Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Norway 2/2: Lone Traveling

     Starting from Lindenes I feel that I started enjoying traveling in Norway. Little by little I learnt to take more time in each place, even if I did few kilometres driving each day. With Marie and Ettienne I learnt a little about living in a Kombi, and to amalgamate the time of resting, cooking, wandering and driving. In their case, the timing I set by the children, so it’s very important not to forget the meals, and also to always find playing breaks.

     I went with them all the way to a small city in the mountains with the hope of finding free kayaking or canoeing, according to the advice of a German traveler.  It turned out that to get the free kayak we had to pay for the camping, and it that we both agreed that was not worth it. They were already feeling like going back to their French routine so the next day they went back south to catch the ferry out of Norway. I did a little more to the North in search of a mountain road, and early on I applied what I had learned from my French friends and took a morning off to do a hike up the top of a mountain (a short mountain). And each day I would drive the kilometre I got inspired to do, and stopped wherever I was inspired to. That’s how one night, in the middle of a mountain road, I found a traffic jam. It seamed weird, but all the other cars kept a tidy line and no one was trying to overpass the others, so I figured that that was the right thing to do. In a space at the idea of the road I saw a car parked and I went out to ask if they knew the reason of the line. And they did: the sheep were being brought down from the mountains, where they are grazed in summer, and there were thousands crossing the road. Before having time for second thoughts, I went to where I had already seen another camping car parked, and decided to spend the night.

     On that night, and the following morning, I met a Norwegian family that was partially responsible for those sheep! It turns out that the farmers, during summer, pay someone else to take care for their sheep in the mountains; mountains owned by the state who subsidises this activity to maintain the fields’ grass. And maybe is because fate does exists, because talking about what I could do on my trip they made me noticed that one of the places I wanted to go to, Kjerakbolten, had been left behind by about 50 kilometres! I didn’t hesitated more and went back, also keeping an eye that I would have sun two days in a row, and ugly rains the following two.

     I got to the parking lot and the first thing the guardian did was taking a picture of me!!! Awesome! And when I jokingly tried to tell him that the price was to put it up on Facebook, he told me that I could park free! I didn’t even know I had to pay, and I was already getting a gift. I did the walk afternoon, with just the right amount of time, which turned out to be not that just, and came back walking with a girl. This girl, who had done a quick getaway with her friend from Poland, introduced me to their host from CS (long live chance encounters) and his friend, who later offered to pay me that night’s shower (that since after I found a couple a couple of extra token, so it was me who ended up inviting him a shower). Going down to the town of Lysebotn was not as terrible as I thought… The next day I had to go up that road, and that was terrible, and it was because those simple 6 kilometres took me 40 minutes to climb!

     That day was the second one I had before rain arrived, so I step on the pedal and went straight to climb to Preikestolen (Pulpit’s Rock). This is I think the most typical photo of Norway, and rightly so, since on top of being an amazing place, is of the Top 3 the one with the easiest access. Not only because the path was improved by Sherpas from Nepal, but also because it is the shortest one. The spot is impressive, the view spectacular, and the vertigo that you get when standing in an outing with a 600 meters freefall leaves you stiff as a rock. Luckily I had arranged with a Couchsurfer where to sleep and I stayed to rest for 3 nights. One of those nights I slept in the kombi, so as to leave the room to a Neozeland-HungariGerman couple with who I would meet again later on.

     Norway is spectacular. In every corner you find something that blows you away, without being able to explain what you see. And on top of that it adds the people that live here, that although the Norwegian love their privacy and space, they are super nice and caring. And you also have the foreigners that live here, like the family that hosted me in Ulda at the last minute. Her Polish, him English, and the kids trilingual. They shared their home for a short stay, with a short walk included. From there I left to meet with my friends, who would formally initiate in Dumpster Diving. And they did it that same night, 5 minutes away from where I picked them on the road. THANK YOU! It was just what I needed to learn to push me to travel living as I like to live traveling.

     I shared my trip with Shirkan and Marcus for a couple of days, mostly because they really wanted to go around in a Kombi. So we found a pace to sleep that night, and the next day we made some hiking to an impressive glacier. From there we came back down to Odda and did a little of Dumpstering in the local supermarket. While I was there, head in the trash, a French dude came to say hi and told me he had a Combi too (the French call it Combi, with a “c”). He went on to look for his friends, and I kept colleting fruit from the garbage, on which we would then spend an hour cleaning with Shirkan and Marcus. Without being very certain, we risked a sleeping spot which ended up being perfect. We met again other travellers who we had met in the glacier, and between laziness and the pretty day we spent from morning to afternoon without doing anything productive. My two friends left with these other travelers, taking advantage of a ride in their direction, and I left to park at the beginning of the trail to Trolltunga.

     People estimate between 10 and 12 hours for the round trip, so I woke up early. At 9 a.m. And took my breakfast with no mate, because I was in a hurry, but I did prepare my backpack with all my patience. It took me less than 4 hours to get to the “Tongue”, and it is an impressive as one can imagine. After a brief lunch and the compulsory photos, I wanted to walk a little more and continue the path to another Preikestolen showed on the map. I believe I will never know if I found it, since as other hikers that were in the precise spot showed, there was no way of knowing if that point was called that. What is certain, the extra walk was well worth it because every new angle of those impressive fjords is worth it. The walk down was slower, with the company of some guys with whom I started taking while we walked and with whom I decide to keep talking all the way down.

     The next day I left to Bergen. It wasn’t a much the way, but I still didn’t make it. I had a mechanical problem, inside a bridge of about 12 kilometres, so I panicked and called for help. BIGGEST MISTAKE. Me thinking that maybe since it’s a toll road maybe light mechanics was included… and not, it has to be paid when the help comes, and I’s expensive. And it hurts worse when the problem discovered is the basic of the basics in the engine: the platinum regulation. I blame the tunnel and the panic.

     The traveling continued, I did make it to Bergen eventually (after a second break down almost exactly at the same spot in the same tunnel) and spend a few days there fixing my camera and enjoying a comfy house.

More stories to come; and this only gets better!

See you around the World! And, please, don’t forget to be Happy!