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.

Journey to the Golden Toilet

By Stuart Lowe on

At breakfast I met Christophe again. He gave me some essential oils to rub on my knees. He wished me bon voyage.


I had a slow start. It was threatening rain. I made my way across the tall bridge for the fifth and final time. I headed north and, after an older lady stopped on her bike to point me in the right direction, up and over the hill in the middle of Tromsø island. There was a bike lane all the way past the airport and over the western bridge. I passed a ski-skater.

Ski skating

The going was a bit flatter which helped my knees. That was until the road turned left and I saw the ominous sign of a road barrier. It was up, so I could use the road, but its existence meant I was going to be going over a high pass. I got in the lowest gear and slogged up it.

Over the top of the pass I freewheeled for a bit until I met Daniel who had cycled from Germany. We exchanged notes about our roads ahead. Daniel told me he'd camped on a lovely sandy beach on Senja, the island I was heading to next. We wished each other well and I rode on to B where there was a big queue of vehicles waiting for the ferry. Being on a bike I could head to the front.

![landscape](images/twitter/DDgb4XJXYAAchSv.jpg "Back into the mountains""


Whilst waiting for the ferry to arrive I got talking to a Norwegian lady who was going to Senja with her two daughters. She asked where I'd been and then asked if I'd seen the bear in Lyngenfjord that had made the newspaper. I think she was disappointed that I hadn't.

The ferry arrived and took me over to Senja. A few km along the road I recognised the signs of a ride up into the mountains. Oh my knees. Over the top I rode down into a spectacular fjord with steep mountains rising up out of the fjord's northern side. I could make out the road snaking in and out of tunnels along the southern side. I couldn't see a sandy beach so pushed on.

Arriving at Senja

Around the headland and still no sandy beach you could camp on. However there was a tunnel heading directly into the mountains. Was this the steep tunnel Daniel had warned of? I stuffed myself with a few Coop extra value fish cakes for sustenance and headed in. It turned out to be fairly flat and it emerged around the corner at the village - about six houses - of Ersfjord. Here was a sandy beach in a lovely cove. There was even a little car park with a toilet block. That doesn't do it justice. It was a huge golden toilet block with a large diamond shaped sky light giving the user glorious views of the sky.

rising from the sea


There was already a school group camped at one end of the beach so I gave them some space and went a bit further along. As the evening progressed the weather improved and I decided to have a quick dip in the Atlantic. It was cold but the sun was there to warm me up afterwards. It was a perfect evening.

beach camping spot


looking back from the beach