We returned in the Spring of 2015 from our tour of the Americas. Two years and 20,000 miles, yet something about the adventure felt unfinished, we weren’t ready for it to be over. We were looking for another place to explore, something new, but maybe without the challenges that come with traveling at high altitudes, in remote areas, over difficult terrain. I hesitate to say we were looking for something easy. Bike touring is never easy.
With the dollar being strong, now would be a good time to go to Europe. It’s the motherland of bicycle touring with cycle routes crisscrossing the countryside. We have friends there we’d love to visit. Schengen rules dictate we could only stay for up to 90 days, but we weren’t looking for another long, overland adventure. We heard Europe is lovely in the Fall, so when we saw a deal on flights from the USA to Europe we pounced. Our initial plan was to buy one-way flights to Norway, tootle around on the bikes, and then buy our return ticket from wherever we ended up after 90 days, likely somewhere warmer, on/near the Mediterranean. Turns out immigration officials frown on this idea and bending the rules when many countries are in the midst of an immigration crisis is at best, inadvisable.
As cheap flights usually go, we were on an obscure airline, with an itinerary that was not quite what we had in mind. We were flying in to Copenhagen and would later fly out of Berlin. Copenhagen is a good 400 miles from where we intended on starting and Berlin is about 1000 miles from where we expected to be at the end of 3 months. Details, shmeetails, we’d work it out later. And so on August 21st, we were off on our next adventure.
Copenhagen is considered the most bicycle friendly city in the world. The cycling infrastructure is truly incredible. There are bicycles EVERYWHERE, traveling on dedicated bicycle lanes and we even had our own traffic lights.
After two nights in Copenhagen, we were on our way to Oslo. Wanting to maximize our time in Norway, we decided to take an overnight ferry to Oslo and begin riding from there.
Arriving in Oslo, the Opera House appears to rise out of the water like an iceberg. The roof, made of Italian marble and white granite, angles to ground level allowing pedestrians to walk to the top for views of the city.
We visited the The Viking Ship Museum, a must-see attraction, built to house three ships excavated in the late 1800s. The Vikings were excellent shipbuilders and sailors. They were the first Europeans in North America. They cruised the Mediterranean and traveled along the great rivers of Russia to the Black and Caspian Seas.
The Oseberg Ship, built around 820AD, was made of oak, 22 meters long by 5 meters wide, and held a crew of 30 oarsmen. In 834 it was used as a burial ship for two important women and was well preserved due to being buried in clay.
The Gokstad Ship, built around 900AD, was made of oak, and 23 meters long by 5 meters wide. It was later used as a burial ship for an important guy to take it to the afterlife.
We spent two days touristing Oslo and then we rolled out, fjordward bound!
Heartfelt thanks to our WarmShowers hosts, Gunnar and Julia, for sharing their home with us in Oslo and inviting us to their cabin on our first day into Norway’s wilderness. Gunnar has a wealth of information on cycling Norway and plans on cycling across the USA Summer 2016, so we peppered each other for information and route tips.