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Europe by Tandem

From Castellon (Spain) to Northern Cape (Norway) by Tandem supporting the fight against cancer.

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Day 7. Kolari- Overkalix

Posted by admin On Julio - 15 - 2010

JL: 141 kilometers. 6 hours and 37 minutes.

The road sides are green walls. We pedaled for hours on end through this tunnel; trying to visualize what lies behind makes the effort more bearable. I think my partner had his mind on the same thing but we couldn’t come up with anyhing customary to say, just expressing our astonishment. We’d been like this for two days; every now and then a hole was opened and the landscape breathed. Distances are huge, they can’t covered; they don’t belong to men. Before so much nature, you feel entirely unsettled. Alone, outside the narrow cement kingdom, everything you know won’t be useful and your greatest wish is to have the skills to run like a reindeer or hunt like a wolf.

The reveille sounded at 6:30. We had to check the mechanics of the tandem. We left Kolari around 8:30 after having picked our yesterday’s wet clothes. What we couldn’t save was my rain-damaged cell phone. So, if you want to call me up, dial Ivan’s cell phone number, till I get a new one. We moved 5 kilometers forward and entered Sweden by cycling across a mighty river.
Beyond the tunnel, the border installations are deserted; the buildings that in past times tried to gate the countryside are now derelict.

The morning went off smoothly and thanked to the sun, we could wear short-sleeved and knee-length clothes. As we move southward, we encountered new villages. This assumes an advantage as our provisioning will be supplied. The tiny Scandinavian towns we went through are lovely, at
least now in summer; I guess they aren’t that charming in winter. They are different: streets aren’t well-defined, each house is raised on the meadow itself. There are no sidewalks, there are no urbanization elements either. I guess this is not that necessary for the rest of the 7 months of the
year, throughout which the only useful thing is the snowmobile in order to go from one place to another. Every house has one of this. The same thing happens with the isolated houses in the countryside. We tried to seek the path which led us to them but this path was often nonexistent.
In summer, people get to their dwellings by car; in winter, the path would be absolutely useless, even if it did exist.

At midmorning, we met John, a Swedish cycle tourer who, in his three-week vacation, traveled the country up to the north by a recumbent bicycle and who was going back home. He offered us a series of recommendations about the road to go. We were not so sure whether to follow them because that would entail making big changes to our plans. Ignoring them altogether would be a blunder. We have to make some decisions.

In the afternoon, before arriving in Overkalix, we left Arctic Circle, going through the parallel of latitute that runs at 66º. All of a sudden, it was less cold. Tonight the sun will set just for one and a half hours, from 11:57 p.m. to 1:41 a.m. More and more people ask us who we are and where we are going. At dinnertime, a Swedish couple approached me at the canteen and asked me if I were one of the guys who was traveling Europe by tandem for the fight against cancer.In view of my surprise, they told me they found out about it at the hotel reception. Curiously enough, they have a house in Torrevieja and they know our company, Record Go.

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