The first day in Sweden was wet and cold. Around midday we realized that camping in such a weather might not be the best idea and we looked up the closest campground with cabins. The owner of the campground just looked at us and gave us a key from a cabin with no more words. We might look very bad, wet and tired or he might feel sorry about us, we don’t know but we got discount as well 🙂 When we were about to leave the reception he asked where we were going to cycle next. „Up to Abisko National park and then Lofoten and Norway“. „You know that there might be snow and freezing temperature, right? You are late…“. We said something like „..it’s ok…“ and left. But I wasn’t ok. I was thinking about what he said all night. We can’t be late. It is not even end of August!
Anyway, next morning we woke up and it was beautiful sunny morning so I stopped worrying, we hopped on the bikes, crossed the Arctic circle and headed North.
Some nights were cold but we managed to get accommodation for a couple of nights at Urpo. Urpo is a warmshower host, biologist and an avid cyclist. But not an ordinery cyclist. He has a velomobil, a funny-looking egg-shaped recumbent bicycle. We gave it a chance and tried it, it can be a good alternative to a car but we rather stay with our bikes.
Next few nights we slept in hostels but actually when we reached Abisko National park, the weather got better. No snow, nice temperature, sunny and light breeze, perfect Indian summer, our favorite part of the year. We left our bikes and went for a short hike. Stretching our legs a little and admiring all the colors around: the dark blue lake, gold and red trees and silver mountains. It reminded us of our lovely Wanaka. Later in the afternoon we hopped on the bikes again and cycled the first 4 kilometers of Kungsleden, the King’s trail, to the first campsite. The Kungsleden is a favorite 440km long hiking trail. And I really mean hiking trail. We were hopping among rocks and roots, sometimes the path disappeared and there were only wooden planks instead. It was fun but those 4 kilometers there and back were just enough for us and our heavy bikes. Maybe next time by foot. Or with touring skies:-)
But we had to carry on. The border with Norway wasn’t far from Abisko and Lofoten islands were almost „behind a corner“. Narvik was the first town we visited in Norway but we didn’t stay long. The weather forecast promised a week-long nice weather, sunny and no rain so there was no time for waiting.
The first two days we cycled along the coast and Efjorden and Tysfjorden and it was simply beautiful. We had seen fjords in New Zealand, but those fjords in Norway were huge! We cycled with open mouths and couldn’t believe we were there. The combination of big walls, blue sea and clear sky was amazing. On a ferry from Bognes to Lödingen I looked back for the last time to enjoy the view but then there were Vesteralen and Lofoten islands waiting for us.
From Lödingen we headed north again. First, we didn’t want to cycle on the busy E10, the not very cyclist-friendly road with many tunnels and second, we wanted to spend some time out of touristic places. We followed some less busy roads all the way to a town Sortland, which was eventually the northernmost place we had been on this journey. From there it is all downhill, they said. Haha, not really…:-)
The weather was still good so we could camp every night. Sometimes in paid campgrounds but the best nights were for free. That was also the case when we slept on a beach close to the settlement called Grunnför. Right on the beach there is a bird watching tower or some people call it a bike shelter. But first of all it was a great place for watching the Northern Lights. If you are lucky, of course. And we were lucky. Around midnight we were quiet standing by a window and watching the beauty and I couldn’t say more than „wow“. Yes, in reality it looks a little bit different than on pictures but still, it was amazing experience. And few days later it was even better. We camped near a town Leknes and when I woke up in the middle of the night and looked at the waving sky I thought the sky must fall down in every minute…
Luckily, the sky didn’t fall down and next morning we could carry on. There was the last day in front of us. Maybe we were tired, or maybe overwhelmed of seeing marvelous fjords and cute fishing villages over and over but the supposedly most beautiful places at the very top of Lofoten islands didn’t impress us. We saw many photographers and tourists there and didn’t get, what they were taking pictures of. We agreed, that we liked the northern part more. But then I stopped, I don’t know why, and slowly turned around. The sun just moved from clouds and despite we had seen many similar sceneries the last week, it was like seeing it for the first time and I almost cried at how beautiful it was.
The eighth day, as the forecast said, the weather got bad. It was cold with light rain. The highest time to move on. From Moskenes we took a ferry to Bodö and the same evening we took a train to Trondheim, about 500km more south. Before I fell asleep I was dreaming about nice temperature and sunny weather „down south“. I couldn’t be more wrong. But this is a different story…