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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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JL: Great, we’re finally in Honningsvag, base town from which all expeditions to North Cape leave (located 34 kilometers away). It is 00:35 and it is broad daylight. In fact, there’s not even a sign of sunset any time soon, at this time of year we are in the time of the “midnight sun”. We will need to close our eyes with all our anger.

From 03:30 until 21:15 our route has been Valencia-Paris-Oslo-Alta by plane and from Alta to Honningsvag we traveled by land. Things haven’t gone the way we expected. One of the worst things that could have happened. The airline SAS has “forgotten” our tandem bicycle in Paris. We learned about this when we landed in Oslo where we filed the complaint with the following result: they “guaranteed us” that tonight they will be shipping the tandem bicycle in a flight from Paris to Oslo; tomorrow, Saturday it will leave on a flight from Oslo to Alta, and from there, it will be transported by land to our hostel in Honningsvag, where it will arrive late in the afternoon. Can you believe it?…………

If this is the way things go, and since it does not get dark here at night, we are thinking about sleeping all day long and when the tandem bicycle arrives we might get on it and pedal all night. This problem threatens to delay our planned trip for at least one day; this could mean that we would have to modify all the reservations for the next 20 days (hotels and ferries). A great deal of work….
Apart from this bad luck, we’ve also had a wonderful experience. Upon landing in Alta, we ran into a man that was waiting for his parents at the airport with a truck to drive them to Honningsvag (234 kilometers away). I asked him and he offered to drive us, selflessly, since we shared the same destination. On the way he talked to us about the geography, history, custom and Norwegian languages. It was an authentic priceless master class. Among other things, he told us that for him we were “strangers” and that in Norway the word does not mean an “unknown person” but “a friend you still have not met”.

And, to top it all off, he was our “taxi driver”, giving us a tour around the town and dropping us off directly at the hostel door. He introduced us to his parents, his wife and his dog. He and his wife accompanied us to visit the Artic Ice Bar, owned by a Spanish couple. Apart from this, they’ve invited us, to join them the day after tomorrow, to watch the World Cup final in a hut they own heading south, in Skaidi (coinciding with one of our final stages). They will watch the final inside a jacuzzi (that fits 8 people) with water at a temperature of 38 ºC and a beer in the hand and, after that, they’ve invited us to sleep over at their house with their family. What a great show of hospitality of two people we’ve just met! They insisted so much that we are taken aback by their generosity. At this time we still don’t know what to do, whether to accept their offer or run way. We’ve agreed to call them tomorrow.

The hostel owner has two bicycles. We might borrow them to get to North Cape instead of going by bus. We wouldn’t be able to do it with our tandem bicycle, Paco, but at least we would go pedaling and we would remain faithful to the spirit of the trip. We’ll see what happens after breakfast and after the first early calls to the airline.

About Norway, the first impressions are:

• It seems like the country is brand new, that’s just been unpacked. The landscape shows itself clean and with pure and strong colors.

• Prices have nothing to do with ours: for example, two water bottles, a small salad and two Bolognese spaghetti bowls, 64 €.

• The Scandinavians handle scissors as if they were true scissor devils; they would go for any haircut.

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