Out of Alta and up in the Sennalandet Mountains we get repeatedly honked at. This is very out of character for the drivers we have shared the road with for the past two months : what is going on? It turns out we are coming face to face with the 2nd stage of the Arctic Race of Norway, a UCI road race organized by Le Tour. As the afternoon progresses more people are parked along the high road. The racers are late, they are dealing with an end-of-the-world headwind on the nearly 200-km long stage. Three police cars stop one after another to warn us to get out of the way, which we do once we reach the sprint finish line. We lean the bikes on the tires of one army truck serving as anchor for the green inflatable arrival arch of the mid-stage’s sprint and join soldiers and dressed-up-flag-waving supporters to cheer on the peloton…for 5 seconds. Vroom!

Sur le plateau de Stokkedalen, la E6 s'immisce parmi les pâturages d'été des Sami de Kautokeino. Finnmark.
On the Stokkedalen, E6 highway crossing the Kautokeino Sami summer pastures. Finnmark.
D'une altitude moyenne de 350 mètres, le plateau Repparfjorddalen et la E6. Finnmark.
Repparfjorddalen plateau and the E6 . Finnmark.

Six o’clock on a Friday is too early for the party to end and we ride by merry makers possessed by the sykkel spirit sitting by the road around a fire. Excited by our bikes they first cheer us on and then they stop us:

-Come and have a coffee and a tyukklefse!


-Would you like a cold beer?


-And a hot-dog?


-You should stay with us tonight and relax!

-Why not!

Nos hôtes et nouveaux amis norvégiens, Trine et capitaine Kurt. Finnmark.
Our hosts during the Artic Race of Norway frenzy, Trine and captain Kurt. Finnmark.

Our hosts are an eclectic group all residing in Hammerfest and spending the week-end at their hytte  located within 2 kilometres from one another on the Repparfjordelva River. Capitain Kurt and his wife Trine volunteer to have us stay in their cabin’s annex. We gladly get in a warm shower but we pass on a sauna or jacuzzi soak : we just want to be back by the fire and get to know our new friends. Sitting on a sheep skin we are lent felt slippers and traditional sweaters to keep us warm. A large piece of dry cod, torskfisk, is going around and many shots of aquavit are downed as the sun dims and rises again at 2 a.m. Just a magical evening!

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Reindeer on their summer holidays grounds: “Costa Arctica”. Finnmark.
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En route to Nordkapp alongsite Porsanger fjord. Finnmark.

Once on road E69 from Olderfjord, the topic among the cyclists lining up to reach the end of the continent is about “The Tunnel”—and about how slow we are! Most are young solo males on road bikes who are leaving luggage behind to reach Nordkapp faster, eat instant noodles, and will fly home to a European city within 2 weeks. Without knowing anything about us, our route or our purpose, one friendly Latvian, upon hearing we had taken two months to ride some 3,000 kilometres from Stavanger to Nordkapp, commented « Wow! You guys must sleep a lot! » Not long after Kåfjord, we arrive at the entrance of the dreaded underwater tunnel linking the Porsanger Peninsula and Magerøya Island. The first half is a steep descent to 212m under sea level: toes and fingers freezing. Then, after a short flat stretch, starts the steady climb up the other side. Seven kilometres and forty-five minutes later it is impossible to see where we are going as the reflection of our headlamps on the white steam emanating from our heated bodies is blinding us. And then, we’re out!

Ascension sous-marine et ténébreuse entre le contient et Magerøya. Finnmark.
Submarine and lugubrious ascent between the continent end Magerøya: Nordkapp tunnel. Finnmark.
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Nordkapp, sits famed globe and tourists. Finnmark.
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Our turn for a photo at Nordkapp. Finnmark.
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RV’s, which inoccupants have to pay 245 NOK each to get in, line up by the cliffs and before the setting sun at 10:00pm on a certain August 18. Finnmark.
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First kilometres heading south on Magerøya. Finnmark.

Magerøya is a barren eroded stupendous place. The 30 kilometres from the city of Honningsvåg to Nordkapp are not for free as we fight a strong Arctic wind and climb twice over 300 metres. The paved road becomes a narrow succession of steep up and down jerks we have to share with the late-afternoon tour buses taking cruise ship passengers on the return trip. Some reindeer are munching freely on the dense tundra, sometimes staring at us when we belt out a Christmas carol about a red-nosed reindeer en français! The white ones with the white antlers look like something our sister-in-law bought at IKEA to decorate the Charlevoix family cabin’s fireplace.

…a beige Land Rover makes a u-turn as its two passengers give us the thumbs up. The license plate is South African and our hearts jump with excitement as we anticipate all the fabulous people there is still to meet on the long road to Johannesburg

At 71° 10′ 21” N, we have reached the northernmost point of our Nomads by Nomads expedition. For centuries, explorers, adventurers and kings have been drawn to this cliff at the northernmost tip of Europe…its road network, anyways! Nowadays it is tempting to call Nordkapp the northernmost tourist trap: the fenced-in cape has a gate where people have to pay to get in! We don’t know if it has always been free for cyclists or if the entrance fee was abolished after too many death threats from enraged riders, but we are waived in with a big smile. The blue Arctic Ocean stretches far on the horizon as the sun sets for a few hours, something it doesn’t do here from May 15th to July 31st. When we leave the next day, backtracking to Honningsvåg on the same challenging 30 kilometres, something is different: the sun is to our faces, we are heading South and for a good long while!

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Monument marking king Olav V visit to Havøysund, in 1988. Finnmark.
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Norway Tourist National Road title obliges, Havøysund route 889 possesses 3 conceptual rest areas with puzzling toilets! Finnmark.

From Honningsvåg, we catch an early boat to Havøysund on the mainland, where Palmer invites us back to his house for a shower. He has a small fishing boat and a 30-ton quota for cod that he sells to “Europe”. As we sit in his massage chair he keeps the goodies coming, starting with skolebrød and coffee, followed by platters of buttered bread, half topped with his own caught-and-smoked salmon, the other half with sweetened bright orange cloud berries. After finishing off with a piece of watermelon, we leave with two whole dry cod for snacks and a couple of one kilogram containers full of cloud berries that are just perfect in our morning oatmeal! 

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Pure bliss on route 889. Finnmark.
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Fuelling up with carbs, fibers and lots of high+quality antioxydants, multbaer (cloud berries). Thanks Palmer! Finnmark.

Moving South, the landscape changes quickly and by the time we arrive in Lakselv pine trees are lining Porsenger Fjord, sheep and cows feed on cultivated grass. At Statoil station a beige Land Rover makes a u-turn as its two passengers give us the thumbs up. The license plate is South African and our hearts jump with excitement as we anticipate all the fabulous people there is still to meet on the long road to Johannesburg.

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Heading south on route 889 amidst in mineral and Arctic garden. Finnmark.

We then say good-bye to the coast, next time we’ll be by the sea it should be the Baltic. We reintegrate the beautiful Finnmark Plateau on a blissful road to Karasjok, capital city of Norwegian Sapmi. Sven Engholm, guide extraordinaire, entrepreneur and 11-time winner of Europe’s longest sled dog race, the Finnmarksløpet—1,000 kiometres—, has invited crew to stay in one of his unique log cabins at Engholm Husky. Our neighbors are 50 huskies who just arrived back from an island where they spend the summer swimming and running around. Sven just went to Sweden to get a new puppy litter and training starts tomorrow.

Seeing the dogs, the sleds, the stove and animal furs in our cabin, highlights a feeling we’ve had since entering Sapmi, a sense that everything here is made for winter, that we came in the “wrong” season. Winter is not a burden for people, it is a joy. How many times the season has been mentionned in passing conversation : the dark blue sky, the northern lights, ice fishing and dog mushing, skiing to work, or hot tubing with friends on a snowy day. Never one negative thing said. Maybe we should come back one February and experience what the fuss is all about. Let’s call that a rendez-vous puppies…

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Surreal weekend spent in Reanga handcrafted cabin at Engholm Husky, in Karasjok. Finnmark.
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Let’s come back in winter time! Finnmark.

Finnmark to Finland: Exit SÁPMI! (Oulu, Finland - KM 3,825)
On the lookout for summer pastures, reindeer, and herders! (Alta, Norway - KM 2,570)


  1. big country

    Wow! Thanks for sharing. You rock!

  2. Loving it! Enjoy the sun on your faces.

  3. hassan

    Wow! Wht a great place worth seeing especially two months long day and night!

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