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Cycle Tour 2015 - Part 2: Norway, Finland, Estonia & Latvia

Home Page > Bicycle Touring > Europe > Norway, Finland, Estonia & Latvia 2015 > Tromsø to Kirkenes (Norway/Finland Border)

We were pleased to have had the day in Tromsø yesterday. When we arrived in Trondheim many moons ago, I commented that it had a frontier feel to it, but I was a little ahead of myself. Tromsø is the frontier town! Walking around we were really struck by how few people there were! Our hotel was near the harbour where the Hurtigruten and other cruise ships dock and there was the tourist hustle and bustle. Although it rained in the morning we had good weather in the afternoon. Unfortunately we have had some trouble with one of our GPS's and had ordered a new one through a local sports store which had arrived. We caught the bus there and back. The busfare was almost as much as the GPS. That might be an exaggeration actually, but we were quite shocked. I read later that bus tickets are cheaper if bought in advance, listing some outlets eg. the university, which you would probably have to catch the bus to anyway. It seems a strange concept, purchasing a bus ticket in advance.

We checked out of the hotel in brilliant sunshine at 12:00 pm and had a fantastic ride. We headed to Breivikeidet, about 50 km away to catch the ferry to Svensby and then from there another 20 km or so to Lungseidet to catch a ferry to Olderdalen. The first leg was along a flat, quiet road that rolled along between fabulous snowcapped mountains with waterfalls running from top to bottom and birch forest. It was a very different ride to any we had had in Norway thus far, more like Finland really if you ignored the spectacular mountain scenery. The next leg was along a fjord with steep scree slopes from the surrounding mountains rushing down to water's edge. We were amazed that this was not also given National Tourist Route status as it was some of the most dramatic scenery we had seen. Not complaining though, as it meant fewer campervans for us. We shopped in Lyngseidet and waited for the ferry in the glorious sunshine, staring into the clear depths of the harbour before us. Arriving in Olderdalen at 6:30 pm we noticed that the place names are now in Norwegian and Sámi and started looking for a bush camp. We found a place a few kilometres down the road where there was access to a river for a swim and also a place to pitch the tent. It looked as if it had once been a sort of holiday cabin place as there were a few numbered wooden cabins in disrepair and a "kioski" building also old and rundown. We pitched the tent quick smart as we were being attacked from all sides by mozzies and horseflies, then rushed down to the river for a quick in and out swim, and then back to the tent before the mozzies caught up. Once in our tent we are safe and feel at home! Looking at the map it was amazing to see how close we are to Finland from here.


Rain was predicted for today but only in the late afternoon. We had a slightly overcast day but windless and once again, dramatically beautiful views. Things are different up here and seem less formal. Small village stores and places advertising Sámi Handcraft. We are now on the E6 which is the primary route in Norway (remember weeks ago we were forced onto it for a 50 km nightmare run to Oppdal?) but now seems like a completely different road; very quiet. We will be on the E6 all the way to Nordkapp now. We ticked over to 7,000 km today, total trip distance. Even though we have been at it for 4 months, it still seems like a long way! Things were pretty uneventful until the climb to Storslett which was a few kilometres long and took us up to lakes higher up. An easy climb though. We passed two "skiers" setting off along the E6 too and saw them turn around to head back just before the climb, unpeturbed by the cars and campervans overtaking them. No brakes either! On the way up we passed a contruction site where a new tunnel was being built; quite cool to see. At the top of the climb there was a picnic area which had some huts with traditional crafts and reindeer hides, etc. for sale. One lady was in traditional Sámi dress. We had a look around but did not make any purchases. We had a steep descent into the town where we shopped at the Spar and had a cooked lunch from the deli eaten in the shopping centre. When we came out it was starting to rain. The rain continued and got harder. We came to a layby with toilet and kept going. The road passed prettily along the sea and we came upon a really great spot to camp; just off the road but with it's own blocked-off track down to the sea, so easy to get to. We decided to call it a day even though it was early, there is not much point in getting wet for no reason. We had only planned to go 75 km today to a lake camp spot anyway. It was a nice place, bugfree and the sea swim was okay too. In the few minutes it took us to pitch the tent the rain really started coming down and rained heavily to 7:00 pm. The forecast is for better weather tomorrow so let's hope that's what happens!


We had no rain overnight and none all day but the weather was really strange, almost as if a summer thunderstorm was about to hit but never did. We had a headwind for the first 20 km as we made up our shortfall from yesterday and then after this the wind was not much of a problem. Alot of the time the waters of the fjords we rode alongside were dead still and the sky was often very dark grey and always overcast. But no rain.

We left without breakfast as there was a shop about 18 km down the road but this was not open by the time we passed at 8:00 am having made an early start. Shortly after this we had a long, quite tough climb which rewarded us in wonderful views of the fjords below as the route rose above the treeline. This was followed by a wonderful descent and then some coastal riding before the next climb which was as hard, but shorter. On the way down the other side we passed a man coming up the hill in a wheelchair type machine but instead of wheeling he was using ski poles to propel himself forwards, or rather upwards. Seeing something like this is to marvel at the effort and realise that two useful legs can take you anywhere if he can wheel himself there too. We then descended into Burfjord where we shopped for food and had lunch. We also made use of the free wifi at the visitor's centre which was a great little place, very friendly and relaxed with a large lavuu outside. We were treated to two flyovers by fighter jets flying very low and deafening us! After this we entered Finnmark which was pretty exciting as this is the real deal; 70 degrees north and mozzies the size of helicopters. We were on the lookout for a suitable campspot from here and turned off the E6 onto a secondary road to cross a river thinking we would find a good spot, which we did. It is in the open along a big river where we had a great swim.


A beautiful day! Sunny but not too hot, perfect for cycling. We had wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Finnmark does not have many towns and we passed two today, Talvik after 40 km and then the large town of Alta at around 80 km. We had a great ride, passing another Sámi souvenier gallery at the top of the climb before Talvik. The road was undulating and hugged the fjords. There were two sections undergoing road imporvements which was a bit tiresome and we saw another tunnel under construction. We had a detour to avoid another tunnel that took us up a climb but the views were so good that it was worth it. We stopped at a lake for lunch and coffee. The mozzies and other nibblers are being kept under control by a cocktail of sprays. Shortly after this rest stop we had a cycleway that took us right through Alta. The road had been upgraded at some point and this fabulous cycleway was added.

Before arriving in the town, we passed the UNESCO World Heritage Site: rock carvings in the area. You could see the preserved carvings laid out far below. We shopped for food in Alta as we were heading for a bush camp just after it. It always takes a little getting used to for us when in Europe, but cyclists are given right of way in most cases by motorists. You get used to it after a while and whilst you never really expect it you anticipate it. Well, the folk of Alta differ in this respect. Within 300 m I was nearly run over twice and yelled at by another cyclist when I wandered into his path. After being used to Norwegians who are generally seen but not heard, this was a surprise. Perhaps it's the midnight sun. Anyway, we didn't stick around and got on with getting to our campsite. This was an area we had spotted on the map which included a swimming hole, lean-to and toilet. It entailed a steep climb and then some riding over rough track but when we arrived it was perfect. A lovely picnic area, toilet, rubbish bins and benches. The lake had an excellent swimming hole with boardwalk and an area demarcated for camping. What more could we ask for? Oh yes, the bugs were manageable also. We had a couple of swims and ate at the benches. Mike even did some bike maintenance as my bike had developed an irritating clicking sound that we can't get rid of. Then it was into the tent by 7:00 pm. We have about 230 km to go to Nordkapp and then it's southwards again.



Unfortunately, something about the Greek meatball and potato salad meal for dinner didn't agree with Mike and he struggled with nausea overnight, culminating in a puke session in the early hours of the morning: Yummy! Hereafter he was able to fall asleep but rain began to fall around 4:00 am and neither of us could get out of bed and were still falling in and out of sleep fantasising about a rest day. It was a goodish spot for one, but a group of teenages with motorbikes had created some disturbance last night and also left a bit of a mess around the picnic area so we were reluctant to stay. Also, we needed food and that entailed a 4 km ride down and then up the steep hill again so our time was better served moving on. We had a look at the map and saw that we had a 250 m climb up to the Alta plateau where there was a lake. It was only a 22 km ride and we would pass a shop at Rafsbotn. We had discounted the shop previously as thought we would pass it too early but as we ended up breaking camp only at 10:00 am, this was no longer an issue! So we had a late start and set off in the rain. We still can't believe the weather in Norway. It seems that one good day is all that can be achieved and then the rain moves in. Who would have thought that we were lounging on the boardwalk yesterday in our swimmers in the sun?

It was a flat ride along the coast until we got to the Coop, which was small but had all we needed. Interestingly it was open on Sundays too (it was Saturday today). One can never tell! We had to stock up for Sunday anyway. We sat outside and ate breakfast and another cycle tourist rode past, on his way to Nordkapp from the looks of things. We haven't really seen tourists since reaching Tromsoø. Straight after this we started the climb. The rain came and went and of course climbing is always hot work, wearing rain gear does not help! Once at the top we met with a large, rushing river and started looking for a camp spot. We weren't keen to wait 'til the lake as if there was vehicle access, campervans could access the spots too. We stopped a few times and then came across a small clearing just over a rise, closish to the road and with good river access. This is always the hard part but the swim is best done right away! We pitched the tent and got in. It did not feel as cold as we had expected, possibly as we were cold ourselves! We got dry and into the tent. It was only 1:00 pm so we still had the whole day to rest and boy did we sleep! I couldn't believe it. Obviously we needed it. It rained all afternoon and we were pleased that we had moved on and got a small climb over with but also that we had stopped early. We are actually ahead of schedule which is a good position. We really hope the weather improves tomorrow.

The rain stopped overnight which was promising but started up again just as we prepared to leave and we rode in it all day. Soaking wet! We had a longish climb up to the Finnmark Plateau proper and it was beautiful up there. Some groups of huts, probably reindeer herders, and flat openness all around. We passed a large herd of reindeer as they hung about on the road or crossed it to go up the hill or down to the river. The locals in cars just drop their speed slightly and hoot to frighten them off but they are curious of us on bikes. There were a few high points but nothing over 385 m and then we started to drop down slightly. The views were good, but plenty of cloud cover obscured things. We reached Skaidi and amazingly there was a small open grocery store where we bought a couple of things and they helpfully filled up our water bottles too. From Skaidi it was 22 km to Olderfjord but we would camp short of that along a river where it looked as if we would find a good bush camp. The rain had stopped by now but it was very overcast and we were cold. We stopped to check a few possible camping spots. The advantage of the cold (10 degrees max today) was that the mozzies and their friends kept away. With only 400 m remaining where the river ran close to the road we found a wonderful camp spot right on the river with paths down to it. It was perfect and just in time! The river swim seemed a bit of an effort but we had to do it and then climbed into all our warm gear aned sleeping bags to thaw out. Tomorrow night we will get to the Nordkapp tunnel where we will camp in order to tackle it first thing in the morning when the traffic is at the minimum.


We woke to the same grey, overcast conditions but no rain and left a little later than usual as we wanted to shop at Olderfjord which was only a couple of kilometres down the road and usually shops open here at 9 am. We got there at 8:30 am so had a bit of a wait but at least it was dry and we were entertained by the long distance bus dropping off boxes of supplies for the shop and then the postman arriving. Clearly our mental stimulation requirements have lowered over the course of the trip! We bought a few things when the shop opened and set off. The first 50 km of the day's ride were along the coast, with views of the ocean and fantastic pancake rock formations on our left. We saw a sign advertising a silversmith and stopped at the lovely shop. The silversmith himself was very interesting and told us a lot about the area most particularly the wind! We had just seen signs warning of the wind on the road. He told us that this summer three motorcyclists had been killed on this road due to the wind which can be very strong and one day he had driven to rescue a cycle tourist who was in great danger due to the wind. For us, wind had not been too much of an issue and as he explained this bad wind is mainly in June. I bought a lovely bronze brooch. It was a really lovely store with a wonderful selection of handmade jewellry, all behind glass with each piece numbered. You simply gave the man the number and he had the item already packaged. Well worth a visit.

With about 30 km to go we stopped for our flasks of coffee as the first drops of rain began to fall. We put on our wet weather gear and got back into it. The road ceased it's flat weaving in and out and became slightly hillier as it climbed away from the coast a bit at times. Here there are no trees, only low lying groundcovers, berry bushes, lichen and moss. Reindeer in groups on the road here and there. Now we made our aquaintance with the wind which became a really strong Westerly. We had headwinds and crosswinds for the last 30 km. It was hard work and the needling rain didn't help! We rounded the bend of Kalfjord and reached the famous Nordkapp Tunnel. It announced itself with signs "Fog in tunnel" and "9% gradient, vehicles engage low gear". We stopped right at the mouth and camped in the open ground to the left of it. There are steep mountains and a big waterfall behind us. Again, the idea of the end of day river swim seemed less attractive but we managed it and then warmed up. The road was not that busy today, perhaps due to the weather tourists are not flocking to Nordkapp, but even so our plan is to be the first one's into the tunnel in the morning!



So the weather turned a bit adventurous during that first night camping at the Tunnel. The winds were extremely high and very loud as they came rushing down the slopes behind us, slamming into my side of the tent all night long. We could barely sleep due to the noise. At about 1:00 am we had a chat about it. Clearly the weather might be very bad and if that was the case we would not enjoy either the ride to Nordkapp or the views. Remembering what the silversmith had told us about wind yesterday, we were also worried about a bridge just after the Tunnel that could be dangerous to cross. It would be pointless to just get a few kilometres further down the road when we were in a pretty good position here; at a river so access to water, and a good place to camp. We had an extra meal as well so food should be okay, if a little lean! We checked the weather forecast online and saw that the weather would be shocking all day, but sunshine the next! Decision made, we would sit out the weather for the day and get to Nordkapp the following day. The rain started at about 2:00 am and it rained all day. The clouds rolled down the mountains onto us and we were in the damp drizzle when the rain eased. We lay in the tent and read, and listened to music, and now and then checked the road. We saw 5 cycle tourists make their brave entry into the scary Tunnel. Two of them women who squatted down for a quick wee beforehand. Thinking about the Tunnel makes me want to wee too! Late in the afternoon a group of 7 men stopped and got out their cars, one with a long coil of rope and hiked off up the very wet mountainside, right over the top. They came back an hour later. The things that go on in the Arctic!

We had a good night's sleep and hit the road at 6:00 am. The weather was as predicted, a little misty still but the sky would be blue today and the wind had dropped. Hooray! The lack of food (probably more so the lack of sour dummies and chocolate) unfortunately had Mike feeling a little peeky this morning, but he rallied for the Tunnel. As the food bag which he carries was completely empty, he kindly took some of the things from my rackpack, not much but just reduced the weight a little. The undersea Tunnel is 6.7 km long and descends to 215 m below sea level and then levels out a bit before climbing back to sea level. Most people will say they dreaded it and that it was very difficult. A man we met two days ago in Olderfjord confirmed this. We weren't sure what to expect. All we can say is by doing it as early as we did, there was almost no traffic. I think 3 cars and one bus passed us in total. This helps as passing vehicles and their noise can be disorientating. We had no mist/fog/dankness or smell of fish that we had read or been warned about. At this early hour the fans didn't even seem to be working as the vehicle fumes would not have collected yet, so it was dead quiet too. It is well lit and whilst not very wide, it has a pavement. You wouldn't be able to ride on the pavement but it is reassuring to know that you could get on it if you needed to. The steepest section climbed at 9% for 2 km which for us over this distance was fine. It is interesting that if you take out other environmental factors such as vehicles, wind, rain, sun and just have the climb it seems easier. Anyway, at least it is DONE! We left the Tunnel for the bright sunshine and brilliant blue sky that Norway delivers about once a week and you are so, so grateful. Funny thing is that there are two more tunnels before Honningsvåg and one is 4.4 km long but no one mentions it! Not as nearly as steep though. Mike saved his migraine puke fest for this tunnel, nothing like spilling the guts on the move. We reached Honningsvåg a few kilometres later, heading straight for the Rema 1000 which opened at 8:00 am to get some nutrients into Mike who was feeling very bad. We had a 30 minute wait and then I went in and bought what we needed. We found a bench on a little boardwalk and Mike tried to eat a banana and rested. He almost managed the whole thing too! Oh boy, how would we get to Nordkapp?

The road to Nordkapp from Honningsvåg is quite tough, steep climbs and descents. Also it is one of the most beautiful roads we have ridden. It sweeps up and down before you, dipping up and down towards the plateau. What a perfect day for it! If there was a day we had wished for good weather, this was it. It made up for all the rain days we have had. The banana had apparently worked wonders and onwards we went. The road kept climbing and descending and then you could see all the vehicles parked and the cluster of buildings that is Nordkapp. A motorcycle tourist passed us and slowed down to say "I admire what you do!". Wasn't that nice? We pulled up to the entrance gate and were told "Cyclists are free" as we expected. The views were magnificent and actually reminded us of Cape Point in Cape Town, except for the herds of raindeer. The sea was calm and the sky was blue. The visitor's centre is big and has seating attached to the eateries but outside there was nowhere to sit out of the wind, so we hunkered down against a wall and relaxed. Ate a bit. The place had a really nice atmoshpere. One man asked if he could have a photo taken with my bike! We also met a Swedish cycle tourist who had just finished his trip from Spain to Nordkapp in 10 weeks! We ended up leaving at about 4:30 pm and found a great bush camp not far down the road where we still have views of the sea. It was a wonderful day. Total ascent for the day amounted to 1,277 m!




I woke at 1:00 am to answer a call of nature and was just in time to catch the sunset over the ocean. Beautiful to see the sunset over Nordkapp, although it doesn't actually get dark. We woke for the day around 6:30 am but were unhurried. We feel a sense of achievement in reaching this point. It seems as if we have been aiming for this most northerly point of Europe for some time. This area has a magnetic pull and we felt like staying longer. The weather was not as good as yesterday, we still could not believe our good fortune, but still good enough. At least the cloud cover was white not grey! We had 20-odd kilometres to ride back to Honningsvåg and the Hurtigruten Ferry to Kjøllefjord so no rush, and even enjoyed the steep climbs back. We had a few herds of reindeer to avoid on the road, which was quiet this morning as we headed south for the final stage of our journey.

We stopped at the Rema once again to stock up, Mike feeling much better now than he had yesterday! We then headed to the ferry terminal. We ate breakfast and used the free wifi at the info office to upload the website. The Hurtigruten announced it's arrival at 11:30 am with a loud hoot and we could then get on and purchase our tickets. It worked out well as this stop is for three hours, allowing those on board time to go by bus to Nordkapp which most do, being a highlight of the trip. So we were able to get on board before 12 noon, the boat left at 3:00 pm and we disembarked at Kjøllefjord at 5:00 pm. The Hurtigruten is the fleet of ships which travel from Bergen to Kirkenes along the coast, making 25 stops in the course of a week. Many people do it as one complete voyage as it is such a great way to see the coast of Norway, but you can get on and off anywhere along the route. It is very expensive to overnight or eat on board, and is considered a luxury vessel. It has great lounges and viewing decks and didn't seem at all crowded. For us it meant avoiding retracing our tyre tracks through the Nordkapp Tunnel and back along the coast for many kilometres and also gives us the opportunity to see the last Norwegian outpost of Kirkenes. As we will travel south through Eastern Finland this makes for time better spent. We should reach Kirkenes in 4 days and it is also a highlight being so close to the Russian border.

Kjøllefjord is a very remote community and the surrounding hills were barren and beautiful. We only rode a few kilometres before arriving at a suitable camp spot beside a small river, and along a winter snowmobile track. The snowmobile graveyard and street lights dotting the hillside were the give away. We braved a river swim beseiged by bugs and then jumped in the tent.



We had a few drops of rain last night, but none today and although it was overcast it was mainly warm with no wind. Things seem to be stabilising already as we move south. Today's ride was probably the most beautiful of the entire trip. This is quite a statement to make but we were blown away by the amazing landscape that we rode through, particularly in the first 60 km. There were three major climbs on the day and the first two took us up into a moonscape environment, just rocks, lakes, waterfalls and rivers. It was very beautiful. We were up high with only the silence and reindeer herds for company. It felt so remote. The road swept ahead, curving between boulder strewn hills. Although towns are marked on the map, they were generally nothing except a cluster of houses. We found our first shop at Lebesby, after 90 km of riding.

We would recommend this route 100% to anyone travelling by any means in Norway. The road to Nordkapp has it's special attraction of course, but the scenery here was remarkable. We left Kjøllefjord and after the first climb, met the road from Mehamn. We descended into Hopseidet and thereafter climbed up to 346 m above sea level on the Nordkynveg. We descended to the coast again and then the road undulated until Lebesby and onwards to Ifjord. We thought we would find a camp spot along the river at Ifjord, or further on at a lake, but it was not to be. We had no choice but to commence the third climb, on top of which we found a great river which we could camp beside. The day turned out much longer that we had planned because of the camp spot hunt! Other things that happened of interest: on the first climb Mike was approached by a Finnish man in a car who pulled up alongside him and asked to borrow a spanner as his tow bar connection was coming loose! Mike said "Can't stop right now" but flagged him down when the climb eased off and we were able to help with the spanner he needed. Then just before the end of the day passing through a reindeer herding settlement, a husky dog ran out at us wanting to attack me. Mike fended him off. The road that we travelled was completey off the tourist route and very quiet. We loved it! We have only three days left cycling in Norway before we enter Finland.


The cloud was low over the hills as we set off, but the road was quiet and beautiful. There was a bit of a strong headwind, but it soon disappeared. As it turned out, we had not finished the climb yesterday, we still had to climb another 120 m to a height of 370 m from our campsite. We saw very large herds of reindeer along the way, much larger than any on the Alta Plateau or on the road to Nordkapp. It is great to be off the tourist route. The descent proved interesting as when it started, visability was about 40 m. You could just see the white line sweeping away and all around only mist. The chevrons placed at regular intervals warned of tight bends, there were no barriers between us and a sheer drop. Then the bitument ended and we were on gravel due to road works which continued for a few 5 kilometers. By the time we had descended through that, we were well out of the cloud which was a relief. We also realised why the road was being resurfaced as the now original bitumen surface was very patched and bumpy; not up to the usual Norwegian standard at all!

We had two more climbs, but none as high as yesterday's and on top of the first one we stopped for a coffee break. We were aiming at ending the day about 10 km after Tana Bru but we were also quite desperate to do washing as everything was feeling a little grimy, us included! We have booked into a hotel at Kirkenes which we will reach on Monday, but you can't do your washing in a hotel. Mike mentioned that there was a campsite at Tana Bru so we decided we would investigate it when we arrived. If they had a laundry we would stay.

We were now out of the mountainous terrain and just had some short climbs, until the road junction where we turned south to Tana Bru. It was then a totally flat road along the very wide river flood plain. It reminded us of the wide flood plains of some Australian rivers. We had 23 km to Tana Bru from this point. It is a tiny town but everything was in one place. We stopped at the Shell Petrol Station where you can often get a good meal and had burgers and pizza. Then we just crossed the road to the campsite. The cost of a pitch was very reasonable and so was the washer and dryer. We booked in and got the washing on. The site was rudimentary but that's what we prefer. There was a silversmith right across the road which we had a look at and also a Rema 1000, a Coop and an Intersport store next to the petrol station. It was great to have all these things so close by! We now have sparkling clean clothes (and TOWELS) again. We checked the weather forecast which was for heavy rain from 7:00 pm tonight right through until tomorrow evening.


The rain began at exactly 7:00 pm as predicted! We had just got back from our second trip to the Rema so that was good timing. The rain was heavy for most of the night and we decided to get a late start as it was forecast to gradually ease by 6:00 pm tonight. So we slept in and got going at 10:00 am in rain gear although the rain had just stopped! One of the laws of cycle touring is that the minute you take off your rain gear it will start raining! We had a wonderful ride today. The landscape is changing, low hills made up of boulder upon boulder, straggly trees and flat bogs. Throughout the day we passed roaring rivers, tumbling waterfalls and still lakes. At times the view looked like the Serengeti, mile on mile of flatness, with low hills and straggly trees. We had a few climbs, but nothing long, high or steep. We had beautiful views of the coast as the road ran along the fjord edge. Brilliant blue water, still and calm. Huge colonies of seabirds. We are following the E6 to Kirkenes and so there were a few picnic areas. We had some rain for a period but it was very light. The road was lightly trafficked. Just before we reached the end of the day we had wonderful views of bogland interspersed with small lakes. There were groups of reindeer dotted about.

As we arrived at Neiden we passed a rest area which had toilets and benches and so on, but it was high above the river. As we rounded the bend there was another parking area with toilets and a bridge over a huge rushing river. On the other side of the river there was a wooden staircase and at the bottom a shelter and bench for salmon fisherman. Perfect campsite! We unpacked the bikes and carried our gear and the bikes down. We had a swim, being careful not to get washed away! The weather had improved and later the sun came out. We had such an interesting evening as fishing was allowed from 6:00 pm and we chatted for a long time to a local man who came down to catch a fish for dinner. He is an artist and lives part of the year in a summer house here and the rest in Tunisia. He told us a lot about local customs and "the way things work". We are only 10 km from Finland here and people here speak Finnish. It was so interesting speaking with him. He did catch a trout within 30 minutes which he was happy with. About 6 other men came down to fish and it was just really nice to watch. We have 43 km to go to Kirkenes so tomorrow will be a late start again as we can't get to our hotel too early! We will ride back this same was to Finland after.


We ended up putting up the tent at 9:30 pm after the last fisherman had left. We had a terrific night's sleep with the roar of the river to lull us! We planned a leisurely start but woke around 6:30 am. One of the Finnish fishermen who was fishing last night was already back in his gear and on the bank. He was a friendly chap. I went up across the bridge to use the toilet at the car park and saw a large herd of reindeer swimming across the river just above the rapids. Not sure why they don't use the bridge! It was an amazing sight. One adult and two young one's got swept down the rapids but two made their way to shore from there; must be strong swimmers. One of the babies was swept downstream and I watched from the bridge as he made a huge effort to get out of the strong flow of the water. He managed to haul himself out at a flat rock near the fisherman and Mike at the shelter below. The fisherman called out to Mike and they watched as the little thing just stood there shivering and bleating. I went on to the toilet and when I got back to the campsite I saw the baby reindeer trying to get across the road. How it made it's way back to the herd I don't know.

We set off around 8:30 am and had a nice ride in to the Kirkenes. The last 8 km were on a cycleway. We arrived at the hotel at 12:30 pm after stopping for lunch and were really happy to be checked in that early. As for Kirkenes, I have made some false calls along the way as to the Frontier. I am happy to report that THIS IS IT. There is nothing going on here. It is definitely THE FRONTIER. We are happy to go this far east and no further. Russia is only 7 kilometres away, and Finland was about 10 kilometres from last night's campsite. Tomorrow we backtrack to Finland.