Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

To Ifjord

By Stuart Lowe on

I sleep better on night two but still don't get a full night's sleep. I have porridge with banana and Nutella for breakfast then pack up and start off at 10am.

Overnight I downloaded Open Street Map for Norway for the Orux Maps app that I still have from Osijek in Croatia. That gives me a map at least even if not on my Garmin. One step at a time.

I cycle to the end of the fjord, by a small village, and on to Varangerbotn. I'd been hoping to get some food there but it is small and everything is shut. Ah, of course! It's Sunday. So I head on to Tana Bru where everything is closed apart from a MAX which is a shop/motel. I order a chicken pannini and a small portion of chips which comes to around £8.50! As everyone says, Norway is expensive.

After lunch I head north along another fjord. I finally see a sign that tells me it is 80km to Ifjord where I thought I'd aim for today. The route bends westward and I climb over hills and down to another fjord. Then up hills and down to another. Then up a hill that seems to keep going up and takes me to the snow covered uplands. I see reindeer. They ignore the cars and buses so much so that drivers have to honk their horns to get them to move. Meanwhile a bicycle is so unusual (especially one with a singing human) that they all scarper in fright as I get anywhere near.

The snowy tops seem to keep going on and on. I remind myself not to be worried about the sun going down (it won't) but I do wonder if the weather might turn. I wouldn't want to be stranded up here in a blizzard. Eventually the serious downhill starts and I get to experience the joy of speeding down an empty, well surfaced, winding road singing at the top of my voice (I started doing this in America to scare off bears but it is now a habit).

Ifjord turns out to be tiny but it has a campsite. Despite the 180 krones cost for a tent pitch, I'd quite like a shower and washing facilities so I check in. As I wash my dishes a Swiss man, touring Scandinavia in a camper van, asks me about my bike and trip. He says the snow I encountered was unusually late this year. Afterwards, a Swedish man chats to me in a mix of English, Swedish, and German. He mainly seems to be asking about my brakes and gears as he saw me in Tana Bru and wonders how I got up over the snowy plateau.

It has been another good but tiring day. Given the slow going, I may follow Canute's advice from yesterday and adjust my route. Rather than go south around a huge fjord, I will go north to Kjøllefjord then take the Hurtigruten ferry to Honningsvåg. If I get the 3am ferry (one per day) on 20th, I should make the Solstice at Nordkapp.