Enroute to Denmark - June 25, 2013
I'm onboard the ferry from Goteborg, Sweden to Frederikshavn, Denmark and just following along on the GPS... looks like another two hours or so to go. Trust all is well with you.
Don't think I've written since I got away from the coast in Norway. Had a bit less enjoyable ride south, somewhat because of the less dramatic scenery, but mostly because of the weather. There was one rather head-scratching event, however. I had stayed just north of Trondheim for the night, and starting out the next morning, passed a rather large group of bicyclists. You see a lot of bicycles here, but this was a rather large group of 30 or so. Then another group, then another. Well, south of Trondheim, the road actually becomes a toll road. And a toll road in Norway is nothing more than a normal two-lane road, made a little wider so that they can put a concrete barrier between the two lanes. So you have a single lane going in each direction for mile after mile, with no place to pass. And for this you pay money? But by now, there were starting to be hundreds of bikes along with their support vehicles, baggage trucks, food wagons,camp followers, and who what appeared to be just friends and family tagging along. In places, it looked like a serious race, but mostly it was just a fun-ride. So I saw ahead an exit, and a sign indication motor vehicles only on the main road. Finally!. But no, they just continued on the tollway. Unreal. Where the concrete barrier was missing, motorists were just taking crazy chances trying to get around. Me included. Around curves, on hills, whatever. The bikes would clump together, but there would be a line of 10 or 15 support vehicles bunched up. So you had to find a place to pass the whole lot. Crazy. After scaring myself a few times at full throttle, I developed a technique of just barely crossing the double yellow into the oncoming lane and going just slightly faster than the bikes. Then when a car came, I could just slip back into my lane... sometimes mixing with the support vans, sometimes with the bikes. This went on for a couple of hours. It took me 2 1/2 hours to cover 65 km... and on a day when I was really trying to make some distance too. Anyway, I asked someone at a gas station what the hell was going on and he said that it is a nightmare every year. 2000 bicyclists ride from Tondheim to Oslo, over 3 or 4 days. He said that it started out years ago as a serious race, now has just degenerated into a disorganized mess. The whole time, I only saw one cop, stopping traffic at a roundabout so that the bikes could go through. Oh well, somebody will have a head-on and take out a few bicyclists and then they'll get it under control.
The Last Stone Arch Bridge in Norway
So I grabbed an alternate route when I could, and just gardensheded it in terms of lodging... the last one being the least restful because it was loaded with mosquitoes. Had a rather restless night since no matter how deeply I am asleep, when I hear one close to my ear I shoot up wide awake. Just an innate reaction I guess. Also, I was just sleeping on a somewhat dirty bare mattress and so visions of bedbugs danced in my head. Got away with only 3 bites however as it was so hot I couldn't nestle down too far in the sleeping bag. Unfortunately, one is in the arch of my foot making it rather difficult to scratch with boots on.
Plastic Moose Antlers - They're All Over
Anyway, after that night (Sunday) I got up to rain that somewhat abated for my morning ride towards Oslo, headed for Goteborg. But on the outskirts of Oslo, it really just started to pour. By then, the highway had turned into a real four-lane expressway but given the weather, I just stayed on it, as opposed to taking a more "scenic" route. I had rejoined the bikes, but they were mercifully sticking to the right hand lane. After Oslo it was raining so hard that cars were pulling over onto the shoulder because their wipers couldn't keep up. Hey, at least they had wipers! At one point, I pulled off to take refuge under a gas station overhang. Not sure if that was wise. It was so dark from the rain that their roof lights came on automatically, but the water was pouring through the electrical fixtures. That didn't seem right. Maybe they could just turn the lights off? Anyway, I just pressed on and eventually found a rest area to pull into. By the the worst was over and even got some sun. If I stood in the sun, then steam would come off my clothes and eventually the outer layers dried off somewhat... as for the wet underwear, well that didn't dry out.
Culture Shock! Goteborg, Sweden
So made it to Goteborg and with the crazy streets had another wild ride getting to the hotel, but eventually managed it. Nice place. Bathroom and showers down the hall, but they give you a big terrycloth robe and slippers. Ahh. Just peeled off my wet clothes, robed up and de-pruned. Goteborg is a nice city. Not my favorite in the world, but a pretty mix of old and new. There is no real old section as their seems to have been a lot of rebuilding since the 1600's but pretty enough. Took a Hop On-Hop Off again... both bus and boat... but they didn't really have a lot to show. The boat ride through the canals was good... one bridge is so low that you really do need to get off your seat and crouch in the aisle so that you can fit. Not for the claustrophobic. I see now why the boats look more like flat barges... for fitting under the bridges. Anyway, had a good rest and two good meals (one at a veggie buffet!) and that's what I needed. I wanted to see two museums in particular but as is typical with my good planing, Monday is museum closing day in Goteborg.
Settle Down Boys...
No Running Out to Greet People in Front of Cars
Floating Maritime Museum
Anyone Know What this Valve is For?
So now off to London. Hopefully will get there by Friday... today's Tuesday. Should be plenty of time. Weather is supposed to be good today and tomorrow, then crap out later in the week. Looks nice now. Beautiful ferry. Even have ping-pong tables and giant chess boards.