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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 9. Boden- Piteä

Posted by admin On Julio - 18 - 2010

133 kolometers, 7 hours and 22 minutes.

JL: What a day! There was no way of moving ahead because of the wind. A stage that didn’t seem to pose any difficulties was far harder than expected, and we wound up dead beat. What’s more, we drifted off course every now and then. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous! So gorgeous that I’m afraid that so much beauty will no longer amaze me.

All in all, by 6:00 p.m., we were eating a “fully equipped” salad and a Spaghetti alla Bolognese dish that was so large that didn’t fit into a Mercedes Vito van; and we were already thinking about dinner!

We didn’t eat much during this stage, just some packed food we were carrying in a bag; leftovers from previous meals. Things could have been different, though. You’ll see, there’s a huge number of cottages near to the road. A charming one next to a lake particularly caught our eye. While were passing by it, the cottagers, a group of people sitting at a table at a terrace, started waving hello and shouting to us to get nearer. It looked as though they were inviting us to join the group. They would have probably felt sorry about inviting us to join them, though . Or not, because if there was something we could confirm was that these Scandinavian people are extremely kind; what’s more, they are good cooks.

Anyway, we decided to say hello from a distance and move on, because what with they are chatty and our hunger and weariness, it would have got dark; then, my friends, they would not have got rid of us.

It’s a pity we don’t have much time to know more locals and to know about the land straight from the horse’s mouth; but, you know, we have to look ahead: we’re mile eaters. We greet people as we go by, as we say hello to hundreds of motorcyclists who greet us back and dedicate a gesture of camaraderie, like saying: “You’re as cool as we are; the road is ours; we’re riding the wind.” I chuckle and I think: “Get on the tandem and I’ll show you what’s what, dude.” Anyway, the truth is that they cheer you up. We also say hello to people who practise a kind of skating with ski poles. I guess it’s the summer way of training for cross-country skiing, a fairly popular sport here.

Tomorrow’s weather forecast definitely recommends boarding Noah’s Ark. We don’t usually get scared when it pours down; but things look pretty serious for tomorrow. The weather is highly changeable as to cloudiness and wind direction. We may get sunburnt or frozen to death in the very same morning; for that reason, we won’t take any decisions till the day starts off. We don’t want to run unnecessary risks. The other day we already got wet, well, in fact, we got dripping wet. Because of the rain, it got dark at noon, I’d say, not at night. It was on the same day my cell phone drowned. The rain shower was so blustery that my firgers, clenched on the handlebars, got hurt. It was a storm with lots of thunder and lightning. If the tandem is struck by lightning, Odin will find out about it! Now I still recall the faces employees and customers at a Finnish gas station pulled when they saw Ivan and I got there by tandem, with the bicycle bag and the Spanish flag. They seemed to be saying something like: “How ballsy! No wonder they won the World Cup! That was nothing, though. When we asked them where there was a hotel, the question hit them like a ton of bricks: their answer was at 4 kilometers away! Then, we rode off in the heavy rain. We sneaked a peek at them and smiled bravely. They couldn’t stop gaping at us!

Well, no more heroic deeds. With the passage of time, we’re getting thinner and the balance is uneasier. We’ve been pedaling furiously for over 1000 kilometers for 7 days in a row. We’re as gruff as a bear but bucked up by the encouraging words and by the respect showed by lots of supporters. Thanks a million to you all. See you tomorrow!

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