Lofoten: The Final Leg

The final three days off our cycling adventure in Lofoten seem like they belong more to my father than they do to me. He likes to cycle, while I never really wanted to cycle long distances. My idea had been a trip filled with mountains and views and perfect camping spots, where the bike was merely the means of getting between them. The first and second day was like this, so all in all I don’t mind that the next three days were mainly spent cycling. Our third morning we woke up on the beach and it was cold. I had hardly slept, and when we awoke to clouds hugging the mountains around us I put all thoughts about morning swims out of my mind in less than a second. I warmed up only when we began to hike back to our bikes, where we changes into clothes for cycling and ate breakfast. I grew cold again as soon as we began to cycle, and we had the wind in our faces and it was so hard that day. At midday we were getting a ferry from Nusfjord to Ballestad, so we had to make it in time. As we cycled I felt like we would never get there, simultaneously as I kept being surprised by how quickly we covered distances on the bike. When the sign of the small fisher village of Nusfjord appeard, I was, however, relieved and thankful and throughly tired. Nusfjord was a cute but tiny village that seemed to consist only of a café, some small museums and a selection of rorbuer. We waited for the ferry, and the wind chased to cold into my bones again.

The ferry ride was also cold, but I refused to go inside where I wouldn’t have the same view as I did on deck. I fell asleep for a brief time, and when we arrived in Ballestad I felt a mixture of tiredness and coldness and hunger, and it all made me quite moody and pessimistic. We tried to find somewhere to eat, but ended up simply having bread in a place where the wind wasn’t as strong. However the food helped little to brighten my mood, and I felt a strange hopelessness about the distance left to cover that day. We decided to stay in our little spot, hidden behind a rock and with the sun shining on us now and again, and we both had a nap. After that I felt much better, and we eventually took to our bikes again. We stopped in Leknes, 12km later, and the distance that had seemed so great to me before again went by a lot faster than I had thought. There we stopped for ice cream and spoke to tourist information about some camping places we had considered. The response prompted me to push on another 10k from the camping we had originally aimed for, because the one further out was supposedly nicer. As much as I love wild camping it was wonderful to take a hot shower after three days filled with activity, and to sit inside and eat hot food and drink hot tea and feel my body throughly warm up again. I slept so well that night, and it hardly mattered that we ended up cycling through the rain the following day.

The fourth day we had designated for Henningsvær, and when the rain came we decided to camp in a camping again instead of my a beach we had been recommended. We reached the camping just in time to set the tent up before the first Olympic game of women’s handball started, and I was extremely pleased that the camping had a TV. I am very passionate about this one specific sport, while anything else I care little about. After the game we ditched our baggage inside the tent and drove into Henningsvær, where we had a good pie, coffee and cake. On our way back to the camping we stopped at Rørvika beach, where we had thought to camp, and met a Dutch-Italian from last night’s camping place that my father had spoken with. He had found himself a beautiful camp spot and even had a fire going with a pot of hot water for tea. I gave him one of my Nescafé coffees to have in the morning, and he was thankful. We chatted for a bit and I took some photographs, then we went back to camp where we ate a little more and went to sleep.

The last day was a mixture of all of the previous ones, in a way. We cycled a few kilometres, part of it up a dirt road going up. On top we parked the bikes and hiked up our final mountain. The views were again amazing, and I was happy to have this final hike to end off our trip, which I had felt was becoming more about cycling than about hiking. The final stretch on the bike was the hardest, in a way, because I knew we were so close to the end. I felt a great sense of relief when we arrived at the final camping, a relief that overwhelmed my sadness over the adventure being nearly over. I always experience that my mentality about any trip is shaped by the length, and there is always a gratefulness when it’s over and I can return to my own bed, and rest my body and mind from all the impressions and the activity. I sometimes find that reality hard to face, because often I feel like my travels are the only thing I really have going for me and if I come to realise that I rejoice in leaving the road then what do I have? At the same time, a part of me knows that the road is not only awesome adventures, it is hard, and stressful, and tiring. I do not think that the longing for home ever appears prematurely when I travel, it is only towards the end. I think it is a good thing too, sometimes, that I can mix the sadness of leaving with a happiness for going home. That way, it is not so hard to get on the plane.

We woke up early the next morning to rain. We quickly packed the tent and cycled the final kilometres to the harbour in Svolvær, where we boarded the ferry going back to Bodø. Our flight was going later in the day, and my dad had arranged some meetings with his company’s offices in Bodø. I did a little bit of shopping and went back to my dad’s friends’ house and read some more. I finished The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, we ate dinner and went to the airport. On the plane back to Oslo I finished Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. Back home I stepped over the half-packed suitcase on my floor to reach my bed. The following day I was moving into the heart of Norway to start working at a hotel only 10 minutes outside the border of Rondane national park. As I fell asleep there was in me a sense of gratefulness for being able to see these beautiful parts of my home country, a great comfort from being off the bike and sleeping in my bed again, and a growing nervousness about moving someplace new all by myself.

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