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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  #676  
Old 21 Sep 2015
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We're in Denmark! New country!

It's been a while since we've ridden into a new country. because all the countries in Scandinavia are in the EU, it feels a bit anti-climactic not having to get our passports stamped and filling in vehicle importation papers, but we always look forward to spotting the differences between each new place and where we've been. I radio Neda and asked her of her first impressions of Denmark. She replied, "There's a lot of blonde people here"...


More cost-cutting measures - Copenhagen campsite

We've been very spoiled the last few months, being hosted by friends and family and staying at the odd AirBnB place, but we're going to make a conscious effort to camp all the time since the weather is so nice.


Cooking on our new stove

We've been thinking of getting a camp stove for a long time now and after seeing Andy and Ellen's Jetboil and reading up on it, we figured this was the best option for us. Neda cooks oatmeal and brews herself tea every morning, and we can make pasta, rice, couscous, soups and stews with it. This has quickly become one of Neda's favorite pieces of gear that we carry!

Our collapsible bowls also make for good frisbees. But I don't think Neda approves...


Boat tours along the Christenhavns Kanal, the spiral-topped building of the Børsen (Stock exchange) in the background

Copenhagen isn't actually a destination, we're merely passing through to ride onwards to more northernly countries, but since we're here, we ride into town for the day to quickly check it out.


Famous Copenhagen building, the Christiansborg Palace
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  #677  
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Hanging out by the canals


Copenhagen rider enjoying the nice weather


300-year old buildings now house restaurants and stores

We didn't do our food planning right and had to stop into a fast food place to grab a quick sandwich (ScandWich?) while walking downtown. If Central European prices are about 1.5X higher than Canada, then Denmark is easily twice as expensive. No more eating out anymore.

On a positive note, *everyone* speaks English here, so we don't feel too bad about not brushing up on our Danish before coming here. I found out later than Scandinavia is defined as the countries that share a common heritage and language, namely Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. But not Finnish because as we found out in Hungary, Finnish is a Uralic language. So interesting that stuff we learned in Hungary is now helping us understand Scandinavia!


Canals everywhere!

We didn't really know anything about Copenhagen before coming here, so I was surprised at how extensive the canal system here is. King Christian IV was so impressed with Amsterdam that he employed Dutch architects to recreate the system of canals within Copenhagen's walls.


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  #678  
Old 21 Sep 2015
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Nyhavn waterfront is Copenhagen's most famous tourist site, lined with colorful 17th and 18th century townhouses


Danish enjoying a sunny day outside


The plastic dome is called the Dome of Vision. Inside is a climate-controlled botanical garden and it's also used to hold events like concerts, exhibitions and lectures


Statue of Neptune outside of the Stock Exchange


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  #679  
Old 21 Sep 2015
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Walking back to the bikes, last look at the Christenhaven Kanal


Getting ready to hit the road

We're leaving later and later in the day. Sunset tonight in Copenhagen is at 10:45PM, but it's never perfectly dark outside because the shallow path of the sun means it's always lurking just beneath the horizon all night long. Since I'm a night owl, this suits my Circadian Rhythm perfectly and I feel so spoiled being able to wake up at 10AM, starting our travels in the afternoon and not having to feel like we're burning precious daylight!!!


Goodbye Copenhagen!

So Denmark, you really weren't that rotten after all!Despite the high costs, we're feeling pretty pumped about exploring Scandinavia! What else is next?
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  #680  
Old 29 Sep 2015
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/241.html



We left Denmark on a ferry going from Helsingør, DK (just north of Copenhagen) to Helsingborg, Sweden. Looking back at the map, there seemed to be a long bridge just outside Copenhagen that led to Malmö, but our GPSes picked the shorter route via the ferry. It turns out the 8 km long Øresund Bridge has a €25 toll, which is more expensive than the €21 ferry. So just by chance, we got the cheaper and shorter route!


Boarding the ferry at Helsingør. I love the funny-looking letter ø. It looks like a zero.
No idea how it's actually pronounced, but it's more fun saying Helsing-Zeroar!



Hanging out on the Heingsør ferry with my R12ØØGS møtørcycle. Cøøl!

On the ferry, we saw tons of people lugging cases of on the ferry to Sweden. We found out later that while Sweden is generally cheaper than Denmark, one of the few things that cost less in Denmark is . A bottle of costs almost three times more in Sweden than Denmark!!! So strange!


That's Sweden over there, land of expensive .


The ferry lets us off in Helsingborg. One of the first things we see is the Helsingborg Castle (on the right).
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  #681  
Old 29 Sep 2015
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We rode along the western coast of Sweden, along the Kattegat Sea, which is the bay of the North Sea bounded by Denmark, Sweden and Norway. We are on a bit of a schedule because we are having a mini motorcycle traveler meeting in Trollhättan, about 3 hours north of Helsingborg.


Are we in Sweden... or Northern Ontario...?

I didn't take a lot of pictures on our ride up the coastline. Mostly because I was leading, but mainly because the boreal forest here is so reminiscent of Northern Ontario that there didn't seem to be anything new or exciting to take pictures of. What completed the illusion are the large exposed sections of rocks that we ride pass, obviously dynamited to make way for the road, just like back home.


The rocks here are part of the Fennoscandian Shield, the mineral makeup of which is similar to the Canadian Shield in Ontario


By comparison, this is a picture of Lake Superior National Park in Ontario taken on one of our trips a few years ago. So similar!


Hi Ho! We are meeting friends, old and new! Picture by Orvar

Just outside of Trollhättan, we saw a couple of motorcyclists on an overpass waving at us. We knew Sara and Daniel from World Wide Ride were meeting us here, but these guys were only on a single blue bike that wasn't familiar looking. But being friendly Canadian bikers, we waved to them anyway.

The motorcyclists caught up to us by the time we got into town. It was our friend Swedish friend, Orvar on his newly painted blue R1200GS and Sara was in the passenger seat taking pictures and videos of us!


Pulling up into Orvar's house. Picture by Orvar

We met Orvar on the Stahlratte, on our second sailing from Panama to Colombia. It's always a treat to hear about other travelers talk about their home town and then be able to see it for yourself. We were planning on visiting Orvar on our trip up north, but when he told us that Sara and Daniel were also at his place right now, we made an extra effort to catch up to them.
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  #682  
Old 29 Sep 2015
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Sara and Daniel are another motorcycling couple from British Columbia, Canada, also on two bikes. They left around the same time as we did, but travel a lot faster than we do. Then again, most people travel faster than we do. We have a lot of mutual friends - the RTW moto-circle isn't that large, and with social media, it's so easy to connect with each other. We've almost crossed paths with Sara and Daniel so many times in the last three years, but now we're finally able to meet them!


Orvar helps Daniel and Neda plan out some northern routes in his kitchen

So apparently Orvar's nickname is "King of Sweden". He's never actually called himself that, but everyone we meet tells us so. He took us grocery shopping and walking around town and *everybody* knew Orvar and his motorcycling exploits around the world.


A cheap skate and a wheel

Daniel convinced me to not be so cheap and to change out my balding rear tire. I think I really needed an impartial third-party opinion otherwise there'd be another Czech-Republic-Roadside-Moto-Emergency further north. So we hopped into Orvar's car with my wheel and got a Michelin Anakee 2 mounted. We're probably not going to be doing as many off-road routes in Europe, so I decided to go with a 90/10 tire instead of the Heidenau 50/50s. I've always been a Tourance guy, so it'll be interesting to see how the Michelins stack up to Metzelers.


We are going to be big stars in Trollhättan! Sara is holding the Canadian flag for the interview!

The King of Sweden has many friends in the media, and they were very interested in doing a story on the four Canadian motorcycle travelers that were nesting in Trollhättan, Sweden. So one morning, they sent in a reporter and a photographer and we had a great time telling tall tales of our adventures and exploits.


The photoshoot for our newspaper article - the four Canadians with our kind hosts, Orvar and his wife Anne


We are famous!!!

Orvar used to own a restaurant in town and now in his retirement he keeps himself busy by traveling the world on a motorcycle and when he's back at home, he occupies his time by driving a bus and volunteering at a refugee centre just outside of Trollhättan. A lot of refugees from the Middle East come to Sweden and are processed here before they get assigned homes all over the country. I found out that of the 50,000 people that live in Trollhättan, one in four have an immigrant background.
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  #683  
Old 29 Sep 2015
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Trollhattan Falls - before the dam opens

Trollhattan has a man-made dam that they release the water a few times every day in the summer to create an artificial waterfall. Three doors open to let 300,000 liters of water into the gorge below to the delight of visitors watching from above. There are hydro-electric dams further down the coasts that actually use the flowing water to generate power, but this one is just for the tourists during the summer.



While Orvar was out volunteering, his wife Anne drove the four Canadians around town showing us the sites. Trollhättan is a quaint town that reminded me of Huntsville, another quaint town in Northern Ontario. And what was more fascinating was walking around in this Canadian facsimile town talking to fellow Canadians Sara and Daniel. They have such similar backgrounds to us that it was like talking to mirror images of Neda and I.

Dan and I were engrossed in the topic of vehicle insurance in Canada and for a while I completely forgot that I was in Sweden, on the other side of the world from our home country. Everything that they remarked on I thought to myself, "Wow, I was *JUST* about to say the same thing!" It was so eerie meeting people with such similar cultural backgrounds from us, transplanted in another place and having the same reactions to things around us.


Watching boats pass through the locks at the Trollhatte Kanal

We used to go motorcycling in an area north of Toronto called the Muskokas. The Trent-Severn waterway runs through there and goes through several locks on it's way east through Ontario. The Trollhatte Kanal really reminded me of the locks in Port Carling, Ontario. And they speak English here with a funny accent. Just like people in Northern Ontario do, eh?

And you know what? They even have Ikea stores here in Sweden, just like in Canada!


There was a classic car meet near the Trollhatte Kanal. Instead of old Chevies and Fords, there were these swede-looking vintage Volvos!

Anne took us grocery shopping to prepare us for our run into Norway. She told us that it was *very* expensive in Norway compared to Sweden. I had never thought that there were any distinctions in Cost of Living between countries in Scandinavia, but every Swedish person we've run into calls their Krona the Swedish Peso in comparison to the Norwegian Krone. It scared me a little bit how expensive everyone said it was going to be...


All suited up and ready to head to Norway!

Sara and Daniel were ready to leave the small town of Northern Ontario, Sweden the same time as we were, so we're all going to travel together for a little while, with the King of Sweden leading us out of his country! It'll be nice to have company for a change! And with fellow Canucks too!
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  #684  
Old 29 Sep 2015
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Norway ;)

Love to follow the route

Where are you heading here in Norway ?
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  #685  
Old 29 Sep 2015
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Fellow Canadians

Great post as usual, but it's even more fun when we are in it! Cheers from Riezlern Austria. We are headed home for winter Oct 19 from Madrid. See you next summer?? Sara
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  #686  
Old 3 Oct 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VidarT View Post
Where are you heading here in Norway ?
The blog is a little behind, but we've planned to see as much of Norway as possible!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saralou View Post
We are headed home for winter Oct 19 from Madrid. See you next summer??
Yes! Safe travels and have a great time at home!
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  #687  
Old 3 Oct 2015
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/242.html



The King of Sweden led us north out of Trollhattan.

Orvar is on his way back to the refugee camp where he volunteers, to deliver some food. Our Canadian quartet follows him through some of his favorite scenic gravel backroads to get us there.


Because we are so slow, Orvar, Daniel and Sara leave us behind in the dust. Literally!

Orvar, Daniel and Sara had traveled before together and we could tell that they were familiar with each other's pacing and riding style already.


The Swedish scenery is still so incredibly reminiscent of Ontario!


More Sweden/Ontario farmland


Your eyes don't deceive you. A section of the Dalsland Canal
is actually built over the natural gorge running underneath it


The Dalsland Canal in Håverud is one of Sweden's architectural achievements. It's both a system of locks to join the different levels of lakes in the area and also includes a cool 32m long aqueduct which allows boats to traverse over a narrow ravine. It was difficult to build anything on because the steep walls of the gorge were too soft and loose.
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  #688  
Old 3 Oct 2015
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It's here that we bid a fond farewell to our Swedish host, Orvar. He reassures us that the weather ahead looks clear and sunny, and the four Canadians continue our invasion of Norway.

Norway! We've been planing this trip all year long, trying to time our journey to fit within the small window of warm weather that the far northern summer allows. However, we cross the border with very little fanfare, the scenery around us not changing one bit. Only a large sign that read "Norge" greets us into the country.

We stopped for the night at a campsite near Vinterbro, which is just outside Oslo. We all conferred earlier and none of us were really interested in seeing the big city. The main attraction for Norway is the nature and the geography, so we're going to stay off the highways and out of the cities while we're here.



We spend a lot of time comparing our experiences with Sara and Daniel. Always good to get some fresh ideas from fellow moto-travelers. We have such similar views on everything, I was starting to feel like we were all carbon-Canuck-copies of each other. That is, until Pillow-Gate...


We meet a lot of people on the road, who are also making the most of the short summer months in Norway

The plan is to stay in Southern Norway for a while since a lot of the sights are concentrated here. Actually our plan is just to follow Daniel and Sara. It feels really good to take a break from planning and just follow the back wheel of someone for a change.


One of many waterfalls in Norway


Sun is shining, Neda is smiling


My office
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  #689  
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Canadian forest scenery continues in Norway


These roads really remind me of Vancouver Island

The relatively flat lands of Sweden have now been replaced by the mountains. These are the raised fingers of land that conspire to make up the famous fiordlands of the west coast of Norway.


Bikes on break, we're roughly following the Otra River on our way west


Single file through a switchback. The roads are really nice here!


Some dead mosquitoes are gumming up Sara's forks. Dan is using a thin plastic card to dig them out

Dan takes really good care of their bikes. We are so lazy in comparison... I think back to all the problems we've had because of poor maintenance - dead batteries, broken chains and bald tires. Puts us to shame!
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  #690  
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Waterfalls all around us, remind us of New Zealand

So in the space of a few hundred kilometers, we've seen Northern Ontario, Vancouver Island and now Milford Sound in New Zealand. The more traveling we do, the more familiar things start to look around us everywhere we go!


These "turf-houses" with their grass roofs give us our first taste of Iceland-deja-vu

It only makes sense that a lot things we see here remind us of our ride through Iceland. After all, the Vikings were originally from Norway!


And then the road climbs higher and snow starts appearing on the ground beside us. Oh yeah, and sheep...


It's the middle of the summer! Crazy!


Stopping to admire the scenery. And more sheep.
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