Friday, October 14, 2016

The Scandinavian Adventure: Levanger — Mo i Rana — Flostrand

(Tuesday, July 1st 2014)

We got up early today, well at least early for me, but that meant that after breakfast — also called a cup of tea, or coffee in Solo’s case, as we had nothing left to eat except for disgusting protein bars — we still had about an hour left before we would have to make our way back to the railway station to catch the train toward Mo i Rana.
We spent that time in now beautiful weather on the porch of our cabin cleaning our bikes. They had gone through some dusty roads yesterday, so they sure needed our attention if we wanted them to work well for the rest of our ride.

Soon it was time to pack our bags and get ready to get to the railway station to catch our train. This time though I had plotted the route into my GPS and additionally memorized it as good as I could, since there was a chance that we would not have been able to trace back the route we had learned yesterday from that young woman whom we had met, because she added some short cuts to her description that only a local would know and a route in the opposite direction always looks so much different… we couldn’t spend an hour to find the railway station without missing our train. A chance we could not take. Who knew when the next one would have had some space for us and our bikes?
Ensuring we’d follow the official streets was the easiest way of not getting lost in Levanger and actually had us even arrive a little early giving me a chance to go and buy some real food for breakfast — that is if you consider ham and cheese baguette real food — and I found that the little cafe also had some raisin rolls, which I thought might come in handy for lunch, so I bought a few of them as well, stuffing them into my pannier bag and pretty much immediately forgetting about having them.

It was a five hour train ride to get us to Mo i Rana, a train ride through beautiful scenery. Of course we could have covered the distance on our bikes as well, but it would have taken a couple of days. Considering that we only had a limited time frame to finish the entire tour and wanted to go to Denmark as well, there was no chance for us to make it on our bikes in time. Maybe another time.

Our bikes securely stored in the luggage cart and our pannier bags spread over the parcel shelf, we had good space for ourselves and did not block other people’s routes through the train. I quite like that about Norwegian trains, somehow they manage to give people some space between the seats and — most of the time — there is enough space to place your luggage.
The only thing I miss on those trains is the possibility to open a window as the air-conditioning somehow always provides one with oxygen lacking air making you feel sleepy.

At 2:30p.m. we arrived in Mo i Rana, got our bikes out of the train and got ready to get back on them to cycle toward Kilboghavn, about 100 kilometers from Mo i Rana, where we would catch a ferry.
Now we were supposed to first follow the Riksveien 12 (RV 12) before it met the Riksveien 17, the later is also known as Kystriksveien or coastal road as it basically follows the Norwegian Atlantic coast from Namsos almost all the way up to Bodø, so we would spend some time on this road in the next few days.
But first we had to find our route out of Mo i Rana and preferably with a gas station on our way so that we could fill up our tires with some air.
With a basic idea of the direction in which we had to leave, we went on our bikes, soon finding some road signs that pointed out the RV 12, and since these were not bike specific signs this time we dared to trust them again.
Finding our way out of Mo i Rana was much easier than finding our way out of Trondheim. But we soon found that there was too much traffic on the road we were supposed to follow, so we tried a couple of side roads hoping they would go parallel to the RV 12, unfortunately they only did for a short time before going back onto the RV 12. So we had no other chance but to stick to the RV12. Of course by the time we had made it out of Mo i Rana it was also time for rush hour traffic. But the problem was solved after a few more kilometers and the traffic we had to deal with got less until we had the road for ourselves.

Utskarpen near Fallet
Utskarpen near Fallet

The weather was still beautiful like it had been in Levanger earlier in the morning. So we enjoyed the ride.
But since we had started the day’s ride so late we started looking for a place to pitch Solo’s tent after only three hours, also looking out for a place that would sell us some food or possibly even offer us a room to rent. We had seen signs for houses to rent, but when we knocked at the nearest farm’s door no one answered it, so we went on cycling a little further hoping to find something.
Along the road we saw a sign with a map. Hoping it would also indicate a campground or hotel we stopped and searched it. We could not see such a sign. We asked some locals, who were standing nearby, about where to find some sort of restaurant or hotel and they told us the nearest would be in Nesna, some 32 kilometers into the wrong direction from where we wanted to go.
Solo was certain there would be some sort of service somewhere along the road we had to take, but I remembered that I had read about some other bike ride in the region pointing out where to refill the bags with food because there was nothing to come for some kilometers ahead.
We pedaled on, hoping still that we would be able to make it all the way to Kilboghavn, where I knew was a campground. But that campground was still 60 kilometers from where we were, and we started getting tired…

Atlantic coast with Handnesøya in the distance
Atlantic coast with Handnesøya in the distance

At some point Solo told me he would not be able to go on for much longer so we should start looking for a place to primitive camp. We needed a place away from the street and not on other people’s ground — or at least far enough away from the nearest building — that way the Norwegian Allmansretten would grant us the right to camp there for a night.
But still we hadn’t found a place to buy some food for dinner and our water bottles weren’t holding too much water anymore. Round about 20 kilometers after we had asked for directions we gave up. Solo had spotted a place where he thought setting the tent up would be possible without being seen from the street. So he went and looked if it was suitable. It was a beautiful spot high above the coast and we thought we would be able to climb down the next morning to refill our water bottles. Still we figured to save as much of the water that we had left as we could, so that we would at least be able to have a cup of tea before climbing anywhere.

We pitched tent on the moss, providing us not only with some insulation but making the spot nice and comfortable to sleep on.
Once we were set Solo asked me about the Raisin rolls that I had purchased in the morning…didn’t we still have them? We had a decision to make. Either we could have two raisin rolls each for dinner or have a protein bar. I decided that we would go for the raisin rolls, they would else be dry by the next morning and be as hard to get down as the protein bars, so rather have something good in the evening and potentially skip breakfast…it couldn’t be that far until some sort of service station even if it was only a gas station would turn up the next morning…

Riksveien 17 toward Bodø
Riksveien 17 toward Bodø

You can find more photos from Norway on my website.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Calendar photo of the month: October 2016

This month's calendar photo is of the city of Ålesund on the Norwegian coast. The photo is taken from the Hurtigruten boat, while anchoring before our departure to Molde.
Ålesund is known for its Art nouveau architecture in the city's center - as the city had to be rebuilt after a great fire in the early 1900s.
The story behind this photo has been published in this article: Florø - Molde on August 5th 2016.

This photo is part of my English Norway calendars.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

The Scandinavian Adventure: Trondheim — Levanger

(Monday, June 30th 2014)

We woke up to a bright blue sky, so the weather had improved significantly since yesterday afternoon. Just the right weather to go on a ride.
After we had cleared our room, that had housed us for the last two nights, we headed for the cafe, which we had discovered yesterday, for breakfast. On the way down to the cafe I noticed that the position of my gear shifters wasn’t quite where I was used to having it, which was surprising as the new position did not suit me very well. So even before having breakfast I had to fix my bike. But we didn’t think more about it and Solo just showed me how to change the shifters position into something that was more comfortable for me. Nothing is worth — well maybe except flats, chain breaks, non working brakes and gears that don’t work at all — than when your shifters are positioned in a way that forces you to move your entire arm just to change gears instead of just moving your finger…
But it was a fast and easy fix and nothing that delayed our well deserved breakfast for too long.

After breakfast we had one of the hardest tasks ahead of us, or so we believed. Finding our way out of a town is never very easy. Far too many roads that criss cross through town and you don’t want to ride along the biggest of them interfering with the motorized traffic and possibly ending at a spot where you are no longer allowed to continue on your bike. Since neither of us carried a bike map of Trondheim we had to rely mostly on my GPS and some on our instincts. Instincts that in cities easily get confused.
My GPS only has a 2’’ screen, which in bright daylight is not very easy to read, and I hadn’t figured out why it would not tell us when to turn left or when we were actually going wrong…but only showed us that little map.
So just getting us out of Trondheim, a ride of less than 10 kilometers, took already more than 1 hour and 30 minutes and we still had many more kilometers ahead of us.
For now we were basically following the coastline of the Trondheims Fjorden, before we had to turn further into the country later on.

In an uphill segment after about 20 kilometers of riding our bikes, I experienced the surprise of the day. Suddenly not only did my brakes no longer were in the position I liked them to be, but my entire handle bar was free to rotate. So I asked Solo for an immediate emergency stop, already preparing myself to go back to Trondheim to see if I could get some bike shop to fix my bike.
It turned out the only thing holding it into place was actually the handlebar bag that I had fixed to it…
Sometimes I am seriously lucky just by carrying all that luggage it seemed.
Solo, being a trained bike mechanic, soon figured the cause of the problem. The screws that should have held my handlebar in place had loosened somewhat during our ride — or maybe I hadn’t been able to tighten them enough when I had rebuilt my bike after returning home from my trip to New Zealand… That in itself does not sound like a real big problem. You would just think to take out a fitting screwdriver and tighten them. Even with our limited toolbox it would not have been a big problem…if it had not been for the access to the screws being blocked by the mounting system of the handlebar.
We were unable to completely dismount the mounting system, because had we done so it would have been impossible to refit it and tighten its cables enough to hold the handlebar bag in place, due to our limited set of tools. So we had to work around it somehow.
Solo found a way to loosen the mounting system enough to be able to push it aside to access the screws that held the handlebar in place and was so able to tighten these, before tightening the mounting system again. Now all that was left for me to do was to readjust all settings of my brakes, gears and the grips.
I didn’t take the time for it, but it sure had added a delay to our schedule that we did not account for. So after the fix was made we hurried back onto our bikes to make our way up north.

Destination Skatval
Destination Skatval

When we arrived in the area near the airport of Trondheim in Stjørdal, some 30 kilometers from the city center of Trondheim, the route got confusing again. Too many roads criss crossing and we surely did not want to go to the departure terminal of the airport. But this time my GPS helped us a lot to get onto the route that we needed to be on. Soon we had left Stjørdal and the confusing airport area behind us and made our way toward Skatval, or so we believed.
It looked for a moment as if we would be forced to ride on the E6, where riding bikes on it actually was forbidden. Looking around we found a route that looked as if it would get us to where we needed to be. Until a construction site put a sudden end to our efforts keeping away from the E6. We stood there for a while wondering what to do.
Should we really try to get onto the E6 with all the traffic? Or should we rather turn back toward Stjørdal and find another route toward Levanger? When one of the construction workers came toward us, seeing our despair and helped us to find the right route. He actually told us that we could go on, on this construction site … we would just have to push our bikes for some time as the gravel was not suitable for bike riding. And then we would make it to Skatval.
Problem solved.
We tried in between to get back onto our bikes instead of pushing them, but soon had to discover that it would only make us crash our bikes. So we pushed on…until finally the road’s surface was again suitable for riding our bikes. Until the next construction site came that had filled the road with sand instead and we found ourselves pushing our bikes yet again.
We reached Skatval — probably around half way toward our goal of Levanger — after 45 kilometers and 5 hours 16 minutes at around 2p.m.

But our troubles where not over, not yet. First we had to find our route toward Levanger. The cycling path that looked so good soon ended at the E6 again. So we turned back through the village and tried a different route. Following the Fylkesveien 38 and the Fylkesveien 40 we believed would take us closer toward Levanger.
Instead the 40 lead us into a new round of trouble. We followed it down the hill toward Solhaugen, but soon figured it made no sense following it any further. So we turned back up the hill, looking at the street next to the one we were on…the E6 would for sure get us to Levanger…were we in a position to try it? It had no shoulder for us to ride on…we discussed it for a short while, but decided against it. Solo decided on top of the hill to turn into eastward direction and to see if behind that bridge that we could see was a road that could take us to where we wanted to go. He told me to wait for him, so we wouldn’t both have to make the way twice. Soon he was back, the road led nowhere. But he saw a sign on his way back. Pointing out a bicycle path toward Levanger, if we just followed the road that we minutes earlier had decided could not be the one.
We looked at each other and figured where there is a sign there is a road, so we just would have to go further than we did in our first attempt.

The sign to Levanger…

Soon afterwards we found ourselves at the entrance of a campground, but there was no one to ask for directions and after all the sign had said that the bicycle path would be in this direction, hadn’t it?
So we rode across that campground and found a small forest path which at least went into the right direction. After some time we met a pedestrian, whom we asked for directions because we thought this could impossibly be the path we were supposed to be on. But sure enough she confirmed that we only had to follow that path and we would get there.
Well we got to something…a fence for sure 2 or 3 meters high with a nice bright sign telling us „No Entrance“…but after the fence our path continued…we discussed climbing over the fence, but that was no good idea with the bikes and our luggage. Getting around it wasn’t possible either. For the second time we made our way back, shortening the forested path by going over some farmers land. We met the people over whose ground we were now pushing our bikes and when they asked us where we wanted to go to they told us that this bicycle path to Levanger had been closed for years.
Why no one had taken the sign down they did not tell us.
They also told us that in order to get to Levanger we would have to ride on the E6 for some time before we could get off and onto the old E6 up a mountain and over a plateau to Levanger. We thanked them and went back up the hill that we had taken before. Again we discussed for a little while if we should try to ride on the E6 with all the traffic and no shoulder.
But we did not know for how long we would have to follow it. We did know that we both were exhausted after now about 8 hours of a bike ride.
We had spotted a train station in Skatval earlier that day, so we decided to go back to Skatval to see if we could get onto a train to Levanger instead.

Skatval in Northern-Trøndelag proved to be a surprise. We had planned to cycle from Trondheim to Levanger, which should have been around 80 km. Close to this farmhouse we found a street sign stating the continuation of our bike road would be ahead. Well we spend a couple of hours to find it … to follow it on the shores of the nearby fjord…. only to find it closed down with no chance for us to go on. So we were left with the choice between cycling on the E6 with no shoulder visible and quite some traffic or to go back to Skatval and hope for the next train to take us and our bikes to Levanger. We chose the later and were lucky. Lesson learned: how ever nice the area - don't believe in the street signs?
Farmhouse near Skatval

When we arrived at the railway station we had some time left before the train would arrive, so Solo asked me to get some chocolate for me and something to drink for both of us at the nearby grocery store. We sure needed it.
Since this was a local train we did not need a pre-booked train ticked for our bikes, all we needed was the approval of the conductor, who again was nice enough to let us embark on the train.
We had spent 8 hours 45 minutes to cover 72 kilometers, ridiculous, considering we spend around 2.5 hours discussing how to get on…

When we got out of the train in Levanger the weather had changed to pouring rain again, and all we knew was that Levanger had a campground, but I only had the road plotted into my GPS from the path I thought we would have been using on our bikes. Not from the railway station.
Once again we were happy to find a warm waiting room, where if nothing else we could wait for the rain to stop — or worse stay over night if we had to. There we met a young woman who had some local knowledge and was able to point the way out for us where we would find the campground.
So we pushed ourselves to get ready and jump back on our bikes for the last time of the day.
It must have been raining a lot in Levanger on that day as the campground had many large ponds where the road was supposed to be. So Solo decided to not pitch his tent but rather book us into one of the campgrounds cabins if one was available.
We were lucky. They had a cabin available for us. Once we had settled down into it and got ourselves back into presentable shapes we had to make a decision of what to have for dinner. We didn’t buy anything along the way, but with this weather neither of us fancied going out for dinner.
So for dinner we had what was left of the chocolate and the remaining nuts that we had carried for so long together with a hot cup of tea for me.

You can find more photos from Norway on my website.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

2017 Lofoten Calendars available

Calendars with photos from my Scandinavian bike adventure for 2017 are now available:

English calendar:

English calendar - For more information click on the photo

German calendar (Deutscher Kalender):
Deutscher Kalender - Für mehr Informationen bitte auf das photo klicken

These calendars are available in online bookstores as well as in your local bookstore (they might not have them in the store, but will be able to order them for you). To avoid confusion: I do not sell these calendars directly.

Of course you know that there have been Lofoten calendars last year as well. For 2017 I have changed the layout and I have replaced and/or improved the photos presented in the calendars. The photo-captions are now always on the index page and the photos of the calendar pages are a little larger than the photo on the cover page. Of course the GPS coordinates are included in the captions of the photos and, in case you haven't seen it yet, you can find the story behind the Norway and Lofoten photos on here on my blog too.
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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Scandinavian Adventure: Trondheim

(Sunday, June 29th 2014)

Today’s first task was not, as one might think, to get breakfast. No, we actually had to do the laundry before that. First after our clothes were clean and dry we had the chance to go to town to find a place to have a rather late breakfast at 2p.m.—not because we started the clothes washing so late but rather because it took half an eternity to dry our bike clothes.

Well, we finished the washing adventure eventually—unfortunately by then the nice weather of the early morning had changed into a grey and rainy sky—and found, on our way to town, a nice cafe which offered some tasty baguettes and a nice cup of tea.
Unfortunately we did not have the time to really take it slow, because we had to meet up at the railway station to get our train tickets. Yesterday evening I had been able to get someone of the Norwegian Railway service to reserve some tickets for Solo and me, but—since we did this via chat and not via phone—we had not been able to pay for them. Had we done the reservation by phone we would have gotten our tickets from the conductor of the train. But now we had to go to the railway stations service point and actually get them ahead of our ride. Of course this being a Sunday we were rather lucky they had opened at all, because we still wanted to leave town early on Monday.

After all the vital chores were done we were finally ready to do some sightseeing. If there is one thing Trondheim is well known, for except its University—the NTNU—it must be its cathedral, which we were heading for now.

Trondheim Cathedral (Nidarosdom)
Nidarosdomen — the Cathedral of Trondheim

The cathedral is said to be built on the grave of King Olaf the Holy—the king who was the first to adopt a christian legislation in Norway in 1027 and who died, just a few years later, during the battle of Stiklestad on June 29th 1030. This did not grant him the title „the Holy“ though. What did that was more what happened after the battle. First of all the dead body of King Olaf had to be smuggled away from the battlefield so that it would not fall into the hands of his opponent. It was then buried on shore of the River Nid. A solar eclipse was connected to the battle—one of the most famous battles in Norwegian history—which was defined as a message of heavenly disgust and a wound of a follower of King Olaf was said to have healed after some of the King’s blood touched it. About a year after the battle and King Olaf’s first funeral the grave was opened again and it turned out that not only was his body unharmed but his hair and nails had grown and he was red to his cheeks. Today, of course, at least the latter is scientifically explainable, but at the time it was most certainly enough for King Olaf to be declared a saint and a martyr by bishop Grimkjell. The body of Saint Olaf was then put in a shrine and put on the high altar of Clemens Church.

Forty years after the death of Saint Olaf, King Olaf Kyrre built a church of stone over the grave of the saint.—Yes you will find many Scandinavian kings called Olav or Olaf, which is quite confusing when you are reading books like the tales of kings by Snorre (Snorres Kongesagaer), as they are in one sentence just little children playing with each other and in the next one adults in some war against each other…—
This was the beginning of the building of the cathedral, which was finished in 1300. Unfortunately it burned down multiple times in the following years and centuries, so that in 1869 the church was pretty much lying in ruins. But the upcoming national consciousness of the 19th century also started the idea of rebuilding and restoring the church as a national treasure.
The restoration has taken part continuously in 130 years and is still ongoing…they say that whenever they finish restoring one part of the church they have to start another one.

We had spent some time inside the cathedral—unfortunately we had arrived too late for any guided tours—before, on our way out, we saw a sign indicating that we could climb the cathedral’s tower for an additional fee. Despite the weather we decided to get the tickets for the climb and enjoy as much of the view as we could get.
There is only a restricted number of people allowed at each time to climb the tower as the staircase is narrow and slippery, so we had to wait for about half an hour before we could start our tour. We decided to spend a little time, constantly watching the clock, at the bishop’s residence.
Too sad we had been this late down at the cathedral, as the exhibitions in the bishop’s palace seemed interesting enough to capture one for a couple of hours and by the time we would have climbed down from the tower again the other parts of the area would be closed already.

Soon what little time we had, had passed and we made our way back into the cathedral to meet up with the guide and the other participants of the tower-climb. I have climbed a few places like lighthouses and church towers before, none of these had ever included a security briefing like we went through here. Well, it wasn’t a long one, but those suffering from fear of height, heart conditions or asthma were asked to go in the back of the group so that they could turn back, should they feel incapable of getting all the way up. Had they gone in front it would have been impossible to pass the remaining upwards going group. None of our group had to turn back though. But yes, the staircase was really narrow and instead of a balustrade you enjoyed hanging onto a rope—as the guide had pointed out it was not built according to 21st centuries building standards. It was well worth the climb, and if the weather had been any better we would have been able to enjoy a really beautiful view over Trondheim.

Back down from the top of the tower Solo and I decided to head back to our room as there was not much sense in getting cold and wet in town anyway.

Traditional Storage houses along the Nidarelva
Traditional Storage houses along the Nidarelva

In the evening Solo decided to find a pub to sit down and write some of his travel stories to be published on his website and since the weather hadn’t improved too much and I would be—if I was sitting next to him—more of a hindrance than anything else he went alone, while I stayed behind in our room and tried to plan our route for the next day.
We hadn’t booked railway tickets from Trondheim for Tuesday, but from Levanger some 80 kilometers north-east, because we wanted to use the Monday for another bike ride. Unfortunately I had some serious difficulties finding a route that would not have us cycling on the E6 along side with trailers and caravans without knowing if there was a shoulder for us to ride on or not.
Eventually I found one that looked as if it would work out. And by the time I had finished plotting it into my GPS the weather had improved quite a bit too.
Now I would have liked to go out for a short walk, maybe take some photos in the evening’s light. But unfortunately, with Solo, our only key for the room had left too. So not only would I not have had a chance to get back into our room, but I wouldn’t even have had a chance to get it locked behind me…
If only I had noticed that earlier on…
All I could do now was to try to fall asleep to stop me from getting really p… about it.
I cannot say that it improved my mood a lot that, when he finally returned, Solo told me how nice the sky had looked when he walked back to our room. Of course, by the time he told me, it was too late to get out again…
Lesson learned: if you share a room with a friend during a bike ride, make sure you both get a key to it…

You can find more photos from Norway on my website.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Calendar photo of the month: September 2016

This month's calendar photo is from my German Lofoten calendars and planners. It shows a part of the Sundstraumen coastline as seen from Flagstadøya. The story behind this photo is going to be told here in November 2016.

Sundstraumen coastline - Flakstadøya
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Friday, September 2, 2016

The Scandinavian Adventure: Kristiansund — Trondheim

(Saturday, June 28th 2014)

When we woke up this morning, we found our tent covered in bugs — again — somehow we really must have had a clue about how to find the area in the campground with the most bugs, remember this had happened during our first night in the tent in Vikersund too.
Well, what was it they told me all the time: those things that do not kill you will only make you harder.
Of course we got through that too, even though this time the bugs came like a cloud over us and we rushed our stuff out of the tent to pack it, in a less buggy area, into our pannier bags.
The cafe that had those nice burgers last night also offered breakfast, which we enjoyed very much.
Our plan for the day was to see if we could get our bikes on the ferry to Trondheim early, so that we would afterwards have a chance to walk around in Kristiansund without having to worry about them. Not only did that plan not work out but the ferry that I had believed to leave at 12p.m. did actually not leave before 2:30p.m. Yes we had checked it yesterday, but unfortunately I had completely forgotten that today would be a Saturday…
Well, it didn’t matter too much since we wanted to spend a night in Trondheim anyway, and now we had a couple of hours to kill in Kristiansund.
We were lucky though, as the day was chilly but sunny, so it did not matter too much to stay outside.
With some visits to bookstores and grocery stores for supplies, where one of us watched the bikes outside while the other one went inside to get what we needed, those hours were gone fast.

Soon we had boarded another ferry.
The distance between Kristiansund and Trondheim is only about 197 km, so it would have been doable in possibly two days of bike riding. But when I researched this part of our ride I could not find a safe road to travel on. I was not certain the E39 would offer us a shoulder to ride on, and all roads that would possibly have allowed us to stay away from that European Road were dead ends at some point. So the only way I saw to make it to Trondheim was to take a ferry. We could even have re-embarked on the Hurtigruten last night, it would have left at around 2a.m. to arrive in Trondheim early in the morning. But with the experience from our last embarkation on a Hurtigruten boat fresh in our minds and knowing that it would mean we would not get a cabin unless we were eager to break our budgets, I didn’t like the idea too much to start with, so I never suggested it to Solo as a real option. If we still had been behind our schedule, maybe I would have considered it.

This way we had a good night’s sleep in the tent — well at least I had — and an enjoyable ferry ride in the afternoon.

This photo is also published in Lille Ulven Photography's English Norway calendar.

Since we hadn’t pre-booked any hotel or hostel, our first task in Trondheim was to find a place to stay. So we stopped at the first hotel we saw on our way toward the city center, and learned that we were this time not — like in Bergen — outrun by foreign tourists. No, this time Norwegians from all over the country had come to Trondheim and booked their rooms far ahead of us.
But at least we got a little tourist map and an indication from the receptionist where we might have a chance to find a room for the night. First we wanted to try the tourist information though, maybe they had other ideas of where we could stay? Well, it turned out much more difficult to find the tourist information than what we had expected, and once we got to where we believed it to be it was closed. Of course. It was a Saturday evening with beautiful weather. The best reason to close an office early in Norway during the summer months: sunshine.
Well, this actually goes much further than this.

In the winter of 2004 it had rained continuously for more than 60 days in a row in Bergen, when the weather forecast finally predicted a day of sunshine. The Bergens Tidene — one of the two local newspapers of Bergen — had the following headline about it (from my memory): „Parents please warn your children before tomorrow, so that they don’t get scared. Because that big yellow thing in the sky, which we will get to see tomorrow morning, is not a UFO or some other dangerous thing, it is just the sun coming out for a couple of hours.“
People were advised to enjoy the sunshine with a breakfast on the balcony. And on the actual day the papers news editorial staff closed the office and published not a single update for an hour so they all could go outside and enjoy the sun.

So expecting a tourist office to be open on a sunny Saturday evening…well your chances of winning the lottery were bigger.
I knew that close to the cathedral of Trondheim there was a so called Pilgrimshjem — a place to stay over night for those who had followed the old pilgrims route from Oslo to Trondheim — so we found that and had to find out that also here was no bed available. They even had placed a sign outside that they had no room left, so no one would have to come in and be rejected.
Somewhat prepared for further rejections, we made our way toward that hostel that the receptionist at the first hotel had pointed out for us. Following what must be one of the steepest climbs I had ever made on a fully packed bike — as we did not dare to try the bike-elevator.
Yes, you read it right. Trondheim has a bike-elevator, where you place your right foot on some sort of track and have your left one on the left pedal of your bike, which rolls next to you on the street while you are pushed up the hill. But it seemed that one would need some training with this before attempting to use the elevator with packed bikes like ours.
Eventually we arrived at the hostel and I went inside to ask for a room. They had none.
So we took another look at our map when I discovered hidden in the corner an advertisement for a youth hostel. Since they had given both an address and a phone number, yet I had forgotten to bring my cell phone with me, I went back inside the hostel, which just had to give us the bad news and asked if they could call that youth hostel for us. The girl at the reception was so nice to do so. And after I confirmed that it would not be a problem for Solo and me to share a room, we had secured the probably last available room in all of Trondheim!
Solo was at the time already fully prepared to walk around in Trondheim through the entire night and to catch the first train out of it.
But sometimes one gets lucky after all.

Upon arrival at our accommodation we asked immediately if we could keep the room for two days, as we knew we would have to wash some clothes on the next day and so not be able to leave Trondheim too early. Luck had it that this was no problem.
So we moved into our new room and started getting ready for the evening. Now that we knew when we wanted to leave Trondheim I could try to secure some train tickets for us…
On Monday morning we would take the first train out of Trondheim with the direction of Mo i Rana, or so we thought.

Again we had failed to consider the Norwegian cyclists into our equation. Without a phone I could not call the Norwegian Railway Service (NSB) but had to rely on their chat, which took a while before it was my turn in the queue. And the first thing I was told when I asked for tickets including bikes for Monday morning was that there were none available for Monday at all. Ups.
But there were some for the earliest train on Tuesday. I discussed it with Solo, who was eager to get back on the bike by Monday, so we changed our plans and booked the train on Tuesday. Yet…you cannot pay your ticket — when it includes the fare for a bike — via chat or the internet page of the NSB. You have to call them.
Well, I explained to the lady I was chatting with that calling was a bigger problem for us as we had no phone. Thankfully there was a solution for that one: we could just go to the NSB office in Trondheim early on Sunday to pay and pick up our reserved tickets. Sometimes I love it when things work out after all.

After this new adventure included in our little adventure we had become hungry and went out for dinner. Finding a pub which served us some food was at least easier than finding a room or train ticket today…

What a day!


You can find more photos from Norway on my website.

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