Trip to Nordkapp

Beamer

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We began the journey at Newcastle coming from various different parts of UK and Ireland. We got the ferry to Bergen, Norway arriving very late at night so we stayed in a hostel and began our trip through Norway the following morning.
Originally we had planned a trip to the Arctic Circle in Norway then go across Sweden into Finland, down to Helsinki, ferry to Talinn and home through Europe but on the ferry to Bergen we decided that it would be a shame to go as far as the Arctic Circle and not go to Nordkapp.
By adding approx 50 miles per day we figured we could do the extra.
It was sunny and warm, bout 18 degrees in Bergen as we headed off. Within 30 minutes we had pulled in to put neck warmers, gloves etc on, close all air vents in jackets as it was bleedin' freezin'.
We went over the highest mountain range in Scandanavia that day. The walls of snow either side of the road were up to 12 feet high in places.
We hadn't booked any accommodation in advance but had no problem finding it in these hyttes. Only £100-120 per night, between 4/5 of us it was cheap as chips!
There were 2 bedrooms and a bathroom and kitchen in the hyttes and all the ones we stayed in were clean and everything worked well ie showers:)
Day 2 - We visited Tronheim Cathedral. It was beautiful. The crown jewels are kept in the building beside the cathedral, well worth a look.
 

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What time of year did you go? A mixed group of bikes how did they all get on.
 
norway trip

We had stayed in Dombas on the first night and in Grong the second night. The scenery was amazing! There was snow for miles around us and yet the roads were all clear. One of our group didn't continue with us from day 3.
We decided it would be a long day as we had travelled less than 200miles the first day and we had a lot of catching up to do. We were heading for Narvik.
We crossed the Arctic Circle, it wasn't where it is on the maps though, not sure why.
It was pissing rain all day. We were freezing and wet, KTM gear was by far the best as Hutch continually reminded us:blagblah
We kept going and as we were on the last leg of the day, the road just ended! Just like that! We had to wait for a ferry! It added nearly 2 hours onto the day. WE arrived in Narvik quite late and found a hotel(affectionately known to us as Fawlty Towers). Nothing was quite where it should be or was a little bit broken but it was warm and dry and we had the best breakfast of the whole trip there!
Day 4 we wandered around Narvik for a while, Mike bought a new helmet and we visited a War museum.(The joy of travelling with 3 englishmen who had avid interest in all things warlike, and me a wee girlie from Ireland!)
Although I have to admit it was interesting and I did learn stuff.
We headed off to Alta that day, It was another long day but because we were in the land of the midnight sun we weren't really tired when we reached Alta late at night.
I was up at 3 that morning and it was as bright as the middle of the day! Sun up in the sky. Very strange!
 

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norway trip

We were heading for Nordkapp on day5. The roads were long and twisty. Every so often Mike, on the Hyabusa, would give it some welly and he'd be gone, we'd catch up with him a while or so later and he'd be taking action shots of us.
We went through so many tunnels that day, one of which was 24km long!
Amazing, but very cold and damp. And dark.
As we got closer there were little sandy beaches, with snow on them. and wooden structures with hundreds of fish on them.
And then we saw reindeer, loads of them, they were paler than I imagined them to be, not brown like Rudolph!
Then we came to a toll bridge/road. It seemed to be a moneymaking exercise. They charged extra for me on the back of the bike, it was about £7 each(I think)
It seemed that the roads went on forever that day!
Finally we reached Nordkapp!
 

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What time of year did you go? A mixed group of bikes how did they all get on.

We left Newcastle on 3rd May. Got back to Ireland on 18th May.
The Dakar was by far the most economical, even with 2 up. The hyabusa needed a new tyre in Finland and the chain and sprockets barely got him home, but he had so much fun on the roads in Scandanavia. The KTM had no problems.
We weren't in any hurry though and we stayed together everyday(other than Mike's bursts of speed).
The roads in Scandanavia were amazing, there was no snow or ice, no potholes, they were perfect. The roads in Estonia, Latvia were ok too. The roads in Lithuania were by far the most dangerous in that they were single carriageway and full of homicidal lorry drivers!! Extremely homicidal!!!
While the Dakar served us well on this trip, we have upgraded to an1150GSA for this years trip.
 
norway trip

It was such an exhilerating feeling getting to Nordkapp! As far North as one can travel by road in Europe! We all felt such a sense of achievement.
It was a beautiful clear sunny day there, but there was plenty of snow.
Definitely worth the extra 50 odd miles a day.
There is a monument to world peace there too, apparently they got 6 children from 6 corners of the globe, brought them to Nordkapp, gave them clay coins and asked them to decorate them. These children had nothing in common, they were different colours and creeds and all spoke different languages yet they played happily together all day.
Copies of the clay coins were made, about 6 feet in diameter, these stand in Nordkapp as a symbol of world peace.
The gift shop is expensive though.:)
Then, we made snow angels!!!
I'll post more photo's of the rest of the trip tomorrow.
 

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Kev.Mide

I seem to have caused confusion:augie
Just to clarify, I'm Mide(wee girlie) and Kev's my other half, we are both posting as Kev.Mide

sorry for the confusion:)

Mide
 
down thru finland

We left Nordkapp, paid extortionately for the toll bridge/road again:mad: and headed for the Finnish border. We stayed in Karasjok that night still in Norway but close to the border. As Finland is the home of saunas there was a sauna in the hytte we stayed in that night. It was kinda difficult to sleep that night, primarily because it didn't get dark but also because the cushions on the couch kept falling out from under us!
Day 6
It was absolutely gloriously sunny that day but freezing. It had rained for 2 days but thankfully it didn't rain again until the end of the trip. We were really lucky with the weather.

Driving through Finland was a bit like 'groundhog day'. It was lovely but all the same. Very straight, flat roads with either lakes either side of you or really, really tall skinny trees. Really tall!!
For the first half of the day the lakes were all frozen, some of them were huge! I had to go to see if I could stand on one but when I got to the edge the ice was melting a little and I didn't want to risk getting wet on the first non rainy day we'd had.
We crossed the Arctic Circle again. It was in Rovaneimi, at Santa's post office. Being May the post office was closed but the Christmas shop was open and we sent post cards with Santa on them!!
By now all the snow was gone and when we stopped for fuel and tea we all removed several layers of clothes.
If you plan a trip like this and drink tea, bring tea bags with you as they don't have ordinary tea anywhere.
We stayed in Oulu that night, again in a hytte.
 

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To new Europe

On the way to Oulu Mike and Hutch had gone on ahead while we shopped in the Christmas store:)Kev drew the short straw and shopped too! Mike needed a new back tyre. They got to Oulu just after 6. It was a Saturday and so shops wouldn't be open again until Monday. Mike had decided he'd have to stay til Mon as the tyre was so bad. The boys went to have a pint and started chatting to some lads in the pub, one of whom owned a motorbike shop and had a tyre and so they all went off together, he opened the shop and changed the tyre. What a result!
Day 7
We headed to Helsinki the next day, again it was glorious but still groundhog dayish. We arrived in Helsinki in the evening and found a campsite with hytte in it, so we duly booked one. They were all so different but fundamentally the same. The all had working showers in them and kitchens and were clean.
One of the boys lost something(can't remember now what it was, but at the time it was very important!!) So Hutch got his hammer?!? out of his bag, removed the floorboard and retrieved what they'd lost.(Not only did Hutch have a stove in case we had to camp, he had a spare stove in case the first one didn't work!!)
Day 8
We got the ferry to Talinn, Estonia. It only took about 40 minutes. Again we had lovely weather. Talinn is a beautiful city. It's somewhere we'd definitely go back to.
We would've liked to've stayed for longer but time was against us.
When we stopped for a fuel and tea stop we got chatting to other bikers, and they said to call into a Biker Bar called Alexandria's in Parnu, southern Estonia. It was on our way so we looked for it and found it.
It was a cool bar, food was great and many many photos etc to look at of trips the guys in the bar had done.
Great bar.
 

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On to Riga.

We arrived in Riga in the evening and were all knackered, so we decided to stay in the Raddison SAS hotel;)
We needed secure parking and there was in the SAS:augie
We were so filthy dirty after riding for 8 days in all weathers, the panniers and bags were rotten and we were traipsing through the SAS posh hotel!
We got cleaned up and came down to the bar to eat and drink:beer:
The beer was sooo expensive in Scandanavia we hadn't done much drinking at all.

We headed for Lithuania on day 9. The roads were getting worse and busy. There had been almost no traffic at all in Scandanavia, There was more in Estonia and more again in Latvia, obviously because this was the only main road to Europe. in Lithuania the number of juggernauts increased tenfold. And they were all homicidal maniacs!! There were at least 3 occasions where we would be stone dead if we'd been in a car, we'd come round a corner and there'd be a lorry overtaking a lorry on a blind bend! Nutters! we were hanging onto the edge of the road.

Then as we were driving along we saw war planes parked in a field to our right so in we went to have a look.
The boys were soooo happy!
 

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To Poland

I forgot to mention that the landscape in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was all quite similar. Very Very flat, there weren't many crops and no herds that we saw.
We stopped very briefly in Kaunas, I wanted souvenirs from all the countries we went to. I bought the same things in each country, a pen, a flag, a sticker, a fridge magnet and a keyring. They varied in price from total of €7 to €36. We were ripped off in some countries with currencies that weren't €. We went through the countries so quickly that we didn't check currencies and were screwed. We live and learn.:blast
We travelled from Riga to Warsaw that day and as we approached Warsaw it got dark! It was the first time we'd been out in the dark since the beginning of the trip because we'd been so far North and then indoors earlyish the previous night.
Warsaw is stunning at night! It was more like riding into Vegas. There were neon lights everywhere. Big, tall buildings, big,shiny new cars. It didn't look poor at all. Maybe it was just the area we were in but it crtainly looked afluent.
It was about 10pm and when we looked for accommodation there was none to be found. We were ringing hotels/hostels, stopping and going in but no joy. We were too far into town to consider camping. Eventually we got rooms in the Marriott. Expensive rooms! Breakfast was an extra€30 each so we left early and got horses willies(hot dogs, the mainstay of our trip) in the first garage we came to.
We were headed south, to Krakow and on to Auschwitz. The roads were crap, mainly because there were so many roadworks. Hutch and Mike went straight to Auschwitz but we wanted to see Krakow first.(I wanted to get souvenirs, we didn't find any shops in Warsaw)
Krakow didn't really impress us, now to be fair, we were in a hurry so maybe we didn't hit the right side of town(and they'd no souvenir shops:()

The landscape in Poland was quite different to the previous countries, it was hilly and had the most beautiful and unusual church spires we'd ever seen. They were all different and striking.Also the graveyards were a mass of colour with all the flowers on the graves. You could see them for miles up on the hillsides. There was a similarity to Ireland in that there were statues/grottos at the sides of the roads, with people standing around, rosary beads in hand, praying.(Don't often see the praying people in Ireland, just the grottos)
The old women wore black with shawls around their hads and shoulders, the young women were very pretty and slim and very well dressed.
The biggest herd of cattle taht we saw in the whole of Poland had 4 cows in it. There were one or two cows in lots of fields but no more. We saw farmers sitting on stools in the fields hand milking cows and horse drawn ploughs. It was really interesting!
We travelled the length and breadth of Poland as we came from thenorth east travelled all the way down to Krakow and back up towards Berlin.
 

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Auschwitz

The ride into Auschwitz was very strange for me. It was not a place I would've visited, mainly because I didn't know much about it. But as we rode there I was thinking about what little I knew of the atrocities that went on there. It was a gloriously sunny day, we were riding down the road with green leafy trees either side, butterflies and birds flying(There were roadworks and we were going slow which is why we took so much of our surroundings in). It was really hard to imagine all the bad stuff when surrounded by such natural beauty.

Auschwitz really humbled me. It is an amazing place. It was the highlight of the trip for me. We only had an hour there but we'll definitely go back.
It was so sad and sickening, it's staggering to see what man is capable of, but everyone should visit. I don't believe the world would be in the state it's in if people stood in places like Auschwitz and saw the reality of what happened there.
Standing in the rooms that were bedrooms and seeing how many people had to fit in, seeing the kitchens, bathrooms. So many people were in each building, then you'd come outside and there were so many buildings. The enormity of it was mindblowing.

We went to Birkenhau but it was closing so we only saw inside the gates. Again rows and rows and rows of buildings, and there were so many more but many of them had been knocked down.
We have more to see there and we will go back.
 

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most expensive night

After leaving Auschwitz we headed towards Wroclow. We stopped for dinner then headed off again. It started to get dark so we were going to ring around looking for accomodation but in the end we decided to camp!
We had bought tents etc as emergency accomodation. The gear was expensive because it had to pack up small, be light and be warm enough to camp up North in the proper cold.
Needles to say Hutch was beside himself with excitement with the opportunity to use the stove and camping gear!:)
The stove performed perfectly so we had no need for the spare:toungincheek
Because of the price of the camping gear and because we only used it once on the whole trip, that night proved to be our most expensive nights accomodation! In the morning we had breakfast(horses willies) in the next garage.

We pulled in for petrol just before we crossed the border to Germany and I got my Polish souvenirs:JB
We headed to Berlin. Once we hit the autobahn we realise that our Dakar wasn't big enough for 2 up on those sorts of roads!

As we drove into Berlin there were college students on the roadside giving free hugs! All in the name of peace!:hug

Our camera was out of battery so Mike took photo's of us at the Brandenburg Gate and promised he'd sent us copies. We're still waiting!!
 

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Respect to you all, what a trip and great pictures too! well done :thumb2
 
Last leg of the trip

We had lunch in Berlin and then headed North to Kiel.
Kev, Hutch and Mike had dived off the coast of Germany/Denmark in 2001. They were diving at the site of the battle of Jutland. Kev had brought the bell up from the Frauenloeb, a sunken German war ship. They had donated the bell to the war museum in Kiel and so we wanted to see it all polished up in all it's glory!
It was the best artifact in the whole museum and had pride of place!

Obviously while we were there we had a look inside the Submarine!(and had a running commentary from Hutch and Mike!:D)

We had lunch in the lovely sunshine and after lunch hit the road to Amsterdam. It rained almost the whole way there!
We met a friend of Hutch's, Johann, and we all went for a chinese.
Then we wandered the streets for a while, sampling the local cuisine!:augie:roll

We were up early the next morning as we had to get to Dunkerque to catch the ferry. Mike took a different ferry. We rode almost all the way to London with Hutch then he headed home.
We were in Essex eating dinner in Kev's Mom's by that evening.

After a week travelling up Norway and down Finland, we were in a different Capital City every day for a week, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, London and home in Dublin by Sunday evening!
A great trip! We're planning this year's one now. Can't wait!!
 

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