3 countries, 1 day

22 Aug

After a welcome day off the bike, our journey continued North. Always on the lookout for a good place to eat our lunch or drink the coffee we appear to be addicted to while on the road, I spotted an unusual sight. Not only picnic tables but a sign declaring cafe and souvenirs. This had to be checked out as we had seen nothing open for two days along the road. All became clear whan we pulled up to read the large information hoardings which told us that we had actually reached the Arctic Circle. 66 degrees 33 minutes North. After the hard and desolate ride in Alaska to reach the Arctic Circle in 2015 where it was marked by a single road sign pointing you to a map this was European at its best. Full fanfare. So obligatory photos of Bertie taken, quick trip to the souvenir shop for a sticker to mark the occasion, a pat on the back and we were back on the road.

The temperatures have started to drop so camping has been replaced by camping huts and a youth hostel where I have to say youths were thin on the ground, in fact non existent and travellers of a certain age appeared to have taken their place.

As we move north the trees become shorter and start to thin out. Already the leaves are changing colour and its only mid August. Wildlife in the form of reindeer are becoming a regular sight and not from afar. Often they wander along in the middle of the road and as with sheep have little common sense when it comes to traffic. Pulling up, we sit and watch and they seem unfazed. Mature males with a full set of antlers are quite a sight to behold.

Nearing the border with Finland and conscious that fuel costs will rise in Norway we stop to fill up and to check how many swedish kroner we have left. 116 kroner (enough for a coffee). Next to the petrol stop is a local cafe, a rough looking cafe at that but inside the welcome was warm, run and frequented by local Sami. The lady in charge was very amused as we purchased our coffee, cake , pack of butter and snickers bar and left ourselves with 1 kroner. That’s economical. We opted not to buy the chocolate bar with the weird name !!!

We cross from Sweden into Finland without ceremony, just a bridge and a sign at the side of the road. Finland comes and goes in a flash and we arrive in Norway with even less ceremony, just a tiny sign. 3 countries in one day, not a bad days riding.
On our way to the camping ground in Kautokeino, which turned out to be a field with some tatty looking sheds masquerading as camping huts I espied something very colourful outside the church. Jim dutifully rode up there to check it out. It turned out to be a Sami wedding. The Sami are indigenous people and number around 40000 in northern Norway. All the guests were in traditional Sami costume, no opportunity for a new hat there, and the bride and groom were similarly attired. One guest who seemed very interested in which football team we might support told us that a wedding could have up to 2,500 guests. He happily posed for a photo with his daughter.
We left them going into church while we went in search of the petrol station. Are we on the right road for the centre of town we asked the attendant. He looked at us and smiled. No town centre, this road is it. Just a small dot on the landscape but home for the night.

The view from our ‘Camping hut’

5 Replies to “3 countries, 1 day

  1. This looks really fantastic, not to mention the open roads, the wildlife and fresh air.

    Am doing the Scottish north coast 500 week after next – not quite in the same league I’m afraid but one of the best coastal rides all the same. Am looking at Norway or Spain in 2018.

    Your blogs are great – keep them coming….

    • Thanks Ewan for your kind comment. Scotland will be epic, the riding up there is great. Some parts here are similar so good prep? If you do Spain may we recommend the Picos de Europa’ – a fantastic place to visit and ride.

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