Bicycle tour Scandinavia 1993



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Monday 9 August

From Hafslo there are two possible ways to get to Skjolden. The route along the eastern bank of the Lusterfjord has many advantages: shorter, quieter, no climbs, and above all, the road goes past the famous staffchurch (polechurch) at Urnes. Also the high waterfall Feigumfossen is on this side of the fjord, but it seems you get a better view of the falls from the opposite bank. The rainy weather sticks around for a long time, so the 30 km climb (from sealevel) to the Jotunheims (1440) is no fun. Luckily from Turtagro on (900m asl) there are mountain hotels placed at regular intervals, where simple but plentiful meals are served. In the neighbourhood of Krossbu (1440 m) I camp by a small stream between two snowfields. It is quite dry and sunny, but not very warm (5C).




Tuesday 10 August

Today the route descends for the most part through the cloudy Bøverdal, with a very limited view, unfortunately, of the snowcovered tops of Norways highest mountains. On the way I pass by the magnificent restored manor farm Elveseter. In Lom (with famous staffchurch) the weather clears. Via half sealed minor roads (a sensible alternative to the busy national highway 15) I finally arrive,after 113 km, at the campground in Otta.

Stavkirke in Vagamo

Lom's Stavkirke

Wednesday 11 August

According to statistics the Ottadal is one of the driest places in Europe. The whole night and all morning it rains for extended periods. Meanwhile an unsettling amount of water seems to have gathered under the tent. The water even seeps into the tent via the corners and through the groundsheet. There is nothing else I can do but pack away all my gear and the inner tent and wait for a break in the weather. Luckily it stops raining (finally) late in the morning.

The route goes southwards, towards Lillehammer. At Vinstra the busy E6 is left behind and the road climbs toward the Golå plateau - Peer Gynt country. Half way along the unsealed Peer Gynt Way I follow a cycle path that truly leads to the middle of nowhere. Here you can camp anywhere completely undisturbed. There is no shortage of water here either. It's obvious I need to boil the brownish looking water (from the peat moors) before consumption, because of the many sheep that wander around up here.


Thursday 12 August

After riding back a little way, I follow the Peer Gynt Way. It is cold and drizzly again. On the descent through the Gausdal the gentle rain stops: all the way to Lillehammer, 77k further on, it rains buckets! The budget hotel in this Olympic town seems an excellent alternative for a few rainsoaked cycle campers. In the evening the weather clears.

Peer Gynt Veien

Friday 13 August

After changing two completely worn out brakepads, and oiling the chain I continue my journey to Hamar. In Hamar a visit to the Vikingskipet (Vikingship, the famous indoor speed skating hall) is not to be missed. The magnificent road along the Mjosa lake ends in Minnesund. The last part runs parallel to the E6, which is carrying a great stream of traffic out of Oslo towards weekend or holiday destinations.

Vikingship skating hall in Hamar

Saturday 14 August

From Minnesund it is a mere 90km to Oslo. The ride takes me through a rolling rural landscape, that makes me think of Tuscany. Once in Oslo it is no longer clear which direction the city centre is in. Finally I reach the camping ground on the Ekeberg by way of the flyovers and horrendously busy roads . The campground is fabulously placed on the top of the Ekeberg, and has a *** panoramic view over the city. I explore further downtown on foot. Lydia and Ståle live quite close to the centre, but unfortunately they are not at home.


Sunday 15 August.

Restday, or rather a cycle free day. The day is put to good use sightseeing in Oslo. At first on foot to the Akershus fortress. From there past the royal palace to the Vigeland sculpture park. Following that a visit to the Bygdøy peninsula, where there are many museums, including an open air one.

Vigeland sculpture park

Monday 16 August

My last Norwegian leg goes through the Ostfold region. Luckily the campground is situated to the south of the town so that it is really easy to find my way out. The countryside to the south of Oslo is not so spectacular: sloping fields, alternating with forests and lakes. In the fortress town of Halden the campground is set nicely above the town on a hill next to a castle.


Tuesday 17 August

Before I know it, I cycle into Sweden. The same countryside presents itself: many woods and lakes alternating with fields and meadows. After around 80km or so on quiet roads I land on the busy E6 highway. Alas there is no alternative route. However, cycling is not unpleasant: broad shoulder, perfect asphalt, flat surface and a tailwind. The kilometers fly past, Göteborg approaches at great speed. Just past Munkerdal the fun is over. Via a picturesque side road through Bohuslän I reach the campground of Ab Hafstens, on the fjord with the same name. This nicely positioned campground is set on a narrow finger of land, surrounded by water.

Wednesday 18 August

The last cycle stage is to Göteborg. The national road 160 over Orust Island is busy and narrow. Because my map is lacking the needed detailed information I can't find any alternative route. I am compensated for the heavy traffic conditions by fine weather and great views over the beautiful coast with many islands and spectacular bridges.

Beautiful coast of Bohuslän


Thursday 19 August

The last day is spent sightseeing in Göteborg. Göteborg is a whole lot more cycle friendly than Oslo. Notable are the well signposted, separate cyclepaths and the many cycling (ATB) commuters. In the evening I am firmly but pleasantly requested to move my tent from the empty campground (for campervans and caravans only) to the much smaller, egg-filled area set aside for tents. The following day this campground also proves to be one of the most expensive of the whole trip (f 25 per night)

Friday 20 August
Up early in order to check in at the terminal on time. The Skandia terminal, where I have reserved a ticket on the boat back to Amsterdam, is a long way outside of town at the harbour. I still have 19 kilometers to ride to the harbour. With this added in the total distance adds up to ±2485 kilometers in 25 days.

Unfortunately the weather is hazy as the boat travels towards Amsterdam. The long crossing (23 hours) can be spent on board in one of the many restaurants, in the casino or at the pokermachines. With a bit of Norwegian change I try my luck, and I receive a windfall of 85 Swedish krones! Just the thing for a free hot meal on board!

Saturday 21 August

Arrival 8.45 at the Suez dock in Amsterdam. The cyclists are first off the boat, riding en masse. As I am riding off, mom and dad drive up just in time to pick me up.