Norway, eine Überraschung

Also, nachdem wir immer wieder gehöhrt haben, dass in Norwegen das Trampen sehr schwer ist, hatten wir ein bisschen Angst nicht weit weg zu kommen. Die Realität war aber ganz anders. Es war schnell und Leute haben uns oft eingeladen, ganz verschiedene Sachen zu probieren. Zu uns waren die Leute in Norwegen offen und großzügig.

Norway is a wonderful country and to prove it, here the most important facts about it, according to our own experience. People are kind hearted and trusting (at least the ones who choose to pick up two hitchhikers on the road). There’s oil and snow, it rains. Cheese is brown and tastes like caramel. Alcohol, cigarettes and anything that brings some kind of joy is unpayable and people go out of the country to buy it, or make their own beer in farms. It rains again… Oh! But look, a day of sun, maybe summer is not a myth after all… No, forget it, is raining again. Chocolate is wonderful and comes in any kind of strange mixes. Nature is beautiful, especially the Fjords and they have an awesome suspended rock, you just have to nearly die to get to it.

They have been smart in managing their land and community is kind of run by trust. They have a Cabin system (when hiking on the mountains) where people sleep and take what they need from the Cabin and willingly leave their names and address to be charged months later, although they could totally get away with not paying, since there is no soul to control it. They use a very effective system to stop the forest to grow without measure, revolutionary mashines that don’t get tired of cutting grass: thousands of sheep.They have many electric cars and if you own a car from the 50’s the rules of that time apply to your driving (which means no seatbelts necessary). The distance from north to south is more then from Denmark to Italy and they build dikes in every little running water source, which is why electricity os very cheap…

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Our time in Norway was special due to the people that we met there. We got invited to eat almost every day by our drivers, got invited to people’s houses four times in a row and tried many different things. We got to see and help in the training of race horses, since one of our drivers was working on a stable. A family invited us to stay at their backyard, it being a huge farm where they took us in their camper to the highest point facing the sea (and let sleep there). We were picked up by a woman, so kind that she brought us to her home and baked us waffles and ended up inviting us to stay the night and the week or forever if we wanted to. We cooked a Paella in Stavanger and felt like in Spain (since we met with Cate on our Erasmus in Valencia).

Got to hike and sleep on top of Preikestolen. We got invited to a summer house by a lovely couple and discovered that the house was about 400 years old and was built from the rests of another house. And the amazing thing about this couple is that after picking us up and us accepting their invitation to stay the night, they left us alone in their home while they went out to buy some groceries. And that level of trust was for us unbelievable. I mean, theoretically, we were just strangers and could have taken everything. We love this kind of experiences because we genuinely believe that there is nothing more special than to be able to trust in other human beings. When this trust is no longer possible, I think we don’t have much more to live for. And it can sound dramatic but through trust we build connections and relationships and it can make our life a lot more fun and spontaneous.

This invitation was followed up by another one. Next day we didn’t even managed to get 100 km further when a man in his car from the 50’s invited us to stay in his home. A wonderful Norwegian house just next to the Fjords. Gave us a ride through the Fjords and the ocean with his boat and ended up having great conversations about the most diverse topics. If there is something that you learn after hitchhiking for so long is to discuss about almost any topic. We encounter people every day from different paths of life and we are now able to understand people’s needs and interests more easily and to read into the people. And we love that.

It took us one week more than what we had expected to go out of Norway, since we felt so welcomed there. We got spoiled by the people we met and after Norway treating us as like princesses, with a roof over our heads and a warm meal every night, we were faced again with the life as vagabonds. But the funny thing is, we had actually missed it. We enjoy the trouble and discomfort of a cold night under the bright sky full of stars and the moon shining over us. We enjoy putting the tent at night just with the vague illumination of our flashlights. We enjoy a full hitchhiking day, without a clear destination but only a set direction. We love to see how far we get and to count the kilometers at the end. We love to go through the day before closing our eyes and discover that this one day seems like a week.
We woke up still as princesses in the house of the last man that had invited us to his home and we started our day with the sunrise. We hitchhiked from the south of Norway, taking a ferry in the Fjords, getting like four ’10 km‘ rides till finally we found some people taking us for longer distances and made it to Göttenburg our final destination for the day, getting there after nightfall. We were already feeling like ourselves again and found, on google maps, what looked like a good place to stay near the sea. On our way, we stopped in a supermarket to ask for food that was going to be thrown away, and surprisingly got two warm meals, some bread and some sweets for breakfast (in Norway we started to ask for food in small stores and restaurants, because there is a lot of food that is thrown away every day. That summed to the fact that Norway is very expensive). The day had been just perfect, and as we were walking to the sea, we could not stop smiling. Is a great realisation the feeling of not needing anything. We were not worrying about anything, and therefore we were getting everything. All that comes is welcomed, and what doesn’t is not missed. Is the full acceptance of things as they come. We got to our camping place, happy with our last night of legal camping, since the next day we were heading to Denmark and later back to Germany. As we approached the spot, it was all clear, the brown sand contrasting with the soft green vegetation, even under the light of our flashlights. We put the tent far enough from the water and then got closer to eat our dinner next to the sea. The lights of the houses on the other side were reflected on the water but were shining timidly, not enough to opaque the light of the stars. The smell of the sea makes me feel at home and the sound of the little waves works as a relaxing antidote. Could this day had been more perfect? People can call it hobo life, but honestly, there is nothing that can be compared to it, and one day in this set of mind, can count as years in the life of someone that does not know adventure. I look around to look for Cate and I find her experimenting with the camera and the light, and I can’t help myself and I laugh; we are an incredibly weird but somehow good team.

PS: As a useful advice, when putting up the tent in sandy terrain make sure to be careful with the end of the sticks, as sand may get inside and taking it out again is not always so simple.