Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Adventure  ➡  Travel

Expedition to Nordkapp

 

 

EXPEDITION TO NORDKAPP

15 days, 8 thousand km, 8 countries, 5 capitals,

alone by motorbike

 

 

 

Krzysztof Wiśniewski

 

 

Version 1.0

 

Krzysztof Wiśniewski has written and also published such books as:

Maroko motocyklem (Eng: Morocco by Motorbike) (description of an eleven-day motorcycle Expedition to Morocco, over 4 thousand km)

Safari w Namibii (Eng: Safari in Namibia) (first e-book describing the expedition and hunting in Namibia)

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Krzysztof Wiśniewski

 

All rights reserved. Wszystkie prawa zastrzeżone.

 

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is dedicated to my beloved

 

wife Ania and daughters Ola and Hania

Contents

 

The beginning

Prologue

[+ Day 1 - Poznan -> Hamburg -> Szlezwik, 670 km +]

[+ Day 2 - Szlezwik -> Hirtshals -> Kristiansand -> Preikestolen, 788 km +]

[+ Day 3 - Preikestolen -> Stavanger -> Bergen, 200 km +]

[+ Day 4 - Bergen -> Borgund -> Stryn, 472 km +]

[+ Day 5 - Eagle Road -> Trollstigen -> Atlantic Road -> Trondheim, 490km +]

[+ Day 6 - Trondheim -> Mo and Rana, 480 km +]

[+ Day 7 - Mo and Rana -> Bodo -> Moskenes -> A -> Lofoty, 468 km +]

[+ Day 8 - Lofoty -> Narv ][ ik -> Birtavarre 552 km +]

[+ Day 9 - Birtavarre -> NORDKAPP 494 km +]

[+ Day 10 - Nordkapp -> Motel before Rovaniemi, 552 km +]

[+ Day 11 - Rovaniemi -> Helsinki, 882km +]

[+ Day 12 - Helsinki -> Tallin, ] [+107 km]

[+ Day 13 - Tallin -> ] [+Riga, 309 km]

Day 14 – [+ Riga -> Vilnius, 295 km +]

Day 15 – Vilnius [+ -> Warsaw -> Poznan, 801 km +]

Epilogue

A list of things and equipment for the expedition

About the author

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Prologue

Nordkapp accomplished

 

Every morning, when starting my ride, I switched on my favourite playlist. Usually I had to overcome a few hundred kilometers, which meant a few to several hours of riding a motorcycle. It was a time that I spent alone with myself and I could just think over a lot of things and put them together in my mind.

 

Friends and acquaintances that I’d told that I was planning to go alone were surprised, some disbelieved me and could not understand why, but I really needed that time to be in my very own company so that later I could really yearn for my family and home.

 

Laurent Cochet, French motorcyclist and journalist provided me with the inspiration for the trip. His expedition to Nordkapp was completed in the winter, and a really nifty film was made about the trip, which you can watch it on youtube.com. One winter evening I clicked on Google Maps and I began to plan my trip to Nordkapp – location Nordkapp – map.

 

Map of Expedition

 

I planned to travel nearly 8,000 kilometers through Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The route was divided into sections of approximately 450 km and 18 nights mainly in a tent. On the way I took 3 longer and some shorter ferry crossings and went through many tunnels. As it happened, I rode through the longest car tunnel, which stretches for 24 km.

 

I wanted to visit many interesting places along the way such as Preikestolen, the Fjords and the Lofoten and to visit the memorials of the fallen Polish soldiers in Narvik. I wanted to accomplish Nordkapp and to visit 4 capitals: Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. In short, the route on the map did not seem so challenging in contrast to what proved to be reality.

 

On the fourth day, somewhere past Bergen I was in deadlock for overcoming the 472 km took me 14 hours. There were hundreds of corners and narrow roads; the ride was sluggish, there were lots of campers, many road sections under renovation which all was to give me life a misery. I was terribly tired. When I got to the campsite in the evening, I checked the map … to find the way back home. Inadvertently, I looked at the road leading to the east of Norway searching for a way towards Oslo, Stockholm and then a ferry crossing to Gdynia. I overcame the crisis by resting and raised my spirits which a hot shower and warm dinner. The following days proved that it was worth continuing the journey and the rest of the way onwards proved to be much easier.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Day 1 – Poznan [* -> Hamburg -> Szlezwik, 670 km *]

 

I left Poznan around 8am. However, Before, I accelerated along the A2 Motorway towards Berlin, I had to pull over and put on my raincoat and warm gloves. I did not even think that I would ride the entire journey in these gloves and put on my rain wear so often. I was at the border about 10 am and I arrived in Hamburg after 2pm.

 

Soviet submarine from the Cold War era

 

The weather was middling, though it was not raining. I parked in the centre of Hamburg, took a short stroll and then went to the Elbe to see the Fish Market, but at this time it was closed. However, there was an amazing attraction right next to it and that was a Soviet U-boat – a submarine from the Cold War period. Although the ticket cost 10 Euros it was worth visiting and I was really greatly impressed by it. How could it float and even underwater to boot?! You were already a hero just for getting on board this boat, let alone sailing in it.

 

That day I planned accommodation a few kilometers north of Hamburg. I decided to go a little further, so that the next day I did not have the stress of getting to the ferry on time. Fortunately, it was a good job I did so because I passed a few sections motorways road works and lost a lot of time. I arrived at the campsite in the town of Schleswig-Holstein at the end of the day and it was nice and comfortable. The first night was in a tent at a cost of 12 Euros.

 

Advice: When you going to overcome many kilometers by motorbike take care of your ears. I rode in earplugs and that proved perfect. I could listen to music and audio books without losing my hearing and not getting tired by the noise.

 

Equipment: Food. I took a little canned food and several bags of freeze-dried food on the trip, courtesy of LYO FOOD. In short, it was incredibly delicious, preservative-free, high quality, easy and quick to prepare. Although I have my favorite (which is stroganoff), each meal was good. Just pour boiling water, wait 10 minutes and you have a ready-made hot meal.

 

[]Day [* 2 - Szlezwik -> Hirtshals -> Kristiansand -> Preikestolen, 788 km *]

 

I left the camp a few minutes after 7 in the morning. As it turned out it was not quite that simple. I relied on a fast exit but there was no campsite service staff. The barrier closed and I did not know how to get out. Fortunately, another motorcyclist accosted me and asked if he could help.

 

Sailing out from Hirtshals to Kristiansand

 

I told him that I had arrived in the evening; the reception was already closed so I did not check in and therefore did not have a “token” which opens the gate to leave. Secondly, I had not paid for my accommodation. After a short conversation I decided to leave the appropriate amount (EUR 12) with the speaker with the request to pass it over to the receptionist, and I used his token to open the gate.

 

So literally after a few hours of riding or at about 11 I got to Hirtshals. I had a few hours to kill before sailing but the problem turned out to be quite a long jam before entering the ferry check. Here again another motorcyclist helped me out. Firstly, we turned into one of the side roads to avoid a traffic jam, on the other hand we got to the fuel station to refuel cheaper than in Norway, and then we pushed in to the front of the queue and entered a special lane for motorcyclists.

 

Since it was my first time that I rode onto a ferry, I closely observing what others were doing. As it turned out, motorcyclists enter first. They line up in designated areas – indicated by the service staff and most often at the front of the ferry on the left or right side. For large crossings, motorcycles must be secured and the aforementioned motorcyclist showed me how to do it so much so that the staff informed us that there would be some rocking and rolling during the crossing. In this case, not just one lane – you have to use a minimum of three.

 

The ferry itself cost me 308 PLN, and I had bought the ticket a few days earlier by the Internet. That day I had planned a shorter route, but the weather was perfect, fun to be going out and I rode all the way up to Stavanger where I stopped at the Preiikestolen camp site about 4 km from the trail to Preikestolen. As it turned out, it was my most expensive camp site and I paid 210 NOK and an extra 95 NOK for a beer and cake. I carefully checked prices from that moment on.

 

Advice: Do not get lost on the ferry. Always remember which level you left the motorcycle on. In addition, remember which side of the ferry and which stairs you went down. It’s best to take a picture since some ferries are really huge.

 

Equipment[*:*] Garmin Zumo is a GPS dedicated to the motorcyclist. It handled things brilliantly throughout the route. I planned each day on the computer with the Garmin BaseCamp. Then I uploaded the route with marked places where I planned to come and visit or see. Routing works quickly. Every evening I checked the route for the following day. Sometimes I modified it slightly by adding interesting places. Garmin also defined quite precisely when you get to your destination. Although in the beginning I did not believe that you could ride 470 km all day, it turned out to be true especially in Norway.

 

[]Day [* 3 - Preikestolen -> Stavanger -> Bergen, 200 km *]

 

Fortunately, that day I woke up quite early and I avoided the crowds on the trail. I ate breakfast, packed up and rode about 4 km to the parking area where the climbing trail begins. The fairly quick climb to Preikestolen took me about 1.5 hours with breaks for photos. I have to say that, the trail is quite difficult especially at the beginning and you go steeply uphill to the rocks and boulders. Amazingly, even they are not too wet and slippery, you really have to be very careful and you should have a very good pair of boots with appropriate soles. At the beginning the weather was bad. That day there was thick fog when I went up in the morning, sometimes it rained. However, the higher I climbed the more it cleared. When I arrived at Prikestolen, the fog was gone and sometimes only cloud passed by.

 

Preikestolen

 

The view of the rock and the fjord is amazing. If the weather is nice, it is worth climbing even higher to the summit from which the view is even better. The poorly marked trail does cause some difficulty and it is easy to veer away from it. It may be helpful to have a good GPS and I used the OsmAnd application and maps with marked trails. At some point I really doubted which way to get back because there were rocks everywhere. It seemed that easy but “the farther into the forest the darker”. In the end, I thoroughly checked the GPS where I was and where the trail was. I chose the safest route, as it seemed to me to descend by the gully to the trail. Once I got there, I turned around and saw a sign that strictly prohibits entry that way because of the risk … you know what. Therefore, be careful not to lose the trail.

 

Preikestolen and fjord

 

After descending from Prikestolen, I rode to the campsite and made myself a dinner, dressed up and moved on. I got to Stavanger at about 4pm, well… its suburbs to be precise, where I stopped at the Three swords. Then I reached the old town with the Valberg Tower and the Museum of Oil.

After visiting the old town and harbour, I packed up and went in the direction of Bergen. Here I must mention that the GPS strongly suggested me the choice of ferry. As it turned out, it was a pretty interesting suggestion.

That day I got a fierce kick up the ass. I was terribly tired. At the end of the day, I returned to the campsite a dozen kilometers before Bergen and quickly I pitched up and fell asleep almost immediately. This time the campsite cost NOK 100.

Advice[*:*] (1) It is best to start the climb up to Prikestolen early in the morning. It seems that 8:30 is a good time since you go up virtually alone. When I was coming down on the way back, I passed crowds of tourists who were being transported up by coaches.

 

(2) From the perspective of time and distance, I would choose the ferry next time between Stavanger and Bergen. It is about 180 km, which you still need to somehow overcome. The ferry runs at a speed of about 50 km/h, and therefore more or less as much as the average speeds on the roads in Norway.

 

Equipment[*:*] OsmAnd is an excellent application for Android and uses OpenStreetMap maps. Operating on Samsung was a backup for Garmin and telephone. During this trip, I used OsmAnd primarily to explore. I marked sights of interest, which I later saw. It really helped me on the trail while climbing (trails are poorly marked and, at some point, the weather really deteriorated as I climbed to the top).

 

[]Day [* 4 - Bergen -> Borgund -> Stryn, 472 km *]

 

I got to Bergen at about 10 and it was here that I visited the port area and the old buildings. However, the most fascinating attraction was the cable car at Floibanen and the vantage point from which there is a magnificent panorama of the entire city to be admired.

 

Panorama of Bergen

 

The entrance cost of considerable and amounts to NOK 90, but the view is definitely worth that amount. When I returned down by cable car it just started raining. Apparently this is the wettest city in Norway and it rains here an average of more than 270 days a year. That day I had a little work to do, so I chose Starbucks with WiFi access plus coffee, snack and cake and a view of the street. That’s all I need to have in order to work quietly for a few hours.

 

That day more than 400 km and two ferries awaited me. Admittedly, the ferries are not the cheapest even for motorcyclists and if you can summarize it, a pretty hefty it amount comes out of it.

 

A certain curiosity is crossing the world’s longest (24 km), car tunnel linking Lærdal and Aurland. In the tunnel, there are two places you can stop at for a moment to take pictures. The Illuminated blue “chambers” make a cool impression. Next I got to Borgund where the oldest stave church, built in about 1150, is located. More or less it was from this point that it started getting decidedly colder. There are dozens of waterfalls and glaciers.

Borgund – the old church

 

It was the hardest of all the days of the trip. Not only were there lots of kilometers to overcome, but the road conditions were still really difficult. There was quite a lot of traffic, in particular campers and some roadworks. I was riding slowly and there were lots of attractions. It all meant that at some point I had enough of the ride.

 

When I passed the Mindresunde Camping campsite near the town of Stryn, I decided to turn around and spend the night there. The campsite reception was already closed, but the norm is that you can pitch up and pay the next morning. The cost is about 150 NOK and the view from the tent in the morning … priceless.

 

That day I came across a crisis. I thought that if my riding was supposed to look like that, that I did 470 km in 14 hours, and still there were thousands of kilometers ahead of me, then it was woeful for me and to add to that, I got wet and froze. Later in the tent, I even considered taking a possible “shortcut” – in the direction of Oslo, Stockholm, …, Gdynia, Poznan. Well, instead of whimpering, I decided to lie down and go to sleep quickly in order to bolster my morale for the very next day.

 

A funny situation happened to me when I left campsite. The day before, I was so tired that I forgot that I had turned back to the campsite. In the morning I went the other way, after quite a bit of riding, I saw that my GPS was insistently urging me to turn back. I had to stop and check what was going on. It was only after a while that I figured out what had happened, why I had confused directions.

 

Advice[*:*] Take a rain gear (jacket, Bottoms, pads, gloves and boots). There is no time for jokes in the north. Sometimes it rains the whole day or more and the temperature varies between 4 and 14 degrees. The wind blows often and it goes on all day. A full rainwear kit is simply necessary. Mine did great job. I had only one failure. The zip lock broke in one leg and I had to sew it up “permanently”. When it was really cold, even when it was not raining I had to wear the rain gear to protect me from the wind. I would add that in such situations, it is worth having heated grips on the motorbike.

 

Equipment[*:*] Tent. Literally two days before departure, I bought a tent in Decathlon. It was a small, so-called “2 Second” one, kind of single, but two people can fit it easily or one and a lot of luggage. I admit that I took some risk taking it without checking. Previously I planned to take another one, on top of another one already proven in battle. However, this proved to be a hit. It could be pitched up and disassembled in an instance and saved me from becoming wet on several occasions. You simply throw it and it is pitched up. You put a sleeping mat, sleeping bag and a bag in it, you go in and you’re done. I confess that for so little money, it is a very well made product. It was practically wet from rain or dew for several days; however, it never leaked. I will mention only that the manufacturer made it easy to fold and now it is as easy as unfolding. The only “disadvantage” of the tent is its size when folded. This plate does not always look good. You can indeed judge it for yourself and it’s not that bad.

 

[]Day [* 5 – Eagle Road -> Trollstigen -> Atlantic Road -> Trondheim, 490km *]

 

That day I got up early in the morning, ate breakfast and packed quickly which took literally an hour. I also used the WiFi to talk with my family, and then hit the road. Luckily it stopped raining. It became really nice, although it was still mildly chilly.

 

Geirangerfjorden Fjord

 

That day I saw some really beautiful places: Geirangerfjorden fjord, waterfalls and the Eagle Road with its bends. Next I rode upland towards Trolla Road. I must admit that Trollstigen is really impressive especially if you do it on a motorcycle. It is steep, narrow and not secured. A small mistake and you fall off the cliff.

 

However, this was not the end of the experience. Late in the afternoon I got to Atlantic Road. I have to write subjectively, that it is interesting, but a little over-rated as it turned out. There were small islands, several bridges and lots of rocks, and many campers and motorcyclists. I was slightly disappointed. Well, it’s the little things that “win” along the Trolla Road.

Trolla Road

 

That day I had planned accommodation in the area of Trondheim. The problem was that a rain front was chasing me and I tried to flee. Therefore I checked in at the Storsand Gard campsite just out of town and as soon as I could where after a while, I pitched up my tent and then quite a downpour began that lasted almost all night. Fortunately, the sun was already shining in the morning.

 

Atlantic Road

 

I must admit that I made a mistake here. According to my plan, I should have visited Trondhem on that particular day. It was definitely worth it and I suggest that you do it. I somehow did not feel like riding on. It’s always the case that I regret things later and that was the case this time around. I do not know if I will ever go so far north again.

 

Advice[*:*] Edging up the Trolla Road from the south, it is worth stopping over at the huge parking area and walking (a few minutes) to the viewing platform. The view is unforgettable. Another big attraction is the Zakarias Dam – you should ride up it, but unfortunately I did not have enough strength. I gave up unnecessarily. I should have done fewer kilometers, stop earlier for the night before and not give up this attraction.

 

Equipment[*:*] Take an electrical distributor. There is no problem with the current at the campsite, but the sockets are often occupied. Then you should have your distributor. The second issue is the appropriate charger and cables. Do not forget to take them. I suggest you also get additional USB cables since they can be damaged.

 

[][* Day 6 - Trondheim -> Mo and ] *Rana, 480 km

 

Riding and once again riding north marked this day. I did not stop along the way, beyond the fjords and the tunnels. I spent a prolonged stopover on shopping. I stocked up the local bakery, dairy, fruits and some vegetable produce and the local value price store. In the evening I got to the camp near the town of Storli in the area near to Storforshei.

On the way up North

 

Since it was raining, and I was really tired, I booked into hotel accommodation instead of my tent in a small camp house at a cost of 350 NOK. Although the camp was aged, it’s clean and very pleasant. Renting a house allowed me to embrace things. I noticed that one trunk was leaking, I think from the top? I had food in it, generally the entire kitchen. Fortunately, everything was packed in bags, so there were no losses. I checked the other two trunks and both were dry. I’ll have to check and fix its vulnerability, but after returning.

 

Advice: In Norway, there is a lot of camping, so there is no problem finding accommodation. Before planning a journey to places where I planned to stay, I always checked out several options by reading the reviews and ratings. I was never disappointed, though halfway through I stopped at random places. When I was simply tired, I turned at the first place I encountered.

 

Equipment: Camera, GoPro and stuff like that. It’s definitely worth investing in a good webcam that can be attached to a helmet. Sometimes, there is no time or ability to stop, and the views are great. Do not forget to order a remote webcam and mount it somewhere on the steering wheel, as close to the left hand as possible. A few batteries would be useful as well as an efficient charger. It should also take a good camera. Still, no smartphone is substitute for a good lens.

 

[]Day 7 – Mo and [* Rana -> Bodo -> Moskenes -> A -> Lofoty, 468 km *]

 

It rained for half a day. Only when I drove into the Arctic Circle (Arctic Center) did it stop. After that it was cold (+4 degrees) and a strong wind was blowing. I was dressed in woolen underwear, inner liners, motorcycle jacket and bottoms and also rain protectors and gloves. The grips were turned on for heat. All was well, but my feet were not adequately protected. My summer shoes were too airy and my legs were freezing.

 

W dodze na Lofoty

 

Whilst passing through the Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park more and more animals appeared and at the start there were deer and in the course of kilometers, reindeers also appeared. I started more closely at the roadside. More or less from here you can see how nature becomes even more severe. There are no trees in the highlands, just glaciers and snow lies in the mountains.

 

It was about 1pm when I got to Bodo and I noticed a workshop and a motorcycle shop on the way. First, I rode to the crossing, to find out about the ferry time. It turned out that it was at 15:30, although boarding starts at 14:45, so I had more than two hours time to kill. After a moment of hesitation I made the decision to return to the centre and see if I could buy raincoats pads for boots. When I drove to the store, I found out that there was one pair and it was just my size. The problem is that it was original BMW and cost me a little, but health and comfort, however, are the most important things. But there is still a lot of riding to the north and with each day the temperature decreased.

 

Just before entering the ferry, I noticed that I did not have the ignition key and within a second was sweating cold. I started an intensive search all through my pockets and came up with nothing. At some point another motorcyclist, from Germany, came up to me and asked if it was not my key on the back of the motorcycle. I realized when I pulled the set of keys from the coffers of the ignition they simply fell out. This is a good lesson for the future. Since then, I have kept them in another pocket of my jacket, additionally clipping them.

The ferry to Moskenes sailed about 4 hours, which is more than 80 km and cost me 319 NOK. That day it was blowing hard and there was a storm. During loading the support staff required that we have secured each motorcycle in the four lanes.

 

We arrived in Lofoten in the evening. I did not neglect to visit the village with its famous name and as it turned out, the greatest part of the trip began for me from that moment on. Lofoten is simply stunning with its raw nature, incredible images and colours. The bay and the islands are simply amazing. The sun practically did not set, and I was riding for more than two hours stopping every now and then, absorbing the scenery and taking fabulous, postcard like photos.

 

Advice[*:*] Don’t load electricity for too much equipment directly from the battery. It turns out that while riding the battery is charged only to a certain current. If, at the same time, you receive power to charge other things, you may find that the balance will be negative and after some time the battery will discharge and this happened with a pair of motorcyclists from Italy. They had plugged in their GPS, telephones and intercoms. At one point, whilst standing in traffic, they could not fire up the motorcycle. The solution is to connect directly to the installation of the motorcycle (an electrician’s assistance is necessary).*

 

Equipment[*:*] Cruise control. Although I have heard many different opinions about it, I completely disagree with the negative ones. I think that people who express them have not benefited from them. Let me be clear – it is indispensable to improve and help the motorcyclist. First, even brief moments, when the hand can rest while riding hundreds of kilometers per day, are priceless. The possibility of loosening the grip, moving the fingers and resting is a wonderful thing. The second thing is convenience. I have ‘mechanical’ cruise control that is, one in which sets up the throttle and not the speed of the bike. [_ Nevertheless, the ability to maintain "constant" speed when riding and observing such restrictions such as 80 km for a long time is something great and to add to this the frequent, very long stretches of straight road. A third possibility, which I "discovered" was the possibility of lightly choking the throttle. In this case, even when riding through the corners and changing the speed, the hand can also rest. Finally, I will add that you can immediately turn the throttle and release the accelerator at any time and additionally lock and unlock cruise control with one small finger. To sum up, the equipment is irreplaceable, I recommend it 100% and it saved my ... hand. _]

 

[][* Day 8 - Lofoty -> ] [ Narvik -> Birtavarre 552 km *]

 

I woke up quite early in the morning and the white nights did not allow me to sleep much. I forced myself to lay in to 7am. What I saw after leaving the tent was amazing and…outright overwhelming. I did not notice it in the evening, the fact that the campsite was located near to a wonderful bay with its own harbour. My first steps were to have washed myself, but immediately turned back to the tent to get my camera, and then I went to the bridge to take a photo. A rainbow appeared in the distance.

 

Lofoty

 

Nature here is amazing and the campsite also appeared to be great and in my opinion it’s the best. The dining area is common, large and heated. And it what seemed to be a simple matter, breakfast took me 2 hours. I met a couple from Rzeszow who got into their car and I quote: ‘…it somehow happened that we got to Lofoty. That’s quite a distance from Rzeszow. The other person I spoke to was a boy from Lodz who had flown in by plane to Bergen and it was there that he borrowed a car from a friend and was travelling around himself. When the next couple entered the dining area with almost grown up children I decided to make a move for it, otherwise I’d leave after lunch and I did not have time for that.

 

Despite the fact that I left quite late, I got to Narvik where I rode up to the monument commemorating the ORP Grom marines. Several kilometers after the twon I got to a cemetary with Polish quarters where soldiers who had fallen in May 1940 defending Narvikk lay in rest. I also wanted to go up to the peak by cable car to see the panoramic view of the town but unfortunately it was out of order.

 

At the end of the day I got to the campsite near to Birtavarre.

 

Advice: If you are ever going to plan a trip to Norway, then you should certainly visit Lofoty. Leave another attraction be such a the fiftieth fjord or the twentieth tunnel, pass by another town but get onto the ferry heading for Lofoty.

 

Equipment: Computer, which I had to take, though earlier it hadn’t been on my list. I knew that during my expedition I would have to work a bit remotely. By the way, it appeared that you can really effectively rip the pictures and put them into order thanks to which, when I finished the expedition, I’d put together a really great album to look at.

 

[] Day 9 - Birtavarre -> NORDKAPP 494 km

 

This was the day that I reached Nordkapp. I’d spent the previous night in a small house not in my tent. I managed to sleep better because I could draw the windows so that I could be dark and I put on some heating to that at night. When I got to the campsite, it was only 6 degrees and I was ready to ride off before 10 in the morning. The weather was very good, it was warmer, around 14 degrees, with a little cloud. The last 500km before Nordkapp was exceptional due to the nature. There were fjords, mountains, hills, high lands, tunnels and bridges and some wonderful colours and unique the unique variety of nature to add to that. I had to really be careful of reindeers because there are lots of them. Although they move around slowly, they can startlingly jump over the road and cause great danger. In the evening, just before 7pm, I got to Nordkapp. Unfortunately, you have to pay a great deal to enter the car park, and in my case it was 200 NOK. Well, everyone did warn me that Norway is expensive. Yes, I can state that it is expensive.

 

Nordkapp

 

Nordkapp presented itself amazingly and at that time there was a ‘sunset’ lasting several hours. There was also a wonderful view to the ocean, not too many clouds and even the wind let go. At first, I left the motorbike in the parking area and walked up the headland. I took a few photos and then I went to get some souvenirs and next to the restaurant to chill out a bit. When I saw that other motorbikers were going up the headland, I decided to take my mite up there because we had done so many kilometers together.

 

After taking a series of photos and a walk, I got on my motorbike and rode back down south for 20km where I had earlier passed the Naf Nordkapp campsite. I quickly pitched up my tent, took a shower aand made myself some supper. I calmly drank some tea after 10pm and then I took advantage of the internet connection to speak to my family.. It had been a wonderful day and I reached my target.

 

Advice: Don’t hurry and while riding také many stop to také in the atmosphere, views and amazing nature. Whenever there are placesthat are worth seeing, there is a parking area or larger bays. Thanks to this, after you get back home you will be less regretful that you didn’t see something. Unfortunately, from my own experience I can say that you will regret it in any case ;-) It’s also worth stopping off at places where local sellers put up their souvenirs, and there’s a high probability that they are made in Norway not in China. Then you can buy some souvenirs for yourself, your family and acquaintances for little money.

 

Equipment: Warm gloves with a GoreTex membrane. I rode in warm gloves during the whole trip. In addition, I switched on handle heating and when it rained I put on my rain protection gear over my gloves and boots. On two occasions, riding in the evening, I put them on even when it wasn’t raining. Breathable gloves have it in them that they do it two ways and also emit heat.

 

[][* Day 10 - Nordkapp -> Motel before Rovaniemi, 552 km *]

 

I would like to write more but simply it just is not possible. On this particular day I went further than I had planned and thee were forests upon forests everywhere. The road was often straight and empty; the roadsides were visible so you could go a little faster. Just before evening it started to rain, so when I stopped to fill up, I found out that there was a small motel at the station, so I decided to stay there overnight. The restaurant and motel is managed by some Chinese and maybe it is not so new, it’s clean. I got the room for 40 Euros including breakfast. I put my motorbike by my window from the forest side. I was really tired, so after a shower, I went straight to sleep.

 

Reindeer

Advice: In the guide, Findland was described very interestingly, but reality changed all that. I advise you to choose a different route than I chose. On this day and on the next I rode through the whole of Finland and did not see anything interesting. Fortunately, I went through Helsinki, but more about this later.

 

Equipment: Every little bit matters during a long trip. Even. Something small can affect comfort, safety and the whole expedition. In my case my helmet made the whole difference, which unfortunately wasn’t a success, and first of all it was because it blew under my chin. Unfortunately, it’s its big fault and it results from the fact that it’s a jaw helmet and that excludes the possibility of good protection under the chin. The effect was such that in the case of side wind, I felt significant discomfort, cold and noise. The other aspect was quick misting up and unfortunately it’s not double riding often in the rain, so I had a problem with misting and this affected my safety, which disqualifies the helmet in my judgement – I refer to the Shark Evoline 3 helmet.

 

[] Day 11 - Rovaniemi -> Helsinki, 882km

 

During that morning breakfast was prepared for me in the hotel. There was access to the net so I could talk with my family for a moment and I started to pack. Fortunately, the weather was nice, though a little cold. I put on my jacket, rain proof trousers so as not to get cold on the way.

 

Just before 10 in the morning I rode into Rovaniemi in Lapland, the place where Santa lives. By the way, it’s also the place where the Arctic Circle runs across. It’s a very commercialized place but with all those views. I met up with Santa and spoke with him for a moment. Unfortunately a photo with him costs ….just 25 Euros.

 

I decided therefore to spend that money on something better, on souvenirs. I had prepared myself for a somewhat longer journey, when an HD had parked next to me with a couple and after a moment it appeared they were from Italy. Just like myself, they were on their way back from Nordkapp. Immediately, I asked myself the question how they did it – it’s 4200 kilometers one way, for goodness sake! After a short discussion it appeared that they had covered most of their journey by …train. They certainly did that in Germany and Finland.

 

I continued my journey through forests. I put on a good audiobook and time seemed to flow faster. At a certain moment I thought to myself that riding along this road was great, there was ‘nothing’ on the way, so I could ride right through to Helsinki. I stopped off at one of the many shopping centres in Finland and went to eat and rest a little. There was still 300km to go to Helsinki. The first motorway since Germany started here, so I decided to consider that instead of a campsite, I could run through to the capital of Finland. I quickly checked the possibilities of accommodation, and since the weather was starting to get worse, I focused on hotels. I found a relatively cheap hotel with breakfast and it did not take me long to decide. I texted my family that I would be longer on the road that day. It was late because I got to my hotel at 11pm. That day I exaggerated a little by doing 882km.

 

Advice: When you are more patient towards Finland, look through the guides and internet to find an interesting place on the way. I planned to visit the ski jump in Lahti, but in summer there is no snow nor summer competitions and that’s how it looks….

 

Equipment: Cooker. I know that I’m sentimental and although I have a professional Primus cooker, I take a different one on each expedition, this one is made in the USSR. It’s petrol one, but with a history, which is impossible to describe, you just have to see it. Heating up 0.7l of water takes about 10 minutes, which is quite long. However, it is small, handy and reliable. I used a tourist pot to prepare meals with a capacity a little less than 1l. It was enough to boil water for a freeze-dried meal or coffee or tea, at the same time. I carried water in a 1,5l bottle. It was useful when I stopped by a roadside services or parking area where running water was not available.

 

[] Day 12 - Helsinki -> Tallin, 107 km

 

It was pouring since morning, never like before during the entire expedition up to then. Even though I was packed at 9am, there was no chance of leaving the hotel. Therefore, I relaxingly ate breakfast, talked with my family and for almost 3 hours worked remotely, a kind of hot office ;) I checked the weather forecast by the way and it appeared that fine weather would follow from midday. It seemed improbable looking out of the window. Well, at midday I had to check out of the room so I took down my things and decided to re-park my motorbike under some roofing. I hoped that during packing, the weather would improve but to my surprise, when I got on the bike to go to the centre of Helsinki the sun came out!

 

Helsinki

 

There was another 14km to the centre, so I was in the Old Town in just a flash. I parked my bike in the parking area opposite the Presidential Palace and went off to visit Helsinki. After a short while I had to take off my thermals under my trousers, in some bushes because it had become really warm. I visited two cathedrals, the church in Skale and the market with local cuisine and with handmade goods, everything took me 3 hours. I also enquired what time the ferry was sailing out and with one hour in reserve I went to the ferry as an experienced tourist and knew how to get on the ferry. The motorbike was quickly secured, I took my rucksack with computer and up to the bar I went to get the best place visiting the decks on the way and one last photo of the harbour in Helsinki. I bought myself dinner, coffee and something sweet. Since there was good Internet access throughout the cruise, I checked what was going on in Poland. It uploaded a few photos on Facebook, and then proceeded to find accommodation options in Tallin.

 

After almost 3 hours I was in Tallin. My one aim here was to get to the Old Town. I cannot hide the fact that I began to worry about my motorbike, and, above all, the luggage on it. Therefore, I checked three parking areas but none of them was guarded. I decided to get to the heart of the Old Town and park there. In the end I left my motorbike in some small garden hugging a bar and went sightseeing. Tallin is magnificent and I will openly say that I liked it very much. The Old Town has been restored and some street renovation is still ongoing.

 

Tallin

 

I climbed up to the top of the hill (twice by accident) where the magnificent panorama of the entire city stretches along. I felt hunger after sightseeing and decided to return to the bar where I had left my bike. I ordered supper and after a moment this guy came up to me speaking in English. It appeared that he was Italian and was also touring on his motorbike. If that was not enough, he was riding on the same bike as mine, the same year and almost the same mileage and similar equipment. He planned to travel to Nordkapp and then is returning though Russia and Kazakhstan to Italy and plans to do everything on his bike. The only thing is that his accommodation is in hotels and guesthouses. Finally, he asked me if I had accommodation and proposed a hotel near the centre.

 

Since I had my eye on three places which were so near I decided to check those first. The first came up bullseye and the Vana Wiru hotel was just around the corner with its internal parking area. I considered it for long and booked accommodation via Booking.com and after several minutes rode up by motorbike. On that same evening I decided to see what the Old Town looked like at night. Although the beer gardens close at 11pm, restaurant owners invite you inside. It was wonderful here late evening, and the local beer tasted exquisitely.

 

Advice: Check two matters beforehand. The first is the ferry from Helskinki to Tallin and remember to check-in 45 minutes earlier. The other is the opening hours of the church in Skale for visitors because I had to wait 30 minutes and was a little afraid if I would make the ferry check-in. Fortunately, it isn’t far (a few minutes by motorbike). Additionally, try to find more time than my 3-4 hours for visiting Helsinki. It’s worth it.

 

Equipment: If you are planning to climb a fjord, iceberg or Preikostolen, it’s necessary to take appropriate boots with you and ones, which are just below the ankle with a good tread. You can be sure that you will come across rain and that the rocks will be very slippery. The weather is very changeable to add to that and can change drastically in just several seconds because that’s what happened to me on the peak. It’s necessary to wear good fleece or wind stopper, clip the legs and have a good GPS with a trail map, which is key to avoiding danger.

 

[][* Day 13 - Tallin -> Ri ga, 309 km*]

 

I got up really early in the morning it is rare for me to go down for breakfast at 7am, but surprise, surprise. I knew that the road to Riga before me was not so long, but I wanted to have enough time to visit it. The road to Riga didn’t take me long because it was a little above 300km.

 

Riga Old Town

 

After getting to Riga, I went directly to the campsite which was probably the only one in the city and situated about 4km from the Old Town. Well, it’s not a ‘real’ campsite but it’s got everything you need and grass where you can pitch up a tent and a shower in the barrack. The washbasins are on the outside and there’s a kind of reception with WiFi. When I decided to stay there for the night, it bucketed down. Okay, I have to admit that I became a little lazy and wanted some comfort. To add to this I thought that I would have to go on foot to the Old Town and return. I bought WiFi for 3 Euros and started to look for a hotel in the centre. After 30 minutes I was at a hotel called Tia. You will find it on the map but it doesn’t look too good on the outside, something like an office building from the 1970s. With my soul on my shoulders I bought myself accommodation at 40 Euros, including breakfast. To my surprise, when I entered the room I saw new furniture, cleanliness and nice fragrance. The bathroom was also quite new, something in the IKEA style. To add to that, my motorbike was in secured parking with round-the-clock security. The centre was 10 minutes away on foot. I did well. The following morning I had the opportunity of eating a really good tasty breakfast, which was served, in the form of a buffet.

 

Riga is the most beautiful city I have seen during my trip and moreso, it’s the most beautiful city I have ever seen. It has a huge Old Town with beaufiul, high and restored tenaments and loads of bars and restaurants. It is full of toursits and pleasant locals. I was impressed and on that particular day, I returned back late to my hotel.

 

Advice[*:*] Before leaving, it is worth checking the available Internet packages with your mobile operator. I knew that I would use the Internet quite a lot. Also I planned to work a few times online. There is the so-called Pakiet Atlantycki at Plus GSM and for 162 PLN I obtained 2.5 GB of bandwidth, which was completely enough for me. During the trip, there was no Internet only at one camp. I also noticed that there is WiFi at every Esso station but sometimes you have to ask for the access code.

 

Equipment[*:*] ELECTRONICS. There was quite a bit of it. I listened to music with Spotify on the phone (before leaving I downloaded the playlist locally) and audiobooks from the Audio Library. I have an intercom Interphone F5 on my helmet. Then it’s the GPS: Garmin Zumo 590 lm, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (it is also a backup phone) and a webcam for the camera, two GoPro Hero4, one on the helmet, the other on a stick. The compact camera with the lens is a little better. I have to admit that the photos on the camera always come out nicer. To add to that there was a charger and cables, I always too double the amount of USB cables taking because they ceased to work on several occasions. There was also the additional POWERBANK so as not to run out of electricity (I think I used it once).

 

[][* Day 14 - Riga -> Vilnius , 295 km*]

 

In the morning, in the hotel in Riga, I ate breakfast, packed and set off on my way. It took me a little while to leave the city and I still had to go to the station. That day, it took me more time to brace things up. In the end it was getting warmer, the sun was shining. Evidently, I switched to a slower mode.

 

Palace in Pilsrundale

 

I noticed that Statoil fuel stations dominated Latvia. The other thing I noticed was that the closer I got to Poland the more familiar products got. Latvia also surprised me with its motorways where there are bus stops and places where you can do a U-turn. A storm front was later chasing me from Tallinn via Riga, Vilnius all the time. I tried to flee away from it.

 

I headed west several kilometers from Riga in order to see the Palace in Pilsrundale.

I had never seen anything so huge and glorious and I really advise you to visit it. If you don’t have too much time, it’s better not to visit the castle in Bauska in order to see the palace and its gardens, which are wonderful. When I finished visiting, raindrops started to come down. I decided at that moment to hit the road.

 

In Vilnius, however, rain got me. I rode to a hostel or campsite because I got somewhat wet and froze. I asked for some tea. Unfortunately, the hostel had no vacancies and a place to pitch my tent looked a little unlikely (it is the custom of great campsites in Norway). I decided to change the premises and look for a hotel. The situation repeated itself in Tallinn and Riga. Here, too, I found a small but very decent hotel called Rinno, which, in addition, had internal parking.

 

Well, compared to Tallinn, not to mention Riga, Vilnius came out very modestly. Although it is a beautiful city, it was perhaps due to fatigue, weather and homesickness that it did not make too much of an impression. However, I found a restaurant with local cuisine, which boosted my morale. Actually, I felt the fragrance walking by and an ad provided me with information about the local cuisine. I stepped back. It was a very good decision. That evening, I ordered an appetizer and a couple of dishes on a splurge and asked for small portions. After a moment, a couple from Germany perched next to my table and so another hour talking and drinking delicious, local beer passed by.

 

Advice: I’ll write about the obvious. Before departure, inspect the motorcycle. Check if everything is OK in order to protect you from unpleasant surprises. If you change a tyre, check the bearing too. As it turned out, mine was in a sorry state, and the day before departure, I had to change it.

 

Equipment[*:*] Motorbike. I could write a separate chapter or book about the motorbike. Here I will say only that I rode on a BMW R1200 GS Adventure. I equipped it a little differently with Touratech accessories and guards. However, tyres are the most important thing (going on Metzelerach Tourance), BMW aluminum trunks, Tankbak and a good bag.

 

[]Day [* 15 – Vilnius -> Warsaw -> Poznan, 801 km *]

 

After breakfast I packed up and asked about the “release” of my motorbike. It was not raining, but it was cool and cloudy. It took me some time so I dressed up warmer. I was afraid that it would rain – completely unnecessarily. Fortunately kilometer per kilometer, it was getting warmer, and so from 9 degrees in Vilnius to 19 degrees in Marki near Warsaw. By the way, with each stopover I took off other successive layers of clothes.

 

I had booked accommodation in Warsaw. I very well know the hotel. I rushed to the front desk and … I was surrounded with doubt whether I wanted to stay the night in Warsaw. I asked if I could just cancel the reservation at no cost. The receptionist knows me so she tapped the keyboard and said she would invite me next time round. So I escaped to a nearby cafe for a coffee and a cake and an hour’s rest. I sent a short note to the family that I would be home a day earlier and enter the motorway to Poznan. Believe me, from the perspective of the road I had traveled up so far, making the additional 300 km highway looks like a kind of ride. I reported home safe and sound at 9pm.

 

Advice[*:*] When planning the trip, I used Google Maps and guide. Thanks to them I could not only just plan the way, mark the places I wanted to see and accommodation where I intended to spend the night but also I could share them with you. Quite often I switched between the views of the road map and satellite and Street View to check what and how it looked in a particular place. There was some difficulty finding such a cemetery with Poles quarters in and around Narvik

So I exported the planned path of the marked places to a GPX file, which I then uploaded to Samsung.

I used the Osmand+ http://osmand.net/ application on the Samsung. In my opinion, they are the best maps that I have encountered. They proved themselves, among other things, when I lost the trail while descending from the summit next to Preikestolen. In addition, I did not have to carry a map while exploring cities thanks to this application.

 

Equipment[*:*] Sleeping bag. I suggest you take the warmest sleeping bag which you have. If anything, you can always undo and uncover it. Believe me that when you arrive tired after a few (sometimes several) hours of road to the camp, and the thermometer shows 6 degrees, it should be a good warm sleeping bag and a foam mattress. When it comes to a sleeping mat, I had a self-inflating one and that proved to be excellent. I have the rest of the little tourist experience and I was surprised that for a really small amount of money I could buy very good equipment in Decathlon (tent 119 PLN 2 Second Easy 1, sleeping bag 279 PLN, sleeping mat Forclaz 74 PLN) on such an expedition

[]Epilogue

 

I rode over 7530km over 15 days. The trip cost me about 8000 PLN taking into account the souvenirs I bought. Perhaps you can do this route a little cheaper just spending the night in a tent and using your own cooker. Was it worth it? The answer is one big YES. There were great views, a fantastic adventure and interesting people. The only thing that I regret is that I did not extend the trip by three days (as originally planned) and spend them on calmer sightseeing and the rest on the way.

 

Finally, I thank my wife Anna and daughters and Ola and Hania that despite doubts and fears about my traveling alone, allowed me to go ahead and achieve it, and to support me on the way. Thanks also go to all of you who followed my journey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, submitting comments or even liking my photos.

 

So you can keep track of entries from another trip – this time to Morocco – I have decided to create a dedicated page for these kinds of departures on Facebook: facebook.com/makerideeasy

It is also linked to my blog. You will therefore have one place to access all information.

 

As promised, I place the links below:

 

Link to photo albums

 

Link to the GPX file of the route and places worth seeing.

 

Link to travel route on Google Maps.

 

[]List of things and equipment for the expedition

Clothing

  • hat

  • T-shirt – breathable – 3 pcs

  • long sleeve shirt

  • briefs – 3 pcs

  • warm woolen underwear

  • short trousers

  • quick-drying trekking trousers with zip-off legs

  • socks – 3 pcs

  • fleece / wind stopper

  • cap

  • quick-drying towel – large

  • trekking shoes

  • flip flops

  • sandals

  • trouser belt

Motorcycle wear

  • helmet

  • motorcycle jacket and trousers

  • winter liners for jacket and trousers

  • jacket and trousers

  • summer motorcycle gloves

  • warm motorcycle gloves – Gore-Tex

  • motorcycle balaclava

  • motorcycle scarf

  • motorcycle boots

  • earplugs

  • vest

  • rainproof protectors for gloves

  • rainproof protectors for boots

Toiletries

  • toothpaste and toothbrush

  • shaving razor, shaving cream +

  • toothpaste and toothbrush

  • 2in1 Liquid shower

  • deodorant

  • antyprespirant stick

  • hand brush

  • tweezers

  • small scissors for nails,

  • wipes

  • handkerchiefs

  • toilet paper

  • needle and thread

  • lipstick

  • filter cream > 50

  • olive

Tourism and electronics

  • pouch for documents

  • bag

  • headset for phone

  • sunglasses

  • camera

  • GoPro camera + battery + remote control + stick

  • memory cards

  • charger and cable for charging

  • power bank

  • distributor to the wall

  • computer

  • guide

  • map

  • GPS

  • smartphone

  • plug into the cigarette lighter

  • watch

  • notebook

  • pen and pencil

  • business cards and stickers

Camping

  • small tourist backpack

  • retractable waterproof bag

  • motorcycle bag

  • tent

  • sleeping bag

  • cushion

  • mat

  • pocket knife

  • multitool

  • headlamps

  • string

  • wire

  • two-component adhesive

  • lighter

Kitchen

  • cutlery

  • metal cup

  • cooker petrol

  • pot to boil water

  • chopping board

  • bottle 0,7 l

  • water in a plastic bottle – 1.5 l

  • sponge for washing

  • mini dishwashing liquid

Food

  • tea

  • coffee

  • honey

  • soup powder

  • freeze-dried meals

  • dry bread

  • canned meat

  • jam

  • lemon

  • cheese

  • energy bars

Motorcycle

  • set of tools

  • user manual

  • anti-fog light

  • petrol filling hose

  • Spare keys

  • blockade

  • case and cable lock to the helmet

  • padlock cord to secure luggage

  • tyre repair kit

  • trunks

  • tape for trunks

  • wide reinforced tape

  • insulating tape

  • WD40

  • tyre levers 2x

  • compressor

  • zap strap

Documents

  • ICE band

  • wallet

  • money

  • valid passport with valid visas

  • vehicle registration document (check the validity of the review and policy)

  • green card

  • credit cards – check the validity of the card

  • individual travel insurance min 40kEUR

  • motorcycle insurance liability to the country of destination

  • printed booking accommodation, ferries, etc …

  • journey plan

  • photocopy of documents and policies – to be left with family

  • USB stick with scans / images of documents

First aid kit

  • medicines taken on a permanent basis

  • antibiotics

  • painkillers (strong)

  • antiallergic pills

  • ointments after bite

  • tribiotic

  • throat pills

  • stoperan

  • vaseline stick

  • vitamin magnesium +

  • deodorant mosquito / tick

  • slices

  • gause

  • bandage

  • hydrogen peroxide

  • first aid kit

[]About the author

 

Krzysztof Wisniewski (b. In 1973, Zielona Gora PL) graduated from the University of Zielona Gora. Marathon runner, biker, explorer, hunter and CEO of the CONTMAN company. He is a freelance writer, editor and self-publisher. In 2013, he published, his first book entitled “Safari in Namibia,” in the form of e-book, in which he described the adventure of the trip to the Safari. He spends his free time with his family and traveling.

 

Contact details

Blog: makerideeasy.com

Facebook: facebook.com/makerideeasy

YouTube : youtube.com/makerideeasy

Instagram: instagram.com/makerideeasy

Twitter: twitter.com/makerideeasy

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kwisniewski

Shakespir (site with books): https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/cychug

 


Expedition to Nordkapp

  • ISBN: 9781370489909
  • Author: Krzysztof Wisniewski
  • Published: 2016-12-07 11:05:22
  • Words: 10324
Expedition to Nordkapp Expedition to Nordkapp