Monday 23rd May 2016
So the last few days have been hectic! I only started planning this trip about three to four weeks ago so the planning has been limited! I left Hereford this morning and will arrive in Rygge, Norway tomorrow at noon. The journey time in total is taking me around a day, staying the night in Stanstead.
Sorting out what to bring wasn’t too much of a problem but packing and making sure I had everything was! Every day I thought I had everything I needed but there was always something more, suncream, pliers, battery pack…The list went on and on…By Sunday evening I had my panniers packed and bike in the bag, finally! My total luggage was one bike in a bag, four panniers and a handlebar bag (and myself!). The total weight was around 40kg.
Getting to Norway was one of my issues. Originally I heard that a ferry from Harwich would be a option. However, once looked into, I couldn’t find any ferries to Scandinavia. Apparently most stopped running in 2014 due to them being an unpopular route. A ferry was an easier option as it means less of the bike has to be taken apart and dismantled into a bag/box. I then saw flights to norway and Sweden were very cheap (around £10). I was very pleased until, after paying for the bike (another £60) and main luggage, it came to around £100. Still probably cheaper than a ferry but less environmentally friendly.
The first part of the journey (after I got a lift to Ross on Wye) was to catch the National Express to Victoria, London. I was slightly nervous about getting a bike on the coach but the driver didn’t even look twice at it.
After arriving at Victoria, where police were everywhere, I found my connection to Stanstead. It was perfect timing, there was a coach waiting for me!. However, the driver glanced at my large bike bag and said I would have to wait for the next as this one was full.
Each time I went anywhere I had to lugg my bags around with me, causing me the need to stop every few meters to regain strength. I didn’t find it a problem at first but the bike bag strap soon started cutting into my shoulder and I could feel a small bruise in the making.
After a packed coach to Stanstead, I booked a taxi to the Welcome Break hotel where I was staying. The driver huffed and puffed to fit my bike in his small car, and didn’t look too pleased!
The hotel was perhaps my last luxury for a while, with a double bed, en-suit and air conditioning. So luxurious that I was even offered a complimentary glass of wine with my evening meal. I was happy to accept, even though they only gave it once I’d finished! Traveling on a budget (and being a vegetarian) limits options when eating out, so I went for a starter of mozzarella pizza. And boy was it enough!
I went to bed, after repacking the panniers, with a full stomach of pizza and wine, ready for the adventure to start…