july 2001

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Wednesday August 1st

The daily news are on the August page !

Tuesday July 31th (Segers-Gard, km+133=3135)

Elsy and Rune have offered us an ideal breakfast well fitted to confront a long and windy day. We arrive at 10:00 am at Söderkoping, a nice small town previously near the sea, now crossed by a channel. After that our road was toward south-east, the wind became lateral, or even pushed us in our back: a pleasure !

Gorgious day, because we watched a couple of cranes, symbols for us because they will migrate in November to the south-west of Spain (Estramadure), where we hope to see them again.

At a point we leave the cykersparet for a gain of 20 km, out of which 15 km facing the wind. We ride on very narrow roads, between fields goldened by the evening light and red barns impressive by their dimensions and age and, hurrah ! we retrieve the official itinerary at the foreseen point !

To celebrate this splendid day, the longest too, we send you a few figures. Moreover, the bicycle counter will soon go over the web visits counter… Ok, some of you are on vacation, but you could find a cyber cafee at your place, isn't it ?

See also the birdwatching heading, and also a few figures about the journey, as compiled on July 31th.

Monday July 30th, 2001 (Ö Husby, km+100=3002)

Our best ennemy: the wind, did'nt spare us today. Generally facing us, it slowed us permanently. Without it and with the same effort, we would have rided 25 to 40% farther ! Beside that, the road is beautiful.

We asked to set up camp just outside the church garden, and are directed to a farmer who brings us at his home and proposes an hytte, at Gaëtane disapointment, because she is a bit afraid of the various beasts we may encounter…

Sunday July 29th (Trosa, km+77=2900)

Message sent on Sunday 21.25 pm

The principal catholic church in Stockholm was built 20 years ago, the parish is very active. In spite of the holiday time, the assembly was large, it was a pleasure to sing psalms besides Magnus who is an excellent bass. He offered us a plate recorded by their baroque musical team.

We have bid Brigitte goodbye, 1000 thanks for her very kind hospitality.

This afternoon we start to match our biggest challenge: around 900 km facing the south, till the east of Ystad island, where we have an appointment with Gaëtane's sister and family. Will we arrive on time ? It's not sure !

We follow a swedish path for bicycles: "Cykelsparet", with a booklet and road panels.
Concerning four-footed aninmals, a swedish moose has crossed our path just in front of us, with the loudly noise of its clogs on the macadam, then of broken branches. Gaëtane does'nt like too much this kind of beast. Farer, a mother and its puppy at the edge of a wood. Then a few roe-deers.

21:00 pm: after a hard exit from Stockholm, then a beautiful second half of journey, we come exhausted at Trosa, a charming small town with wooden houses. We will have our supper here, on the town-hall square, then continue to find a camping place.

See also the gastronomy and birdwatching headings.

Gastronomy (Sunday July 29th)
A few swedish specialities as prepared for us by Birgit. I start with the best: the "kladding chokladkaka". A chocolade tart, with grilled almonds, a delicacy for the chocolade fans as I am. Another sweet tested: the "Nypon sopa". This wild rose soup is more thick than juice, like a soup, and is full of C vitamines. Last but not least, a recipe by Birgit: "tunnbröd", a speciality from the north of the country, a kind of very flat bread, stuffed and rolled with smoked haring, merged with cream cheese: very good, indeed !

Birdwatching (Sunday July 29th)
On the ferry which allowed us to cross an arm of the sea, we hear house martins cries: their nests are on board, on the steel upper works, and so these nests travel 250 meters every quarter of an hour ! The parents take that into account: when they leave the nest, they fly towards the destination bank to hunt insects…

Saturday July 28th (Stockholm)

We got up early this morning, for some long needed studious and logistics activities. Our rear bicycle tires being much more used than the front ones, we had to change them, this among other seasonal maintenance. Afterwards, Ben had to comply with some computer homework, like english translations and sending digital photos to our beloved Webmaster; Gaë had to cope with household tasks like laundry, cleaning and ordering our mess.

Suddenly, big shouts. Having touched a cactus of Birgit and then scratched her bom (what an idea), she found herself full of little spines on the skin. I tried to take them away with this little tool of my swiss army knive (sorry I do not know the english name for it), with mitigated success. Soon she could use it for me, since I got during lunch a nasty bone of salmon very far in the mouth, behind a wisdom tooth. Adventure is adventure...

At around 3 pm, we joined Birgit at her work; she was busy pulling down the swedish flag in the garden, because an old man just passed away. She works in a palliative care hospice with 11 beds, in a beautiful house east of Stockholm. More looking like a family residence than a technical hospital, it was lanched several years ago by a young catholic man, who himself died from aids soon after the inauguration. An old woman told us about the kindness of the personel and the quality of the car ending joyfully by "This is the perfect place to die in peace!"

Afterwards, we had a nice walk in the old town, which we did not visit up to know. Our stay in Stockholm is reaching its end, and we booked for tonight a nice table a the restaurant to celebrate swedish summer way of life.

A few words of Birgit are available in the french version.

Friday July 27th (Österbybruk and Lövstabruk)

Proud Walloons marked the History of a region 100 miles north of Stockholm, Uppland i Vallonbruk: today we went in their foot prints.

Iron was already worked there since Middel Age, but in the 17th century King Gustav needed arms and financial income, so it became necessary to shift to a larger scale production.  All needed resources could be found in the area: iron ore from open air mines, forests fort the wood coal and rivers for the hydraulic wheels powering the hammers.  Expertise and qualified labour was lacking, though.

Louis de Geer (1587-1652)After a failed attempt with Germans, the Dutch origin owner, Louis de Geer, ordered the erection of forges to the Walloon standards, and attracted in Sweden 1300 Walloon workers.  He offered them many advantages for that time:  good work, possibility of return after a trial period of one year, religion freedom (many were Calvinists), scholarship for children, little house for the family, stable for cow and goat and land to grow vegetables.

The hard work was rythmed by the clock tower which was standing in the center of each Vallonbruk village: from Sunday night to Saturday morning, men were working 3 hours in the forge and sleeping 3 hours in the labby (derived from French l’abris), all week long without interruption...  Women took care of the house and brought them the food during the breaks.

Iron so produced had excellent reputation, and could be sold twice the price of competition, nearly the price of gold!  It was carried on sledges during winter time to Stockholm, then transported by ship to Sheffield in England, were it was transformed into moulds, swords, etc.  Nearly all the forges stopped their activities in the 1920’s.

These villages of the 17th and 18th century, very well preserved with the forge, the workers houses, the owners manor, the church and the central store, are a very precious heritage to the Swedish people.  Walloons themselves very often do not know about that glorious time when their skill was exported to that part of the world...

Thursday July 26th (Stockholm)

message sent thursday at 07:33 pm

Today was a cultural day, in order to develop our brains, and not only our muscles.

Magnus, together with his daughter Sofia (he is on a paternity leave) brought us first to Skansen, the first ever open air museum. Old houses and monuments of the 18th and 19th century, saved from abandon or destruction, moved there and rebuilt completely. Glasswork, bakery, foundry are still to be seen in activity, as well as a little arctic zoo, for the joy of the big and the small ones.

photo taken yesterday 25 by B&GIn the afternoon, we visited the Wasa Museum, this famous war ship who sank at a few hundred meters from her shipyard, the day of her maiden voyage in 1628. It was found back in 1951, put afloat after 10 years of intensive work, and presented since 10 years in a new museum, extremely interesting. Passionating to be back more than 300 years ago, in the maritime Stockholm...

Wednesday July 25th (Stockholm)

message sent wednesday at 06:15 pm

This morning, we desimbarked at 06:30 am from the ferry Isabella. Our cousin Birgit welcomed us warmly on the jetty, soon followed by Magnus, friend and neighbour, who guided us by bicycle to the south of the city.

It was a real pleasure to see Birgit and a relief to find the comfort of a cosy appartment. We left her place at 09h00, taking the opportunity of the gorgious weather to try a journey to the archipelgo west of the city. We managed to obtain three tickets, despite of the crowd queuing on the quays of the Old Town.

The cruise through the mainy islands was a enchantment constantly renewed. I talked with Scott, an american birdwatcher, on a tour in Europe with his fiancée. At 2 pm, we arrived at Sandhamn, kind of local Saint-Tropez, much smaller and authentical though. We had a great walk in a provencal landscape, and a cool swim in the sea.

The berth was packed again when we steped in the boat with the first passengers. This was a good introduction to the swedish way of life, I guess...

Tuesday July 24

Before stepping in the ferry, we are having a beer with Gregory, a belgian who approached us thanks to our flag.  We spent a relax day in Turku, reading along the quays, visiting the handicraft open air museum, wandering in a street animated by a Middel Age festival, consulting Internet in the beautiful library, etc.

Bye Bye Finland, after some adaptation time we learned to love your peaceful forests and fields, your cute little coastal towns, the charms of Rauma The Old, the jazz of Pori and the animation of Turku.  All this compensates very well little frustrations linked to the sea always hidden by the trees, and the loosy camping sites.  So we were happy of this detour on the other side of Botnia Gulf!

Monday July 23 (Turku, km+79=2791)

message sent monday at 09:54 pm

"Comme je l'ai dit à ta femme, chapeau!", were the congratulations we received from Haggui, Tunisian living in Finland, about our journey in Europe. He works at the
bicycle shop Berggren, where we stopped to buy a little screw which fell from the clip of one of Gaetane's shoes. Haggui fixed it for free: thanks a lot!

Turku is definitely a city for the cyclists: they are everywhere, their bikes as well. The cycle track to Ruisalo, an island west of Turku, drove us through magnificent landscapes. We even joined some people who harvested and ate at once green peas, left on the field after the crop.

The camping was much less charming: some kind of tourist factory, expensive, dirty and noisy. Fortunately, it is the first to be so bad up to now...

Sunday July 22 (Uusikaupunki, km+65=2710)

message sent sunday at 07:27 pm

This morning in Rauma, we had some Sunday's activities: mas at the beautiful church of the Holy Cross, walk in the old city, sending digital pictures from an Internet Café and getting some food supplies for the rest of our stay in Finland.

Afterwards, nice journey through little forest roads, and always this curious pale lichen covering big parts of the ground. Around 7 pm, we took a nice aperitive, sitting on a bench in the sailing port of Uusikaupunki, caressed by a gentle sun.

We will leave soon now, and try to find a suitable place to pitch our tent, on our way to Turku.

Saturday July 21 (Rauma, km+48=2646)

“Roma Caput Mundi”, but Rauma today is for us the capital of comfortable romantism.

Let us talk romantism: the old town, with her Middel Age structure, is full of charm.  The little roads are not all paved and circulate between the wooden houses, all more beautiful the one than the other, and extremely well maintained by their inhabitants.  It escaped the many fires and represents the best preserved architectural unity of Nothern Europe.  It stands also on the Unesco World  Heritage  list.

Let us talk comfort: I am writing from our hotel room, a warehouse of 1938 converted into a hotel in 1982.  The outside has an Art Deco look quite surprising beside the Old Town.  After one month and a half spent under the tent, we enjoy even more relaxing in our cosy room, with the daylight flowing through two round windows.  With great pleasure, I switched on the screen on MTV, I like from time to time flashy music and colours...

Hey, another thing: happy National Day to the little Belgians!

Friday July 20 (Luvia, km+32=2598)

This morning at 6 am, we stood up at the same time the last jazz (or beer) amateurs went to bed, their last bottle duly emptied.  Matti was indeed waiting for us and we had a great birdwatching excursion in the marches and deltas of the Kokemäenjaki river, and along the seashore, with reeds and white sand.  See birdwatching observations (in French if not translated in English):  Thanks Matti!

The camping ticket gave us the right to an entry at the pen air olympic swimming pool and a sauna: large common cabin, five bench rows, 25 men and boys in my sauna!  Nowadays, every new built housed is equiped with a private sauna and these common cabins tend to disappear.

In the afternoon, we typed our reports at the same terass as yesterday, this time with a brazilian guitarist  singing smooth sambas.

Short ride late afternoon, caressed by the sun, to arrive in Luvia through little roads.  We pitched our tent in a parochial little garden, after having asked permission to a group of local cyclists.  Mrs Lehtinen showed us the place, and her husband, policeman of the village, visited us kindly later on to be sure we had everything we needed.  Tonight, life is beautiful in Finland...

Did you know Lius Torvalds, the inventor of LINUX, was born in Helsinki, not far from here?

Thursday July 19 (Pori, km+77=2566)

After a great ride, we arrived today in Pori for the jazz festival (www.porijazz.fi).  It is already the 36th edition, and the ambiance in town is really hot and spicy.   We are writing in front of a ½ liter beer and a box of Pringles, made in Mechelen, Belgium, as it ought to be.  On stage, Jimmie Bluesman Lawson, a Black American contrebass, really cool.

We pitched our tent at the city camping, just behind the town swimming pool, in the woods full of all kind of festivalers.   Tomorrow morning at 7 am, we have an appointment with Matti, English teacher in Pori and passionated birdwatcher and ringer.  He will take us around to show us a few good spots.

Wednesday July 18 (Merikarvia, km+79=2488)


My name is Communicator, the Nokia of my master Benoit.

What a delight to be back in Finland, my native country.  Lakes, endless forests, mountainless landscape, that’s all I like, despite some may find it monotonous. 

My master gets me mad, he is a real nerd.  For more details about his stupidity, kindly refer to the french version, my claims are not easy to translate.

Sending you my best waves,


Tuesday July 17 (Kristinestad, km+89=2410)

A little rain forced us to stay asleep in our tent until 10 am, what a pleasure...

Even under a grey sky, country side was beautiful, with narrowed fields and scattered old barns, made of entire wood logs.  Riding on small roads is really great, and a few potholes are nothing compared to the noise and the stress of traffic. Just the nature, a few houses, and two lovers on their bicycle.

Monday July 16 [Finland] (Korsnas, km+50=2320)

Finland brought us a serious tiredness.  Well, we must say we had a very short night, having disembarked from the ferry at 12h30 pm, i.e. 01h30 am for Finland which is one hour ahead.  Riding to the camping and getting ready for the night brought us in our sleeping bags at 02h30 am only.

After a disappointing morning in Vaasa (no Lonely Planet guide in the bookshops, birdwatcher expert not available...), we started our way south along a national and Eurovelo cycling route, which did not offer much pleasure  because of the traffic, so we left it for narrower country roads, detected on our excellent maps (scale 1/200,000).

Sunday July 15 [Sweden] (Holmsund, km+31=2270)

Today we sent a little French poem describing our adventures.  Well, this will be rather difficult to translate a “sonnet” in English, with 12 syllabs for each line, proper rimes and so on.  Yet in French I am unsure that it is correctly balanced,   so I will not even try in English.  On the other hand, the help of a bilingual poet would be much appreciated to finish the work; kindly refer to the French version.

Saturday July 14 (Umea)

The logistics activities of today did not bring any exiting news, so let us have some practical communications:

  • the children drawing contest is still open:  rules available, at least in the French version, maybe also in the English one, on June 21st in the travelbook.  We will be very happy to admire on the site the masterpieces of your children, grandchildren, nieces, little brother or sister...

  • the interval between the website visits counter and our bicycle counter is dangerously diminishing.  If we catch it up, each of the reader will have to offer us a beer, a restaurant or an invitation to cinema.  If we do not catch up, promised, we invite you all for a drink.

  • some communication for the donators to the charities, but since they are all frenchspeaking  Belgians, up to now, no need to translate so much.  We just take the opportunity to remind you we are raising funds for two charities linked to mobility by bicycle, and we kindly invite you to get more information in our the chapter “solidarity”.

Friday July 13 (Umea, km+109=2235)

The “Mosquito Raid” is ending tonight at 9 pm, sheltered from a thunderstorm under our tent, close to a huge churchyard, after having searched in vain a camping very badly sign posted.  We are happy to be at destination, after a sunny day with a strong adverse wind.

We had a pic-nic at the double church of Vindeln, one old (18th century) the other one recent (early 20st), both of them still in service.  We were invited to a Church Coffee, organised daily for two weeks during holidays open doors. A charming young girl (looking a bit like our Princess Mathilde) and two older ladies presented to us tee, coffe, home made pastries...  Excellent break, congrats for scandinavian churches!

Tomorrow, we will stay in Umeå, where we will try to contact the father Stephan, a priest friend of Brigit, our cousin of Stockholm.

Thursday July 12 (Ámsele, km+91=2126)

Chief of Mosquitoes Union speech, please refer to the French version.

Wednesday July 11 (Vindelgransele, km+103=2035)

Message sent on Wednesday at 20:10 pm

The "Mosquito Raid" continues through the taïga, against wind and rain. Today was the day of swedish encounters.

This afternoon we stopped to take a picturre of a beautiful traditional house, in the outline of our reporting for our sponsor Assar.

As I asked to the occupants the date of building, they introduce me to a more aged couple who are the previous owners. The lady is the grand-daugther of the one who ordered the house building in 1890. We continue the conversation in spanish when we realize that her husband is from a catalan birth: he flew the Franco era and immigrated in Sweden. They presently live in Stockholm and spend the summer time in this remote Lapland place.

We pass over our objective of 100 km and cross a broad river to find a camping place. The youth hostel is closed, but a countryman proposes that we set up camp in his field. As the rain rages again, he changes his mind and invites us to go into a small and nice hytte. We have a drink with our host, who acknowledges to be drunk. This was clear for us, and after thanking him for his hospitality, we join our hytte.

Tuesday July 10, 2001 (Sorsele road, km+110=1932)

message sent on Tuesday at 11:35 am

The "Mosquito Raid" follows its course, with a long stage under heavy rains. Curiously, we kept the morale, the landscapes of lakes and forests being beautifully wild and fascinating.

Our camp site for tonight is in the swedish province of Lappland, on a large parking area. At some times the mosquitoes are very aggressive and attack even when we ride over 15 km/hour. Not very practical, because in a slope our climbing speed is always under that limit.

During the stoppings, you have to be fully dressed, and be coated with Muggenmelk on the head, hands and ankles (these bloody 12 billions of swine beasts are delighted to sting through the socks). No web tonight, but anyway your obedient servant types his report from the spacious toilet of the deserted parking lot.

Monday July 09 (Tärnaby, km+11=1822)

message sent on Monday at 07:45 pm

Rest, washing and fishing was the program of the day at the camping *** of Tärnaby. The hosts are allowed to fish along 3 km down the river, and we catched a beautiful, 540 gr Sik (the name in swedish).

Yesterday at 7:00 pm as on every Sundays in July and August, the young pastor of Tärnaby celebrated the offince at the camping, first in the open air, then when the rain started in a large wood cabin. He is from Germany, has applied 7 years ago for a parish in Sweden and since then lives in Tärnaby. His fiancée is swiss and deacon. She was also present, they get married next Saturday, congratulations !

Tomorrow we attack the real "Mosquito Raid" : it will become hot !

Sunday July 8 (Tarnaby, km+87=1811)

Message sent on Sunday at 05:43 pm

A prayer from Gaëtane and Benoît :

Oh God, our mighty Lord, we have a special request to You: it is always clear here, day and night; at the beginning it was exotic and nice, but after more than one month, we start to get tired of it. Please switch the ligth of from 10:00 pm till 06:00 am, so we may sleep a bit.

What ? We misunderstood You, it's impossible to agree with our request ? What do You say ? Ah, it will be automatically and progressively corrected while we descend towards the south ?

Good news ! I beg Your pardon ? Ah, we should already get some minutes of semi-darkness since we have crossed the arctic circle ? Exellent news, many thanks, You are a Father for us.

Saturday July 7 [Norway] (Umbukta, km+49=1724)

message sent on Friday at 08:16 pm

Goodbye Norway, you have delighted us with your North Cape, your reindeers, your nordic birds, your invitations to discoveries and encounters. After a stop at Mo I Rana which left us with mixed feelings (Youth hostel closed, far away or horrible campings, no wasseret, fishing impossible, but magnificent Coop and Rema 1000, our preferred supermarkets).

Goodbye Daniel, we have spent two excellent days with you, have a good ride back to Germany along the Norway coast ! Dear Norway, you offer us a last magnificent bivouac, a broad pass at 600 m with a few stunded birchtrees on the heath, and a vew on a lake and afar the Svartisen glaciers.

Tomorrow, hello Sweden, and a crossing Atlantic - Baltic of more than 500 km till Umea, through forests, lakes … and mosquitoes ! They will really be there, we are forewarded ! We will have long stages, very quick picnic stops and tent setups with integral weather striping.

We are heavily loaded with provisions for that crossing which we call the "Mosquitoes Raid". May be we will have no more connexion to the web.

The itinerary up to now has been updated on the global map. (be patient, there are 225 KB to be loaded). See also the gastronomy heading.

Friday July 6 (Mo I Rana, km+84=1674)

message sent friday at 07:51 pm

linaigretteAlleluia, the sun went back today after 10 days of bad or very bad weather. It's like a resurrection being able to ride in t-shirt, and to take a maximum profit of the landscapes, fjords and shining mountains.

A superb day thus, still together with Daniel, which like us has to revictual tomorrow in Mo I Rana, withdraw some money, etc.

We planted our tents on a nice plain covered by "linaigrette" (small white plant looking like cottonwool - see photo). It's what we prefer !

Thursday July 5 (Andersund, km+52=1590)

message sent thursday at 07:06 pm
(Andersund is located 15 km South of Kilboghamn)

Hi, here is Daniel and I met G and B this morning again ! I was just on the way to the ferry of Føroy, when I saw them on the road - what a great moment on that morning in the rain !!!

For me it is simply fantastic, how close are our voyages in the last month. Tomorrow, it is exactly one month ago, that we met us on Nordkapp ! Since that date, I am looking on their web page every time, I can get in the internet. But the best thing is for me every time, when I meet other bikers and they also met G and B already - it is like we get a little family in that summer here in Norway !

First time was directly when I left Nordkapp and met the man from Sweden, how met G and B in the morning ! Second time some weeks later, because I met only one biker on Nordkinn from Finland, was when I met one man from Germany on
Vesteralen, who heared about Bike8000 from that guy from Sweden - he met him near Namsos and the swedish guy showed him the visit card !

Unfortunately, the library in Sortland was closed on Wednesday evening, so I asked in the tourist information about using the internet, because I would like to see, if I got a message from G and B and when I told the young man, why it is so important for me, he asked me if they are cycling to Gibraltar - sure, but why he knewed it ? The solution is, that his mother is working in the library and got a card about Bike8000 from them !

And than, last Saturday, I met the man from Switzerland in Svolvaer, who was sleeping with G and B in Nusfjord ! So for me it is every time great to here about them from other bikers - like a family !!!

An other funny situation - when I was sitting in Sortland in the library on Friday morning, it was the first computer on my trip which already "knows" the address of their page. I just was writing "www.b" and the computer knows the full name bike8000 - great !!!

Right know, I'm simply happy to sit here with G and B on the ferry, crossing the arctic circle, and will spend with them some time ! I think that I will pass our next "crossing point" in Germany some weeks before them, but it is simply wonderful to see them a second time on my voyage !!!

Bye, Daniel

Wednesday July 4, 2001 (Føroy, km+53=1538)

Message sent on Wednesday, at 07:33 pm

To console ourselves for the beastly weather, let's tell you the atmosphere in the youth hostel on the island Vaeroy beaten by the wind. The persons are real, some names being changed.

Miss Smith, in her alert sixties, travels alone with her rucksack and is expert in ferries timetables.

Herr und Frau Zweig, an East-Berlin couple, speak english with difficulties but are well integrated in the hostel life. He likes cooking, and his codfish fried with butter is excellent. Both enjoy touring by foot.

Olav Andersen, a bearded fisherman from Oslo, wears a norvegian pullover and falling jeans ; that is especially noticeable when he leans to knock the fish he catched.

Isabelle (little and go-ahead) and Bruno (long locks and 5-days beard) have teached respectively one and two years in Oslo: she in english at the German lyceum, he in history and geography at the French lyceum. They spend vacation in the north before rejoigning France.

Hans Olgersen is the boss of the youth hostel; he has a beautiful, Viking-style moustache and a plump belly (as the man from Oslo). He goes several times a day to the hostel and rides his van to the wharf at the every arrival of a ferry.

Gaëtane and Benoît Verbruggen, a curious belgian couple in their thirties, cross Europa by bicycle from the North Cap to Gibraltar in 6 months. They are much concerned about an Internet site. She appears mastering numerous gastronomic subjects, he is an enthusiastic birdwatcher.

Watch also the "gastronomy" heading.

Tuesday July 3, 2001 (Mevik, km+68=1485)

Message sent on Tuesday at 09:27 pm

04:00 am: the rain starts pouring
08:00 am: national (belgian) downpour, waking, breakfast in the tent
09:00 am: fine drizzle, reading in the tent
10:00 am: downpour, discussion in the tent
11:00 am: it's raining cats and dogs, nap in the tent
12:00 am: relative lull, we strike camp
03:00 pm: dowpours and wind, we manage to progress
04:30 pm: poor weather, the morale drops
05:00 pm: warm chocolade in a lovely cafeteria along the road
07:30 pm: Daniel will call, I switch on the Nokia
08:00 pm: Daniel did'nt call, I switch off the Nokia
09:00 pm: fine rain, we rush into an hytte.

Don't miss the new pictures !

Monday July 2 (South Salstraumen, km+42=1417)

Message sent on Monday at 07:48 pm

Resuming pedaling has been hard, especially after a sleep of only 2 or 3 hours, lying on a bench in the ferry, and landing around 5:00 am under a poor weather.

Early in the morning we have left our bicycles and taken a bus to Fauske. There we have been to the post, done some shopping and consulted bike8000 as well as our hotmail.

Following the advice of Julien the Genevan, we have changed our travel plan and therefore will head for Sweden only after Mo I Rana.
After a squall and riding against the wind we have seen an ugly camping in Salstraumen, known by its narrow pass between the sea and the fjord, where the waters rush with violence and whirlpools at each flood or ebb-tide.

With courage we continue a bit and are rewarded by a magnificent bivouac place, near a fjord and a little port attended by fischers. A swedish men lets out his secrets about trout fishing in his country rivers. A beautiful white-tailed eagle pass above us.

Sunday July 1, 2001 (Vaeroy, km+27=1375)

Message sent on Sunday at 11:42 pm

This morning we went to the mass at the local church. A men chorus supported the service with a little concert, and at the end - as it seemed to us - they concluded with a vigorous seamen song ! The young priest and the very sympathetic assembly asked us to attend a Church Coffee. We met there a professor who teached there during 11 years, before rejoining his native island, near Bergen. With regret we had to leave them, and also a magnificent pastries dresser, to meet our friends Isabelle et Bruno.

This afternoon we went to Mostad, a village in the island of Vaeroy abandonned in 1974 by the last inhabitant. 50 years ago 150 people lived there, they had a school and a little port where the boats were trailed onto the ground. When the motorboats appeared, they could'nt adapt, and the inhabitants finally left.

Mostad is surrounded by cliffs and 400 m high mountains covered with seabirds nests. Besides cod fishing, the great speciality of the inhabitants was collecting birds eggs in the spring (the biggest eggs, burried into fine sand, could be conserved until autumn), and especially catching Puffins of which they made back-fat and salted meat, prepared in barrels before the winter. Shocking for birdwatchers ? Not really, they catched what they needed to survive during the winter, without endangering these birds settlements.

To go there, we had first to ride 10 km on our bicycles along a beautiful little road, then more than two hours walking along the sea, on a sometimes vertiginous pad. From a cliff base we could observe a magnificent birds ballet.

Approaching Mostad was beautiful and a bit nostalgic, because of all these rememberings of the past. Going back, the seals were in greater numbers, greeting us far away with their heads appearing just above the water. The mist is falling now.

Tonight we take the ferry at 00:15 am to Bodo. Arrival foreseen at 05:30 am, a good time to intensively resume our ride after a semi-farniente week.

See also the birdwatching heading.