Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Ups ... and downs
I'm posting from the room behind the second window from the left on the first floor of the green painted building on the left of Andenes tourist information center.
Things can change rapidly with the weather here.
I woke up at 4 AM on Andenes campsite to the sound of rain lashing the flapping tent, so groped around for shoes and the peg bag before crawling out into the squall to rig the extra guy lines and peg them in well. Mosquitoes in abundance despite the rain - fortunately I still had the midge-proof headnet I was using at 1 AM in my jacket pocket, so got the job done without having to slap them as they landed.
The cloud are really low and the rain is heavy. The only remitting feature is that the temperature is a balmy 11°C so it isn't bitingly cold and wet, just cold and wet.
Still raining at 9 AM, and on into the morning.
Last night I met a couple of German cycletourists, Johanna and Wilfred, who are cycling up to Tromsø - Johanna left Munich in March and has been touring in England, Spain and France since. She seems to me to be badly in need of a break in her year off, particularly after racing up the coast of Norway from Spain, clocking up some 150km days in order to meet Wilfred for this leg of the tour on the date he was due to arrive in Bodø. She's also given her bike a tough time: one rear stay snapped (it's a new frame!) but fortunately she managed to get the bike shop in Bodø to braze it together again. The couple talked to me quite a bit last night after I undertook to back up and burn a CD of photos from Johanna's trip, and before they left the campsite for the ferry to Senja they serenaded me with Auld Lang Syne on Wilfred's mouth organ.
I couldn't summon up the enthusiasm for the next island on the Whale Route with the steady patter of rain on the tent, so sat inside on the folded Thermarest mattress in low spirits for a couple of hours, listening to the rain and willing a break in the clouds to appear. When it didn't by lunchtime, I resigned myself to packing a wet tent and damp things and was soon on my way into the town center.
But the good news is that Martin at the Tourist Info center in Andenes (think of Robbie Coltrane playing Hagrid) took pity on me and gave me a key to a room in the sjøhus next door for 220 kr, so I'm writing this in the kitchen after catching fuzzy black and white hints of the NRK1 television coverage of Venus Williams playing Tanasugarn at Wimbledon. It looks like the weather was fine and sunny for them. The sky is still cloud filled and grey here but the tent is starting to dry out, and I've got all my clothes in the washing machine here, so my mood has improved considerably. To make life even better, I decided to celebrate the first month away by buying a book to read, and to my amazement found "The Letter of Marque" by Patrick O'Brien (one of my favourite authors) in the only bookshop in Andenes - and it's in English!