RideEatCamp

Wild camping

Europe

It’s rare that we get on the road early but whenever we do it turns out to be so pleasant. The wind is usually calmer and the roads are empty. The latter is especially true on Sundays and even more pronounced here in Norway because the country is essentially shut down.

We got to meet the tallest troll in the world on Andøy. The Norwegians are crazy for trolls.
We got to meet the tallest troll in the world on Andøy. The Norwegians are crazy for trolls.

I tried to cross a bridge but ended up a troll snack.
I tried to cross a bridge but ended up a troll snack.
No, there's nothing wrong with the photo. That's a seriously thick cloud blanket just above us.
No, there’s nothing wrong with the photo. That’s a seriously thick cloud blanket just above us.
Just outside of Gryllefjord, we had our first long tunnel experience. It was all downhill for 1km. The button activated a flashing light to let drivers know to watch out for us.
Just outside of Gryllefjord, we had our first long tunnel experience. It was all downhill for 1km. The button activated a flashing light to let drivers know to watch out for us.

Norway continues to hold on to that old world tradition of resting on Sundays. Supermarkets, restaurants, cafés, gas stations and even tourist attractions don’t open on the day of rest. They take rest so seriously that most don’t even bother going to church.

This meant that we had the roads practically to ourselves until about noon. It also meant that we had to plan ahead and stock up on food yesterday or else we’d need to learn how to fish.

Speaking of buying things, we had the pleasure of paying about $50 to take a two hour ferry ride from Gryllefjord to Andenes. Our budget goal is to average about $50 per day during the trip. When you blow your whole budget on transit there’s not much left for food and accommodation. So instead of paying for a campsite that night we decided to wild camp.

Unlike a lot of other cycle tourists we are reluctant wild campers. At the end of the day, it’s nice to be able to roll into a campsite, have a shower, use the toilets, maybe cook in a kitchen and if we’re lucky use wi-fi for blogging, emailing, and checking the weather forecast.

You get none of this when wild camping. Instead at the end of the day when you’re tired and hungry you have to start analyzing the landscape for potential camping spots. Is it private? Is it sheltered from the wind? Is the ground soggy? These can be hard questions to answer when you’re cruising by at 10mph. At some point after a half hour of maybes we’re getting tired of playing the game and we get grouchy. Maybe with some more experience we’ll get faster.

So during the evening we hunted for a wild camping spot on the beautiful island of Andøy. We ended up finding a nice spot just north of the village called Stave. It was great to be away from other campers and their midnight bathroom runs, their yappy dogs, and their snoring. We could get used to this.