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Learning to spell like Lawrence

The dance of life

SWEDEN | Friday, 26 July 2013 | Views [392] | Comments [5]

We arrived in Oslo three days ago. Gabbie and Stella, the Americans we had cycled with earlier, had recommended to us a website for cycle tourists which allows you to get in touch with people who will take in cycle tourers around the globe. They had both raved about their experiences, so we figured we would give it a go. The result? A similarly rave-able experience. We stayed with Morton and his son Alex - Morton is an avid cycle tourist and heads up the Norwegian Cyling Federation, as well as being the owner of a truly excellent classical record collection and a bicycle of which one Andy Selby-Smith would utterly approve. Alex is a film fanatic and fellow metal lover. Both were great fun, and happy to answer all our questions about Norwegian life. It certainly makes a difference getting to know the locals!

During the day I went to visit an exhibition celebrating 150 years since the birth of Edvard Munch, while Matt went off to find a bike shop that would fix the rattle in his bottom bracket. When I found him some time later, he looked a lot like the figure in 'The Scream'. I gathered from his mutterings that his entire day had been spent in a futile search for a tool that no bike shop would sell or lend him. Fortunately Morton owned the requisite tool, and the annoying rattle was fixed. We spent the eveníng sitting on their sunny patio looking out towards the mountains with good company and wine, and anything that remained of Matt's anguish over the day wasted disappeared.

We then set off yesterday from Oslo with a view to reaching Gothenburg by the weekend. With a lazy morning breakfast and a late departure, we arrived in Moss, which looked to be a town the size of Traralgon. It was quite built up and wild camping appeared to be verboten in the park, so we decided to head for the nearest caravan park, about 8kms away on a small island. We cycled about 6kms and then reached a crossroads with two signs: one pointed to a caravan park two kms on, while the other pointed to a camp ground with no specified distance.

'Which one do you want to go to?' asked Matt.

I figured that the island was not all that big, and the campground of unspecified distance away at least had a picture of a tent rather than a caravan on the sign. On we rode. And on. And on. The houses disappeared. The road narrowed. I was beginning to question the wisdom of my decision when I heard an almighty crack. My first assumption (perhaps illogical) was that someone was shooting at my panniers. Inspection of my rear wheel, however, indicated otherwise. A long strip of metal which should have formed part of the rim now flapped loose.

'Matt - wait - I have a problem!'

'A big problem?'

'A 'this bike cannot be ridden any further and we are ín the middle of nowhere' type problem'.

We figured the best solution was for Matt to ride on to the campground of unspecified distance away, set up the tent, then come back to find me while I pushed the bike as best I could. Off he rode, and some time later, reappeared.

'I found the campground. There's a naked woman eating her dinner at the entrance.'

'Is it...?'

'Yep. I stopped to ask a passing cyclist and he said the only caravan park was back past the T-junction.'

'But that's 5kms away. Do you think the nudists will let us stay? I mean, if we don't join in? Is it against the rules?'

I wasn't keen to push the bike that far, so we decided to camp with the nudists if they would have us. We arrived at the campground, a pretty spot overlooking the beach, and to my relief the first person I saw was a respectably clothed fifty-something. Perhaps it was all fine. The next was an older gent in typical cyclists lycra. Definitely fine. The third was a woman with nothing but a towel over one shoulder.  Hmm... We headed to reception and were met by a (clothed) woman who said 'You're Australian? My, you've cycled a long way. Of course we have space for your tent.'

All good - we could stay. Maybe she assumed we belonged. I wouldn't have to limp my bike any further!

'Can I just have your membership card?'

The game was up! Now she would know we didn't belong. Fortunately she was prepared to waive the membership requirement for the night and explained that clothing was o.k, but that in the morning we would definitely be surrounded by naked people. So as long as we did not mind, she did not mind. The following morning proved her correct. Mostly they were older than us by about thirty years. They were also all very friendly, and keen to have a look at our bikes, or to enquire how we had weathered what had been a spectacular late night storm. The no longer lycra-clad cyclist from the previous evening very kindly offered to load our bikes into his car and take us back into town in search of a new wheel. We were saved a very long walk in very warm weather.

The wheel hunt was fruitless, so we caught the train to Gothenburg. Hopefully tomorrow will prove more successful.



Good to hear your adventures are going well. Say hi to Matt from Vicky, Kyley and Shelly!

  Vicky Jul 29, 2013 11:39 AM


Just been alerted to the existence of this blog. Tim has been raving about the exquisite [that was handy it even spell checks] commentary. I have read your latest post first - yes, there is often less clothing worn in Europe than here. I look forward to catching up on the rest. Angeline arrived "to cool her bones" as she put it and was excitedly speaking of your visit to Dubai (first stop I presume).

Btw, I presume you didn't bring up the DIS topic with the Head of the Norwegian Cycling Federation... may have ruined the friendly dinner conversation.

Stay well and safe


  Tony Brain Jul 31, 2013 4:27 PM


Hey Kate!

Whew, I'm glad that wheel failure didn't result in a stack. Any chance of a photo when you next upload? Quite OK to skip photos of the nudist camp though...

Have fun :)


  Andy SS Aug 1, 2013 9:36 AM


Thanks guys! We will try to get some more photos up soon... Although they are mostly Matt flashing his hairy chest... But then you are probably used to that!

  katescarlett Aug 4, 2013 1:34 AM


Love it! Thanks for sharing Kate, I'm very much enjoying reading your stories, they're hilarious. Hope Matt has recovered from the midges. That sounded pretty horrible.


  Ilka Barr Aug 10, 2013 1:57 PM

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