I woke up early and made myself comfortable in the kitchen to finish yesterday’s blog and have breakfast.
Later Adrian and Emily also joined. They wanted to cycle to Alta today. Around 9am, I took off and stocked up my food supply in the local grocery store, the last and only one for the next 100km to come.
It was pretty windy but no comparison to the day before. On my way I met a couple who were digging in the ruins of what used to be their trailer. Yesterday, it had just been flipped over by the storm and totally destroyed. Also another SUV needed to be pulled out of the curb.
Now I understood why Adrian had complained about the wind yesterday. It must have been really dangerous for him to cycle this stretch.
The road followed the east coast of the mainland and wind came from west. Whenever the road turned inlands, you had to cycle against a decent storm, then through heavy wind coming sideways, and finally you could ride on a big wave of tailwind as the road would turn eastward again. It was fun and the scenery was stunning, too.
I had been warned that there were six tunnels on the way with two of them being “a bit challenging”. Number 1 was one of them. Over 4km you basically cycled through a cave in the rock. Water came down from all sides, it was really chilly, the road was gravel, and the lightening was scarce to put it mildly.
The other big challenge was tunnel number 4. This is the actual Nordkapp-Tunnel which connects the mainland to the island Magerøya on which the big North Cape rock is situated. This one was almost 7km long and went straight downhill with 7% to the lowest level of 212m under sea level. From there it climbed up again with 7%.
Luckily there are currently construction works ongoing, so from either side a safety car would lead a cohort of 20-30 cars through the tunnel, then turn around after exiting on the other side, just to lead another cohort of cars in the opposite direction. Because of this, I was pretty much alone in the tunnel most of the time.
Due to the steep decline on both sides the cold air “fell” into the tunnel throughout the year. So when entering, it felt like diving into a pool of ice cold air.
Overall a tough experience. Nothing to repeat too often. But, at least I was on the island now and “almost there”. The road led to Honnigsvåg where I had a proper warm meal at the gas station (aka cyclists paradise).
Then I met Quentin from Lyon. He had just cycled three months through Turkey, Albania, and Montenegro before coming to Norway. I had heard of him before through Adrian. Quentin had just completed his Masters with 25 years and was scheduled to start his PhD in September. Super cool dude.
For outsiders, a meeting of two long distance cyclists on the road must look overly strange. At first, there is a big “hello”, then a comparison of itinerarys and who one has met on the way. Finally, there is a respectful analysis of the others’ bike to get inspiration for ones own setup. And the last thing is to connect with the other cyclist on Strava or similar before moving on.
Around 5pm I was on the camping site that had been recommended to me. I got the key for a little cabin from a super nice lady and directly continued with the ascend to the Cape. I could have reduced the weight of my baggage but it was important to me to carry everything to the North Cape. It was somehow a question of honor.
Over 25km, the road climbs over many hills around 600m in elevation with up to 8%. I went into zen mode and pedaled up the slopes. It was windy and cold and a cloud had settled onto the rock. Visibility was low and it was wet. In other words: authentic North Cape weather.
Motor cyclists where giving me thumbs up signs during my climb. They could appreciate somewhat what it meant to drive up here.
By 7pm I reached the Cape. It was almost a spiritual moment, like reaching the destination of a pilgrimage. Visibility was so low that I needed to look around a bit before I finally found the famous globe overlooking the Cape.
Two guys from Utrecht talked to me in disbelief about my trip. They also took this picture.
I had a warm coffee in the Nordkapphallen, sent a message to my wife, and then started the return. Due to the many ups and downs it took me almost two hours to get to my cabin and I arrived cold, wet and exhausted – but silently happy.
By 10pm, I wanted to take a shower to get warm again but I had no Norwegian coins anymore. I had given my last one to Doreen in Russeless when she needed one. So I asked for help in the public kitchen and a lady was kind enough to give me the key to the sauna which had a free shower. What a life saver she was.
By midnight I crashed and fell asleep in a comfy and dry bed.
Learning of the day: The actual destination of your journey is within you!
2 thoughts on “Day 23: Russeness to North Cape”
I read your post 1 day late… but still I am very impressed about your adventures of the last days…
Congratulation for reaching the north cap!!! Your face and gesture on the photo tells everything! You can be really proud of the achieved.
Great, great, great, dear Karsten! You did it! What a journey, what an adventure, what a zis-Glück (for zis ;-)) Many hugs, Nina