I can’t quite realize it. How normal the snow has become. How normal it is to cycle in -10 degrees celcius with the idea of that being a mild temperature. That I slept in temperatures between -25 and -30 degrees celcius a few days ago. I wonder how it would be to sleep in temperatures between -30 and -40. Is this a crazy thought? Every time I overcome something, I’m curious about what my limit really is. I have learned so much from the past few weeks. Until now the cold has made me panic a few times, but that can also have been caused by fatigue.
This is the last day, did I really made the most out of this journey?
I get off the boat at 5:30am. Without having enough food and drink with me I have to wait until 7:00am because then the supermarket will be open here in Honningsvåg. It is quiet, no one to see on the roads. I slip into a hotel lobby somewhere with no one at the reception. When it’s finally 7:00am I get my breakfast and some extra food for on the road. I’m afraid of the prices here. I pay 30 euros for a few groceries. What a scam! With this thought I long back to the good times in Russia. Less choices in the supermarket but way better prices. It’s a present for the brilliant idea to go all the way to the most northern point of Europe.
The North Cape.
Today is day 31. I actually wanted to arrive already. But I had made some miscalculations about Russia.
Miscalculations about Russia?
Actually, this whole plan, to cycle from St. Petersburg through Murmansk to Alta in one month, was a far too ambitious plan. Far too ambitious. Not that I can’t cover these 2000 kilometers in a month. It’s just that cold temperatures mixed with icy roads, dangerous traffic, a language barrier and the desire to have the time to learn and enjoy a culture makes it impossible to cycle all of it. In order to reduce the danger of my own life, I therefore chose to do a bit by train in Russia. In fact, I couldn’t do much else. There were no roads to cycle on and there was no snow-free emergency lane on the highway. Yet, it felt like a failure. Shouldn’t I have planned this better?
What did I really want to get out of this journey?
Today on this 31 day I have covered 1224 kilometers so far and for today 34 to go. I shout it out over the white mountain peaks while I cycle up covered in sweat. “I’m unstoppable!! I’m gonna make it to the North Cape! I got this!” The road turns left and a flashing orange light and a closed lever are in front of me.
Can’t I continue? I cycled 1200 kilometer through Russia en Norway and I can‘t go up cycling this last 10 kilometer to the North Cape? No way! I wrestle myself through the snow along the lever. I look at the big camera behind me, maybe they don’t pay attention.
Don’t pay attention? In Norway?
Not in any way, especially in this situations. But I don’t care. 30 full days I’m fighting to reach this point. The weather is good. I can do this. In my enthusiasm I continue cycling as a maniac. Until an Audi with an orange flashlight stops next to me. A lady opens the window and explain that it is not safe to cycle here. Not safe? That I can determine myself, right? I immediately realize that I have to accept this and must stop this discussion.
I remember myself that this is not about the final destination. It’s about the journey. And I must accept that this is the journey.
I tell her that I only go back if I can access the North Cape with my bicycle. And a little later, back at the lever, I pull my bike into a buss to see the last unsafe 13 kilometers to the North Cape passing by from a vehicle. I think to myself that the part of illegal cycling back and forth might be the 13 kilometers to the end point. This way I try to deal with my frustrations of a perfectly organized Norway.
Safety before everything.
And there I stand between a big group of people who all want the same thing, a photo at that big round thing. With the help of a nice guy who I’ve just met I succeed in making that photo. My bicycle is going up in the air.
And there I am with a happy face. I succeeded doing this journey! At least I am still alive and up here on the North Cape!
What an adventure.
I wonder whats next? What would it be like to cycle in the north of the Russian Siberia in winter?