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Reisverslag Why I would like to join the Fjallraven Polar Team
18 november 2017
Why I would like to join the Fjallraven Polar Team
First of all, I’m a real Scandinavia fan, I made several visits to this beautiful region. The first time for me in Scandinavia was nearly fifty years ago. After closing the school doors for the last time, I decided together with two friends to make a short bike tour. One of us was interested in the Vikings and he convinced us to join him. With tents, sleeping bags, cooking ware, we left home up to the North, through Germany, up to Denmark. Our first plan was to make a short tour, but when the days passed away, we went further and further. We passed the Skagerak by Hirtshals to Kristiansand. Wow! We arrived in Norway. We cycled along the South coast up to Oslo. At that time, there was no mobile phone, no internet, no WiFi, no Whatsapp. So, I hear you thinking, ‘’how do you get information from home?’’. Well, there were several Post offices, so our parents send a letter ‘’Post restante’’ to certain places on our route. In Larvik I received my 2nd letter from my Dad and mum: ‘’You have to come home, you received an invitation for a job in Germany’’. That was the reason we marked Oslo as our turning point. Through Sweden, we went South again, a pity, but I accepted it. During this tour I already discovered that the Danish, Norwegians and Swedish people were very kind and helpful. When we arrived home, we agreed to ourselves- once upon a time… when we have some more time…some day we will come back, to cycle to the Nordkapp!
But as you know, when you’re working you only have a few weeks holiday. After starting with my new job, I also soon met my wife Lineke. Together with Lineke I also spend several weeks in Danmark, Norway and Sweden. Not by bike, but by car and tent, we travelled over the Hadangervidda,
I visited many countries, i.e. France, Switzerland, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Croatia, Hungary, Slowakia, Spain…. but I really lost my heart in Scandinavia! This is the place to be! It gives you the most beautiful nature: wild and rough! The people are kind, helpful.
During my whole life I was and still am a real sportsman (cycled 50 km daily to my work, ran several marathons, was team captain of a running team of the ROPARUN (Worlds Longest Non-stop-estafette – from Rotterdam to Paris; I ran the distance 12 times. [ 524 km in about 37 hrs.] ).
A few months before I got retired, I began to think about my youth dreams again….
How would it be to get one of my dreams come true?
What would it be to cycle to the Nordkapp?
As the days passed and my last working day started to become closer…. My dream seems to come true: I made plans for my cycle-tour to the Northest point of Europe!
That summer – in 2010 – in July I climbed on my bike and followed the red point of my compass-needle – one direction => up to the North! In nearly 6 week I paddled 3283 km – and reached the North Kapp on 12th August 2010. It was great to arrive there:
My dream became real!
Back home I thought back on my fantastic cycle-tour; you feel like a free man, free as a bird in the sky, no continuously looking on your watch, no thinking “where do I sleep tonight?”, no problem: you’re carrying your tent and sleeping bag with you. You can stop any time; one day it’s 5 o’clock pm, the other day it’s 9 o’clock pm or even 11 o’clock pm. This “free-live” I saved on a special place in my head.
This was the start of a new period in my life. From that time, every summer I planned a cycle-tour. In 2011 I decided to paddle through Belgium, France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
In spring 2012, I read something about the tour “End to End” – in Great Britain; a tour from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Wouw! So I packed my bike in July again and cycled to Cornwall: there was the starting point of my tour this year. Along the South coast sometimes it was heavy, but some obstacles you have to overcome “on-route”; that’s the way it feels like a little adventure…..
When I arrived at John O’Groats, some time was left to cross over to the Orkney Islands. The last 3 – 4 days of my tour I spend there: a real wilderness, rough and stormy….
For the next year, 2014 my trip time was a bit shorter. My youngest daughter was getting married! And: as a father of your lovely daughter you can’t be away on this important day. So I decided to increase my tour to 3 - maximum 4 weeks.
Friends from Canada and the States, which I met in the past years on my tours, told me about Ireland: it should be a green island, rough and a different kind of nature. And: the people should be very kind. So I asked a book for my birthday: “The Green Round of Ireland”. I read just about 10 pages of this book and I knew: This will be the island I will paddle around this year . The total distance of the round is about 1300 km – inclusive the way through England, would be about 1700 km. Conclusion: This can be done in 3 – 4 weeks! So I crossed the North Sea and started this year my fifth tour. It was really great!
My Canadian cycle friend cycled a few years ago along the Danube; he said: “Frits, you have to do this tour”. So in 2015, I made my planes to make a tour along the Danube. As in the years before, I started at home. This was the first year, my wife Lineke was retired too; that’s the reason to make my tour not longer than 3 weeks. To Budapest is about 1800 km; that you can do in three weeks. Through Germany, Belgium, Austria, Slowakia up to Hungary. In Germany I cycled over old railways, visited old colleagues near Mannheim; again it was a marvellous tour, met many people, saw things, you don’t see, when you pass on the highway. I slept in old wooden gipsy caravan; who did this before?
Unfortunately in 2016 I had a terrible accident with my bike. While I cycled on a cycle path, I was knocked down by a car and was terrible injured. That’s the reason, I could not leave for one of my favourite bike tours that year.
In one of my favourite magazines, Hike and Trekking, again I read about the Fjallraven Polar Trail. Immediately I became very enthusiastic, or say it better: “I felt in love”!
One of the first things I am thinking at…..
An unique outdoor adventure, together with an enthusiastic team, gliding, sliding, running over the endless white surface – through the North of Norway and Sweden. On my first tour to the Nordkapp, I made acquaintance with the huskies: real friendly, enthusiast they welcomed me. In their eyes I saw they missed something… they missed the white snow! They are born to live, to play, to work and to sleep there, in the white world. It must be very beautiful to join them, to become a team together with them, to feed them after their job in the evening.
Even that I’m 70 years young, I never ever will stop dreaming of new outdoor adventures and right now it’s this exiting sleigh-ride through the North wilderness: I already hear the dogs bark, I feel the cold fresh air, my nose and ears are feeling a bit cold…. They nearly will reach the freezing point... perhaps the tips are already a bit frozen… But that doesn’t matter, I will feel the Polar-wind around my face and everywhere enjoy that beautiful white world.
Foto's bij verslag (8)
18 november 2017 16:09 | Door: Jaap
Is dit een soort verslag om mee te mogen gaan met zo'n team Frits? Wel mooie samenvatting van al je avonturen!
18 november 2017 18:37 | Door: Marcel
Mooie samenvatting Frits!
Ik vroeg me al af waarom er geen fietsvakantie verhalen van je meer langskwamen, maar goed om te horen dat je weer op de been bent..
Mede dankzij jouw reisverhalen ben ik ook sinds een aantal jaren elk jaar met de fiets en tent op vakantie. Vorig jaar ook Engeland en Ierland gedaan (zie http://marcel-verwey.nl/), dit jaar is het plan om met de bus naar zuid Frankrijk en daarvandaan terug fietsen. Helaas kost mijn werk me nog teveel tijd :-) dus moet ik na een week of drie weer terug zijn, maar anders..
18 november 2017 20:46 | Door: Wim Debets
Super de super Frits!!!
19 november 2017 09:35 | Door: Sieneke Mossel
Mooi verslag Frits wat een passie heel veel succes!!
19 november 2017 12:06 | Door: Gerard van Winden
Als collega lange afstandsfietser kan ik niet aan jou tippen. Op de sportschool loop ik je regelmatig mis om onze ervaringen uit te wisselen. Je hebt een mooie c.v. samengesteld. Succes met de aanloop naar deze nieuwe uitdaging!
19 november 2017 21:34 | Door: Gerard
He Frits, leuk om weer iets van en over jou te lezen. Het was nogal stil.
Ik wordt wel een beetje " jaloers":)
20 november 2017 19:35 | Door: Rika Keppels-Morgenstern
Wat een prachtige fiets verhalen. Je bent een kanjer met een sterk karakter. Hopelijk ben je genoeg hersteld van het ongeluk in 2016. Je passie voor fietsen en sport in het algemeen is zeer groot. Ik geniet enorm van je verhalen.
21 november 2017 22:46 | Door: Peter
Goed weer van je te horen en heerlijk zoals je het opschrijft. Het leeft gelijk allemaal wat je verteld. Ik zie het voor me.
Mooi een sledehondentocht. Ik heb dat in 2002 ook gedaan. Wat je zegt over het fietsen door scandinavië geld nog meer voor het trekken met de honden. Het is een van mijn topervaringen uit mijn vakantie leven. Heel veel plezier en we horen van je ....
Groeten Peter Wijngaard
30 november 2017 21:48 | Door: Rita
Frits, je bent een kanjer!
Prachtige reis/fiets story!
Een kilometer of tien vind ik al voldoende, maar dan geen heuvels en bergen en ook geen tegenwind.
Iik hoop dat je met je toekomstige avontuur veel stemmen binnen mag krijgen.
12 december 2017 23:06 | Door: Margreet Stoffelsma
Super Frits, wat een geweldige tochten heb je toch gemaakt . Het zijn er nog meer dan ik al wist .
Op naar de volgende . We horen graag je nieuwe avonturen .
Gr. Titus en Margreet Stoffelsma .