Table of contents
- North Cape The other way
- The motorcycles (North Cape)
- The Hurtig Route (North Cape)
- The coastal path (North Cape)
- North Cape (2)
The other way
Just don’t listen when they tell you again that the long journey to the North Cape is not worth it. Stop it, get up and drive towards the midnight sun on Norway’s fjord coast.
Monika Schulz, Annette Johann
They sit undaunted in the fine drizzle under a tiny, crooked parasol.
The moisture slowly creeps into the collar of the jacket. Three more pegs. Nothing can be seen of the snow-capped peaks of the steep Romsdal mountains. The rain clouds hang down on southern Norway as heavy as lead. Brace the outer walls tightly. “Don’t worry, it’s summer!” Laughing, the tall woman waves cups and glasses from across the street. “Do you want coffee or beer?” Both.
“To the North Cape – wow!” Carina slams her glass on the folding table, “what a tour”. Heading for the midnight sun with these stunning machines, she likes that. Maybe we could strap her and her friend Torsten on, “We’ll leave his bluffs here. There’s enough water. “Grinning, she strokes the boy’s soaking wet hair, like all Scandinavians, they don’t seem to notice the rain.
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Famous pass road: Trollstigen.
They brought the beer with them from home – “the crazy Norwegians charge huge sums”. Not just for alcohol. “One time with the boys to the sausage stand and you’re a poor dog.” Nevertheless, says Torsten, he loves this crazy country, its warmth and its unbelievably dramatic nature.
And then they want to know everything about our journey to the infamous Trollstigen, which leads in hair-raising serpentines from Norddalsfjord to Romsdalsfjord. Past huge waterfalls and fields of eternal snow. We describe the high-speed journey through Germany – in pair skating with over 200 things to Kiel, the crazy feeling of going on an incline with a fully packed athlete at 180 km / h. The horizon turning back and forth just above the speedometer needle, the night ferry ride to Oslo, where a bright morning drove people to the street cafes. Summer. Finally.
Wrestling for words that can compete with the play of colors in the cheerful valleys to the northwest, we whisk Sweden away, curve by curve, to the height of the lonely Hemsedalsfjell. Almost palpable silence up there, all life as if extinguished. Only lichens defy the weathered tundra. At the Sognefjord the intensity of the short Nordic summer returns. Bathing, fishing, boating, whatever works, until well into the morning – enchanted by the sparkling tongues of ice of the Jostelasbreen glacier that lick the water.
When we reach Fjærland, this place of reading, where every house runs an “antiqvariat”, the parasol gives up its ghost under the wet. Carina and Torsten don’t even look. Want to hear more about the glaciers of the south. From the Sauphellebreen, which slides one and a half meters into the Fjærlandsfjord every day, from the Boyabreen, where chunks of eternal ice crash into the turquoise shimmering lagoon. We rave about our first alpine stage on the small 258, high above the bright green Strynsvatn. A small, partly natural pass between rocks and summer ski areas. Then the real challenge on the handlebars of the R1 – the gravel turns to Dalsnibba. And from there the descent to the Geirangerfjord, in which crazy curves destroy almost 1500 meters of altitude. It’s like flying.
The motorcycles (North Cape)
With 172 hp through Scandinavia? We did it with the greatest pleasure.
With 172 HP in crouching position, 7000 kilometers through strictly speed-limited Scandinavia? Anyone who heard us thought we were crazy. The Honda VFR, yes okay, but one Yamaha R1! Yes, we did it – with great pleasure. On the 195 kilogram light R1 with handlebar stubs from MR-Motorradtechnik raised by two centimeters even better than on the much heavier, 109 hp VFR 800 (244 kilograms). The big advantage of the R1: its lightness. Which helps on gravel roads as well as when handling luggage. It even offers a much more compact, long-distance workspace than the Honda, which forces smaller pilots into an uncomfortably stretched position. The R1 handicap: There is not even a mini luggage rack for securing saddlebags and the like. The increasingly filigree rear frame and exhaust systems under the rear are increasingly embarrassing the carrier manufacturers. “We can no longer find any points of articulation,” explains press spokesman Karl Heinz Daniel from Hepco & Becker. Not an issue at the VFR, for which there are even suitcases, which we have, however, omitted in favor of driving behavior. Lashing turned out to be just as difficult due to the exhaust system as with the R1. Thank God the heat shields didn’t burn anything. The bottom line is that long-distance sprinters, with equipment, good range, enormous reliability and surprising comfort
Route plan at the Hofles ferry terminal.
The Hurtig Route (North Cape)
Countless ferries connect the west coast.
Would you like another alternative to the E 6? How about the so-called Reichsstrasse 1. For this, however, you need the post ship. The Hurtig Line, founded in 1893, originally served to supply coastal towns that were difficult to access. Even today, the twelve ships of the fast fleet rattle off 36 stations between Bergen and Kirkenes every day to transport freight, normal mortals and also wealthy crusaders. The vehicle capacities in the cargo hold, which are only accessible from the side, are limited, but motorcycles almost always find a place. It’s not cheap. Anyone planning the entire journey from the Cape to Bergen by ship has to calculate in four digits, plus food on board. Especially in the north, however, sections can be very attractive and relaxing, but the cruiser mentality of the fellow travelers is sometimes exhausting. Stations are shown on all maps, the departure times and more information can be found at www.hurtigrouten.de and from the German agency on 06024/671815. Also in all tourist offices in Norway.
Midnight: wild camping at the Arctic Circle.
A trip to the North Cape has always been considered the ultimate biker endurance test when it comes to standing or sitting. It is important to hold out as long as possible at 80 km / h between motorhomes and speed traps on the notorious E 6. With this report we have tried to show another way that opens up one of the most extreme corners of Europe with driving fun and scenic enjoyment.
The fastest and most comfortable way to get here is the 20-hour night ferry from Kiel to Oslo. Check in in the afternoon, arrive in the morning. Colorline operates this route and in midsummer charges around 350 euros for one person with a motorcycle, depending on the type of cabin (phone 0431/7300300, www.colorline.de). Those who prefer to travel by axle can also use Colorline to sail from Hirtshals in Denmark to Kristiansand on the southern tip of Norway in just a few hours. Costs: from 90 euros. From and to Sweden, the Oresund Bridge between Malmo and Copenhagen plus the short crossing from Gedser to Rostock make the passage even easier and, above all, completely reservation-free. The easiest way to find out about other crossing options is from the many online portals. For example www.ocean24.de, www.ferrylines.com, www.seetour24.de. Otherwise at the tourist offices, automobile clubs and any travel agency listed below.
Clearly for Scandinavia: midsummer, where the highest values in terms of warmth and drought are reached. And you need that. In bad weather, temperatures can easily drop to five degrees, the average in August at the North Cape is ten degrees. Pack suitably warm and proven rainproof clothing (especially thick gloves), and also check the luggage system for leaks. Those who start at the end of June can still enjoy the midnight sun, which also ensures wonderful light, endlessly long days and only slight nocturnal twilight throughout the summer in the north. Mosquito problems are particularly to be feared in the large lake areas of Sweden and Finland. Take light-colored, long-sleeved clothing for the evening and good mosquito protection.
Campers in Scandinavia definitely get more from their vacation. The so-called everyone’s right to freely choose a campsite in the most beautiful landscapes opens up fantastic possibilities (details in the travel guide recommended below). In regular places, cozy wooden huts usually provide a real lifeline in bad weather. From around 40 euros upwards, the minimum equipment required is a roof over your head, bunk beds, cooking and seating, heating and comfort. Warm sleeping bags and cookware should be in your luggage. A foldable water bag is definitely recommended for wild campers! Hotels and guesthouses can of course also be found in tourist areas, but especially in Norway, like restaurants, they are extremely expensive and actually not recommended.
The volume “Scandinavia – The North” by Reise Know How for 19.90 euros is devoted to the region in a comprehensive and detailed manner. Completely revised in 2005, it provides a spectrum that extends from the life of the Sami to ferry prices, Hurtig timetables and hotel addresses. Each divided into the three neighboring countries Norway, Sweden and Finland. The corresponding parallel volume by the publisher has a similar function for southern Norway, which is only striped but highly attractive in this story. Also good: »Norway« from Michael Muller-Verlag and the Geo Spezial of the same name to get you in the mood. Otherwise, the South Norway and South Sweden travel paperbacks DuMont for twelve euros each offer a decent addition. It becomes difficult when it comes to maps, because the detailed maps (Kummerly & Frey in 1: 325000) at least seven sheets would be needed for the entire trip. We have therefore only supplemented the good Sweden / Norway overview map from Travelmag in 1: 800000 with selected sheets. In larger towns you can find the very good Cappelens Kart in bookshops and occasionally at gas stations in similar sheet shapes. Sheet 5 in particular is great for the tour through the north.
Norwegian Tourist Office, PO Box 113317, 20433 Hamburg, phone 0180/5001548, www.visitnorway.com. Schweden-Werbung, Lilienstrabe 19, 20095 Hamburg, Telephone 040/3255130, www.schweden-urlaub.de. Finnish National Tourist Board, Lessingstrasse 5, 60325 Frankfurt / Main, phone 069/50070157, www.visitfinland.de.
The coastal path (North Cape)
Mandatory picture at the destination.
From Trondheim nothing but the E 6? Not correct! There is an alternative along the coast, RV 17. Ideally, you start west of Trondheim on the provincial road 710. Meanders from Orkanger to Namsos (ferry) on the tiny 715. Change there to the 769 and get to the now continuous one at Holm RV 17, the “Kystriksveien”. Countless ferries skilfully connect the rugged west coast to a varied route. Not cheap for motorhome drivers (thank God!), Very worthwhile for bikers. One person, including the motorcycle, pays between six and 15 euros for the 20 to 60 minute boat tours. The waiting times are usually short, and two-wheelers always come along while cars are waiting. Another advantage: regular breaks on deck with coffee and waffles. Timetables are available on the Internet at www.rv17.no and directly on the ships in the (German-language) information brochures about the attractions of the coastal path. If you still don’t want the E 6 in Bodø, you can cross over to Lofoten there and take the E 10 and side roads to Narvik.
Time required: three weeks; Route length: around 7,000 kilometers.
North Cape (2)
Torsten gets another beer out of the car. “Is the fjord really that great?” Yes! So deep blue between the vertical rocks, it is one of those images that you will never forget. Then he begins to talk about his homeland. Lapland, where nature cooks on the back burner, the sun doesn’t set in summer and never rises from November to January. The winters there are cold to the core, and therefore characterized by such bitter loneliness that one day he could no longer stand it. “And if you don’t have a job then, it’s over.”
“Now he’s living in the eye of the hurricane,” Carina snorts. “With me and my souvenir shop on the N 45 near Ostersund.” We couldn’t imagine what they were selling there. “Original elk shit, for example. The tourists are crazy about it. ”And if there is none to be found, it doesn’t matter,“ then we just sell some other kind of crap. Just come by on your way back. “
The Swedes are still asleep when we leave for Trondheim. Now our real experiment begins: the long way through Norway – without the E 6. This desolate, more than 2000 kilometer long connection from Oslo to Olderfjord, where summer after summer an endless caravan of mobile homes and buses rolls to the North Cape. The creeping plague of the north and pure poison for committed bikers. Anyone who loses their nerve here is guaranteed to hang in a speed trap shortly afterwards and stake the fine of their life.
Time and again, ferries replace bridges and roads.
Eleven maps are supposed to save us from the E 6. Not a feat so far, thanks to a number of alternative routes. But from Åndalsnes things get tricky. The stretch over Langfjorden, Tingvoll and Stangvikfjorden looks like it has been desolate. With a little luck, the toll road “Bomveign” at Istfjorden could bring the breakthrough to Sunndalsøra. When we were stranded on a swampy meadow in front of a rock face an hour, three cattle gates and two river crossings later, we knew that this is no shortcut to the cape.
Return. New plan. At the ferry terminal in Åfarnes, the tinkering begins with an extensive road book: aiming for the Trondheimfjord. The thread-thin 660 to Eidsvag, there on the right. In Sunndalsøra on RV 70. Turn left before Vognill! Via Å on the 700, 701, 65 to Orkanger. A good 350 kilometers for their 140 beeline. That much is certain, the E-6 avoidance strategy has little to do with effectiveness.
It is 8 p.m. when the place-name sign “Å” appears – that’s what the dump really means. Shopping! Completely forgotten because of the loud driving. The sun hangs halfway through for hours. Fortunately, Å has a well-equipped petrol station. A starter set for anglers is currently on offer. 199 NOK including bait, makes 26 euros. We think hard, but who would kill the poor guys then? I prefer canned spaghetti and tuna again. All pockets filled to the limit, we set off on a coastal course. Only there is an escape north in front of the E 6. I have no idea how long this will go well, the Norwegian west coast is jagged like the teeth of a second grader. The last mobile homes have suddenly disappeared. No campsites, no night anglers, no one at all anymore. Does a ferry to Brekstad really leave here? Yes. Together with two jerky Chrysler vans and a roaring Z 1000 we wait for the last ship. Leaden solitude in Brekstad, the last major post off the west coast. Closed gas stations, desolate bars. Somewhere we still find a musty hut with a worn-out 1960s leatherette couch, but a roaring heater. It’s got damn cold.
All cards on the table! Now is the time. Is there a feasible route between the myriad fjords? Apparently. The little 715 from the provincial road league. She works consistently around the waters. She is ours. We sail hard along the waterline between the almost unreal blue North Atlantic and the rounded rocks of the mainland. The razor-sharp contours in the clear coastal light: images, colors, shapes as if from another world. Drug nature.
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