Travellers' Tales: Cycling from Portugal to Norway

From early March to early May, David Woodward followed the spring north.

Cape St Vincent is the south-westernmost point of Portugal, and for me the start of a 3,068 mile odyssey. It would take me 286 hours of cycling on my Thorn Expedition to arrive in Trondheim, Norway. My idea was to follow the spring north, although in Norway I met ice and snow.

A quick passage through the Algarve was followed by 909 miles of inland Spain: heat, dust, deserted towns with shutters banging, significant climbing and long, exhilarating descents.

My 595 miles through France included the Ardèche, the Rhône Valley and Alsace. Staying in vineyards provided an irresistible opportunity to sample local produce.

It would take me 286 hours of cycling on my Thorn Expedition to arrive in Trondheim, Norway."

David Woodward

Germany was full of cyclists, cycle paths and signed routes, but for a long-distance cyclist it proved surprisingly difficult to maintain momentum at times. A ferry took me to a rather drab Denmark, then another took me to my sixth country, Sweden. I was spellbound by the beauty of the lakes and trees, but was too early for the Vatternrundan, a 186-mile cycle ride around Lake Vattern.

The Norwegian border was marked by snow falling, frozen lakes, climbing, chilly winds and welcoming saunas.

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