Trip Archives: Northern Europe

Three months of cycling in the north of Europe in the summer of 2009. I zigzagged from southern Sweden through Sweden and Norway to the North Cape, then briefly went to Russia and ended the trip in northern Finland. Total distance cycled: pretty much exactly 7000km.

Lysebotn – Jørpeland

There’s a ferry that goes along the Lysefjord to Stavanger. It left at noon and stopped at some small settlements at the fjord that otherwise have no connection to the world (well, no road connection). I also saw the Kjeragbolten from sea level. It is damn small! Another attraction was the Preikestolen, a cliff 604m above sea level and today’s destination.

But first I had to get off the ferry at Forsand, and cycle a few kilometers and a nasty hill to Preikestolhytta, a restaurant and the starting point for the walk up to Preikestolen. Almost at the top, I met the guys from yesterday again, and two of their friends. We had dinner together on the way down.

Cycled a few more kilometers to Jørpeland campsite, 32 km in total.

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Jørpeland – Sand

Rode to the north-east on the Rv13. Often along fjords or rivers or lakes, and sometimes across a pass. Stopped after 92km near Sand at a noisy campsite that also was home to quite a number of mosquitos.

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Sand – Røldal

I continued for 71km on the Rv13 to Røldal. Saw a number of small wooden huts next to the road that looked like water mills.

Røldal has a stave church, a type of old wooden church, but it was closed when I arrived.

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Røldal – Eidfjord

Visited the stave church in the morning, then rode on to Eidfjord.

A nasty climb awaited me right outside Røldal, followed by a 5km tunnel. On the other side the road led through a long valley with a lot of beautiful waterfalls left and right of the road.

Then I came to the town of Odda, at the end of the Hardangerfjord, where I stocked up on food.

After 113km I arrived at the end of the Eidfjord, in the town of the same name.

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Visited the local hydropower station, met Vera from Switzerland who is a guide there, climbed up to Kjeåsen, an old farm high up on a mountain near Simdalsfjorden, had dinner with Vera.

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Eidfjord – Geilo

Early in the morning, still half asleep, I heard a clicking noise. Later I noticed that one of the tent poles had snapped.

Just 91km to Geilo. However, the first 37km were a nasty climb through Måbødalen and onto the Hardangervidda, from Eidfjord at sea level to more than 1100m.

Near Haugastøl I met another cyclist – a local – and we rode together to Geilo. We pushed each other quite a bit speedwise – 40+ kph uphill with all the stuff on the bike was a first for me.

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Geilo – Dokka

From Geilo I rode further to the east on Rv7. In Torpo I stopped to visit the stave church there.

Continued on Rv7 to a town called Gol. There I left the main road and climbed an insanely steep road to cross a 40km plateau to a place named Bagn. Near Bagn’s church was a thermometer: 31°C in the shade of a big tree at 6pm.

Bagn lies at the bottom of a deep valley that roughly goes from north to south. I came from the west and had to leave the valley to the east – another nice climb – to reach Rv33 that leads to Dokka. Near Dokka I visited a site with prehistoric rock carvings (petroglyphs) that are more than 6000 years old.

Total distance covered today: 135km

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Dokka – Kapp

From Dokka I continued eastward on Rv33 to Gjøvik, which is located on the western shores of lake Mjøsa, Norways largest lake. The lake is very narrow but stretches in a north-southerly direction for about 110km; Gjøvik is situated approximately in the middle. My map shows a ferry that connects Gjøvik and Kapp with the city of Hamar on the east coast. However, when I arrived in Kapp I learned that the next one would go on Wednesday (today’s Sunday). Somewhat frustrated I tented on a campsite nearby after only 64 km of riding.

Met a German cyclist there, but I forgot where he’s headed. Also met two Dutch guys there who were cycling to the North Cape on a more or less direct route. It was their first day – they’d just started at an airport north of Oslo – and they had already had two flat tyres.

It was a rainy day today, and – as it turns out – the end of the hot but short Scandinavian summer.

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Kapp – Elverum

The Dutch guys left a few minutes before me, heading north. Soon after leaving I met them again – they had their next puncture. Cycled back to Gjøvik and beyond along the lake’s shore. There’s a bridge across the lake approximately 15-20km from Gjøvik. From there I turned east again and headed for Hamar, which I circumnavigated, and Elverum, which I reached after 103 km of riding.

It was a cool and rainy day today.

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Elverum – Drevsjø

The weather was fine until after lunch break. Then it started to rain. Reached Drevsjø after 156 km.

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Pouring rain! All day long. Went shopping and hid in the reception building using free internet and drinking expensive coffee.

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Drevsjø – Røros

Right outside Drevsjø I saw the first reindeer at the road-side. I’d read about a tame herd being husbanded in the area, and I guess they were part of that herd. It was a good 120km ride through a plateau-like landscape, with forest left and right, and some rounded mountain peaks looming over the wood.

Went for a stroll to town. Røros is an old mining town and there are quite some old buildings from the mining era still preserved. There are also large slag heaps right next to the town center.

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Røros – Hede

The weather wasn’t great today and I crossed into Sweden in pouring rain. Had a look at a meteorite crater. The road has now considerably fewer climbs and, on average, gradually descends towards the Baltic Sea. Reached Hede after 148km.

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Hede – Säter

The weather was very unsteady again and it rained often.

In the afternoon I met a cycling Swiss couple, Jonas and Aline. They were looking for a place to pitch their tent and stopped at a lake near the village of Säter. I joined them tenting there and we had an interesting evening chatting. I’ve ridden 103km today.

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Säter – Sundsvall

We cycled together for about 50km or so before Jonas and Aline turned south and I went on eastish. It was still raining  during the day, but the rain stopped in the evening when I arrived in Sundsvall after 155km of cycling.

Crossed the 10.000km mark today (since Madagascar).

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