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Thread: Reflections on Scratching the itch - Nordkapp 2013

  1. #49
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    20th June - And some have fame...

    I left Stavanger in traffic, which was a shock, but it was good to be back on the move.



    However, the sky had cleared again and it has been another beautiful day. I keep looking at the UK weather forecast and wondering why I am coming home! The countryside outside Stavanger was very gentle and pastoral, almost like Dorset.



    The road ran right by the sea. Note the round barrow in the corner of the field, very Dorset.



    I only had 160 miles to do to get to the ferry but I had chosen, as always, the scenic route and I knew it might be slow. Before long I was back in fjord country





    Then the road got really twisty and I couldn't take any photos on the move. I didn't want to stop because I was worried about time and I was having fun. When the road settled down and I was sure about the arrival time, I stopped for coffee and petrol. That's when the paparazzi found me. Just as I got back on the bike a very nice young man asked me if I had time to do a quick interview for the local paper on my travels. I could hardly refuse so I told him my story and he took a few pictures. So in some small part of southern Norway I will be tomorrow's fish and chip wrappings.

    The last 25 or so miles were on the main road and for absolutely no discernible reason, it was a very good road, the speed limit was 40mph. It was dull so I was glad to make the ferry. There were a lot of bikes and the usual banter and chatter. I got talking to a nice Norwegian couple who are just setting off for Italy. They are on the left and right in this picture. The chap in the middle is another Belgian.



    They have given me their email address and insist I stay with them when I come back to Norway.

    The ferry was a fast catamaran powered by water jets. Very impressive. After the Queen Mary 2 in Gerainger, here's the Queen Elizabeth in Kristiansand.



    So the coast of Norway receded.



    This was the last bit we passed. I would say that is an isolated place to live. It's a good mile or two off shore.



    Once we were clear out to sea the engines opened up. They were very impressive and pushed us along at a fair old speed





    If you fell off the stern it would be a fun few seconds!

    http://stouravon.smugmug.com/Motorcy...IMG_0906-M.jpg

    I settled into my seat with the Norwegian equivalent of an almond magnum and read my book. In no time we were there. I might have snoozed a bit. The coast was very different as I drove off



    as was the surrounding countryside



    Now I am in a very little hut in Hjorring. I've eaten my last sachet of tomato soup for tea. Tomorrow I have to do 150 ish miles, visit a dead man and some stones and make it to the ferry in Hritshals by 5 o'clock. The end seems to be coming in a rush. In fact I'm really right on time by the original draft planning it's just that I am taking a different ferry. I have an open booking to go back via Hoek van Holland but I have bottled out of flogging 500miles down the motorway system and booked an overnight from Hirtshals instead. I will get my money back on the other booking if I cancel in time. I don't expect I will get wi fi tomorrow so the last post may have to wait until I get home. Here's my little Wendy house


  2. #50
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    Enjoyed that a lot. many thanks for making the effort to write, edit and post it

  3. #51
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    Thanks Paul, there's one last twist to the story when I get the chance - probably tomorrow.

  4. #52
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    Hjorring Camping, I had hut 5 July 4th ! Great write up

  5. #53
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    Thanks for taking the time to post that report. A really great read.

  6. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    Thanks Paul, there's one last twist to the story when I get the chance - probably tomorrow.
    So what was the "one last twist"? Don't keep us hanging!

  7. #55
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    to hide a leaf first find a forest

    http://www.visitguernsey.com

  8. #56
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    Sorry! I'll get it done. It will be an anticlimax now!

  9. #57
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    OK, sorry for the delay. I did the rest while I was watching the cricket and I've not sat down for that long since!

    21st June Two stones and a dead man

    Out here in Jutland
    In the old man-killing parishes
    I will feel lost,
    Unhappy and at home.

    (Seamus Heaney)

    Denmark is the cleanest, neatest and most boring country of the trip. It is so flat and manicured it was hard to stay awake riding through it. I had to do 200 or so miles and visit Silkeborg museum to see the Tollund Man exhibit and Jelling to see the two rune stones. The journey to Silkeborg was a rattle down the motorway in the rain. Silkeborg was good. I think the man on the desk was a bit miffed that I wasn't interested in the ceramic collection. I thought the presentation of the Tollund man exhibit was excellent and the body itself was quite moving. The face is so well preserved and expressive that one feels a real connection and sympathy. (Pic nicked from google)



    It did make me think about the ethics of displaying dead bodies in a museum exhibit. How old does it have to be to make it ok? I didn't hang about and pushed on to Jelling to see the rune stones. These are key artefacts in Danish history. They too were very sympathetically and simply displayed. I was glad I made the effort.





    There is a third stone outside the tourist office. Not so much a replica but a modern interpretation of how the bigger stone might originally have looked. I understand there is enough evidence of the paint remaining to justify it.



    There is apparently a replica of the larger stone in the original colours in the grounds of the Danish church in London so I will have to seek that out. I will let this photograph of the cemetery in Jelling stand for my impression of Denmark. It is ludicrously neat and ordered.



    Then it was a push for the ferry through increasingly heavy rain. I ended up getting there with 1.5 hrs to wait before check in, there was no shelter and it was raining hard. An Englishman in the queue insisted I sit in his car out of the rain even though I was dripping. He was a bomb disposal expert in his way back from training the Danes on dealing with IED's. A good Samaritan. I had a nice cabin and treated myself to a steak in the restaurant, finally warm and dry. It was a good steak.

  10. #58
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    22nd June - A sting in the tale

    After a good night's sleep, an excellent breakfast and a peaceful morning's reading I was unstrapping my bike expecting to be on the road in the next ten minutes when the ferry juddered and there was a loud bang. I didn't think much if it but there were suddenly crew members rushing around carrying mattresses and blocks of wood. I now know these were to patch the hole. When I got up on deck the problem was easy to see. The ferry was impaled on the corner of the dock next to the one the captain had been aiming for



    We were soon surrounded by the ambulances, police cars, the RNLI and an air sea recue helicopter.





    The ship was listing noticeably, around 8 deg. I think the rising tide was pushing it over because of the bit of dock stuck in the hull. The captain hadn't messed around; he had really clouted the dock



    It looked like this when I left Harwich



    and like this after the ship hit it



    It took nearly two hours to make the decision to use the tugs to refloat the ship and a further half hour of tugging (ho ho) to pull the boat off the dock and manouevre her into the berth so we could unload. By this time we had all been gathered in the restaurant, fed coffee and cake, and instructed to sit down so the rest of the photos are blurry from being taken through a window. I have to say DFDS were very efficient and helpful and quick to provide refreshments and information.

    Here is the Svitzer Sky pulling us off



    and here the wreckage left behind once we were freed



    Once we finally disembarked it was a very windy and uncomfortable 200 mile ride home, I felt very sorry for the loaded bikes and cars I passed which were obviously on the way to the ferry and a big disappointment.

    And that's that. 5,337 miles and six countries later.

    We shall not cease from exploration,
    and the end of all our exploring
    will be to arrive where we started
    and know the place for the first time.

    T. S. Eliot

  11. #59
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    Postscript

    The ferry was sent to Bremerhaven for repair and was out of commission for a couple of weeks. This press photo shows the damaged bow. I think there was more below the waterline.



    What I now know

    Norway is a great place to ride a motorcycle but its reputation for being expensive is justified. I think my trip cost me a bit over £2.5k and I didn't push the boat out. Buying a statoil mug which gives you free coffee was worth it for me but you'd need to be there for a few weeks or drink a lot of coffee to get your money back. I travelled alone, which I enjoyed, but two people would have halved the accommodation costs.

    There is no doubt that a big chunk of the best riding and scenery is in the south. However, I got a lot out of the ride up to the North Cape and I am glad I did it. I enjoyed the desolation of the north and got a buzz from being so far inside the arctic circle.

    I had very unusual weather, little rain and a lot of blue sky. There are other ride reports on here that tell a very different story.

    This forum is a fabulous resource for pre-trip planning and I mined it extensively. In particular, Liv's posts were invaluable.

    Useful links:

    I used several of these:

    http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en

    This is a really useful online map for detailed planning

    http://www.visitnorway.com/uk/VN/Map...91&source=prod

    This shows Norwegian Hostels. If you join the YHA you get 10% off.

    http://www.hihostels.com/dba/cmap-NO.en.htm

    Here are the Norwegian BMW dealers

    http://www.bmw-motorrad.no/no/no/ind...html&notrack=1

    And this is a useful alternative to google translate

    http://enno.dict.cc/

    If there is any interest I can post my route.

    Thanks for reading and for the supportive comments.

  12. #60
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    Bloody fantastic Walrus ... just read through from the beginning

    Sooo many places there that Sue (Gracie) and myself visited in June in our two and a half week, 4,000 mile trip to Norway. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post ...

    Your ferry cost Sue and myself a slight problem ... our DFDS ferry was cancelled and so we ended up riding from the camp site in Denmark to Rotterdam for the overnight boat from there

    Really enjoyed your writing and photographs ... thanks again

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  13. #61
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    Walrus, what a great trip and an epic ride report, thank you so much for taking the time to post the details of your trip. It is an itch for me and has been for some time.

    I for one would be interested in more details of your route as I will get to the north cape at some stage when I can find the time and have funds available at the same time.
    R1200GS Triple black! Lovely
    R1200C Montauk -lovely

  14. #62
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    Micky

    Thanks for that. I just read your report - great read. It's fascinating to get another perspective on the place. We did indeed cover a lot of the same ground although not always in the same direction. The trip over the top and down into Lysebotn was one of the highlights for me. I would have liked to ride out again just to go up that road.

    Daffy

    Thank you. I will try to stitch together a record of the route and post it. I'm not far away if you ever decide to go and want to pick what's left of my brain.

  15. #63
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    That's a great report, thanks for taking the time to post it.

    Glad you enjoyed the trip.

  16. #64
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    What a brilliant trip

    Thanks for sharing,

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