Thursday, August 7, 2014 | Michael Kreuzmeir / Manuel Marabese | Europe
TEXT&PHOTOS: Michael Kreuzmeir and Manuel Marabese
Day 10 - Alta to Lakselv
After such a big ride we deserve half rest day (yes only half is enough, it's an adventure tour...) where we can sleep in a bit, discover prehistoric rock carvings at Alta Museum or visit the Tirpitz museum with a well made documentary about this phase of WWII and how the big German battleship has been sunk. Or simply stroll around town and have a late start since only 170km separate us form Lakselv, our remote destination in the middle of Finnmark, the northernmost region of Norway where endless forests are populated by big herds of reindeer.
Oh a few reindeer!
Oh look... they got plenty of friends! Where have they been yesterday? We saw almost none... maybe it was because of the fog!
John "Speedy" and his buddy Bob "Majic"
More reindeer, taking a refreshing dip
The Arctic Sea...
Day 9 - Storslett to NORTH CAPE to Alta. Epic ride.
Our normal itinerary for today would have been a short ride along the coast and the Kvænang plateau for about 17okm, then some museums and relaxing afternoon in Alta. But... in these days we have to fight against the Arctic Race of Norway (the Norwegian equivalent of Tour de France or Giro d'Italia) so many roads are closed and especially one makes our normal route problematic: the E69 along Porsangerfjord all the way up to Nordkap. Yes, the only day in the year where a sport event closes the road to North Cape is exactly when we need to reach it. Oh well, not a problem. We go for the long way up, riding 650km from Storslett to Nordkapp and then back south to Alta. On top of that add very harsh conditions like rain, heavy fog, strong side wind... all at the same time! What an epic ride... the best way to conquer the Cape and bring home some very interesting stories to tell our riding buddies...
Once back, we can imagine how hard this could have been centuries ago, when there was not even a gravel road to the Cape. The first explorer reaching it was Francesco Negri, an Italian priest in 1664 and his words still echo today:
"Here I stand at the North Cape, the outermost point of Finnmark. I could even say that this is the end of the entire world, as no point farther north is inhabited by people. My thirst for knowledge is now sated, and I will return to Denmark and – God willing – to the land of my birth."
Looking for Santa?
Where is the visitor center? Straight ahead, can't you see it?
Bicycles everywhere these days...
Here we are, standing alone on the cliff with the famous Globus! At least we don't need to queue to take pictures... Not even birds dare to go out today!
Hildegard and Gerfried on the way back along Porsangerfjord. Wind and fog behind us... Rain? Not too bad now
Day 8 - Harstad to Storslet
After these two days across the archipelagos of Lofoten and Vesterålen it's time to ride back towards the mainland and north. The call of the Cape is getting stronger and we can really notice from the landscape that we are closer to the endless tundra and the Finnmark plateau. Some more curves on a "rodeo road" (quoting Hildegard and the Harley shocks) and then the wide Målselv waterfall (elected as Norwegian national waterfall for its importance as source of wild salmon). The afternoon is spent cruising along the fjord and admiring the Lyngen Alpen, great powder ski playground for challenging excursions during the long winters.
Time to rest along the small backcountry road
Målselvfossen: not the highest waterfall of Norway, but a pretty wide one
Jean and Andrew getting ready for the afternoon ride
Plenty of rings in the water for salmon farming
Time to enjoy a boot beer all together!
Day 7 - Henningsvær to Harstad
Today unfortunately we had to leave the Lofoten. Only to do some island hopping and end up on the Vesterålen. Stopping by the Lofoten cathedral was the first chance of getting a picture today. The next stop we took after riding along the Austnesfjorden to take some amazing pictures. Again the weather was just perfect for both motorcycling and potography. On todays ferry Michael took over the captains chair to make sure the group arrives safely in Melbu. Then we visited the Hurtigruten museum which offers a look into the old cruise and post ship 'Finnmarken' to experience the flair of the past. After we covered some very good riding to Harstad in the afternoon a few group members were interested to go up to the Adolfcanon on top of the hill. It's a left over from 2nd world war. The german canons, 156.500 kg and 21,5 m long. The biggest type of canon in the world.
Leaving the little village Henningsvær.
First stop at the Lofotkatedralen.
What a view at the Austnesfjorden.
Time for a spontaneus group picture.
While the group was enjoying the sun on deck ...
... Michael took care of route and speed of the ferry to arrive safely in Melbu.
Inside the Hurtigruten museum.
That's what it looked like a little while ago.
And here you can see the Finnmarken.
Like the caribbean.
Demonstration of the canon.
Day 6 - Bodø to Henningsvær (Lofoten)
We are now about half way on our marvellous trip, and a big highlight is ahead us: Lofoten archipelago! Like pearls on a chain, these islands have been the main fishing grounds of Norway for centuries. Arctic cod swim here in winter coming down from the Barents sea north of Nordkapp and remains in Lofoten water until spring for spawning. Thousands of fishermen have spent long and harsh seasons here, fighting the elements in order to survive in their daily fight against the sea. The heritage is immense. Idyllic landscape shaped by rough mountains with sheer cliffs dipping into blue ocean, white sandy beaches that reminds more of tropical bays than scandinavia, and picturesque red rorbu (fishermen cabins) everywhere. Ah, did we forget to tell you that even the riding is amazing here? Do you wanna join us? Then you have two possibilities... either watch the pictures below or come next year on tour as well! You won't regret it for sure...
A long yet relaxing ferry ride will bring us in just over 3 hours from Bodø to Moskenes on Moskenesøy, in the south of Lofoten
What is Speedy pointing at?
An yeah! At Andrew, Majic and Gerfried!
Someone can't still believe how sunny it is today... We are blessed!
Time to leave the ferry...
And ride towards Å, the last village of Lofoten
A well worthy picture stop in Reine...
Harley shot... Majic, Hildegard and Speedy
The "hjell", fish racks where they still hand the cod from january to april to dry in order to become stockfish
Look at the color... and how clear it is
Stockfish "Ragno" quality ready to be exported!
Please buy it sealed otherwise your plane buddies won't be that happy with your hand luggage...
Even the heads are used: once dry they are a formidable source of protein. They are exported mostly to Nigeria nowadays
Anyone fancies a swim on Ramberg beach (also known s Lofoten Copacabana)?
Oh yes, someone got wet!
Gideon and Rina at Haukland beach, another idyllic bay
Uhm... motorcycle or kayak... what a hard choice with such weather!
Utakleiv beach... more scenic than that it's harder even to imagine... Try to picture yourself during midnight sun with a purple and pink/orange sky...
Try to spot the differences. Hint: 3 differences
Our destination after this fairy tale ride: the fishing hamlet of Henningsvær, seen from the hotel's pier
Fishing facilities everywhere, still in their 100 years old charming wooden houses
Beer pre dinner...
Hello, fish anyone?
"Taste of Lofoten" as appetizer: smoked whale, cod caviar and baccalà mantecato (creamy stockfish)
As main, either baked cod or grilled whale. Not your usual cuisine for sure
Good night everyone... the images from today's ride are a kaleidoscopic paint, we need the whole night to meditate on them...
Day 5 - Sadnessjøen to Bodø: crossing the Arctic Circle
We are not in North Norway and just a couple of hundreds km separate us to the Arctic Circle on the Saltfjellet plateau. It's gonna be a long day, but extremely rewarding. Venturing on the altipiano and watching the vegetation becoming smaller and smaller until bare rocks and lichens are left is quite an emotional passage.
The bridge across Sandnessjøen sound
Welcome to the Arctic Circle! Can you spot the new sticker on the sign?
Just rocks and a green carpet of lichens and small bushes. Oh, and beautiful rosebay willowherb as well (or call it fireweed, if you prefer the American name to the British one)
Yes, here we are! Gerfried and Alfred posing
Group shot at the Arctic Circle "Totem"
Hard to believe that we are at 66°33'. It's 20°C and sunshine!
Greetings from your tour guides Michael...
Day 4 - Overhalla to Sadnessjøen
Fog! Everywhere! That's how we started our fourth day leaving Overhalla on the tourist road number 17. But soon it cleared up more and more and we were riding at sunshine on twisty roads with very low traffic towards the magnificent Helgeland coast. A picture stop here and there and we already hit our first ferry. Then we spent our lunch time at the Hildurs Urterarium - a botanic garden for herbs! Very charming and also very good fish pasta to fill our bellys. We visited an old world war II sight before we hit ferry number 2 and 3 to find our way to the Alstahaug church which was built in the 12th century! Scenic views perfect for pictures before we entered the town of Sadnessjøn.
A bridge disappering into the mountain.
One of many waterfalls in the morning.
See? No traffic!
Gerfried waiting for the ferry.
Looks like Alfred is doing the same here...
A little cruise around the Helgeland coastline.
The fog finally cleared up.
The boat opening the huge mouth to unload us.
Gerfrieds new purchased home.
Genuino enjoying the herb garden.
An old spot light of world war II on top of a hill.
A hill always offers a good view!
Gideon and Genuino at the spot light. Not working though.
The old cannon beside the spot light.
Alfred riding down the hill.
Gerfried in front of the old ammunition storage. "Attention! Explosives!"
Another beatiful ferry trip.
Along the coast.
Andrew and Jean enjoying the good weather on the boat.
That's exactly what our ferry looks like. Hard to take a picture while you're on it.
The Alstahaug church.
The stop also offered good views.
Petter Dass monument beside the church.
Last view before arriving to the hotel. See you tomorrow, stunning Norway!
Day 3 - Trondheim to Overhalla
Today it's sunshine again! Our fear to spend the whole North Cape tour under heavy clouds and rain was futile. After stretching our wheels on a great morning curvy coastal ride we get a ferry and we cruise all day along idyllic views of fjords, fishing villages and small farms on the hills.
Ladies on tour: Hildegard (rider), Rina and Jean
Enjoying a coffee on the terrace bar.
Lunch table view at Vingsand, at the edge of the west coast.
Delicious and unlimited fish soup anyone?
Ready for a dinner based on special marinated gently smoked salmon, local deer with cranberries and creamy baked potatoes, and as dessert home made apple cake with vanilla ice cream, a true feast!
Day 2 - Sunndalsøra to Trondheim
Some low clouds in the morning are predicting a quite atmospheric day. Putting in other words, it's gonna be rainy all day long, just perfect to get a bit into nordic adventure mood. It can't be just sun and warm all the time, otherwise it's not an Adventure North Cape! Our final destination today is the old town of Trondheim, settled in 997 and former capital of the country during the Viking Age. An early arrival will give us a chance to see the gothic Nidaros Cathedral and the picturesque wooden houses along the warf.
Happy birthday Michael!
Day 1 - Ålesund to Sunndalsøra
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 stopped along the first Fjords guiding us from the coast into the countryside. At the Jodbærstova we stopped then for a coffee and the best strawberry cake you can get!
After this power boost at the Jodbearstova we headed to the highlight of the day which was the Trollstigen. A mountain pass with 11 switch backs on the way down with an incline of 10%. Luckily no rain, no fog, no clouds. A perfect view and a great day to ride the bikes.
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.
Ålesund at sunset.
View from the hotel restaurant.
Our first stop along the fjords.
First chance for a coffee.
The famous place Jodbearstova.
Everybody is curious.
Here it is! The best strawberry cake you can imagine!
Next stop: Trollstigen
The ladder of the Trolls!
Trollstigen Visitor Center
Photostop at the bottom after riding down this amazing road. Happy faces everywhere!
Missed to be on the group picture - got his own picture! Majic the weatherwizard!
Trollveggen, the 3000 ft vertical rock face.