3/7/17. We arrived at the only hotel in the village of Eno to find it locked and unmanned but with a phone number to call.
Stephen: “Do you speak English?”
Stephen (ever hopeful): “Hotelli? Open?”
Lady: “If you want to make reservation, email me.” Phone gets put down.
Stephen was still optimistic and went into the hair salon next door. He explained what happened and the lady looked surprised that we were asked to email when we were on the doorstep. She offered to call and translate. After a short exchange she offered over her phone and the lady on the other end apologised, saying that she thought we might be robbers! Apparently there are some scammers using a UK phone number bothering old people in the area and the police are issung many warnings.
We agreed to take a room and she drove over to open up. When she arrived she was profuse in her apologies for her rudeness on the initial call and reduced the price of the room by €20. We can put up with a little rudeness for that sort of discount!
This came at the end of a day that we both found quite tiring even though we only cycled 65 km on comparatively flat roads. Perhaps it was the inconsistent headwind which we encountered at times. Anyway, the scenery, particularly for the first half of the ride, was a step above that of the last few days which have, to be perfectly frank, been rather “samey” and somewhat dull – mile after mile of trees with the occasional glimpse of a small lake. Don’t get us wrong – it has been lovely but there has been little variety and we have just a bit jaded.
We perhaps came to this realisation after speaking last night to a couple of South Africans, Karl and Nielen, who have also cycled from Kirkenes and who were much more vehement in their views. They were so bored with things that this morning they caught a train to the last town before Russia! We also chatted with Alois from Regensburg in Germany who was with the South Africans for the last few days. He has been traveling since March and started in Spain and has been up through France, UK, Ireland and Norway to Kirkenes and is now heading to Greece. (He did not take the train!)
The better scenery combined with two other improvements to make for an enjoyable day despite the tiredness. Firstly, the number of mosquitoes and flies along the road was much reduced – we do not understand why but we are more than happy as they were becoming a significant downside to our enjoyment.
Secondly, today has been gloriously warm – well into the 20’s. It was a reminder of the weather when we rode across southern Finland with our daughter, Eleri, 11 years ago. Everyone kept telling us “You are very lucky. It’s not normally like this.” The shower in the hotel, once we had persuaded the lady of our bona fides, was extremely welcome to wash off the unsavoury mixture of sun cream, insect repellent, and sweat.