Text & Photos: Tobias Wachter and Manuel Marabese
As every good fairy tale, even this one has an end, at some point. We have been riding over 3500 km along some of the finest road on earth, combining astonishing landscape and fun riding. It is always hard to say to everyone after sharing nearly two weeks together... Your tour guides Tobi and Manuel want to thank you all for being such a fantastic group! We truly enjoyed being your travel companions...
And as Francesco Negri said (the first tourist reaching North Cape, in 1664):
“Here I am at North Cape – at the very edge of civilization – and I can say that my hunger for knowledge is satisfied. Now I can travel home content if God permits.”
Have a safe trip back home!! See you on another tour!!!
Today's ride was quite easy, going down E6 to 92 then to 93 and finally to E8. Most of the road was pretty straight. The scenery was nice with a lot of lakes and rivers but other than that there was not too much to get excited about riding-wise.
But, the Sami museum in Karasjok was quite interesting; they have a lot of artifacts that were collected years ago. Karasjok is the Sami capital of Norway. We stopped and took a tour there.
We stopped for lunch at the Pit Stop just as we were approaching Kautokeino. They had a good variety of menu items and the food was excellent.
In Kautokeino, one other point of interest was Juhls-Sølvsmie, an art gallery and jewelry shop that is in a building with a unique and unusual design. Some the artwork in there was stunning; it was definitely worth seeing.
Not far after we left Kautokeino, we crossed the border into Finland. Once we arrived in Karesuando, we found our way to the Davvi Arctic Lodge. It's a unique place, although summer is their off season. Apparently this is a very popular spot for wintertime activity, especially riding snowmobiles. We got there early enough to take a walk down to the bridge across the river, which separates Finland and Sweden. Midway across the bridge we were in Sweden! We walked over and took some pictures, then walked back across.
Our dinner at the hotel was top-notch, among the best of the trip.
The moment that everyone has been waiting for 10 days has come! 240 km from Alta to Nordkapp, first crossing the Senna plateau where the tundra is the main trait of the landscape, then leaving the E6 in Olderfjord and cruising the magnificent Porsangerfjord on the E69 all the way up, until the road ends. North Cape, here we are!
On the way we meet many, many reindeer... Brown...
Or even white...
The contrast of deep blue water, light blue sky and green/yellow fields is a psychedelic effect...
Hello Robert, John, Ashley and Dave... we are almost there! Mark and Steve are a bit ahead, they like to adventure themselves a bit on their own form time to time...
Ashley excited to reach the goal... only 15km left!
Tobi can't resist, he really needed to be on top!
And look who is under Tobi? All of us! Fantastic group picture: from the left Mark, Dave, John, Robin, Robert, Steve, Manuel and Ashley on top.
You seen the cape over there? What? It's 1.5 km more north than North Cape, it can't be... but sssshhh don't tell it to anyone!
And after watching the triple screen movie with North Cape in the four seasons it's time for a bit more posing... Also Ashley wanted to be on top of the world...
And eventually Manuel made it too! What is he looking at? Hey, the photographer in on the other side!
On the way back along the Porsangerfjord... more reindeer of course!!
Today was our shortest riding day, but it was a day full of excitement and fun. We left Storslett and made us on the way to Alta. Right before Alta we stopped at the Tirpitz Museum. The Tirpitz was a battle ship during WW 2 and was a Bismarck sized boat. So at the time of WW 2 it was the biggest ship that the Germans had. After the visit in the museum we went to the hotel in Alta where we also had lunch in a nice little restaurant. Then the group split up in two, one part went to the rock carvings in Alta and the other ones went to the spa across the road from the hotel.
Mark having a good time at the sami camp...
John ist ready, where is ever body!
John and Robert...
After leaving the Vesterålen it is now time to take another deep breath and inhale again beautiful scenery and fresh air. We are now back on the mainland and we proceed north, direction Storslett, the little village in the region called Troms. North Cape is getting closer and closer...
Today the ride is fairly long, around 400km (250 miles), first on some curvy roads following the coast, then cruising for a while the E6 (the "backbone of Norway but it does not feel at all like a "main road", since the traffic is virtually not existent) and afterwards crossing a forest and reaching the waterfalls on the river Målselv for lunch.
The afternoon is spent among fjords, mountains covered with permanent glaciers and gentle curves...
Målselv waterfalls: triple jump over 600m of length.
John ready to flyfish...
Ashley doing yoga...
We departure Henningsvar to see if there is still more beauty left to explore in this country of the north. Our first stop was at the Lofoten Kathedralen, which is a very nice church on the Lofoten islands and the largest wooden church north of Trondheim. Then we made us on the way to Stokmarknes to see the museum of the Hurtigruten. Hurtigruten stand for quick way and used to be the main way of transportation in the north, before the E6 was built. Also it was really impressive to walk around on the MS Finmarknes, the first cruise ship of the Hurtigruten. Then we went straight to the hotel in Harstad, because everyone wanted to go to the spa…
One the big highlight of this tour towards North Cape is about to awe us: today we are leaving Bodø with a late start (it is Sunday, yesterday evening we celebrated Mark's and Robert's birthdays and the ferry does not leave until 10.15... everything fits together), cruising the Vestfjord for over 3 hours and reaching the pearls of the North Atlantic: Lofoten islands! Someone calls them the Caribbean of the North for the turquoise and emerald water, someone calls them Black Dolomites for their sharp granite cliffs rising from the sea. Whatever you wanna call them, they are simply stunning!
When you reach the Lofoten archipelago by boat they appear as a single, massive mountain chain instead of separate islands, giving them the epithet of Lofoten Wall.
Self portrait just before docking in Moskenes, on the southern part of the islands.
Enjoying some cinnamon buns freshly baked from the oldest bakery of the islands (over 150 years old, still using the same oven), in the village named Å situated at the very end of the road E10, the "King Olav Road".
Sharing is caring...
Red is predominant color for the rorbuer, the fisherman cabins transformed into cottages or restaurants. In the past the red was the only cheap color (produced with animal blood and copper) that fishermen could afford.
Ashley and her sweet dad Robert posing in front of Reine, the most pictured (and painted) village of the archipelago.
Mark crossing one of the many bridges linking the islands.
Dried cod's heads, the king of the fish up here. For century the entire economy of Lofoten has been based on fishery, where the abundant cod is sundried and exported to southern European countries.
White beaches an turquoise water... what a pity the water temperature is only 8°C!
Today we left Sandnessjoen in the morning and had coffee at the Bimbo café in Mo I Rana. That’s right the café was really called Bimbo café! After this short brake we were ready to go out and ride our motorcycle aiming north!
The biggest highlight of the day was the crossing of the Arctic Circle at latitude of 66°33´44´´. Although we did not get to see a polar- day or –night, because we were there at the wrong time of the year, it was really exciting to cross the Arctic Circle. It reminded us of the reason why we all came up her, to reach the most northern point in Europa, the North Cape. After we had lunch at the Arctic Circle visitor center we got on the way to Bodo and celebrated Mark´s birthday!
The Bimbo Cafe`in Mo i Rana...
Manuel enjoyed his ice cream at Bimbo´s
Robin and Robert -> dream team
John and the jacket, there is nothing else like it!!!
at the Arctic Circle...
Today we pass the geographical center of Norway and we enter the realm of "Nord Norge" (Northern Norway). The days are getting longer and the villages more remote. We leave Overhalla on the road 17... and we arrive Sandnessjøen still on the road 17, which is one the finest route of Norway, also known as the "Kystvegen" (the Coastal Road). Three ferries are on our path, countless islands, green fields and rocky mountains. The lunch break is in a special place, Hildurs Urterarium (an old herb farm) and the rest of the afternoon is a relaxing ride mixed with an hour long cruise...
The sun shines in Sandnessjøen and even towards midnight it's bright outside. Tomorrow we cross the arctic circle and we enter the land of the midnight sun!
Some photos of the day: morning breefing...
Ashley always needs more layers... What is she gonna wear at Nordkap?
About to dock after the first ferry... Not a busy harbour!
Someone is napping! On a bike?!?
An extract from Mark's blog:
"From Vennesund we rode up through the town of Berg, and on to our side trip to the Troll's Hat. That was a narrow, twisty road, pretty run to ride. We backtracked to return to highway 17 and continued northward to our lunch destination, Hildurs Urterarium in the town of Brønnøysund. This place is really cool - they grow about every herb you could imagine, plus lots of vegetables. The restaurant serves dishes cooked with what they grow. I had a nice herb pizza, baked in a wood-fired clay oven - it was delicious. After we finished lunch and walked around the herb garden for a bit."
Robert has found lots of members of his own motoclub: the Brighty Yellows!
The magnificent peaks of the Seven Sisters...
And some tiny yet important parts of the landscape: the lighthouses!
The third day has already passed by and everyone is feeling great! We have truly hit some nice roads today and everyone is dialed in on their bikes now. We started the day of in Trondheim and made our way to the ferry, followed by a short photo stop in the back country of Norway. In Afjord we had our first coffee stop of the day which was a very small pictures town.
Our lunch we had in Vingsand which was a great opportunity to try a real Norwegian fish soup. The next highlight was a waterfall directly next to the road, well we had to walk a little to see it, but that made it that much sweeter! After this little exercise we went straight to the hotel which was about 30 minutes away in Overhalla.
We met some Italians motorcyclists on the ferry and found out that they are going north too...
This stop was a great relieve for John
Awaiting the fish soup... (Steve, Mark and Dave)
Today the ride has been shorter, leaving Sunndalsøra with a bit of myst and refreshing air we cross a long and steep valley towards Oppdal. We meet the E6, the backbone of Norway crossing the country from south to north. After a short while we take a secondary road to enjoy more fun riding. Hills, golden and green fields, farms, small villages. The idyllic postcard Norway seen from inland. The weather is becoming better and better, bringing us some sun rays when we enter Trondheim, once the capital of the Norwegian Kingdom. The early arrival permits us to go for a stroll around the charming cafes along the canal and to admire the gothic facade of Nidarosdom, the northernmost medieval cathedral of the world.
But have a look at what Mark writes on his Facebook blog of the day:
"Today we rode from Sunndalsora, Norway to Trondheim, Norway. We moved northwards a good bit today. The ride was mostly through the mountains, until the last 30 kilometers or so, when we were riding right along the shore. There were no major landmarks on this ride, just lots of beautiful scenery. Our lunch stop was at a really great restaurant called Sans Bergmannskroa in the town of Lokken Verk. I tried an elk burger and it was delicious. Heading towards Trondheim, we took an alternate route rather than the highway, and it was fantastic - a twisty road with perfect pavement." (Mark White)
We started in Ålesund and headed our journey up to the North Cape. The group is in a good mood and ready for the challenge that is waiting for them. First we headed to the stone bridge “Skodjebru” where we enjoyed the scenery. Following the stone bridge was the Rosechurch with its more than 200 year old paintings inside. After all this impressions we really needed a break and so we stopped at the Jodbærstova for a great strawberry cake.
After this power boost at the Jodbearstova we went to see the impressive water rapids of Gudbrandsjuved to take some pictures. Thus we headed to the highlight of the day which was the Trollstigen which is a pass with 11 switch backs on the way down.
We ended the day with a short stop at Trollvegen to take a look at the 3000 ft cliff and we tried to imagine what it must feel like to jump down with a parachute.
The great view from the stone bridge...
Mark, Steve, John and Dave are trying to get some pics at the stone bridge...
Ashley and Robert are sure having a great time!
Our guide at the Rosechurch is letting us in on all the secrets back in the time...
Robert is checking out the painting of David and Goliath and seems to be impressed.
The water rapids called Gudbrandsjuved had a lot of water!
Robert did not want to take any chances so he left his helmet on!
Stigfosen at Trollstigen...
David is enjoying the R 1200 RT!
Dave is riding the new Honda with a automatic clutch and is liking it more and more!