Norway - big goaty things
The plan was to leave the campsite early, as although the ride to Hammerfest wasn’t long, it was all mountain roads. Some advice we were given by Sam Manicon during our trip preparation was to always be flexible, with this in mind we naturally had a lie in and left late! Thanks Sam!
The day started off wet and cold; as we steadily climbed higher into the mountains the rain stopped...and turned to SNOW!! Normally we’d complain, but as we have willingly chosen to travel in the Arctic, we really had no right!
We rode in total around 6-hours. Our route took us out of Tromso on the E8 going back down the road we had driven up in order to reach Tromso a few days ago – but instead of returning all the way back down the E8 to the E6 junction, we had been advised of another route, little advertised as an alternative to the E6 north. Great, we've love getting of the beaten path.
We decided to take this route which was to cut across on the 91 to Breivikeidet, take the ferry across to Svensby, Lyngen, continue on the 91 to catch another ferry across Kafjorden to Olderdalen. We originally thought we had missed this smaller road as it seemed to be a lot further out of Tromso and along the E8 than the map had shown – but eventually, we foudn the turning and made our move.
All I can say is "WOW" what a great road and a great choice.
We travelled along some eerily deserted stretches of road, surrounded by majestic snow capped mountains. We stopped for petrol outside Lyngseidet, taking the opportunity not only to fill up, but also warm up (!) and got chatting to Anna-Sigrid Lofstrom, who manned the Statoil station there. She insisted that although she couldn’t pay for our petrol she would pay for our chocolate. Simon being a confirmed chocoholic felt like he’d won the pools (lottery)!
This may seem to others as a ‘funny’ gesture – but to us it was generosity in its simplest form and she’d wanted to do it simply because she could – can you imagine the checkout staff on the M5 motorway services offering to pay for anything you wanted??!
Two ferry crossings later and we were on the road to Alta where there are many warning signs for Moose and Reindeer. Although we have seen these sings consistently throughout our journey so far in Norway, we’ve not caught a glimpse of the animals themselves – until entering Finmark.
Lisa was the first to spot our new 4-legged friends. Over the intercom Lisa squealed with excitement “Simon, Simon, have you seen the ‘big goaty things’ with big horns!?” I spent the next minute trying not to crash with laughing as what Lisa was referring to were the wild reindeer!
Explaining she said that a glance sideways at 60mph on a mountain road gave her just a glimpse of animals lying down – that’s her excuse anyway! Personally I’m not so sure; goat, reindeer, goat, reindeer...an ‘easy’ mistake? You decide.
For the next 40 miles, reindeer seemed to be everywhere, nonchalantly looking on as we rode past as if to say ‘Yep! More tourists’.
By now time was getting on and Hammerfest would have to wait until tomorrow, but Alta looked like a pretty good option instead. We arrived in Alta late, but found another great campsite offering free sauna after 11pm. Too lazy to cook tonight, Lisa complained she needed chips (!), so we threw up the tent in record time, stowed our gear and headed off to find the Alta Bistro.
A good nights sleep should have been in order, unfortunately our German, bus-touring neighbors had other plans and at 3:30 am Simon lost his rag and wearing only his thermals (mmmm...’attractive’) flew out of the tent and politely asked if they could ‘go somewhere else’. For those who know us, the sight of Simon hacked-off, bleary-eyed at 3:30 in the morning will know it’s not a pretty sight!