If I told you that in the last week Bart and I have been cruising the Norwegian fjords, you might think that we've swapped adventure cycling for a more middle-aged activity. However the truth is that the road we have cycled down Norway's west coast, route 17, is not a continuous line but a series of road sections joined together by boat!
The journey by bicycle has been paradise, especially as we've enjoyed a week of beautiful sunshine. The quiet coast road has meandered below snow-capped mountains and wound its way around bays of white sand and see-through aquamarine water, liberally dotted with cute fishing cabins painted in that traditional Norwegian red. Every now and then, the road has turned inland a little and passed through the green pastures of small farms and verdant woods in the flush of early summer. We regularly stop pedalling and gaze in wonder at the landscape. It's just so difficult to believe the beauty and charm of it. Of course, roads that follow coastlines are never flat so there have been a few up and downs, and many tunnels to cycle.
The road is connected together by dozens of ferries, some just a short hop and others taking more than an hour. The ferries pick a route through the fjords and offshore islands, often starting and ending at some charming little village where the coming and going of boats adds an air of business to an otherwise quiet backwater. On one ferry connection, our boat glided by a long arm of the Svartisen glacier that almost reaches the sea and on another we watched orcas from the deck, even making out their detailed forms under the clear water.
Norway is a beautiful country but there is a downside and that's the cost of living. The grocery bill is a small fortune and we are very hungry cyclists! There is one way that you can reduce your grocery bill and that's by returning used drinks cans for money back. Now I don't want you to think that we've been raking bins for empty cans but one morning, while waiting for a ferry, Bart found a large pile of cans on top of a bin. We collected them together and took them to the nearby store to get the money back.
At least that way, we have money to pay the ferryman.
Photos on flickr.
Daylight - 22 hours
Distance - 3486 miles
Days - 64
Route- from the Lofoten Islands we took a ferry back to the mainland at Bodo and have followed route 17 south. It's a spectacular journey by bicycle and I would say go out right now and do it. The ferries are super fun and reasonably priced at £3-5 each time. We have mostly camped wild which is quite easy but it's also possible to find some cheap campsites away from the popular towns for 100Kr, about £10. The traffic is mostly quiet and when it comes, it tends to do so in short waves between ferries. In fact in one section we seemed to have the road to ourselves and even camped at a picnic spot beside the road it was so quiet - thats the last photo above.