Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Day In Which I Bike Along a Norwegian Fjord

If, a few weeks ago, you had said, "Yo, child! You'll spend the week of Syttende Mai in a village in Northern Norway riding your bike around fjords and frozen lakes and eating carrots and beans in the home of a German woman," I would've given you a huge grin and not doubted you, but have been quite surprised and excited at the idea.

I spent yesterday evening biking around "First Lake," "Second Lake," and "Third Lake," (the Norwegians are creative - didn't you hear?) and today went further and biked up the Bøkfjorden (a fjord) a ways. I went up and down rocky hills and breathed and breathed and felt like a champ.

I've been needing this.

My body has been not so gracefully been slipping out of shape (you've seen the pictures). I've been grateful for every meal I've been given, so grateful, but my dietary needs are quite different than that of most people and I've been feeling the results - it's like trying to wear someone else's shoes. I also haven't biked in way too long ('cept pulling Brandon around Boston, one night, as he read on the trailer -- I fell asleep so hard, fast, and early that night) and my bike muscles were slowly waking up. I hope I can find a bike in Uzhgorod. It would be a good way to spend the summer evenings, if I'm not teaching English.

As I rode, I listened to Mash-Ups on my iPod - singing out carelessly because there was no one around to disturb. It wasn't until the 10th song that I realized how appropriate it was that I was listening to my favour Mash-Up artist, Norwegian Recycling, on this trip. If you're not familiar with their/her/his work, look 'em up on YouTube or Google.

I also got in some much needed thinking.

There was no needed pace. I'm at the time of the month where my body needs to take it easier, so I let myself enjoy the scenery, not worrying about speed. If there was something that intrigued me on the side of the road (which happened frequently), I explored it. I saw Norwegian fjords (the horses), small lakes and ponds, photo ops and this rock I liked to sit on. A solid 30-40 minute was spent sitting on a rock next to Rundvann [Lake].

When I wanted to, I moved on.
When I wanted to walk, I walked.
When I felt like biking, I biked.

So simple.

I guess this seems novel to me because normally I oblige myself to bike at a considerably steady pace and have a destination in mind. I'd love to do a leisure bike tour (the Snail Tour, I would call it) with someone in which, just as with Ithaca, it was all about the journey, not the destination.

Biking along the Bøkfjorden gave me the same sort of feeling that I got in the Russian banya. I sort of wanted to jump in but I don't think I would have lived very long if I had...

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