Which road shall I choose?

Will it be the road north to Tromso as planned, or the shorter road east to Bardufoss?

Oh dear, I was dithering.

Tromso in the far north was a lot of cycling miles away, for an ever increasingly clunking bike pedal, along with the unbelievable news that any journey on a Norwegian bus cannot be booked! What if the Sunday bus is full, cancelled, delayed, won't take my bike, the pedal seizes or drops off.......and I miss my flight from Bodo to Manchester?

After much endless deliberating, I decided to dismiss my fretting and make a spontaneous decision when the actual road junction appeared in my sights!

The next morning, I felt totally rejuvenated from a mattress of deep springy moss and the echoing lilt of a tumbling waterfall, another blissful night in the wild.

Quite simply, it was a Norway-perfect camping spot. Quiet, safe, peaceful with a spiritual feeling, surrounded by mountains covered in snow-bones. Far below me the mysterious Gryllefjord, fed by numerous roaring waterfalls that overflowed with pristine water.  The honeyed scent of meadowsweet, while in the diverse and alive undergrowth, numerous abundant mosses nurtured their alpine families.

The road that morning started with a long tunnel, passing through these amazing feats of Norwegian engineering on a bike, is nerve wracking.

Luckily much to my delight, the ‘mole-hole’ turned out to be a distance of only 500 km on a flat surface, beautifully well-lit and no other vehicles to be seen or heard!

Actually my tunnel fears were gradually subsiding, as each day I was being forced into passing through more than I can remember. Loudly singing the lyrics of old Beatle hits and playing with the echo, were an excellent distraction from the creaking damp walls, and the overwhelming noise of approaching cars aka steam trains. My voice sounded amazing. If only the primary school music mistress could hear me now I mused, perhaps she wouldn’t have turned me down at the school choir audition! 

Eventually after some dilly-dallying along the coast road, a stop for a cup of green tea still seemed like a good idea, just delaying your north or east decision, cried a voice from the recesses of my brain. The answer……sometimes it’s tough on your own Julie, but it’s worth it.

The Senja Troll Visitor Centre is a tongue-in-cheek take, on the mythical mountain trolls of ancient Norway, the entrance guarded by gigantic, grotesque troll statues. Two Norwegian cyclists were hovering at the café door. We had the usual cycling conversation about destinations and distances. The man then decided to scoff at my wild camping nights, ‘roughing it aren’t you and when did you last have a shower?’……..what a nerve!!

Dreamily I cycled on through the constant beauty of this surreal landscape. The huge low sky, aloof granite peaks, eerie pale mist, still green lakes and wispy rain filled me inwardly, bringing exhilaration and joy. The next ten kilometres flew by.

Suddenly signage appeared and the realisation hit me. I was already at the important T junction.

Shall I turn left to Tromso or go straight on to Bardufoss? What if? What if? What if?

Getting annoyed did the trick…..without further thought I turned left and aimed the bike north to Tromso. So be it!

Straight into a four kilometre climb on an eight per cent hill. Wow it was tough, with a lot of horribly noisy pedal clunking. At long last, after struggling up the last steep section around the final bend, came the surprise reward of a frozen summit lake, set in a curve of snowy mountains, screened by spindly black birch trees.

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