Saturday, March 29, 2014

Distances are not always that small in Europe: From Geneva to Tromsø

This winter snowchasing season wasn’t like any previous one.
My girlfriend having a training period that was supposed to start in march in Grenoble, I ended up working way more than any winter in the past 9 years...

We were welcome by some friends in France from where we started to shop around for car, apartment and to sort things out to settle down.

French administration is certainly not the most straight forward and some administrative paper work delay the start of my girlfriend training period. Since I had already planned to leave to go to Norway with one of my friend with our common car, we figured she would be better to join us rather than to stay and cry on the couch!

As north americans, I've always figure that everything is close in Europe...
Well Tromsø was about 4000km from Grenoble.
Since Etienne didn't want to join for the full car ride from France, I settled down for a plan that would need to pick him up half way up in Stockholm (that’s about 2000km from Grenoble). We eventually struggled to find a car that suited us and finally bought one only 2 days before the agreed date that I was supposed to pick him up!

After a bit of maintenance and regular check up, I started to build a bed in the car.
Not being the most talented carpenter, it took me a little longer to make everything works out! As I was working on it, Amelie went grocery shopping and pack most of the stuff.
We eventually took off at 9Pm only 18 hours before Etienne was supposed to land.
We took turn at the wheel to drive non-stop.
Germany went by pretty fast. With most of the highway not having any speed limit, we certainly enjoyed settling the cruise control at 140km/h! Driving at night is pretty neat since we were able to see quite in advance the Porsches and Mercedes that were coming at 200km/h!
We were thinking about maybe jumping on a ferry to save some driving in Denmark, but the timing wasn’t right and we ended up driving through it...
Even if stopped only twice in 18 hours, we kept getting delayed by detours, accidents and traffic jam.
We made it to Sweden about the same time as Etienne was landing but we were still about 600km from Stockholm... We tried to get some wifi on the way to let him know that we would be late but since we didn’t want to waist to much time looking around, we left him not knowing what was happening with us!
When we eventually rolled to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, he was a pretty happy camper! He was starting to try to look for a cheap hotel (which are nearly non-existent) after his most expensive spaghetti ever at the airport restaurant!
We got him to a not so much expensive room at the back of the car and keep driving since we were nothing but close from our final destination.
I’ve always hated the second night of a non-stop roadtrip. Everyone was a bit tired (Etienne was jetlag and Amelie and I haven’t properly slept in 24 hours). We took shorter lap driving and tried to only have one driving at a time to keep the driver entertained.
Everything got easier when the sun eventually rose.
Good thing since the highway changed to a more twisting road that started to ice up.

I’m quite use to big open wilderness so, I can’t really say that I was that excited about the northern scenery we passed...
Of course we saw a few reindeers here and there, some frozen lake and some snowy hills, but we just kept driving since we were all stoke to get to our final destination!
We eventually rolled in Tromsø around 5-6PM after a grueling 45 hours marathon!
From what we saw on the side of the road, it looks like we got here just after a warm period that triggered a lot of natural wet slide activity...
After all that driving, I can’t wait to ride the fjords!