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Old 07-25-2007, 01:23 PM   #1
alikerimbey OP
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Holiday Snaps - Baltic Sea and Nordkapp

Greetings.

For those of you who are interested, my friend Dan and I have just returned from a trip around the Baltic Sea, including the Artic Highway and Nordkapp.

The plan was to ride from Monaco (France), through Italy, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Czech Republic, covering about 10,000 kilometers in 20 days.

It was all transit until the ferry from Germany to Sweden. The German autobahn is a crazy thing. When the road is three lanes, the two on the right are for normal traffic doing anything less than 140 kph, and the left lane is for chains of Mercs, BMWs and Audis rolling at 160 kph plus, sometimes plus a lot. It was remarkable to have these packs blasting by your left elbow, and it would be carnage to pull out in front of one. You have to spend some extra time looking over your shoulder before changing lanes to confirm how quickly these missiles are closing.

Dan with an actual missile at an autobahn rasthaus.




And relaxing the next day in Leipzig Germany before riding red roads to Rostock.




Goth church in town of Wittenberg.




Keeping one glove on for a quick lunch on the road.




Waiting for overnight ferry from Rostock Germany to Trelleborg Sweden.







The Mecklenburg - Vorpommern arrives.




Demonstrating my limitations as a photographer.




Beware of smut.




We rolled off the ferry at 0600 Sunday into what seemed like a proper gale, and cold as well. I have never seen so many shades of gray as the Swedish sky. Of course, whenever it seemed crazy to keep on riding in those conditions, we would pass a family of Swedes out for a Sunday bicycle ride, including little girls in orange Crocs bringing up the rear. We had a fairly hairy ride into Olso Norway in hard rain just before dark and sheltered in the bus station.

The thousand mile stare.




The Olso sky at dusk.




The forecast was for much more rain, chasing better weather in the north. On the other hand, we were tempted by the forecast for Spain, which was nice and sunny and perfect for riding ...

alikerimbey screwed with this post 04-20-2011 at 06:55 AM
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:27 PM   #2
Wandering Dane
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Cool - waiting for more...
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:48 PM   #3
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what's wrong with "smut"??



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Old 07-26-2007, 05:26 PM   #4
alikerimbey OP
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We carried on towards Bergen the next day, until a helpful fellow at a gas station said that it was raining hard there and suggested that we just head north towards the Arctic Highway, where there were plenty of fjords.

Falling water.




Flooded fields.




Ferry crossing under shrouded mountains.




No picture is too corny.




Boat houses in Sogndal Norway around midnight.




More good weather in the Jotunheimen, the highest mountain area in Norway.




Stave church in Lom.









Taking a break from more fine weather on the way to Trondheim.




Trondheim was the last city with any nightlife to speak of, and we first noticed that it didn't get dark at night stumbling out of a bar at about 0300.

Weather improving the following day.




"The E6 is a dangerous road - Many accidents happen here."


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Old 07-26-2007, 06:31 PM   #5
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Beautiful riding, pics and report

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Old 07-27-2007, 08:39 AM   #6
alikerimbey OP
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Timber house in Mosjoen.




Motel/campground on the E6 just outside of Mo i Rana.







Norwegians love their fog lights. The ubiquitous car was a Volvo wagon with a Thule roof box and Cibie fog lights.




The Arctic Highway really starts at Mo i Rana, as the Arctic Circle is about 60 kms up the road.

World's northernmost race track.




Welcome to the Arctic Circle.




Yugoslav war memorial.




No cairns. Rock piling is prohibited.




But the urge is irresitable.










Fjord sequence from the E6.













More fjords.







Exiting one of the ferries.




There is an iron ore trans-shipment facility in Narvik. This picture was taken at about midnight.




WWII memorial in Narvik.




Cruising Narvik.




Unfortunate accommodation for two straight men.


alikerimbey screwed with this post 08-16-2007 at 01:43 PM
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:30 AM   #7
alikerimbey OP
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More beautiful vistas.




















Norwegian cabins called "hyttes". Some are very nice.







First reindeer of Norway.




Reindeer catcher.




Reindeer souvenirs.







Midnight sun in Alta.







Midnight shadows.


alikerimbey screwed with this post 08-16-2007 at 08:17 AM
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:58 AM   #8
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Ahhh, Scandinavia...I miss you !

More please...
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What has been my greatest lesson from this bout with death? The sun still rises each morning; birds sing and the coffee is strong and hot. Hope and faith draw forth another breath, and the air need not be bitter. I should not judge another human being through the temperance of my own mind and emotions.
~Tim McLaurin, R.I.P.


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Old 07-27-2007, 10:13 AM   #9
alikerimbey OP
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The Arctic Highway to Honingsvag and Nordkapp, the northernmost point in Europe.







Honningsvag fishing boats.




I want one of these.




Extremely dangerous job.




Being "northernmost something" is important there, and Honningsvag claims to be the world's northermost city and the Bygerrie claims to the northernmost micro brewary. This is closing time, 0300 at the Bygerrie on a Saturday night.







The stumble home.






The road to Nordkapp the next day.




Nordkapp fog.




The mad Kiwi.




There is a touristic area at Nordkapp that charges an entry fee, and since the journey is more important than the destination, it was fogged in, and we are actually cheap SOBs, we turned around at the gates. The mad Kiwi carried on in, and we last heard him yelling at the Norwegian gate keeper "I'm not a damn Pom. How would you like it if I called you a Russian?"

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Old 07-27-2007, 10:15 AM   #10
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Awesome! I just picked up the book on the Arctic highway, very jealous of you

I am planning on making that ride myself sometime soon, hope to buy a bike in Newcastle, take the ferry to Bergen, ride to Helsinki and sell the bike...
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:42 AM   #11
alikerimbey OP
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Norway into Lapland Finland.










Finnish reindeer.







Finland was endless pine forests. The road ahead...


and behind.




Petrolhead style.




Porvoo Finland, near Helsinki







We took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn Estonia, intending to ride into Riga Latvia for the night. However, Dan's tummy ache in Finland a few days earlier now manifested itself as clutch failure on his bike, forcing us back to Tallinn and the BMW dealer.

Tallinn skyline at dusk.




The BMW shop had Dan's bike for the day, reducing us from kings of the road to rank Lonely Planet carrying tourists.

Touristic sights, including some old stuff in Tallinn.




Some medieval stuff.




Dan can't believe his eyes.


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Old 07-27-2007, 11:04 AM   #12
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Shamelessly posing with Russian fighter jets in Lithuania.







Leaving Lituania. I can't really explain this.




Dan and the guidebook in Poland.




Warsaw.




Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.





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Old 08-06-2007, 10:56 PM   #13
Radar Rider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alikerimbey

Dan can't believe his eyes.

Right on!! Love the finnish blondes

gives me some ideas for my upcoming scandinavian ride report, which may have to be subscription based
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:27 AM   #14
battep
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I wanna do this trip......most excellent
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:37 AM   #15
alikerimbey OP
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Greetings:

Thanks for the comments on the trip.

Radar Rider: You should definitely ride the Arctic Highway if you can. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. By the way, the blond with my friend was from Tallinn Estonia, not Finland, but there is no shortage of nice girls from Sweden all the way round to Lithuania.

Remembering that one only sees what is on either side of the road and that impressions gathered that way may be incorrect, here are some general comments:

As the trip was entirely in Western Europe, it wasn't really an "adventure" ride. The most challenging part of the trip was simply the distance, plus occasional bad weather. All of the roads were sealed, there was plenty of tourist infrastructure, and none of the police or border guards were corrupt. We had to show our passports only when leaving Finland, crossing the Baltic states, and then upon reentering the EU proper in Austria.

Norway is absolutely beautiful, and the Artic Highway must be one of the great roads in the world. The lunar landscape approaching Nordkapp felt like the end of the Earth. The only negative comment about Norway was that the road food was awful, usually hamburgers or hot dogs in gas stations, and it was damn expensive as well. We found a few good meals - reindeer is excellent and whale is good too, if not very PC. Norwegians are very friendly and helpful.

Finland is endless straight roads through pine forests, and you do need to watch out for reindeer on the road. The Finns are interesting. We never felt very welcome in Finland, everyone would turn and stare when we walked into a place, and it seemed that it would be easy to have a bit of trouble with the locals. The first Finn we met was a grandmother who told us that she had come into the "painted town" of Ivalo for a night of drinking, as proven by the tablefull of empty beer glasses in front of her, and she then went on to tell us that she killed puppies and would be able to survive armageddon, while we city folk would have no chance. As I said, she was doing a bit of drinking. We encountered several other Finns that seemed to have been doing a bit of drinking, including a fair number of afternoon drunks.

The Baltic states are well developed and quite western. Tallinn Estonia was well organized for tourism, especially in the restored old town, with English menus and lots of English speakers. We only passed through Riga Latvia for lunch, but it is the biggest of the three Baltic capitals and seemed the roughest and perhaps the most Russian. Vilnius Lithuania was lovely as well, and seems to be the least touristic, perhaps because the budget airlines aren't flying hordes of British bachelor parties there.

Poland's economy is still based on agriculture, and it does not have a lot of tourism or tourist infrastructure. Warsaw is a modern city with a large old town that was flattened during WWII and then totally and perfectly rebuilt. It is bizarrely "Disney-esque". We also encountered the only rude policeman of the trip in Warsaw. If any part of the trip was an adventure, it was rolling through Poland.

The Czech Republic is beautiful, with fantastic original old towns. The driving was mostly on B roads that were clogged with trucks, so the motorcycling unfortunately isn't the best. Borderland into Austria is a strange land.

Finally, I would like to thank to our sponsor, Petrolhead, for their generous support consisting of stickers and a tshirt. If you are interested, please check out their naff website at www.petrolheadstyle.com.

Cheers.

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