Scandinavia 2001: Laidback to Lofoten




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Monday 2 July, 90 km

Å-Reine-Ramberg-Nussfjord-Nappstraumen tunnel-Utakleiv

At the campsite in Å a lot of cycle tourists have gathered. On Sunday I meet the Swiss cyclist Mats again. He'd cycled the same route and arrived one day earlier in Bodø...

After a rest day I leave the picturesque fishing village and head north along the scenic coastal road E10. Seems a lot like cycling in the high mountains, without having to climb a lot (all roads stay here at sea level). The main obstacles are the impressive bridges (up to 10% steep) and the Nappstraumen tunnel. This is a tunnel under the seafloor, connecting the islands of Flakstadøya and Vestvågøya. In Utakleiv I camp at a beautiful located primitive site along the empty beach. Unfortunately, due to overcast conditions there's no sunset to watch during midnight..


near Å - Reine - Nussjord

Utakleiv beach

Tuesday 3 July, 85 km


The next morning heavy wind gusts and showers batter down my tent. As soon as the wind drops I leave the beach, it was a narrow escape... Beyond Leknes I ride along a pretty coastline near Stamsund. The weather has improved and I'm enjoying the beautiful landscape. Although there are no forests on these islands, the vegetation is lush and green; something I'd not expect in this high arctic regions. The campsite at Lyngvær, close to the impressive Grimsøystraumen bridge, has good and clean facilities. In the heated dining room with kitchen I meet a a cycle touring couple who also started from Å. The same evening the Dutch camping ground inspectors arrive at the campground (I'd met them earlier near Nesna).

Grimsøystraumen bridge

Wednesday 4 July, 77 km


This story becomes a bit boring: the road to Henningsvær, the Venice of Lofoten, is very spectaculair. After a short visit of this fishing village I head to Svolvær, where I meet the cyclists from Lyngvær campground again at the Coop supermarket. Halfway of the Austnestfjord I turn left to Laukvik, to find a campsite to watch the sunset at midnight. Alas, no sun but rain during midnight...

Lyngvær - Henningsvær

Svolvær -Austnestfjord

Thursday 5 July, 79 km


The road from Laukvik to Fiskebøl is a not sealed. The gravel is rideable, until a huge machine approaches me, reparing the road and leaving a brown mess behind. With great effort I try to cycle further through the mud, sometimes I have to walk. After a few hours I arrive just in time to catch the Fiskebøl-Melbu ferry. At the port I meet the cycling couple from Lyngvær again. They followed the E10 in pouring rain, while I had a very dirt road but almost dry weather on the other side of the island!

The island of Hadsel belongs to the Vesterålen archipelago. In this dull weather the landscape of Vesterålen seems less impessive as Lofoten. On a rather boring highway I join the other cyclists until Stokmarknes. Another dull and busy stretch of E10 follows until I reach Sortland, where I run across the Swiss cyclist Mats for the third time! His bike is suffering from a broken rim and he has to wait here a few days for a new one.

Friday 6 July, 98 km

Sortland-Sigerfjord-Kaljord (ferry)-Hanøy-Fiskebøl-Vatterfjord

Sortland is the northern most point of my trip. I decide to cycle back to Svolvær. Road 822 on the isle of Hinnøya, turns out to be a much more scenic route than the E10 on the opposite side of the Sigerfjord. The winds has also changed direction, blowing now from the east and bringing more sunshine. In Kaljord I've to wait a while for the first ferry to the isle Austvagøya. As usual a very scenic trip across the fjord follows.

The wide, brand new highway to Fiskebøl is not drawn on my map yet. It forms part of a new ferry free connection of Lofoten with the mainland. Because the road dead ends in Hanøy, it's very quiet.

Just before Fiskebøl I come across a tunnel that has an unexpected, long descent. Halfway this undersea tunnel I have to climb again, back to sea level...

Riding along the sunny Austnesfjord for the second time, the impressive scenery looks totally different compared with a few days ago... About ten km before Svolvær I camp at a small campsite along the Vatterfjord.


Saturday 7 July, 106 km


For a change, I follow the E10 instead of the coastal road 815. However, I find out the E10 is less scenic. After passing another undersea tunnel (Nappstraumen) I pitch my tent at the beach near Flakstad at a lovely and quite busy campground. Around midnight the sky has cleared, so that I finally can enjoy the midnight sun!

Sunday 8 July, 70 km


After passing a few steep bridges across the azure blue sea i reach Fredvang on the isle of Moskenesøya. I'm heading for a dead ending gravle road along the Selfjord. The weather is perfect for one of the most spectacular rides of my trip, along the fields full of wildflowers and the jagged peaks of Moskenes in the distance.


Riding back to Norways most scenic town Reine and campground in Å is a joyful experience as well.


Monday 9 July

Å-Moskenes-ferry-Bodø-Trondheim (trein)-Oslo (Tuesday)

My cycle tour comes to an end. Waiting in sunny Moskenes for the delayed ferry back to Bodø. In Bodø it starts to rain and I manage to get a ticket for the evening train to Trondheim (with a good connection to Oslo). The bicycle is stored in the luggage waggon without any problem. The first leg of the train ride is quite spectecular along the uninhabited wild regions of Saltfjellet, high above the E6. When the landscape changes to (boring) forested hills I try to get some sleep. In rainy Trondheim I change trains to Oslo, no problems taking the bicycle either. Around 15hr. we arrive in Oslo, it's sunny and warm. I try to get a cheap ticket at the busy Stena Line terminal, but unfortunately the overnight ferries to Frederikshavn are all booked out for days. At the next terminal of Color Line, a couple of kilometers away, I manage to get a ticket to Hirthals, departing the same evening. It costs twice as much, even without a cabine though.

Wednesday 11 July, 98 km


Early in the morning I arrive at the Danish port of Hirthals and head for the train station. Unfortunately it seems not possible to get to the Netherlands by train with a bicycle. Another alternative, booking a bus with bicycle trailer, is not possible either, all buses are booked out this week.

Tired of the long journey by train and boat, I decide to cycle a bit south. I find my way through the lovely country side via local bike routes. The public libraries and tourist offices offer free brochures of those routes, published by the province of North Jutland. Near Ålborg, I have an address of a local recumbent cyclist, but alas, he's on cycling holiday.

The next morning it's raining cats and dogs. I head to Ålborg central station and make a reservation for me and my bike for the express train to Hamburg, Germany. Again, there's no connection to the Netherlands but a very early one (7.00 AM). In Hamburg I buy a cheap Niedersachsen ticket to Leer, where I arrive late in the evening. It's a very weird experience to pitch my tent in the dark, being spoiled by continuous daylight for several weeks...

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