Final thoughts

Final thoughts

There you go, finally, we’ve sat down and finished our blog on this trip, this (small) part of our life:¬†All in all, this is exactly what we needed: cycle, eat, sleep, plan tomorrow’s trip, eat, sleep, cycle… Yes, we would recommend it to anyone. Not fit enough? We don’t think this is a real issue. You adapt distances and speeds to your capabilities, just don’t be too ambitious about the distances you’ll want to cover; certainly not with kids: a short pee stop will easily take up to half an hour before you take off again. We’ve often been asked about the kids, how did they cope: being tired, hungry, sleeping in a new place everyday, not knowing where the next stop will be…. Well, honestly, we have fantastic children: rarely squabbling, complaining even less and being absolutely wonderful for each other. What else would you hope for? And, no, being 24/7 with them wasn’t tiresome at all. We seemed to just get in a kind of flow where each one of us knew his/her place and role. Fan-tas-tic! Anyone trying to get on a diet should try this to (okay, it’s a little radical…). Almost immediately after leaving we shifted to a new schedule Wake up: 8-9 am Breakfast: 9-10.30 Pack:10.30-11.30 Cycle:11.30-15 Lunch: Between 15-17.00 Dinner: Sometimes Good night, Sleep tight: 21.30-22.30 Combine this with 2 to 3 hours cycling, and you’re guaranteed to loose some excess weight. Don’t believe us? Look at the clock: Another thing is we can remember each and every of those 93 days on the road, having at least pictures or memories of each day. Every day was a remarkable in its own way. The blog was originally intended to keep in touch with family & friends during the trip. If you’ve stumbled upon it and have any questions about the trip, we would be happy to help you out. Thank you very much to: Alistair & Laurence, our mothers, Juf Judit (Miro’s absolutely wonderful teacher), Juf Ann (Smilla’s delightfully dedicated teacher), Peter & Helle, Lars, Hanne, Bo (Lilla Edet), Morten (Oslo), Line&Lasse, Esben &Family (Tanumshede ICA supermarket), the American couple from Oslo (Frederikstad, we’ve lost your emails), John Perdersen, Ingela, everybody @ warmshowers.org, Gaard&Kenneth (Store-Vaktor), Peter Loeskow for all the stalking and tips ūüėČ (Stenungsund), Roel @ fietslab.be assistance by email during the trip, Sara-Bart-Lutgard-June-Mori-Frank-Ana√Įs-Ziggy-Peggie for the first 15-30 km, Marianne&Wolfgang, Lieve&Michel…and many more wonderful people. According to a poll held by the American association Adventure Cycling, more than 90% of bicycle travellers put “meeting people” as number 1 of most memorable moments of their trips; we don’t (please don’t be offended, it just meant so much more to us), but it...

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Some numbers

Some numbers

During the trip we went through the effort of logging some data on each riding day like average speed, ride time, maximum speed. Here are a few numbers: –¬†93 days (or 13 weeks / 2232 hours / 133.920 minutes /¬†8.035.200 seconds) – 6 countries cycled: Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway & Sweden – 2000 km cycled: 1700 touring & another 300 wandering about, groceries,…. – 0 punctures, 1 loose bottom bracket – 3 sun burns: 2 left-sided, 1 on Dominique’s back (now, 3 months later you still see the marks) – 2 bikes, 1 trailer, 6 wheels, 11 panniers, 4 helmets   For the geeks we’ve added a few charts showing the differences between countries. As you see, we travelled shorter distances in Sweden, cycled fastest in Belgium & Holland and had the longest riding times in Denmark...

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Sweden & Norway: a brief summary

Sweden & Norway: a brief summary

As we just posted our ‘Final thoughts’-post, we’ll keep this one really brief. Under “Gallery” you’ll find photo albums for Belgium & The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. After having crossed Denmark a little too fast (we would have liked stay a little longer at some spots like the Teltpladsen, but had to family expecting us along the way) we took the ferry from Hirtshals (DK) to Kristiansand (NO). Finally, back in Norway. This is the country fell in love with in 1998. Where we got Kjeldebu from. This was somehow the part of the trip we had decided we would take our time to discover the country. Well, to be honest, we have been a little disappointed. For the Norwegian part of our trip we would be following the North Sea Cycle Route¬†(NSCR).¬†it’s the world’s longest signed international¬†cycle route, passing through 7 countries around the¬†North Sea. Preparing that bit was easy: it’s all pretty well documented and maps are easy to find. But that’s about it. Yes, we did have stunning views. And, yes, we did enjoy the very friendly Norwegians. But, as opposed to Denmark, there are no real alternative routes. It felt more like we were cycling as a goal not as a way to enjoy your trip. A Danish cycling couple we met in Drammen and while later again in Frederikstad expressed it really nicely: in Denmark you have a feeling you get to see more, than you would travelling by car. In Norway, well, you might as well go by car if you’re cycling for the views (although, see Hemmingway’s quote here). Maybe cyclists doing the NSCR want to say ‘I have done it!’. But for us, it isn’t our goal in travelling, boasting about the 2000 km we cycled. We don’t see it as a performance, we have nothing to prove ourselves or anyone else. It’s just our way of travelling. Just as natural as going for a walk… We had also hoped to camp in the wild, like we did in Sweden. But the terrain and the routes we took didn’t make it easy. Though we did get tips about sleeping on beaches once we were in Sweden. Finally, the Southern coast of Norway is where all the Nowegians seem to be during summer, so it was a little too crowded to our likes. Physically, it was pretty challenging: 60m steep uphill – 20m down – 12m up – 70m down – 10m up….all day long. Before heading to Oslo, we did go in-land along the Telemark Kanalen (after being fed up with the busy coastal roads of the NSCR). Although it wasn’t flat (what a surprise), it was much more like...

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Update in Flemish

Update in Flemish

We haven’t quite been keeping our blog up to date in Norway and Sweden, so here’s half a solution. We will try to keep it more up to date for this last bit of our trip. By the way, we have booked our train from Copenhagen to K√∂ln for August 18th, so we should be back in Brussels by the 20th. Nederlandstaligen hebben het geluk dat Miro moet schrijven in zijn dagboek om wijn schoon schrift te oefenen. We hebben net een reeks nieuwe foto’s online gezet met het vervolg van de avonturen. Morgen zetten we het laatste gedeelte online dat gaat tot en met eergisteren. Je vind het allemaal hier of simpleweg via Gallery > Miro’s...

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Camping in the ‘wild’

Camping in the ‘wild’

Planning the trip to Norway and Sweden, we were really looking forward to camp where ever we like thanks to the Right of Public Acces (Allemansr√§tten/Allemansretten). According to this right you are allowed to put up your tent nearly anywhere. But, as it turned out we didn’t really get a chance to camp in the wild in Norway, so in Sweden decided to use the Right and to test what possible the variations on the theme of ‘Wild camping’ had to offer. (Summary posts on Norway and Sweden are on their way) Here are a few spots we slept at. First, a Danish cycling family tipped us about sleeping near a Unesco site with Stone-age rock carvings in the region of Tanum. They were thinking about pitching our tent near the car parking. This is how we defined near that afternoon: The runes were really interesting and there were almost no other tourists visiting the site. As a bonus we had access to toilets and drinking water! So, happy with our first ‘rune-night’, we took our map and circled all the rune-sites in the region going South. This took us to Torsbo. An information board from the Torsbo council informed us about the site: “Torsbo is worth a visit not only because of its rock carvings and ancient monuments but for its nature and scenic beauty.[….]These pastures have been pastures have been restored and are kept after by the Council Administration. There are tables and benches and a more pleasent setting for a pastoral luncheon is hard to imagine.” Who could have imagined a better pitch? Flat lawn, toilets, water, no tourists. Our own private camping. Next, thanks to a fortunate meeting, we slept at Munkedal’s Kaserna. The second evening at the Kaserna, a big storm seemed to be coming up, Jonathan rushed (with lots of help from the kids) to break camp and take shelter on a outdoor stage used for plays in the summer. Just before the pourdown and in time for dinner and a bedtime story. The yellow curtains are our tent, which we used for exactly that: curtains. It was perfect, even darker than most hostel rooms we slept in. Waking up was a litlle less idyllic: Monday morning was mowing time, around the stage. We thought planes were landing on the lawn! After a stop in a youth hostel (laundry, showers, online payments, tickets, etc…) we headed out for our next leg. We were supposed to find a lovely beach 20 km further. The trouble is we managed to make our latest start ever 7.30pm. We stopped after 9 km (all uphill), where a new neighbourhood is being built. All the roads, pavements, cycle...

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Here comes the sun…

Here comes the sun…

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo) Here comes the sun, and I say It’s all right … We’ve said this in a previous post, but we are so lucky with the weather. We were quite surprised to see the wonderful summer was a topic for headline news in several newspapers in Norway and Sweden. Travelling with this weather does make it all just a bit easier. Guess you don’t need any translation for...

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