NORWAY: A MONTH-LONG TWO-UP ADVENTURE
BY: KEWIN KRAWCZYK
In the year 2020, we had a grand vision—a journey through the captivating landscapes of Norway. However, fate had a different plan for us. Just as we were preparing to embark on our adventure, the world was struck by the pandemic. Our dreams were put on hold, and uncertainty hung in the air.
Yet, amidst the chaos and disappointment, we held onto hope. We closely followed the news, awaiting the day when travel restrictions would be lifted. Months turned into a year, but our determination remained the same. And then, the day finally arrived. Norway reopened its doors to travelers and with a renewed sense of purpose, we planned our trip, eager to make up for lost time and embrace the freedom that the open road offered.
Norway called to us with the promise of a terrific adventure. It was a trip that would push us out of our comfort zone, riding together on a single-cylinder motorcycle, Yamaha XT660, through uncharted territories. One may think that riding two-up is romantic. It is. But in our case, the truth is, we had no other choice as only one of us knows how to ride. It was also a great opportunity to test if we can stand each other for such a long time, 24/7.
To truly immerse ourselves in the wild beauty of Norway, we made a decision—to sleep beneath the stars in a tent and cook our meals on a simple gas burner. It was an invitation to embrace the untamed spirit of the land, to forge an intimate connection with nature itself.
We’re not fans of rigid travel plans. Spontaneity was our guide, allowing us the freedom to embrace unexpected adventures. A week before our journey, we secured ferry tickets to Sweden’s Karlskrona, and soon enough, we embarked on a month-long expedition across the land of the Vikings. The moment we sailed away from the mainland, a surge of excitement coursed through our veins.
After the night spent on a ferry, we arrived in Sweden. We quickly left the country, though—after all, this time we had other priorities—and in a few hours we crossed the border with Norway. Initially, wild camping opportunities were scarce. But as we ventured deeper into remote areas, we left behind the comfort of designated campgrounds and slept at the foothills, mountain peaks, near flowing rivers, and in forests.
Norway unfolded before us, its fjords and mountains inviting us to explore their hidden depths. With its Allemansrätten law, which acknowledges humans as an integral part of nature, the country granted us the freedom to immerse ourselves fully in the wonders of nature. Hiking, bathing in crystal-clear rivers, looking for wild treasures like blackberries, and finding a cozy spot to sleep under the vast sky became our way of life. We embraced this freedom with utmost respect for the environment that surrounded us.
Though sleeping in a tent every night for an entire month might have seemed daunting at first, we quickly discovered that we didn’t miss our cozy beds one bit. In the quiet solitude of the Norwegian nights, we found solace in the embrace of nature. Camping beneath the stars, we discovered a newfound sense of contentment. The comforts of home were replaced by the symphony of the wild, and we enjoyed the beauty of simplicity.
Those nights beneath the open sky brought us face-to-face with extraordinary phenomena. It wasn’t the time when we could observe the northern lights, but one memorable moment occurred when we slept above the Lærdal tunnel. That night, we found ourselves mesmerized by the rare sight of Noctilucent clouds hovering over us! They are also called night-shining clouds and consist of ice crystals. From the ground, they are only visible during astronomical twilight at altitudes of around 76 to 85 km.
We knew that even though we had a lot of time, we couldn’t possibly explore every nook and cranny that Norway had to offer. So we treated this journey as a reconnaissance mission, scouting out the most scenic and winding routes to our main destination—Lofoten. During one of the ferry crossings, we encountered two Norwegian motorcyclists who shared their insider tips. Acting on their advice, we opted for the FV17 route despite it meant additional ferry crossings. The reward? Countless breathtaking vistas as the road traced the coastal landscapes.
As we ventured deeper into Norway’s untamed heart, we found ourselves captivated by its unparalleled beauty. Majestic mountains stood as silent sentinels, their peaks kissed by wisps of ethereal clouds. The symphony of power and grace of waterfalls enticed us. And in the remote corners of the land, we discovered pockets of serenity—tranquil lakes reflecting the vibrant hues of the surrounding landscape.
Having crossed the Arctic Circle, we found ourselves inching closer to our primary goal—Lofoten. We spent our first day in the archipelago in pouring rain, quite disappointed. However, the next day we found clouds draped over the mountain peaks, while the surface of the water shimmered with a hypnotic allure. We felt as if we were trapped in a dream. Such natural beauty demanded our undivided attention, so we reveled in every moment. We would love to have more time to spend there.
Along the way, we made a stop at the town of Å, boasting the world’s shortest name, where the scenic European route E10 began. From there, we rode to Rørvikstranda beach and eventually arrived in the charming town of Henningsvær. As we studied the map, we realized that Nordkapp was very close. And just like that, we set our sights on a new objective—the North Cape. But before reaching our ultimate destination, we had a few more stops to make.
And so with Lofoten’s magic still lingering in our hearts, we set course for Senja Island, where we decided to extend our stay and indulge in our other passion—hiking. Norway’s vastness captivated us at every turn, but it was through the rhythm of our footsteps that we truly felt its immensity. Ascending to higher elevations, we emerged above the clouds and witnessed a sight that left us breathless. We had been traversing the depths of an ocean all along—the ocean of clouds, cascading down into the Norwegian Sea like a magnificent waterfall.
After a short active rest at Senja Island, we got on our motorcycle again and finally reached Nordkapp. As often happens while traveling, we crossed paths with other fellow motorcyclists. We spent some time with Daniel who came to Norway from Switzerland. Over coffee and conversations, Daniel persuaded us to seize the rare opportunity of spending a night beneath the open sky at Nordkapp. How could we resist? After warming ourselves at the tourist center, our duo split—one half seeking rest, while the other, armed with a camera and new friend, embarked on a quest for the most captivating, northernmost landscapes.
After the night spent at Nordkapp, we reluctantly began our southward journey. We had some time left to visit a must-see place for motorcyclists: The Trollstigen road. We rode it back and forth a few times but, mindful of catching the return ferry from Karlskrona to Gdynia, we quickly continued further. However, it wasn’t that easy to give up on all the views, so we made another stop and went for our second hike, this time by route 63. Our second and last hike in Norway during that trip…
Accepting the thought that our journey is coming to an end, we enjoyed our last days. Music and podcasts filled our intercoms, and we marveled at the ever-changing panoramas along the E6 route. This way of living became our second nature. Even the cooking rituals, though time-consuming and punctuated by washing dishes in icy rivers, became enjoyable. “It’ll be hard to finish this trip”, “Maybe we should leave our jobs and stay here”, we thought.
And just when everything seemed perfect, we had to deal with an unexpected blow. Four days before our scheduled ferry departure, disaster struck—a flat tire. It doesn’t sound that bad, I know. Happens to everyone, right? But in this case, the odds were against us. It was Saturday evening and shops and workshops were already closed. They were supposed to be closed also the next day. In a race against time, we searched for help, resorting to contacting our insurance company. Unfortunately, their assistance wasn’t of the highest quality, providing a tow truck that would only transport us to a closed workshop just 300 meters away. Rain poured down relentlessly, and we faced the daunting prospect of a 1,000-kilometer journey with a tire in need of repair. Waiting until Monday was not an option if we were to catch our ferry. Desperation set in, but we had our guardian angel…
In our hour of need, an elderly man approached us, speaking fluent Polish and offering a helping hand. As it turned out, he was an employee of the workshop, and his kindness knew no bounds. With his expertise, the situation was swiftly resolved. A stubborn inner tube was patched up, the bike reassembled, and our bags securely fastened. Thanks to him, we were back on our way, forever grateful for his assistance.
With a renewed sense of calm, we continued our journey. Along the way, we made stops in Tromsø, Ålesund, and Oslo—cities that left us captivated by their architectural wonders, a seamless blend of tradition and modernity. Finally, we once again crossed the Norway-Sweden border. Turned out that we were so fast on our way to the ferry that we even had time to visit the Husqvarna Museum in Sweden. It was the perfect ending to our motorcycle odyssey.
And so, on the very last leg of our great Norwegian adventure, a mix of nostalgia and anticipation filled the air. As we rode from Huskvarna towards Karlskrona, we couldn’t help but reflect on the incredible memories we had gathered. The landscapes that had unfolded before us, the bonds forged with fellow adventurers, and the challenges that had tested our resilience.
As we boarded the ferry, the sun began to set, casting a warm golden glow on the horizon. It felt as if the land was bidding us farewell, whispering words of encouragement and urging us to keep seeking new horizons, to continue embracing the spirit of adventure that had brought us here.
The road ahead may be uncertain, but the memories and lessons from our Norwegian escapade will forever guide us. We learned to appreciate the simplicity of life, the beauty of nature, and the kindness of strangers. We discovered the joy of spontaneity, the thrill of exploring the unknown, and the resilience that lies within us.
And so, armed with the memories of our motorcycle adventure through Norway, we set our sights on future travels, eager to uncover new horizons. What’s next? Time will tell.