Alta, Norway - Pitea, Sweden...and beyond...to Burea
Via Lapland & Finland.
Successfully showered, inside our respective tents, without any friendly neighbourhood mosquitos!..we're camped in Burea, Sweden, listening to the light rain outside, 75 miles further than planned. Arriving Pitea at around 16h00 we carried on for another hour, to chomp through some of the miles ahead of us. Setting off early as planned, we climbed eastwards, out of Alta, towards Masi. A shame we were on a mission to get going, as there was a fantastic cascading river, running alonsgide as we ascended to the pass...soon behind us, as we began the ride through the wooded plateau towards Finland. A far cry from the magnificent fjords, coastlines and other amazing landscapes of Norway, there's still a wild beauty to this place.
Stopping briefly, after an hour or so, to record the backdrop, we cut short our break as mosquitos swarmed from out of the tundra, towards our bikes. A sense this was a likely location, whilst prolific in the Arctic, the rest of our journey around Norway has been mosi free?!
We journeyed towards Lapland / Finland without meeting many other vehicles. A flatter landscape than we've become accustomed to, suddenly the sky becomes the dominant feature. Initially overcast, the clouds break up and the sun shines between them; temperatures today rising from 13 at the start early this morning, to 21 degrees here in Sweden.
Crossing into Lapland, the contrast between Norway and Finland is striking; we had become accustomed to a cleanliness and order, for which the Norwegians take obvious pride; Finnish towns are noticeably unkempt, their roads are rougher, gardens and outhouses poorly maintained by comparison...
...experiencing some stretches of resurfacing in Norway, 75% of our journey through Finland was 'offroad'...pretty much all of E8 was dug up, work taking place periodically along the route. Finnish health & safety leaves a little to be desired...we'd disappear into clouds of dust, kicked up from trucks travelling at 80kph...at least the few 'traffic control measures' they had in place provided us some amusement.
All along the route, into Sweden, Reindeer stand in the road, mesmerised or transfixed on something...perhaps they're enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, maybe they're playing dare with the traffic; we finally photographed some closer up. We weren't quick enough with the phones to catch our first Moose sighting!
Crossing the Torne River into Sweden, the roads improve and our day quickens. A Volvo for every household, the Swedes take a similar pride in their properties and landscape, to the Norwegians.
(taken northwards, Sweden is the sunny side!) We join the E4 at Tornio, the motorway that will carry us all the way past Stockholm and on to Denmark. Making lighter work of the distances, we've managed to travel a total of 475 miles today. Committed to the Puttgarden ferry on Friday, whilst we're not racing home, we may choose to cover some more miles than plannned for tomorrow; possibly overnighting in Denmark, on Thursday, ahead of schedule.