The Spoked Traveller | Seeking culture, adventure and a good story
14869
home,paged,page-template,page-template-blog-large-image,page-template-blog-large-image-php,page,page-id-14869,paged-10,page-paged-10,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-theme-ver-10.1.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0.1,vc_responsive

The Spoked Traveller

It never occurred to me to leave my bike at home on my first overseas trip. Twenty years later, nothing has changed. Whether at home, or in a foreign country, riding makes me feel closer to people and places.

I created this site as a hub for all things cycling; it’s a celebration of bike culture. Where to travel next, how to travel, where to get advice, see some cool practical bike fashion, what to eat. I’ll share what I know; and I invite you to do the same.

Over the next few months keep checking in as I’ll be adding some new menu items.

See you on the trails. Melanie

So, my friends, recently I blogged about treating Toronto like a far-away place and explore what that means--treat it like a completely new place, which it really is for me. I lived here in 2000 as a student but I went back to London to hang out with a boyfriend almost every weekend. I never explored Toronto. Then, a really magical thing happened: I recently found a kindred spirit who also wants to re-discover her backyard, but her backyard is in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

When I'm away, I become someone else. Instinct and spontaneity return. Without the stress of work, without the familiarity locking me into habits and patterns, I listen to my gut, which means, I also take risks. I become more, well, more me! I eat at restaurants alone and I don't care if people stare-- they're staring more from the fact the blond hair and fair skin scream, 'I'm not a local!' Especially in Indonesia last year when I had locals take pictures of me.

Ok, on the first day of Christmas, Bjornar served to me: codfish called bacalao. On the second day of Christmas...you get the idea. Norwegians love fish, especially cod. In terms of countries that catch cod, Norway is in the same league as Portugal--and at one time before its cod collapse, Newfoundland. Since arriving in Norway, I have had it smoked, which is general the last stage of the game before the fish goes bad, then I've had it salted and then, I've had it soaked in lye. Yes, you read correctly.  Cod soaked in lye, which renders the fish into jelly, is served on Christmas Eve. Lutefisk. Some love it; others loath it. IMG_2978 I realize lutefisk sounds like something only a viking would eat during a long journey at sea when nothing else was available, and while this may be true, it's a Christmas tradition so Bjornar made it, or at least he bought it already prepared, and we ate it on Christmas Eve, when Norwegians typically celebrate Christmas and open gifts. It was bland. Other than the jelly-like texture, it was like tofu: useless unless it's got something added to it.

There are places that you see in photos and say: "I want to see that!" Alesund is such a place. Squeezed onto a little inlet, the town looks like a doll house city from the Sunnmøre Mountains above. And with its fairytale facades, it's charming personified. IMG_5972       Reachable by two ferries from Trondheim-- and a five hour drive -- Alesund feels like it's on another planet: one inhabited by everything cute. Flowers etched into window boxes, and cafes that smell of cinnamon. The town burnt to the ground during a major fire in 1904  -- 850 houses went up in flames, and then it was heavily bombed during WWI. Ironically enough, it was the Germans, who traded a lot with the town at the time, that helped rebuild in the Art Nouveau style, which is quite Dutch. IMG_5964 IMG_5949 IMG_5904 IMG_5946 IMG_5967

It's not hard to feel isolated in Norway--it's almost 2,500 km long; Canada is almost 10,000 but Norway's coastline is... ready for it? 21,925 kms! It curves up north and touches, yes touches, Russia. And what makes the coastline so unique are the spots of islands and fjords, which Bjornar tells me are 'long and deep bays, sometimes 10s of thousands of kilometres long.' IMG_5892 "We're in a fjord in Trondheim," he tells me. I had no idea. We decide to take a little trip to the west coast of Norway that involves two ferries and over five hours of driving through fjords and scary snowy mountains lost in the clouds. A remote fishing village--once the largest village between Trondheim and Bergen in the middle ages--Bud is now a smattering of a few dozen houses and a fish plant on a ragged coastline. IMG_2942