Tag Archives: Frozen lakes

13 & 14 May 2015 – Varmints…and the weather takes a turn for the worse

Something wasn’t quite right, my ‘spider sense’ was twitching. I’d woken up a couple of times during the night, I thought because it had got colder, and a bit windier, but no, that wasn’t it. I felt something move under my foot beneath the sleeping bag, a lump slowly making its way from left to right. Then came the sound of rustling from the direction of my panniers; I was pretty sure this wasn’t the wind, and it couldn’t be a ghost; you’re safe if you’re under a duvet/sleeping bag aren’t you? Unless it’s one of those really scary Japanese horrors that don’t play by the rules.

I unzipped my inner tent door to the porch and peered out cautiously, moving my panniers to one side. Two beady eyes peered back at me angrily from a small furry face, a varmint! This particular varmint was a vole, and he wasn’t too pleased at being disturbed. Thankfully I’d closed up my panniers overnight so he/she couldn’t get in to feast on my salami or cheese supplies, however the miscreant had succeeded in gnawing through the tensioning cord under my tent, in two places, and had put two small vole shaped holes in the groundsheet as well. I’ve no idea if the beasty roamed around inside my tent whilst I was asleep; I don’t think so as didn’t find any droppings, but who knows what kind of party occurred. I asked Lobster why he hadn’t been on guard? He just shrugged muttering something about needing his beauty sleep with all this cycling, like he actually does any of the pedalling!

I chased the vole away, although it kept trying t get back under my tent; must be cosy under there.

Varmint! A visit from a vole

Varmint! A visit from a vole

Then I fixed the tensioning cord with a few reef knots and half hitches, which should suffice. I’ll patch the floor when I next use my tent, using some gaffa tape and a bit of the CTC bike bag I still have; knew it would come in handy. Having another look around there was plenty of evidence of vole activity. They make runs under the snow in winter, but are emerging now spring has sprung. The campsite really needs a cat, or an eagle owl, or a few wolves, that’d sort them out.

Vole holes, hadn't paid much attention to them yesterday, lesson learned

Vole holes, hadn’t paid much attention to them yesterday, lesson learned

The run this varmint made under my tent

The run this varmint made under my tent

With the tent packed up and vole scared off, I looked around, no wonder it had been colder overnight; mist had descended and blanketed the lake.

Packing up time in Vitangi, post varmint incursion

Packing up time in Vitangi, post varmint incursion

Maybe ‘The Fog’ had brought out the voles, although it didn’t look like a zombie vole, thankfully.

Misty morning in Vitangi

Misty morning in Vitangi

The voles did explain why Dimitri had been so interested in the area where I’d camped yesterday, it wasn’t just my salami he was sniffing (that doesn’t sound at all dodgy does it?!).

Mist in the trees

Mist in the trees

After warming up with some peppermint tea, I hit the road, bidding goodbye to Fredy, Astrid and Dimitri, who were continuing their way up to Nordkapp by camper van before Fredy and Dimitri start their tour; good luck to them!

I pedalled over the bridge and back through Vitangi, before joining the E45/E10. The road started off flat but got more hilly latterly, climbing up to over 1700 foot at one point, according to my Garmin anyway.

Few hills to contend with, none serious

Few hills to contend with, none serious

Thankfully the ascents were for the most part fairly gentle, with only a few more serious assaults required. The roads were getting busier as I headed further South, with more cars and lorries today.

Pedalling South - the sun comes out

Pedalling South – the sun comes out

Today turned out to be a singing day, the power of music being employed to banish memories of the varmint attack, and speed me on my way. Singing a few songs as you pedal along really does make the journey go quicker, and helps get you up hills, especially if you’re trying to remember the words, or make them up as I’m want to do.

Singing selfie in the sunshine

Singing selfie in the sunshine

I started off with a bit of American Pie, which has a lot of verses so was quite a challenge, then moved on to Queen, working through their greatest hits, and finishing with some Lobster rock just to keep my travelling crustacean companion entertained.

Double thumbs up pirate pose of the day

Double thumbs up pirate pose of the day

It really raises morale, belting along belting out a few tunes for all to hear. When I say ‘all’ I mostly mean reindeer, and birds, as there weren’t many humans around.

Frozen lake number ?!?$!

Frozen lake number ?!?$!

The scenery was fairly standard, more pines and frozen lakes, and I was enjoying the ride, and singing, so I didn’t take many pictures. I arrived in Gallivare about 15.00 I think, after passing signs advertising a burger joint for the last 15km.  The sign post introducing Gallivare proudly announces that this is Europe’s mining capital; lots of iron ore apparently.

I found Gallivare campsite and checked in, opting for a cheap room rather than my tent, as the price was fairly similar, then pedalled back into town to pick up some supplies and find the burger joint.

Burger acquired at Frasses

Burger acquired at Frasses

The burger did not disappoint, and the fries were pretty good too, all good fuel for the next day’s cycling. They have some good alternative seasoning for fries in Europe; some kind of chilli mix.

Gallivare itself is a bit of a depressing place, with quite a bit of poverty in evidence; people begging outside all the shops – looked like ethnic minorities, sad really. It’s very much an industrial looking town, with a few ski runs thrown in for good measure.

I spent the evening closeted in my room as there was no-one else around, drinking chocolate milk and planning the next few days; I’m not sure why I bother as I always seem to end up tweaking my plans, but at least it gives me a starting point.

Planning aided by chocolate milk

Planning aided by chocolate milk

One strange thing; the whole room shook at about 11.30. I checked and don’t think it was an earthquake, so maybe it was something to do with the mining in the area.

I covered 102 km on 13 May, here’s the Garmin record of my ride: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/773176073  (let me know if the link doesn’t work)

———-> 14 May

I’d gone to bed slightly nervous about the weather, the forecast not being particularly encouraging, and when I looked out of the window my fears were realised. Despite the sleet and strong Northerly wind I packed up and got on the road about 09.15, with around 140km to do to get to Overkalix.

14 May - weather not the best

14 May – weather not the best

The thing about photos is they don’t show up the rain or sleet very well; I’ll take video next time. Before I left I noticed the painting in the lodge where I was staying, a bit of a strange image to adorn the wall with.

Strange fresco in lodge in Gallivare

Strange fresco in lodge in Gallivare

Mountains in the background have ski runs

Mountains in the background have ski runs

After dropping off my key I rode back through Gallivare, thankful that I only had a short stretch riding into the wind, then turned on to the E10 which would take me South, with a fine tailwind, hopefully all the way to the Baltic coast, or in the short-term to Overkalix anyway.

Wet day riding

Wet day riding

Maybe it was the weather, or perhaps I’d drunk too much water/chocolate milk the night before, however I had to stop for a frustrating number of loo breaks; tricky when it’s cold and raining and you just want to get on with the ride.

Another pit stop

Another pit stop

The sleet/rain turned into snow at one point, which was ‘nice’, so I was very glad of my ski gloves, even if they got a bit damp, as well as my polartec buff which kept my head very toasty under my helmet.

The tailwind sped me South at an average of 20km an hour, which is pretty good for me with a fully loaded touring bike; I’d stocked up on food yesterday. I reckon my bike + kit must weigh about 45kg, maybe a bit more when loaded up with max food and water. I’ll try to check the exact weight when I can find some scales.

I didn’t stop very much, aside from to answer calls of nature, as the snow turned back to rain and with spray from the traffic it was really quite unpleasant. A shame really as in better weather this would be lovely countryside to pedal through; pine forests crisscrossed by rivers, with the road winding through mountains. It was fairly flat for most of the ride, with the overall gradient tending to be downhill, so easy riding, especially with the tailwind.

Wet thumbs up

Wet thumbs up

I could smell pine sap all day from the piles of logs along the roadside. I also saw 3 Capercaillie, which I was pleased about having not seen one before, as far as I’m aware. On each occasion they startled and flew off as I rode by; the same could not be said for the 4 or 5 reindeer corpses I passed, which must have been hit by lorries or cars.

Break time next to a river

Break time next to a river

Speaking to the landlady of the hotel I’m staying in tonight, the Reindeer are apparently pretty stupid, much like the sheep in Scotland I encountered. Moose are far more intelligent and shy, and don’t tend to wander into he road. If you do hit a Moose it’s far more dangerous, as you take out its legs and then the body falls through the windscreen; not a good result for either party.

Nice spot by the river, aside from the weather

Nice spot by the river, aside from the weather

Lobster not happy with the inclement weather

Lobster not happy with the inclement weather

Again there were a lot more cars and lorries today, which still gave me lots of room, but tended to spray me somewhat. The worst were the trucks with two trailers, or even more so the double oil tankers which kicked up enormous amounts of water; very wet socks and gloves!

I rode through the last few villages accompanied by the sound of barking dogs, who always seem to react badly to passing cycle tourers. I had to pedal over the river a couple of times to reach Overkalix, discovering that the campsite was indeed closed, as suspected, but the Grand Arctic Hotel was open, and right next door. I opted for the hotel rather than to wild camp, figuring I’d saved some money over the last few days, and needed to dry out anyway. The weather was getting worse, but will hopefully improve tomorrow, according to the forecast.

Bit damp, opted for the hotel

Bit damp, opted for the hotel

The hotel is owned by a Russian family, who are in the process of renovating it. I’m happy to report the sauna works just fine, and did a great job of returning warmth and sensation to my hands and feet, a definite bonus. I also enjoyed my first beer of the tour, alongside a fine chicken and rice, plus salad, plus bread dinner.

First beer of the tour - a fine local brew

First beer of the tour – a fine local brew (IPA)

I now have various items of clothing draped around my room drying, hopefully by tomorrow morning, in time for the ride to Lulea. Here is a link to today’s 142km ride: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/774264134

One final thing; I met two more cycle tourers who arrived at the hotel shortly after me, with the same idea of retreating from the weather. Jon has cycled here from Gilbraltar, on his way to Nordkapp, and passed on a few tips on the route. He’s recently been joined by Tim, from Hong Kong, who has been pedalling since Umea. It appears the frequency of cycle tourers is going up, excellent stuff; saying that I’ll not meet another one until Denmark now!

10 to 12 May 2015 – leaving Norway, glimpse of Finland, hello Sweden

That was a good night’s sleep, lovely and warm in my cabin. I think the campsite lady believes I’m a bit mad for coming here now rather than in summer, however despite the cold and rain I was smiling when I arrived yesterday, and was still smiling in the morning, which she seemed impressed by. At least I don’t get plagued by mosquitos and midges at this time of year.

My cosy cabin for the night

My cosy cabin for the night

I was up in good time to tackle the 130km to Kautokeino, my longest ride of the tour yet. I was slightly nervous due to the hills, continuing headwind, and chilly weather. This part of Scandinavia can be pretty unforgiving if you’re not prepared for it. Only one thing for it really, thumbs up and off we go; I’ve worked out how to use the timer on my camera, but still need to work on the angles!

Thumbs up and off I pedal

Thumbs up and off I pedal

Anyway, off I pedalled in the drizzle, keen to be on my way to the Artic Mobil campsite at the other end of the ride, as well as the Remo supermarket in the town, or village, or whatever it turned out to be. The road wound through pine forested hills next to a big river; the Karasjokka followed by the Jiesjokka I think.

Following the river through pine forested valley

Following the river through pine forested valley

I started passing quite a few piles of logs by the roadside, awaiting pick up to one sawmill or another. Logging must be a key industry here, especially with all the log built houses, however none of the hills look too denuded of trees so seems to be well managed.

Log piles by the roadside

Log piles by the roadside

The rain stopped after a couple of hours, bonus, and fueled by bread, salami and banana from breakfast I made good time over the hills, crossing a fast flowing and very cold looking river as the sun came out.

Very cold looking river - fancy a dip anyone?

Very cold looking river – fancy a dip anyone?

Bridge crossing - more Arctic Tundra on the menu

Bridge crossing – more Arctic Tundra on the menu

I soon climbed out of the pine forests and back into Arctic tundra, passing the now familiar scenes of frozen lakes and scrubby silver birch. I was pretty happy to see a sign saying only another 70km to Kautokeino.

70km to Kautokeino

70km to Kautokeino

Taking that photo did earn me a honk from a passing car, one of the few I’d seen in the last hour that snuck up on me. Undeterred I cycled on, stopping to top up energy levels next to…another frozen lake.

Lobster rationing sweets; 1 for me, 2 for him

Lobster rationing sweets; 1 for me, 2 for him

Frozen lake panorama - lot of them about

Frozen lake panorama – lot of them about

It was another double thumbs up moment, still haven’t got the angle right.

Double thumbs up under blue skies

Double thumbs up under blue skies

The E92 eventually turned into the E93, amongst a sudden convergence of speeding lorries which was slightly alarming. The E92 had been pretty quiet, however E93 definitely saw an increase in traffic levels with HGVs going from North to South and vice-versa. I didn’t see any moose, despite there being warming signs about them, but I did spot some more reindeer, which I duly herded off the road.

Doing a bit of reindeer herding - so like the sheep in Scotland

Doing a bit of reindeer herding – so like the sheep in Scotland

The whole landscape is criss-crossed with snow mobile tracks, which are especially visible on the frozen lakes. I saw one snow mobile speeding across a lake which looked to be thawing rather rapidly; rather them than me.

Other than the reindeer there was plenty of bird life to listen to, as well as catch glimpses of as I pedalled along. At one point I think I saw an owl, it was definitely owl shaped; I guess they have the hunt when it’s light here. I also saw an eagle, not sure what sort, as well as more geese and numerous smaller birds, some quite colourful but all to quick to catch on film.

The road continued on like this.

The road is long, with quite a few winding turns

The road is long, with quite a few winding turns

And in a similar fashion like this.

Okay, so less of the winding turns at this point

Okay, so less of the winding turns at this point

I may have been getting a bit blaze about the stunning landscape at this stage, however I’d seen a lot of the same for a while now and was quite looking forward to a town. I’d passed a few small villages nestled on hillsides, but nothing of any significant size. It makes me wonder what people do to survive/earn a living up here; there must be forestry, maybe mining, and tourism.

After a lot of ups and downs I eventually made Kautokeino after 9 hours and 15 minutes in the saddle, covering 129km. I was tired by the time I reached the Arctic Mobil campsite due to all the hills, as well as the headwind, however the campsite owner, a jovial Norwegian lady with only limited English, gave me the use of the Sami tipi for the night which buoyed my spirits, and cheap at 100 NOK. One downside; the shower, which cost 10 NOK, was cold, not what you want after a hard day’s riding.

Arctic Mobil campsite in Kautokeino - Sami tipi for the night

Arctic Mobil campsite in Kautokeino – Sami tipi for the night

Inside the tipi - pretty snug, and room for Smaug too

Inside the tipi – pretty snug, and room for Smaug too

Feeling rather tired I decamped to the campsite kitchen to cook up some noodles and drink peppermint tea whilst I planned the next few days. Sometimes I really miss coffee but don’t drink it anymore due to migraines, somehow peppermint tea just doesn’t quite do it. I should have brought some whisky, that would help, haven’t had a drink since arriving in Scandinavia; a bit odd but not missing it at the moment. After a few hours I retired for the night, but not before putting on my thermals and a few layers as the temperature was dropping to freezing, as evidenced by the snow getting more crunchy. The tipi, whilst comfy, was a little drafty, it having a hole for the smoke to go out of; as recompense it did have a divan type thing to sleep on.

I slept extremely well that night, waking up a bit late (08:15) but refreshed, and to sunshine, ready for the day ahead. In the back of my mind I was considering whether I could pedal out of Norway, all the way through Finland, and into Sweden in 1 day. I didn’t think I could make it, and there looked to be campsite and wild camping options along the way, but I decided to keep an open mind; 3 countries in 1 day would be an achievement, and I like setting myself challenges to liven things up.

A new day awaits, the sun shines

A new day awaits, the sun shines

After breakfast and more peppermint tea I pedalled to the supermarket for supplies, bidding the jolly landlady goodbye with a wave. I splurged out in chocolate and expensive salami, needing to use up some NOK.

Remo supermarket seem to be the staple in Norway

Remo supermarket seem to be the staple in Norway

I found a pastry, it was pretty nice, and gave me a good boost for the ride ahead.

Second breakfast in Kautokeino

Second breakfast in Kautokeino

I rode down the E93 to the border with Finland, keeping an eye out for moose again.

Beware the moose

Beware the moose

I didn’t see any, but passed lots more tundra and frozen lakes.

I pedalled through the border via the ‘Nothing to declare’ channel, passing some lorries stopped at customs that must have been transporting fish; very smelly. Goodbye Norway, hello Finland.

So, on into Finland, my 3rd country of the tour, and my first impressions were that it wasn’t a lot different to Norway; more reindeer for example.

Finnish reindeer

Finnish reindeer

The road through Lapland took me down to Enontekio where I thought I might find a campsite, even if it was a bit soon to stop; I didn’t, so I carried on toward Palojoensuu. Some of the place names are quite convoluted so apologies for any typos.

Pedalling through Finland

Pedalling through Finland

I rode through part of a national park, a sign telling me to watch out for all sorts of wildlife including Brown Bears, Pine Martens, Otters and Lynx; I didn’t see any of these but again birds were in abundance; Snow Buntings, Ptarmigan (heard not seen), Grouse, Capercaillie and birds of prey.

I passed through fells, forest and mires, keeping to the road of course. I thought this might be a good place to camp, until a lorry turned up and looked intent on staying for a while, with the engine running.

Nice lakeside stop, could've worked for wild camp aside from lorry

Nice lakeside stop, could’ve worked for wild camp aside from lorry

There were lots of frozen lakes again, but there seemed to be more thawing going on in Finland.

More thawing going on in Finland

More thawing going on in Finland

Pedalling through pines and Silver Birch the road was a lot flatter and made for easier riding than the last few days. I could hear the sounds of running water everywhere, mixed with birdsong, with the occasional reindeer or group thereof startling as I rode by. It was as if the land was waking up from being asleep all winter.

Island in the river, Finland

Island in the river, Finland

There was so much running water from all the snow melt, and all of it very brown, leaving everywhere very damp and not very suitable for stopping to camp. I made it to Palojoensuu and guess what, couldn’t find a campsite despite there being one marked on the map; maybe it just hadn’t opened for the season yet. I cycled on keeping my eyes peeled for a suitable spot out of sight of the road, but everywhere was either snowbound, or in one instance had a large ant’s nest inconveniently positioned; there are quite a lot of large ant’s nests in Scandinavia, all waking up, reckon it’s one mega colony.

Possible wild camp option ruled out due to snow and ants

Possible wild camp option ruled out due to snow and ants

After a bit of a climb I finally made Kaaresuvanto about 21:30, then crossed over the bridge and into Sweden and Karesuando. I’d done it, 3 countries in 1 day!

There was no activity on the border, and I pedalled straight through following the signs to a campsite, which turned out to be closed, or completely absent of anybody anyway. Without realising it I’d gained an hour somewhere along the line, but after 146 km I was too tired to pedal any further, so opted to pitch my tent anyway and pay if anyone turned up, which they didn’t, so a free night’s stealth camping for me, wahey!

Tent pitched, Hilleberg Akto doing well

Tent pitched, Hilleberg Akto doing well

Deserted campsite in Karaesuando

Deserted campsite in Karesuando

After several rounds of cheese and salami sandwiches I turned in for the night, listening to the sounds of birds singing, or in some cases just squawking. Pretty awesome day I thought, as I drifted off to sleep.

Wake up call in Karesuando

Wake up call in Karesuando

No sooner had I fallen asleep than I heard my alarm go off, at 06.00; I’d slept pretty well again. To be honest I think it was more the bird song that woke me up; so many birds singing, and new calls I haven’t heard before. Over breakfast I watched a hawk getting mobbed by two very persistent Magpies, who eventually forced it to land in a tree.

My phone said it was 06.00, however I think it might have actually been 05.00, as the time kept changing as I crossed the border and further into Sweden, it was a bit confusing but didn’t really matter.

No-one had turned up overnight, and there was no number to phone, so I packed and pedalled off from my stealth camp at about 07.00, or could have been 06.00. Unfortunately there was nowhere to refill my water bottles but I still had one and half left.

Good morning - still a bit early really

Good morning – still a bit early really

I rode through the village of Karesuando, which still looked mostly asleep aside from one other cyclist pedalling the other way, who glanced at me rather confusedly; I gave them a wave anyway.

Leaving Karesuando Camping

Leaving Karesuando Camping

The road took me through pine forested countryside, with little in the way of hills or any kind of wind, however it was quite cold and overcast, despite the sunshine earlier; at least the rain held off.

I pedalled past the village of Narva, out on an island.

Narva

Narva

The scenery didn’t really vary very much, and there wasn’t much in the way of traffic. A few cars gave me a wave, as did a few lorries (mostly Post Nord Logistics), and the one police car I’ve seen all tour flashed their lights at me and gave me a thumbs up, all nice and encouraging; although I hoped they weren’t just trying to warn me of an impending hurricane or snow storm.

Road like this for quite a long time

Road like this for quite a long time

I could go 30 minutes to an hour without seeing another vehicle, certainly no other cyclists, lots of thinking time. Lobster had to give me a motivational talk at one point.

Motivational talk from Lobster

Motivational talk from Lobster

You can start wondering what on earth you think you’re doing, riding all the way out here, on your own, in these conditions? Why not do what ‘normal’ people do and take a trip to New York, or the Maldives? Why set yourself challenges like this?

I’m not sure I completely know the answer to these questions, however I know it’s to do at least partly with continuing to try to discover myself, and to give myself time to mull things over and perhaps decide on a future direction. I know I enjoy setting myself a challenge and seeing just what my limits are. I’m also a strong believer that it’s important to get out of your comfort zone from time to time, in order to grow as a person and experience the joy of new things, and grow in confidence. Then there’s just the joy of travelling, seeing new places and meeting new people. I could prattle on for ages about this, however in summary I’d recommend everyone, should the opportunity arise, take some time out and challenge yourself once in a while; see what happens.

I arrived in Vitangi, my destination for the day, at about 12.30, a bit earlier than expected due to the time zone change thing. I had a quick look around, and was hailed by a lady who’d seen me cycle out of Karesuando earlier; she congratulated me on a quick ride – 110km all in about 6 hours.

Vitangi Church

Vitangi Church

The town hosts a population of about 800 people, according to a sign, and lies to the South of the lake, the campsite being on the North side. You have to cross a bridge to reach it. The ice on the lake has nearly all melted, in contrast to most of the lakes I’ve passed to date.

Ice on lake nearly all melted - you might be able to see some swans standing on it

Ice on lake nearly all melted – you might be able to see some swans standing on it

Lakeside 1

Lakeside 1

The grassy nodules look like they might be troll heads, think they're formed by old tree stumps

The grassy nodules look like they might be troll heads, think they’re formed by old tree stumps

After pedalling about a bit I cycled back over the bridge to the campsite, which was as deserted as the one from last night. It did however have open toilets, shower, and a kitchen room, with power and running water. I tried calling the number at reception but there was no answer, so I pitched up anyway, and sat out enjoying the sun which had come out in force, warming things up nicely, and drying a few clothes I washed through.

Campsite with lakeside view

Campsite with lakeside view

Noodles were on the menu again, with cheese and Tabasco, hasn’t got boring yet.

Noodles, cheese, Tabasco and peppermint tea

Noodles, cheese, Tabasco and peppermint tea

I thought I saw a furry rodent face scuttle pass at one point, through the grass, but might have imagined it. There was certainly a lot of bird life about again, and I nodded off for a while listening to them all.

Lobster ensuring I record the day's events accurately

Lobster ensuring I record the day’s events accurately

Despite enjoying the solitude I was quite looking forward to getting to more populated areas again, where I might meet a few more people. It’s great being out in the ‘wilderness’ and I love the challenges it brings, however it can get a bit samey.

VItangi campsite double thumbs up

VItangi campsite double thumbs up

As if on cue a camper van turned up with a couple from Switzerland, and one of them was a cycle tourer being driven up to Nordkapp by his wife, Astrid, to start his own tour! Fredy, 65 and just retired, intends to cycle back down to Switzerland and then, if all goes according to plan, on to South Africa. He’s taking a slightly different route to me, via Russia and Estonia, and said it was a bit of nightmare securing the Russian visa.

Freddy, off to start his own tour

Freddy, off to start his own tour

What’s more, he’s doing it with his dog Dimitri, in a trailer! And Dimitri isn’t exactly small.

Dimitri snuffling about

Dimitri snuffling about

This is the second person I’ve met this year cycle touring with their dog. The first was Maggie Scorer, who is currently cycling around the coast of Britain, a tour that I completed in 2013, with her Dog Oscar – http://dogontour.co.uk . Oscar isn’t very small either, but looks like he’s loving it from the pictures.

It was great chatting with Fredy for the evening, hearing about his plans and comparing notes. He felt like he had to do something now he’s retired, and would regret it if he didn’t, and now he’s doing it, brilliant. His website is here: http://www.sasbybike.ch (there might be an English version coming soon). He’s a rotary club member, which I assume is the same organisation as in the UK, and is raising money for charity – school in Africa. Fredy also has a passion for birds and brought me up-to-speed on the various species I was likely to see, or that I’d already seen.

VItangi, sun through the trees

VItangi, sun through the trees

I wish I could speak more foreign languages. Everyone I’ve met so far has at least adequate English, whereas I only have adequate French as well as English, and a smattering of words in other languages. Hopefully I’ll pick up some more on this tour.

Needless to say it was great to meet a fellow tourer, my first since reaching mainland Europe, and I hope to bump into Fredy and Dimitri on the road somewhere in the future; he has some great plans, and Astrid is very supportive in driving him all the way up here. The chance meeting gave me the boost I needed, and I retired to my tent after a lovely evening, falling asleep quickly after a last cup of peppermint tea.

Tune in next time to hear about my encounter with a varmint – remember that furry rodent face I thought I saw…

Does anyone want to see my ride statistics/map? I can post links to them on the Garmin website if so, I just keep forgetting.

Also, I’m in Gallivare now, and still 100km in the Arctic Circle, should make it out tomorrow. Need to tot up my total km too.