Done. Box ticked. Finito. 1,700 km ridden from the top of Norway to the bottom of Finland.
13/7/17. We made it! Today we cycled the last stretch to the Baltic Sea and a lovely ride it was too!
There were a few spots of rain in the night but by the time we woke it was a beautiful morning. Just right for completing our journey. From the lake shore it was a short but stiff climb of the ridge overlooking the campsite but this was made considerably easier by the absence of most of our luggage – we had only one lightly loaded pannier each containing rain coats (ever the cautious accountants!) and lunch.
From the top of the hill we made our way to a road that followed a river (so downhill!) and enjoyed the next 30 km on excellent cycle paths passing through farmland with crops other than hay. These included oilseed rape which was in full flower and perfume – so at least 2 months behind the UK. The only slight disappointment was a breezy headwind but being sans baggage this was not too much of an issue.
At the end of this stretch, the road we had been following joined a major road heading down the coast so we turned away from the river to what we hoped was a quieter alternative. We had been half expecting it to be gravel but should have realised that in the more heavily populated region along the coast this was much rarer than in the “wilder” parts we had passed through.
The road may have been paved but in other respects it was quite typically Finnish. It was undulating (ok, not as much as many we had risen but it still had its ups and downs) and it passed through lots of trees! After about 20 km we passed out of the woods and into a built up area so it was back onto cycle paths for the last 15 km of the journey through the town of Kotka to a rather lovely park (on the site of an old oil terminal) at the end of the promontory jutting out into the sea – the Baltic Sea!
We took the obligatory photos to mark the end of this stage of our journey and had a celebratory (expensive but tasty) ice cream before heading back to the rather elusive station to catch the train back “home”.