After much deliberation, this morning we decided to stay put to work, rest, and wait out what is supposed to be the last rainy day for a few days. With a lovely kitchen and common area in which to hang out, it was a nice opportunity to get dried out and caught up. I napped for a solid two hours this morning and still feel tired. I have about had it with the endless drizzle we’ve been living in.
For today’s post, since I have nothing of interest to record, I thought I’d answer some of the most commonly asked questions that have ended up in our inboxes lately.
Where is Ben, and why isn’t he writing much?
Ben is working a whole bunch more than I am, so I’ve taken over the bulk of the writing, photo processing, route planning, cooking, dishes, laundry, and everything else that our survival requires. Unfortunately, that means you’re stuck hearing from me more than I’d like, but he’s been writing more over the last few weeks!
How is your hip? Is it getting worse?
It is doing ok. Some recent days have been pretty rough. I am not sure if it is getting worse, or if it just simply feels worse because of the sheer number of steep hilly days we’ve had since we’ve arrived in Norway. We’re trying hard to be responsible and make sure I don’t push too hard, but it is a difficult balance since we do need to make it to Helsinki in the next few weeks. We came here to ride and it is hard to sit out or take a bus. I’m happiest on my bike!
Why can’t bikes go through tunnels in Norway?
Though not all tunnels prohibit bikes, most of the longer ones do. I assume this is because the tunnels are narrow, dark (sometimes completely unlit) and long, sometimes with big bends in the middle just to make sure you can’t see the other side. I’m also not that keen on riding through them because it is freezing cold inside and the tunnel acoustics means that an engine from one car often sounds like a fleet of tanks. Riding in them is really unnerving.
Unfortunately, Norway is filled with tunnels and trying to avoid them is an impressively difficult logistical puzzle (and often ends with long brutal climbs). Check out this map to see just how tricky planning our route has been.
Is it always this wet and cold in Norway? How cold is it actually?
High temps have been around 50 F and frequently rainy. Thankfully it doesn’t get that cold overnight because it isn’t dark for that long (3 hours roughly). I’m not sure if this is normal or not. If you look at a map, we’re as far north as Alaska, so cooler weather isn’t surprising. Still, plenty of locals have apologized for the weather. I’m not sure whether that means it is uncommon or just simply unpleasant. The next few days look to be a little nicer!
What do you guys eat?
The short answer: everything. We plow through food at probably double our normal rate when we’re cycling this much. One of the upsides of bike touring is that I feel welcome to eat pretty much whatever I want in abnormally huge quantities.
As for the specific fare, it depends on our location. In Eastern Europe, we were getting by on a glut of cheesy pastries, gummy bears, chocolate, Greek style salads, salami, pasta, dumplings, yogurt, chocolate milk, and granola. Some of those items have disappeared in Scandinavia either due to availability or price, and we’re eating a lot more heavy multi-grain breads, cheese, soups, oatmeal, potatoes, cabbage, cookies, and canned goods. (Though groceries are somewhat more expensive in Norway generally, some items are randomly astronomical. A small bag of gummy bears is like $8 a bag here!) With the weather as cold as it is, we’re more interested in making and consuming hot food for dinner and breakfast than we were in Eastern Europe.
Got any more questions? Post them and we’ll answer them in our upcoming posts.