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Old 07-15-2012, 07:38 AM   #16
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I'm in. Looks to be a great trip.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:40 PM   #17
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Part 6: to Stryn, 290km

GPS log mostly worked today, ignore the times though as they appear to be totally random:


Back on the E39 to start with, still plenty of scenery to distract those who are supposedly in control of motor vehicles (Laika is RHD, remember).


Norway, I know I really shouldn't complain but I think most people can be trusted to do more than 80kph along here:


This is a bit twistier though:


We stopped for a quick rest HERE, meeting some friendly bikers from Oslo who were on a riding holiday, and who were very glad to have pulled in because a few seconds later a police car arrived too. Let's just say they hadn't been doing 80kph exactly ;)

Now, nearer home the best you can expect from a main road's rest lay-by is an overgrown hedge and a bin overflowing with happy meal boxes. Seems on the E39 things are somewhat more picturesque!








Back on the move again, things get a little twistier before we hop on another ferry across Sognefjord.




Time for another stop and some lunch HERE, looks like we needed a rest!




Again, awesome scenery especially considering we're about six feet away from a main road.






Then it's time to press on again. We kept on up the E39 until Brykjelo where we took route 60 around Innvikfjorden...




Quick pause for a posed shot!


And then after Stryn itself we carried on a little further out of town on route 15, to Strynsvatn campground where we got ourselves a cabin with a serious view.





There was a diving platform on the shore opposite the campsite, and we saw a few (presumably) locals down there so Anneley and I said to each other, "Right! We're definitely going to go and have a nice swim in that there lake. It's sunny, it'll be nice to cool off!"

However, once we got down there we noticed that the locals would dare each other to jump in, and then roughly one New York Second later they would explode from the water straight into their towels. Seriously, I've seen dolphins come out of water slower. A quick dip of the feet reminded us that this is glacial meltwater, and neither of us fancied the instant death that would no doubt ensue should we immerse ourselves any deeper than knee-height. Oh well, we tried. Well, not tried as such... nevermind.



This guy knows the score - safer to just look at it.




We went back to Stryn for tea (in seemingly the only open place in town - luckily they did good pizza), there aren't really many landmarks in town but I did decide that a pink grey fergie was worth a snap!


Funkster screwed with this post 07-16-2012 at 01:43 PM Reason: smidge.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:32 AM   #18
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Right, sorry for the big paws. Onwards...

Part 7: to Kristiansund, 285km

Overview (with some slight gaps, just fill in with a map of route 63):


After prying our eyes away from the beautiful scenery around Strynsvatn, our route took us north on what was for me the coolest (both literally and figuratively) bit of riding on this west-coast leg. We would cover both the Trollstigen and the Atlantic Road, both heavily featured in many bike magazines.

We headed north on route 63 and pretty quickly approached the snow line:






Excellent twisty roads, snowdrifts all around, 1000m above sea level and the bike's running smoothly. I can't think of much better to be honest! We took a quick break to take a closer look a the snow and check that it was real...



After all, when the scenery looks like this you can't usually get away with a vest top...


Mags he is incredulous.


Anyway, best press on - these hairpins aren't going to ride themselves!


Rv63 dips back down to sea level where there's a small port:


And then shortly after there's a handy viewing platform where hordes of tourists from the cruise ships get bussed a couple of miles up the road so they can take photos of the boat they've just got off. Seemed rude not to join in the photo-taking action, including the view of the vehicles from which we'd just disembarked!









This bus obviously needed to take on water, perhaps it's steam powered?


Back on the road again, we soon passed a very exciting sign!


Mmm, guaranteed 5.3km of grins! Sat-nav confirms it, there be wigglies ahead:


Laika's passengers just can't help taking pictures of waterfalls :o)






Having made it down into the valley, we stopped at the shop to browse for troll-related paraphernalia and to allow our cheek muscles to relax a bit.


Who doesn't need a hat with its own paws?




Then, on to the Atlantic Road. Okay, so it's fairly short and certainly well-photographed, but it was on our way and definitely worth the detour, especially as all the route leading up to it was spectacular anyway. Obviously we couldn't help but ride over some parts of it twice to get the traditional photo:


And a quick walk around on one of the road's small islands...








We then carried on to Kristiansund, and to our hotel HERE for a quick freshen up and to plan where exactly where we would go to celebrate the solstice!

Funkster screwed with this post 07-29-2012 at 09:39 AM Reason: added pic from hotel
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:18 AM   #19
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Part 8: Summer Solstice (or as near as dammit) 2012! Zero kilometers!

Having spent an hour or so in the hotel's bar, drinking their free coffee machine dry (bet they regret telling us about that!), we found a few likely spots where we would get a good north-facing view of the sea, and not be overlooked by any/many houses. We struck gold (or rock, anyway) with the first one so this post's antics are all located HERE:


A panorama view of what would be our base for the night (click for bigger, but watch out - it's really quite big!):


The idea here, then, is to sit around having a nice time, watch the sun set, carry on having a nice time, watch the sun rise again, and then go home and pass out safe in the knowledge that celestial mechanics haven't mysteriously changed overnight. Previous solstices have seen us do a coast-to-coast dash across England while the sun was down, or hike up various hills with a ridiculous amount of stuff (guitars, bongos, beer, meat, camping chairs...).

This one would be fairly tame in terms of the walking part, but definitely the most epic in terms of getting to our location! This was a really satisfying moment for me - as a result of some rather haphazard planning, we were further north than we'd ever been before, surrounded by fantastic scenery with amazing weather, and we'd kept the shiny side up all the way so far! Definitely cause for celebration.

Anyway, on with the show... first rule of celebrating the solstice in this fashion, you need the proper apparel:




Then you need to be able to sit comfortably...




You'll need some way to entertain yourself while waiting for sunset:




And you'll certainly need to be able to make a nice cup of tea!


Keep your eyes and your cameras peeled, you need photographic evidence that there was a sun there just in case it doesn't come back up again...




And eventually, you'll see the last rays of the setting sun!


You are now free to amuse yourself for a while. In the UK we usually have about 7 hours to kill, but here it would only be three! The permanently-bright sky also makes it quite a bit easier to indulge in a bit of low-light photography...






Right, time for a barbecue!


Scandinavians, you really need to visit the UK (specifically, some real butchers) and discover what sausages are supposed to be like. I shall skip over the meat course and proceed directly to smores...


... some of which obviously need to go on fire.


Having eaten, it's back to sitting and waiting - this time for sunrise.


I have no idea what's going on here:


In case of midge/mosquito attack, make sure you have a comprehensive air defence system:


Then, as the sun starts to tickle the horizon, charge your glasses and make sure you're looking in the right direction...


There! There it is! We've survived! Now is the moment to toast the sunrise & the success of your journey so far, and spare a thought for the friends who couldn't be there to enjoy it with you. Normally we would pass the first rays of the new rising sun through some real ale, but since we were travelling light we had to make do with single malt scotch whisky...


And just in case there was any doubt as to the sun's path, it's definitely up now:


All that's left is to stumble back to the hotel, fall unconscious, and hallucinate vividly for a few hours :o)
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:11 AM   #20
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Great read and I can't wait to read more when I get back from holiday.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:37 AM   #21
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Part 9: rest day in Kristiansund, zero kilometers

Having been riding one way or another for the last seven days, a rest day was definitely in order. We mooched around in Kristiansund, ate ice-cream, and enjoyed the weather.

Somewhat awake after a post-sunrise nap:


Proof of the temperature (figured no-one would believe us otherwise):


Funky mural thing on the side of the courthouse:


The church in town is this creepy-looking brutalist thing, some cues obviously taken from the Russians at some point...




Tucked behind it is this ramshackle old house, felt a bit sorry for it having to live in the shadow (though presumably it has some connection to the church):


Another instance of non-hairpin-based Norwegian tourism:


Then a quick paddle to end the day!


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Old 08-04-2012, 09:19 AM   #22
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Part 10: to Galtsjøen, ~350km

The nature of the riding changes a fair bit at this point. Having become used to the winding fjord roads, we now had a three-day run East to go and visit Stockholm. It's a fair old way so we decided to get pretty much all the way to the border on the first leg, while we were still supposedly fresh from our rest day. As it turned out I didn't sleep particularly well due to the strange sleep patterns of the day before, but I guess I've got no-one to blame but myself! Ah well...

Today's GPS track:


Initially the coastal scenery continues inland...


However, once you get a bit further inland, it's pretty much forest in all directions. The largest continuous forested area in Europe, I think!




Our destination for the day was a cabin near Galtsjøen called Galten Gard - a farm with several cabins for rent and all look very nice! The view isn't bad either:




And, since we hadn't seen much in the way of the wildlife promised by the road signs, we decided to mock this elk a little bit...
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:36 AM   #23
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Part 11: to Sater, ~ 340km



Continuing our hack towards Stockholm, this day turned out to be a rainy one. Soggy riders meant not many stops (though I did manage a quick jaunt down some forest roads while Chris was trying to sort out his fogging visor) and as such very few action shots. Here's the only one of note:



We were also lacking the energy to be creative with where to stay. We headed straight for the first signposted campsite when we got to Sater, and got ourselves a cabin HERE. Left the gear to drip-dry and spent the evening amusing ourselves in the facilities building!

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Old 02-10-2013, 11:13 AM   #24
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Whoa, I just totally fell into a worm-hole and got spat out six months into the future!

Okay, that's a lie. It's winter and it's really cold where my computer is and typing with frozen hands isn't much fun. Still, my apologies (again) for the big paws...

Part 12: to Stockholm, 184km



Not much to say (or show) about the riding here I'm afraid - we'd been warned that the main road wasn't particularly remarkable and that's true. I'm sure there were more interesting routes available, but we were keen to get to Stockholm and be stereotypical tourists for a couple of days!

We headed for our hotel, an apartment-style job on the outskirts of the city. Some people on here said before we left that the metro system was good but confusing, but having used the London undergroud we found that the signs, trains, platforms and stations were all about as straightforward as you could hope. Buying tickets is the confusing part! I think it took us longer to buy the appropriate tokens than it took to actually get into town.

Anyway, since we're just sightseers at this point there's no photos of the riding, but there are lots of photos of us having a nice time...

... oh, and ducks. Most of us can't help ourselves from taking photos of ducks wherever we go - not sure why, but there's probably hundreds of photos of ducks amongst our combined photo collections. Here's one taken in the middle of town:


We saw Rick's telephone, wonder if he'd mind if we used it?


Having read about it in the guide book, we were all keen to visit the Ardbeg Embassay, and it didn't disappoint. They have ~25 locally-brewed craft beers on tap, so we sat down and went about working our way through them:


Chris managed to order the darkest beer anyone had ever seen. It tasted of cigars soaked in whisky.


Oh, and they've got a few malts if you like that kind of thing, which we do (this photo shows about a third of their selection):


Having spent a good chunk of our pocket money on a few rounds there, we wandered on in search of food and ended up at Magnus Ladulås, where we enjoyed an excellent meal and the most hilariously bad service I've ever experienced in a restaurant - getting our order wrong but yelling at us that what they'd brought really was what we wanted, charging us for the wrong stuff, huffing goodness-knows-what (claimed to be Eucalyptus oil) while they argued with each other about whose fault it was... anyway, the Roast Beef of Lamb was excellent!




And after a last stroll around admiring the night-time sights, that concludes our first day in Stockholm...


The next day, having spent another good 20 minutes on the process of purchasing 5 travelcards, we headed back into town and set about mocking the sculptures...






I really have no idea what's going on here:


More wandering around a very attractive town..






... and that makes beer o'clock! Cheers!




While we were sat drinking, a chap wearing a suit rocked up on this Royal Enfield (made in Redditch, about 10 miles from where I grew up) and nipped into the corner store. Definitely the coolest guy in town, and everyone in sight took a photo of his motorcycle:


And finally, back to the hotel for yet more bananagrams and maybe a splash of wine to finish the evening off...


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Old 02-10-2013, 11:37 AM   #25
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Subscribed keep it coming.
Looks like lots of fun.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:07 PM   #26
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Really enjoying the ride report, this is a trip I was looking at doing last year.

For anyone thinking of visiting Norway they've put together a really good app put together by their national tourist board Visit Norway App and a really good offline map too Norgeskart
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:29 PM   #27
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Part 14: Stockholm to Linköping, ~250km

We were all very refreshed after our short city-break, and I was looking forward to the next bit of riding - andershz on here very kindly supplied us with some excellent local knowledge so we could get away from the main road and onto some more interesting tarmac. Here's our GPS track for the day:



Hang on, didn't I say we were all refreshed? Chris obviously needed an extra nap before we set off, and his bike-slouching fu is quite strong:



This leg is where I decided to try navigating for the group - most of the time up to now we'd either been following signposts, working to a memory of a simple route, or cheating and following Laika's sat-nav.

I wanted to see if I could lead us along andershz's route, but of course I don't have a fancy bike sat-nav, or even any proper maps. Instead, in the map pocket of my tank bag I had a black-and-white printout of the google map of the entire route, and my phone. Now this might make sense if you've got a fancy smartphone with a 5" screen, but I have a Samsung B2710. It's a good phone - water proof, good GPS, good battery life... but its screen is teeny! Also the mapping application I use is open source and written in Java, and meant for a more powerful machine than this, so the screen updates aren't exactly fast.

Imagine this, but with a bright blue sky reflected in the map pocket window as well:



To my surprise, it worked quite well! Admittedly I had to keep taking my left hand off to shade the screen, but my marked waypoints (worked out where we had to turn before leaving and saved the locations onto the phone) would appear on screen just in time for me to read them without falling off. Result!

Anyway, we had a great time winding our way through the country roads, and totally stuck to the speed limit the entire time.

Honest!

Stopped off for a picnic somewhere completely random...


We had planned to cross via ferry HERE, but when we arrived we discovered (via a very helpful local who phoned the ferry company and gave us the skinny in perfect english) that the ferry was stuck on the other side with a broken transmission. So close! I think Chris was considering taking a run-up...



So that led us on a detour through Norrköping in order to pick up our back-road route, but it didn't cost us too much time. We soon found ourselves on quiet, beautiful roads...



... and we arrived at our campsite for the evening (HERE) in plenty of time to do a bit of Scottoiler maintainance:



and cook a big pot of veg curry!
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:50 PM   #28
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This is a great idea for a trip. Thanks for putting it up.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:00 PM   #29
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Very nice pics!!! Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:05 PM   #30
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I have been thinking many times How to do a quick loop into Scandinavia from UK.
Thanks for the suggestion

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