Day 29: Kautokeino to Alta

The weather picked up a bit on Tueday and Julien cycled on to Alta the biggest city in the area but home to only 7,000 inhabitants

He followed the E6 road to Alta which was mountanious with some pretty tough hills along the way.

The hills were low lying with sharp gradients which is a bit of a nightmare for cycling!

Julien stopped in at Maze for a quick break. It is incredibly expensive in the Finnmark area with a 500ml bottle of coke costing about £3.50!

After leaving Maze Julien hit his favourite bit of tarmac on the whole journey!

He followed a road that hugged a cliff and followed a huge river. Julien said the views were similar to a loch in Scotland and simply stunning.

As the river widened, Julien was surrounded by giant fir trees and it was like being in Alaska.

He says riding along this road was a real highlight of the journey and an absolute joy.

Julien noticed that his back tyre was bearing too much weight and stopped to check it to discover that the tyre had completely worn away  in places.

It would be a major job to stop and change it so Julien cycled on to Alta hoping the wheel would hold out for a few more miles.

On the way Julein passed a frozen waterfull and when he arrived in Alta he could see snowcapped mountains in the distance.

The camspite was on the far side of town another 10km away, but Julien’s tyre held out. On the way Julien saw the first signpost for Nordkapp!

It is too cold to camp now so Julien has been staying in heated cabins with the comfort of a real bed and his own shower!

Unfortunately he has to cycle back to the other side of Alta to reach the nearest cash point which will add 20km to his journey tomorrow.

But after that he will be ready to cycle on to Nordkapp, he should hopefully make it there by Friday!

Here is today’s Google Map. You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page. Please also vist the Child’s i Foundation and see if you can help out. Thanks!

Day 28: Enontekio to Kautokeino

Julien had a fairly starightforward day on Monday. He left Enontekio early and cycled towards Kautokeino, the first major town in Norway.

It was a bit of a struggle to get to Kautokeino. It was very cold all day at around 4 or degress with constant wind and rain.

Thankfully when Julien arrived in Kautokeino the weather brightend up.

Julien had an appointment with the Norwegian tourist board and decided to take the rest of the day off to prepare for the final push to Nordkapp.

In Kautokeino he vited Julhs the first silversmith in all of Finnmark.

Finnmark is the home of the Sami people who are like the inuits of the area.

The Jewlers Julien met were Norwegian but learning the Sami culture and they gave him a guided tour of the area.

Julien was hoping to spend some time with the Sami but unfortunately this is the time of year that they begin to migrate.

However, Julien was able to get some great pictures of the area and these will be uploaded to his Flickr page as soon as he can get a good signal on his mobile phone.

Here is today’s Google Map. Please support the Child’s i Foundation by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving page.

Day 27: Kolari to Enontekio

Julien had an early start on Sunday, he left Kolari at 9.30 and thankfully the wind was much more manageable than over the previous couple of days.

Julien saw a large male reindeer about 2 meters from him en route to Muonio.

It took him four and a half hours to cover 75km due to more hills and a constant headwind. It rained a bit and the temperature dropped to below 10 degrees.

He had lunch with Sylvia and Urs in Muonio and then headed on alone to Enontekio, another 75km to the northeast.

Julien is expecting a shorter day on Monday. He is aiming to cover 80km to Kautokeino in Norway where he has some photos to take for the Norwegian Tourist Board.

Hopefully it will get warmer and less windy as the going was pretty tough on Sunday.

Julien should be at Nordkapp within a week if all goes well.

Click to see a Google Map of Julien’s route on Sunday.

Please support the Child’s i Foundation by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving page. Thank you!

Day 26: Pello to Kolari

As Julien predicted yesterday he didn’t end up getting much sleep last night as his fellow campers were up drinking and partying!

It took him a while to get going this morning; he set off from Pello at about 10.45

Today was a really tough day of cycling as Julien faced a constant headwind and a number of hills along the way.

It took him around 5 hours to cycle 75km to Kolari.

Julien stopped in at a good restaurant and spoke to some locals who say that the wind is not usually as bad as it has been over the last couple of days.

The weather forecast also indicates that the wind speed should drop form 15mph to 10mph tomorrow, which is good news.

Julien decided he did not have the energy to cycle on in such tough conditions and took a shorter day than usual after cycling 47 miles.

He met a really nice Swiss couple called Sylvia and Urs who are also travelling to Nordkapp and expecting to arrive there about the same time as Julien.

Sylvia and Urs were also looking for a campsite in Kolari. But it turned out that there was not one in the town

Instead the three of them found a hut to stay in for night. It is his first night with his own room and a real bed so he should sleep better tonight!

Here is the Google Map for day twenty-six. You can support the Child’s i Foundation by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving page.

Day 25: Tore to Pello

Julien had a little bit of a late start this morning as it took him some time to recover from the 95 miles he cycled yesterday.

He knew that today would be a bit shorter and was expecting to cover around 120km.

He set off towards OverKalix and cycled towards the town for 53km. The route was very hilly and Julien faced a constant headwind that really slowed him down.

The hills and the wind meant that it took Julien 4 and a half hours to reach OverKalix, rather than the two hours he was expecting.

Julien stopped in briefly at OverKalix, which was a really nice picturesque town. He pushed on and was excited about heading towards Finland.

Julien cycled to Övertorneå and again faced a strong headwind. This meant he arrived at the town about an hour later than he was expecting.

He had a bite to eat at Övertorneå and then cycled onwards crossing the bridge from Sweden in Finland.

Crossing the bridge Julien had about 50km of great cycling. The road was finally flat, the wind died down and there was very little traffic.

Julien passed the campsite he had originally planned to stay in and decided to push on to the Artic Circle.

Finland is two hours ahead of the UK so by the time Julien arrived everything had shut down, but he was still really chuffed to have made it the Artic Circle after 2000 miles!

The excitement of reaching the Artic Circle gave Julien a boost of energy and he continued on for another 25km.

However the wind picked up and he was very tired by this stage so it took him a couple of hours to reach the nearest campsite.

When Julien arrived at the town it was absolutely buzzing with people in the streets and a band playing.

Julien had to queue to get into the campsite and once he made it inside he discovered that a massive motor racing event is occurring over the next couple of days.

At 11.30 it was still really bright outside with the sun still a fair distance above the horizon. Combined with the party atmosphere Julien is not expecting much sleep tonight!

Still, hopefully Julien will get some sleep before cycling on tomorrow – he really is on the home stretch now!

Here is the Google Map for today. You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page.

Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation and see if you can do anything to help out!

Day 24: Älvsbyn to Tore

Julien could not get a signal on his phone last night, but I just got a text from him with an update on what he got up to yesterday.

He started out a little bit later than usual because his clothes were stuck in the campsites washing machine!

Eventually the owner of the campsite managed to fix the machine and Julien set off at about 11.

He cycled towards Lulea on a rough road and was shaken around quite a bit on the way. On the plus side he saw some stunning views on the route.

He stopped in for lunch but couldn’t read the menu so randomly ordered something to eat. He is still not sure what it was but said it tasted ok!

Julien did not particularly like Lulea, he got stuck on a dangerous dual carriageway on the way north to Tore.

The hard shoulder was sometimes only 10cm wide and traffic was passing him by at 70mph!

To avoid this Julien decided to take a much longer back road route which turned into stone / mud tracks. He did an extra 50km as a result.

He got to Tore and found a campsite that had some gorgeous views over the sea.

Julien thinks it was a bit of a mistake to come to the Baltic coast, as the roads are all so busy.

Julien is now heading on to Finland. Here is the Google Map of yesterday’s journey.

You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page.

Day 23: Slagnas to Älvsbyn

Today was all about getting to Älvsbyn so Julien covered the miles as quickly as possible.

He left Slagnas this morning and was on the road for a while before he saw any other vehicles.

Julien has noticed that the roads are getting significantly quieter as he heads towards Nordkapp.

After cycling for about 94km Julien made it to Arvidsjaur where he stopped for lunch.

He left the town at around 2 and had to contend with more hills and insects as he pushed further on.

To try and avoid the bugs Julien had to maintain a fast speed.

The one time he stopped to change the audio book he was listening to on his Ipod, Julien was surrounded by a swarm on insects – horrible!

So he kept up the fast pace and powered on, arriving at Älvsbyn at around 6.30.

Julien will make it to the Baltic tomorrow and is aiming to camp at either Tore or Kalik. By the following night he hopes to arrive at the Artic Circle.

Here is the Google Map for today.

Please remember that Julien is undertaking his massive journey to support the Child’s i Foundation, a great charity that is aiming to build a home for abandoned babies in Uganda.

You can support the charity and sponsor Julien by visiting his Just Giving page.

Day 22: Vilhelmina to Slagnas

Julien started off feeling a bit down this morning.

He stayed in a campsite right by a road and the noise made by passing cars and his fellow campers meant that he kept waking up last night.

To cheer himself up Julien set off early, had a big breakfast and bought some provisions for the day. This did the trick and he started feeling more positive.

He cycled towards Stromma knowing that there were major roadworks up ahead.

The road Julien needed to take had been completely ripped up and replaced with flat stones and a new layer of sticky tarmac.

Most of the road was very jagged and Julien’s bike was constantly shaking as a cycled on at a slow pace alongside a number of motor homes!

He made it to Stromma by lunchtime. But it turned out to be a pretty dull place. The only café in the town was in a library!

After lunch he pushed on to Sorsele. The route there was pretty tough going with more hills that took a long time to cycle up and over.

Julien suffered some sudden pain in his left leg but after taking some tablets this subsided.

Sorsele was also a bit of a disappointment with a very basic campsite, so Julien decided to cover some more miles and head towards Slagnas.

Despite the unfortunate name Slagnas tuned out to be a really nice place with a campsite set up for travellers.

The owner of the campsite told Julien that a few other people had already passed through on the way to Nordkapp.

Overall Julien cycled for 12 hours today and covered a huge 109 miles.

Here is Google Map number twenty-two. You can sponsor Julien on his Just Giving page and please also visit the Child’s i Foundation. Thank you!

Day 21: Stromsund to Vilhelmina

I am pleased to report that Julien had a much better day today.

He took good care of his leg keeping it heavily strapped and he suffered very little pain throughout the day.

Thankfully the roads also started to flatten out a bit. There were still some hills but they were not as big as they have been over the last few days.

Julien started by cycling to Hoting. From there he cycled along a long road surrounded by trees on either side.

He made it to a nice town called Dorotea where he chatted to some locals about the route ahead and the conditions in Nordkapp.

Julien also met a Swedish traveller who is cycling from the north tip of Sweden right down to the southernmost point and he and Julien were able to compare notes.

Whilst chatting by a railroad track Julien spotted a Reindeer and its baby who walked close by before returning to the forest. Julien says it was a bit of a magic moment!

From Dorotea Julien cycled along a fast stretch of road and stopped at Meselefors for lunch. He met another Swedish guy who was travelling across the country.

He warned Julien that the roads ahead are in a bit of bad state.

As a result Julien is expecting to have to push his bike along for the first hour or so tomorrow.

Before making it to Vilhelmina where he is staying for the night, Julien saw a sign that told him he officially entered Lapland.

He covered 82 miles today and is planning to cycle around 95 tomorrow to make it to Sorsele. Julien hopes to make it to the artic circle in about five days.

The bad news is that Julien is going to have to put up with almost 24-hour daylight for a while longer.

It also sounds like there are many more insects to come as he heads further north.

Here is the Google Map for today. Please also visit the Child’s i Foundation and Julein’s Just Giving page. Thanks!

You can also visit the blogs of the travellers Julien met today. Click to visit blog one and blog two.