becoming more busy as we get further south. Less interesting too . Still snow clad mountains to either side but even that is coming to an end. Still very beautiful countryside nevertheless.
Buy food for picnicking and evening meal. Due to the expense we have been cooking in our huts with the minimum of tools. Sometimes we have had to borrow a saucepan and plates! We have one pan with us for tea making. We should have brought some plates!
We stop for the night very near Trondheim at Malvic. Big site ,we opt for camping as the weather seems dry and warm enough. Very windy though. Cook our meal this time in the camp kitchen. No plates! Been introducing Clive to fish cakes, pudding and balls and smoked cod. All served with boiled potatoes and tinned peas. Miles 264
15th June Wed
Dry and okay, we go into Trondheim and’ do’ internet and wine. We have failed the last 2 days to go to a ‘vinmonoplet’….the only place you can buy wine. Only during shop hours. Beer can be bought in supermarkets but they shut about 6 or 7pm. After that its a’ pub’ at £7 a glass. Can of beer in supermarket is £3. Wine in the store is £7.
Off we go and head on secondary road for Roros. Stop for lunch by some dramatic waterfalls on the river Eidet.
We then follow the Glomma valley.Some very old farmhouses and buildings…very unspoilt for a bit. Sadly modernising the road in parts. Stop at ‘Tynset camping and motel’ and take a very nice hut for the night. Checked out hotel price …900k for a double room (3*). In the children’s play area there was a little grey fergie! No TEA 388904.
16th June Thurs
Weather okay! Going to the Jotunheim. Fail to find a white road short cut. It would probably have been dirt. Anyway had to go the long way round. Very black looking clouds hanging over the mountains. Today is a day for heights. We go up to 1000 meters twice before the afternoon. Cold when high but stays dry if damp. See a few reindeer. Try road to Glitterheim but after half an hour we stop. Its a dirt road that has had no recent traffic; we are heading into a very bleak looking area and probably into cloud so that we are not getting much view ..if at all. Its about 1300 meters high where we are already. Take photos and turn round. Back on tarmac we head on south over the Jotunheim. It climbs up to 1400 meters. 2 meter high snow beside the road in places and dense fog once above 1200m! Have trouble with seeing through visor so lift it up. Clive has worse problems because he has glasses which mist up too! Its 3c ! Down the other side and end up in Beitostolen which is a winter ski touring centre and has 5 ski lifts. Find a very good hut with everything including shower/loo. It is only 880m high here. Miles 200.
17th June Fri
Its drizzling in a ‘we are in low cloud’ sort of way. It got better for a while but as we climbed for the Fillefjell pass of 1013m it started to rain properly. It also got colder and the snow was present!. A bit bleak; we could not see much and had to concentrate on the road. Today the tunnels were nice things for they were dry and no colder! After the cold pass we started going through some long tunnels interspersed with views of some great water cascades. The longest tunnel was 24.5 kilometers and there was another of 15, which seemed to go straight downhill.
Weather cleared mostly as we came down to a lower level. In Voss we had hoped to stay but it was full due to an under 13 football contest. We had to back track to Tvinde which had an amazing waterfall by the huts. Later our 2 Irish arrived! They are now booked on the same ferry tomorrow. Seems we can’t lose them! Miles 169.
18th June Sat
Relaxed departure to Bergen in dryish weather. Dull ride with traffic and watching police. Had a little walk around Bergen, bought some salmon, ate soft ice (at least Clive did) etc. Miles 74 . Met up with the Irish again before boarding the boat.
19th June Sunday
Have good lie in ,in our cabin, enjoying the luxury of clean sheets and no sleeping bag. Had good dance last night to the ships band which was good. Sit around trying not to spend money! We arrive in Newcastle at 6pm, boat time.
Through the Tyne tunnel and its raining….thunderstorm. Into waterproofs and swelter because its warm. It buckets down with hailstones as well. We go for a couple of hours before outrunning the storms as we head southeast. Quick stop and on before rain catches us up. Its warm! 5.5hrs from Newcastle with a stop. Miles 250 . An eventful end in these heavy downpours! Made it.
Total 5,580 miles