“Iman Salbardo Hammed shuffling methodically up to the Blue mosque’s minaret. It is the third time today as he walks the 63 steps. It takes him exactly five minutes. The time is 12:48 when Salbardos wrinkled hand takes the megaphone. He clears his throat slightly and begins to sing out today’s prayer”.

I have been reading up on how to write about travels, I found this text on a short but interesting blog by Veronica Linarfve http://www.escape360.com.

I think it highlights an interesting challenge. How much detail is enough, I am a top-down person and for non-technical materials there is definitely a limit to how much detail I can be bothered with. My two favorite bloggers at the moment are Jill Homer – Jill outside and Dave Gill – Vague Direction, I think they both manage to have a good balance in their level of details.

So since I left my work 10 days ago I have been enjoying life as a free man and started to organize the final things before leaving. Not working takes some getting used to, the first real reminder was when going to bed the first Sunday, setting the alarm to OFF instead of 05:00 was great. At the end of the first week I still had the feeling that there was an ocean of time before I am leaving, but then I had a look in the calendar,

DAFUK ! Scheiße im Trompetenrohr ! Alerte générale !

It’s not many weeks left now, I have to step up the tempo and get stuff organized ! Ok, I will do that next week.

This spring is turning out to be the coldest in ages, there are still some patches of snow and ice in Stockholm. The spring flood has started and there are high water levels and flooding as far north as Gävle, so spring is making progress, but slow progress. During the winter I go riding my bike on the frozen lake, this seasons record was -22°C, luckily nothing broke this year, last year my hydraulic disc brakes died and needed replacing.

thick ice
Figure 1. Me on thick ice

I am used to biking in the cold, but I don’t want my trip to the north to be a painful endurance race, just happy camping will do. Last year I did a 3 week trip in the western parts of Sweden, that summer was really cold, I remember one day when I biked from Stöllet (Värmland) to Malung (Dalarna), the day started with 20 km uphill in pouring rain and freezing cold 2°C, the road peaks at 500 meters altitude where the appropriately named restaurant Dutch Mountain is located.

Dutch alps
Figure 2. The Dutch alps

The endless grind uphill in the rain had left me pretty much soaked to the bone, there is just so much GoreTex can stand when attacked from the inside and outside at the same time. After some hot food and drinks, I started the long and glorious decent to Malung. When I got there I was too cold and wet to continue to Sälen another 70 km up the road, so that day ended in an overpriced “hotel” with hostel standard. But at least it was warm and dry.

Having days like that is part of the deal when traveling by bike, I am just hoping there wont be to many of them.

It’s part of my daily routine to peek at spring’s progress in the north of Finland, its looking good, still lots of snow but its getting better by the day.

If you look at the cameras you might notice that they already have more than 17 hrs daylight and in one month they will have 24 hrs daylight, so the future looks bright.

So thinking back to the story about Salbardo, how come that it was exactly 5 minutes ? How and why did they measure the time ? Was it really exactly 5.00 minutes ? Or was it more “5 minutes de pause” ? Who knows, but the devil is for sure in the details