Through The Rain and Wind
The winter is really over in this part of the world. I can officially say now that I have survived the cold Scandinavian winter and this is one of the longest winter. I was surprised that it was snowing once even it was almost May when I was somewhere near Ornes. But the temperature is never below zero degrees anymore. Whenever the sun is shining, it feels like heaven. My skin once again be burned by the heat of the sun and it feels great to ride under the sunshine. But the problem is, the sun only appears a few minutes in a day. Most of the time, thick clouds covering the sky, making everything look dull and the rain is pouring almost all the time. Im now riding along the beautiful arctic road along the coast of Norway heading south but sadly I couldn’t see much due to the bad weather. After I rode to the most southern part of Lofoten, I took a ferry in Moskenes towards Bodo, the capital town in Nordland.
I arrived Bodo in the middle of the night when everything was closed, there was a youth hostel there not so far from the ferry terminal so I decided to wait there till morning to get a place to rest there. It was raining the whole night and I had no place to hide, so I just wait at the roadside and let the raindrops hit me all over for the whole night. I realized the night is really short now, it gets dark only around 10pm and the sky is bright again as early as 4am. In the middle of the night, the sky is not completely dark anymore. Its blue color and I don’t see the stars at all due to thick rainclouds. At around 7am, I see people start walking towards the town centre going for their everyday life routine and at around 8am I quickly went to the reception of the hostel. Too bad the hostel was fully booked and the receptionist told me that all accommodations in Bodo town centre are fully booked. I was surprised, I really thought there were not so many people coming around here during this time of the year and I was completely wrong.
I was hungry and sleepy since I was awake for the whole night, so I decided to ride only a few kilometres outside Bodo and found a campsite. The snow was melting and the ground was completely wet with melting snow, so the owner of the campsite let me to use the cabin for half the price! It was a good thing for me, at least I can hide myself under the endless rain. I took a day resting there before a long journey south towards Trondheim. The road is never flat here, always up and down which slows me down by a lot. I don’t really feel how heavy Im carrying my winter gear on my bicycle all these while when I was in Sweden because the road is mostly flat there. But here, I realized that Im actually carrying really heavy and it really slows me down by a lot especially climbing uphill. Good thing, whenever there is up, there is also down. So whenever I go downhill, its time for my legs to rest and prepared myself for another uphill climb. And the rain is pouring heavily and nonstop here, I was wet all over and my waterproof outer shell seems useless with the combination of strong wind and rain.
While I was riding south from Bodo, I came across a campsite and decided to have a look. There were some cabins there and I tried to ask the owner if I can get a cheap price for the cabin. I would love to stay indoor to keep dry if I can get reasonable price. There is an old Norwegian man greeted me and asked me a few questions about my trip. He then told me not to camp with this condition and offer me a cabin instead. The price of the cabin was 500Kr but he was kind enough to let me stay for only 200Kr. Hehe again I got lucky here. I never have any skills on bargaining but people are just nice around here. Plus its rare to see cyclists passing through this region at this time of the year, so I got a special discount! :) There were some guys from Libya staying here in the campsite too in one of the cabins. Some of them are trying to find a job here and some are just tourist. After I was done taking hot shower, I felt so tired and didn’t even have enough energy to cook or eat dinner. I straight went to sleep in hunger.
In the middle of the night while I was sleeping, one of the Libyan knocked on the door. I woke up and opened the door and was surprised to see he was holding a delicious pasta for me. I was so thankful for the good food. After finished eating it, I went outside for some fresh air and while passing the owner’s house, I saw from the glass window that the owner was having dinner together with his worker from Yemen. It touched my heart. Some employer that I see in many parts of the world, surprising even in my own society, really treated their worker like they have no value, especially foreign workers. The boss will usually have good expensive food while treating their workers cheap unhealthy food. They really set the distance between the employer and the employee. But its totally a different level here. He treated his worker like his own family. Im actually glad to see there are many immigrants here in Norway. Reason is because these people, who are mostly from countries like Afghanistan, Somalia or Libya are here for a long time, being treated really nice and they had a chance to learn the good value from the local people here… especially in the countryside. They have a chance to live in a society who lives in honesty and that will shape them.
I ended up staying there in the cabin for 2 days waiting for the weather to turn out to be good. The campsite owner was really nice to me, offering me tea everytime when I come to visit him in his house. And he was so kind to drive me to the neaby supermarket to get some food, which is 7km away as I was lazy to ride my bicycle on my restdays. I then realized that if I keep waiting until the weather gonna turn out to be good again.. I will wait for the whole spring. So I just kept riding south through the wind and rain. I really decided wrongly, when I was in Sweden, I was riding north and the wind always coming from the north slowing me down. And here riding along the coast of Norway, the wind will either come from the west or from the south. If the wind comes from the west, it brings rain from the sea and if it comes from the south, the weather is better. Either way, it’s a tough ride for me. Most of the time, the wind will blow from the south which slows me down by a lot since Im heading south. And the weather is not better, its raining most of the time. And tunnels, I scratched my head everytime when I see tunnels in front of me. And theyre usually long, some 2-3km long and there are so many of them!
And not so long ago…while I was in Bodo, I received a news from the Norwegian embassy in Malaysia regarding my application to extend my stay within the Schengen area. It failed… it seems that the 90 days staying inside the Schengen area is really strict and there is no way I can extend it. I can only come back here after 90 days staying out of Schengen. I was hoping that they can extend my stay here for at least another 5-6 more weeks so that I can be able to ride the whole length of Norway. But since I received the news, my plan now changes. I will ride only until Trondheim, in the middle of Norway and from there I need to get a train back to Stockholm and fly back home, away from the Schengen area before my visa expires. It is quite sad since Im gonna miss those grand huge superlong fjords in southern areas of Norway. But at least Im really happy since I got to see so many things especially the northern lights and survived the cold Scandinavian winter. And this news somehow affect my journey. After I received the news, I wasn’t feeling so energetic during my ride anymore. I couldn’t concentrate much, finally after almost a year, I started to get homesick! Cant believe that whenever I feel hungry while I was riding, I can imagine our spicy food back home, especially my favourite chicken beriani hehe.