O the joys of a hot shower and the chance to clean your cycling kit. I'm one of the fortunate people out there that does not sweat much when cycling. However 5 days cycling and wild camping is enough even for me. And Rovaniemi provided the opportunity to clean up. I wanted to stop here because since starting this ride I had set my mind on buying a finnish made camping knife . I'd first seen them on another's blog and my friend Annika said that many Finnish people carry one when in the countryside. So I rolled into town on a glorious day , bought my knife and just pegged out literally at the camp ground cleaning things and fiddling with my bike. That is until a couple of German cycle tourists pulled into camp. As with many that I had met I the past these two where fully kitted out, their bicycles groaning under the weight of it all. They did however give me some advice on what might be open as I headed further north.
It's really hard to leave a bit of luxury when you have it but the next day I was back on the bike for another 200kms stint up the country. I passed through Father Xmas' s village and stopped just long enough to sort out why he hadn't delivered the Raleigh Chopper I ordered in 1975.
Cycling doesn't get much better than this and the next few days just fell into place with me arriving at roadside cafes or restaurants just in time for breakfast , lunch or dinner. I never missed out on a meal. Then freedom camping for the night. This is when things genuinely went a little pear shaped with me frantically throwing the tent up and securing the bike before being bitten alive by mozzies.
On one particular evening I was in a cloud of mozzies and what looked like a thousand little white fly things getting it all together and thinking that once I had the tent up I could usual taunt them from the other side of the mesh, only to find that the little white fly things were small enough to come through the mesh. Before I realised my folly at not battering down all the hatches the little tent was full of them all walking over my sticky body! I'm still not sure if they were biting me but the torture of the itching from the perceived biting was almost too much to bare.
There are reindeer everywhere up here and as most tourists do I'm sure I kept taking photos of them in excitement until a small herd of them almost took me out when they decided to cross the road in front of me !
The sun and light winds continued as I headed North and then things unravelled a little as I crossed the border into Norway. Up until then I'd been following a compass bearing of northwest day after day for 1200 odd kilometers. I knew that once into Norway I had to head more west. But the map that I had resembled little the roads I encountered. This would have been partly due to it being a 1982 printing , one my Father had used for some purpose before passing it on to me.
Anyway by the time I realised that I was on the wrong road heading way 2 a too far east it was too late and I was committed. I ended up on the north coast of Norway much to far to the east. And although beautiful it rained that night and my feet got wet while in the tent !
There must be something a wee bit fishy about the waterproofing down there.
Now that I was off the beaten track I had to really put my head down and pedal to ensure that I didn't go hungry as places were further apart and thin around the edges. The road too went from glass like to NZ like and I had to do some emergency maintenance on the mudguards mounts on the Mercian. The terrain was however not NZ like. Gone were the long flat straights of Finland, to be replaced by exposed high country. 22C and sunny was replaced by 11 C and heavy cloud. A bid foreboding.
It didn't rain though and I am back on track and after another run of freedom camps I'm at the Northcape. And for every cloud there is a silver lining . There are so far no mozzies in Norway! II do however miss the sun and warm temps of Finland.
Today I'm going to whip up to the actual Cape about 20km away and take some pictures. Then back to camp to enjoy another hot shower and get this posted.
Tomorrow I start my ride south ish back down the Norwegian coast. Please come out sun!
And just an aside, I have discovered that you don't need to pollute the countryside with toilet paper in Scandi the moss is very soft.