One thing is certain, Norwegians are very cool and extremely nice to bike-tourers. There is not much of bike infrastructure, but everybody is so cautious and respectful. I have had not a single dicey moment on the road. The road can be as narrow or curvy as imaginable, but everybody waits patiently behind you, until it is safe to overtake. Also, all ferries (and there are many) are free for bikes and pedestrians and on most of the tunnels (there are even more than ferries) have a button you press before the tunnel, that triggers a “bike-rider in the tunnel” warning sign. Some tunnels have even a box on one side with warning vests, you drop off at the other side. And tunnels are the fear of the bike tourers here. It is the talk of the day if you meet someone “Is the next tunnel well lit?”, “is it narrow?” or “Is there a way around it”. The longest tunnel I have ridden was 10km long, roughly cut through the granite (photo below) and it is quite nerve-wrecking at the beginning. You feel so bloody lonely and vulnerable in these tunnels if you ride them early in the morning, when there are no cars. But I prefer that to traffic in these tunnels, because cars from behind sound like a jet plane is going to overtake you. But I love them, especially when they are quite dark. You feel like riding through outer space, no noise (unless a car comes), no wind, just the light of your bicycle-lamp. Very good in healing claustrophobia. The tough ones are the ones that go under water, because you start with a steep downhill and end with a very steep uphill.
Anyhow, once you are out of the tunnels, Norway continues to impress me. In the hitchhikers guide through the galaxies, they mention that the creator of the earth got a price for Norway as the galaxies best coastline, and I concur. Around every corner another aah moment. From Tromsoe I travelled the outer coastline via Senja and the Lofoten and further south through Helgeland. Especially Senja was just a breathtaking scenery, with 1000m high cliffs, waterfalls and narrow windy roads. I had pretty bad weather, that just added to the charm. In addition, there is here and there this weird architecture, a viewpoint that looks like a skate-ramp or a toilet block like a post modern elephant.
Anyhow, I am making very good progress, averaging 130km a day with not a single day below 1400m altitude gain, because, despite all the tunnels, Norway’s coastline is incredibly hilly. It is never the big hills that take you, you prepare yourself mentally for them, the nasty steep 100m altitude hills at the end of the day are just painful.
The vegetation is in full flower here and some of the berries start ripening. I even got a taste of the oh-so-famous cloudberry, and they are wonderful. Tardy and somewhat nutty.
And, another dream came true. I always wanted to sail part of the Hurtigruten and so I did. I cheated 150 or so km and just rolled with my bike onto this famous post boat and it was just spectacular, including a very cool sunset, because I am now so far south tat the never ending daylight is over.
Anyway, I am in Trondheim now, a cool university city with beautiful buildings and very tasty cinnamon buns. I am having a day off the bike, to refresh and then tackle the rest of Norway.
Life is good, the photos say it all.