We’ve been in Norway for 3 weeks. It’s really beautiful! Lofoten Islands is especially amazing, and that is where we went after three rest days in Narvik with our couchsurfing host Kristine.
We were hopeful that our knee problems would be sufficiently healed to carry on, but we were sceptical enough that we decided to catch a bus from Narvik to Svolvard, bypassing a lot of long tunnels which we were told would not be possible to cycle through, and also cutting down the need to ride too much each day.
10km out of Svolvard, two things became very clear. The first was that the 120km to the end of Lofoten was going to be some spectacular riding. The second was that our knees were not going to allow us to fully enjoy it. We camped for a night, then spent a painful day riding/pushing our bikes, stopping every ten minutes to take photos and curse our injuries. When a cafe appeared in the early afternoon we stopped for some waffles and to think about what we were going to do about the fact that we couldn’t ride our bikes.
It was a bit of a sombre night in the tent, and the next day we cycled 40km to Leknes, before catching another bus to Reine. Reine is stunning. We gawked at the scenery for an hour or so, and then headed off in the steady rain to find somewhere to sleep. It was only 10km to Moskenes where the ferry would deliver us to Bodo, so we planned to stop before then. Alas, the rain got heavier and heavier, and we didn’t really find a suitable camp spot, so when we cycled past the ferry terminal we decided we might as well call an early end to our Lofoten adventure. Our 10 day, 400km ride had turned into a very wet 2 day, 100km photography tour. It was still worth it though, for the scenery as well as the fact that the place was crawling with other cycle tourers and we got to meet a few of them.
Our ferry arrived in Bodo at midnight. It was raining and of course perfectly light, so we walked up to the big park at the top of town and pitched our tent. In the morning we went to the nearby police station to organise our Norwegian residence cards, but couldn’t get an appointment for several weeks. Instead we spent two days in the Bodo library, again camping in the park. We then caught an overnight train 700km south to Trondheim, where we spent a very similar 24 hours in the library and camping in the park. Trondheim was a very pretty city, but we were trying to find somewhere to rest and work out what the hell we were going to do with ourselves, so we carried on. Another train, this time 200km south to Atna, where we were met at the station by Jon and Anne (and their dog Onnie), a lovely retired couple who welcomed us into their home for two nights.
That wonderful chance to relax and even do a little hiking in the surrounding mountains helped us to clear our heads and confirmed our decision to find somewhere to stay for the next month while we allowed our knees to heal. We booked an Airbnb in nearby Sollia, and then spent two days pushing our bikes gradually uphill for 35km to eventually arrive at our temporary home. We were greeted by Per and Magdalene, who live in a cosy house on a beautiful little sheep farm in an incredibly peaceful valley. Our window looks out to a lovely waterfall, and Tanya has been enjoying brushing the Icelandic ponies and taking walks along the picturesque river that flows through the property. We’ve been here for a week already, and it shouldn’t be too hard to stay for another 3 (although of course we’d rather be cycling).
Both of us are still having pain in our knees, and it seems likely that one month might be a little short of the necessary timeframe for recovery. We have other things to do once we leave here, with our goal being to be ready to cycle by the time we get to Iceland in mid-August. It really sucks not being able to cycle on a cycle tour, not to mention the damage our budget has been receiving courtesy of extra transportation and accommodation costs that we usually avoid. We’re doing our best to stay positive, and with luck we’ll still get to see plenty of Norway by means other than cycling.
T & T