European motorcycle adventure - week 1

I'm half way through the second week of my journey as I write this but here is a recap of the first week to get you up to speed.

The 17th of July was my last day at the office, so I had optimistically decided that I would leave the 18th or 19th. Surpise surprise, I really needed some more time to get everthing sorted so I ended up leaving Tuesday the 21st. To make up for lost time I did a massive 850 kilometer highway race to Hirtshals, Denmark.

Shortly after setting up my tent at camping Hirtshals my neighbour arrived. We got talking and he was ever so kind to share his chilli con carne with me, it was delicious, thanks Mike! While we were talking another motorcycle rolled up on the field and set up camp a couple of spots down from us. She soon introduced herself as Anna from Germany, who had booked the same ferry to Norway as I did and we decided to ride together the next day.

So the 22nd of July I woke up, packed my stuff and got on the ferry with Anna. 2 hours and 15 minutes of chatting and people watching later the doors opened and both Anna and I had our first breath of Norwegian air. We had decided to stick together for a bit more and camp together that night. After a good 300 kilometer of sunny, twisty tarmac Anna brilliantly spotted an island in a fast flowing river. We rolled up our trousers and carried our camping gear across the water. After a lovely meal and a damp wood campfire we headed for our tents.

The 23rd and wow what a 23rd of July it started off as. Absolutely stunning scenery to wake up in. The river was freezing cold but I could not resist going for a very very short swim anyway. After that it was pack up and go time. We rode into the Hardangervidda Natsjonalpark featuring a beautiful landscape unlike anything I had seen before. As we climbed higher it started to get a little wet and cold but after a nice soup-and-coffee-break we reached the other side. We did not find a spot for wild camping so we set up camp on a campsite while it started to rain, as it did for the rest of the day and night, non-stop.

Waking up the 24th of July I was happy to realize the lovely 40 year old tent that my father bought for his own motorcycle adventures had kept me and my things mostly dry. The tent itself was soaked and since it was still raining I had no choice but to pack it up dripping wet. I was supposed to meet my friends Imre and Ilaria that day but given the weather we decided to move it up 1 day and relocate to the East where better weather was forecast. Anna was to continue North so after fuelling up we said our goodbyes and went our different directions. Mine led through a set of tunnels among what I think is the longest road tunnel (24 kilometers) on earth/in Europe which is a good place to dry up in but also incredibly boring. Her route was undoubtedly more exciting and rainy, you can check out Anna's blog for her story. At the far end of the final tunnel I did find my sunshine though and got to a campsite early enough to dry my tent and air my gear before the night.

The 25th of July I got to use my TomTom's "plan a thrill" function for the first time and it took me on a nice ride around the area. After an unplanned meeting with some sheep it was time for the planned meeting with Imre and Ilaria. It was really good to see them and we cooked a great pasta with our combined food and kitchen.

The 26th of July the 3 of us went up to the Hardangervidda Natsjonalpark but the rain and clouds were a bit of a bummer. It was dry for some time in the evening and we surpassed our previous cooking with an incredible beans with rice with tomato sauce and crabsticks dish, with a dessert of campfire, naturally.

The 27th marked the end of my first week and the end of my meet up with Imre and Ilaria who continued towards Oslo. I planned another thrill on the TomTom and boy did it deliver, a brilliant dirt road straight through the most beautiful nature. I had the best time riding, great weather and camped at an amazing location along the edge of a huge swampy grassland, mind blown.