Thursday, 19 June 2008

Greetings from Svolvær

This front door at 13 Hans Egedes Gate in Kabelvåg sums up the little community here for me; the buildings are rather personal statements and very lovely too.

I'm writing this at the desk in a pleasant sjøhus beside the marina here in Svolvær after a great cycle ride from Stranden Camp near Borg today - great because the weather has steadily improved all day (no sunset because it is daylight all the time here, but splendid evening). Great also for the tea and biscuits shared with Piet, a lean and windburnt Dutch cyclist who was heading the other way to me when our paths crossed at the big bridge over onto Gimsøya, but abruptly changed direction when he saw me waving my big red plastic mug at him.

He has the best top box I've ever seen on the front rack of a bike, fabricated out of aluminium sheet with a pop-rivet gun, and covered with stickers from Iceland and other far-flung places (and Lundy, too - first cyclist with a badge from there that I've met). When children ask him what he keeps in this tiny strong-box, he says "My money!" with a twinkle in his eye, but actually it's ideal for his camera, because he's an avid photographer.

Piet and I had a good laugh for half an hour until the cold got too much for us, but in that time I picked up some helpful information on the route from Narvik into Sweden, plus good places to stay further up on my route to Tromsø.

This is my first post for a while because I've been somewhat off-grid without power for two or three days - one memorable night on a white sandy beach with turquoise sea and no-one else for miles when I free camped at Vikspollen, and one night at Stranden camp, which has lovely huts with old wood-burning stoves and even older bottled gas cookers, but no power either.

In the end I felt I had to come here to upload my most recent pics to the flickr pages, and to find out how the new hotel in the square in Svolvær looks - the answer is, it looks atrocious, completely out of scale with the rest of the buildings, and it blocks the view of the nice old white church for people arriving on the Hurtigrute. Nevermind, at least the accommodation problems
will ease for the high rollers coming off the ship in the evening now.

Tomorrow I plan to cycle on up towards Laukvik, and the day afterwards to Melbu and perhaps Stokmarknes. Given the budget I'm working to, these will probably be days when I'm off-grid too.

Thanks for all your comments and birthday wishes by the way, much appreciated!

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