Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Natural rock art on the way to Haugesund, Norway

 On the way to Haugesund, Jurgen and I cycled through a valley. The rocky walls formed a man on one side and gorillas on the other! Can you spot them?

On the road to Haugesund
 A friendly farmer let us stay on his front garden overnight. They brought us some ice cold water, which was great after a sweaty day in the saddle
 Camping in the front garden
 A feathery footed rooster
and a fox in a cage.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Day 2: Norway: The road between Bergen and Stavanger

Many buildings are made of wood and painted white, including the churches

The first route sign of the North Sea Cycle Route, which at 6000 kms boasts of being the longest signed route in the world 

I met Jurgen on one of the ferries which cross the fjordens on the way south from Bergen to Stavanger.

Me and my fully laden bike. I later found a much better way to pack it.

It wasn't long before Jurgen got his first puncture. He has been cycling since March and has already cycled through England and Scotland.


First wild camping of the trip and some inquisitive neighbours

On the way to Haugesund, over some impressive bridges

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

On the ferry to Harwich

I can hardly believe it but it's day 50 since I started the trip and day 45 of cycling and I  am on the ferry heading from Hoek van Holland for merry England. Since leaving Stefan's place at Itzehoe I have crossed two major rivers in Germany - the mighty Elbe and the Weser. In Northern Germany we went through some major ports, Cuxhaven, Whilhelmshaven and the huge container port of Bremerhaven. I spent one night in the grounds of a church community building. It is handy over here that all the churches have toilets open all the time for passers by to use. On this occassion it was pretty handy and at other times I have got water when I needed it - particularly important when you are wild camping. The area around the Jade busen - large sea loch in northern Germany was crammed full of people on their holidays. The weather was pretty hot at the beginning of July and hundreds of people were out on their bikes. A lot of the cycling all along the North Sea Cycle Route from Denmark through to Holland is along dykes. I didn't realise just how extensive they are and how many sheep live on them helping to harden them up by walking on them. On the last day in Germany, Jurgen asked a farmer if we could camp in one of his fields. He came up with a lot better offer of staying in his back garden, using his shower and even staying in the house if we wanted to. He got out the beers and colas for me and was an amazing host. The next morning I found myself driving his car to the local baker so that we could all have breakfast together. Frederick and his family made my last day in Germany memorable. Later in the day at Emden, Jurgen and I said goodbye for now. We had cycled together for a few days in Norway, all the way down the west coast of Denmark and through the north of Germany. He was finishing a trip that started in March and went through Scotland in April. So he is having a well earned holiday with his girlfriend, Denise. It has been great travelling with him.
I crossed over into the county of Gronnigon in Holland. This part of Holland is not as populated as the south apart for sheep. The route in this area was mostly along the dikes and I never saw another person for about 45 kms, just thousands of sheep. It started to get a bit strange and at one point I was sure I had been transported to Planet Sheep. The next county - Friesland is much more interesting from a cycling point  of view, visiting intersting villages, usually with canals and tinkly church bells with the Dutch love so much. It's true the Dutch where clogs... I saw plenty of examples of it. From Friesland to Noord Holland there is a 30 km road across what used to be the Zuirder Zee. The  two countiews  were joined in the 1930's  after a bad flooding incident. On the day I went across, it was sunny and windy. I would not have liked to go across the following day when it rained non stop. There are great cycling tracks down through the north and south of Holland, often through forest and sand dune areas. A couple of nights ago, I stayed in a tippee, and dryed my gear out. Last night was spent in a surfers village in the interesting city of Den Haag... this place looks like a water sports enthusiasts dream. Before I left the Hoek van Holland, I popped along the coast to see an enourmous flood control system. It consists of two huge gates which come together when the weather creates a surge (there's a lot more to it than that) Flood prevention is a huge consideration in Holland and in this whole area of the North Sea.
Next stop is Norfolk. I am looking forward to seeing it, never having been there before. Then it is up to Hull and Newcastle and then home. I''m aiming to be home by 26 July so that I can say bye to Ben before he goes to Burmah and hello to Zoe and Soli who are coming over from Melbourne.
Needless to say I have a lot of good photos.... but not able to put them on the blog from here. I am toying with the idea of starting up a new blog and posting the whole trip on that...we shall see.