Norwegian series LAST part 5: ‘Final destination Lofoten’

Hitchhiking in cold and rain, about some drivers and the turn of luck.

Before arriving to Lofoten I didn’t know anything about it. I tend not to ruin my expectations by checking online for pictures or read loads of recommendations… well Tom does that for me. When we arrived I could barely see anything as it was quite a rainy evening. I saw just couple of mountains peaking through the fog.

Already before going on the ferry I noticed that suddenly we were surrounded by several other backpackers. Right after arriving I was a little scared of the competition in hitchhiking but it came out that noone besides us really used that option. Therefore, we got the lift pretty fast. We put the tent up on a wonderful foot of a hill, enjoying a perfect view from each side of the tent. Mountains in one way, waves the other. A-mazing (the name of the place is A). You see what I did there? Yeah…

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Next day after breakfast hitting the road again and hoping to see as much as possible in as little time as possible. Yeah… mission impossible. The lifts did not want to come…. at all!!! We waited quite for a while just to get 7km ride to the next village and to a viewpoint. Why? Everyone said it’s going to be so easy up there and it…. just wasn’t. I have no idea what was the exact reason behind it, though. Even when it was pouring rain we were standing by the road over half an h, cars just passing by. I enjoyed every view we had but I must be honest, it was damn cold to stand on the road with the rain. I reckon it was 10 degrees or so, windy, rainy…. ahh. But I guess that’s what Lofoten looks like most of the year anyways. So, if you are planning to go there, pack some warm and waterproof clothes and lots of patience.

I took couple of pictures in the first view point. The bright colours of the boathouses flattered the wild nature behind it in such an amazing way.  As I said it was damn cold so I don’t have tons of pictures. But enough, I guess. After the first viewpoint we stood on the road again… for a while this time. It just kept pouring rain, cars passing and nothing. We were wearing bright yellow and green to be visible and still nothing. Big backpacks and still nothing. A wide smile and nothing. Until finally a car stopped and gave us a lift  fo 5-10km but those were sooooooo helpful. At this moment I just wanted to get in a car to get warm. As long as possible.

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The next ride was a German-Korean couple on a holiday. We spent good couple of hours with them as they seemed to not mind spending time with us. And who am I kidding, we needed lifts. They were so nice and I really did enjoy the conversations. As it was their last day on the islands, they had already plans and couldn’t drive us too far. But far enough to get us finally going. For some reason this muggy, wet weather suited with the landscape so well. It just didn’t suit my clothes and body temperature.

So with a speed of light we were driving through most of the islands, trying to see as much as one possibly can. One last stop before finding a camping place was Unstad. A lovely beach in a valley. we got a lift from a Finnish physiotherapist working in a town nearby. Of course I used the chance to ask EVERYTHING about studying and working in Norway. Unfortunately, Finland is part of the Northern countries so all the rules that apply to them might not apply to me, Estonian. However, working as a physiotherapist in Norway seemed still like a one damn good plan.

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As always we were looking for a nice quite private place for the tent. What we didn’t know is that during the season it is a mission impossible. There are simply too many tourists and other campers. So yes, we had to share a spot with 3 other tents. Not as romantic as one could prefer but it was still a lovely place. You just need to be aware of where everyone goes to toilet so you do not put your tent anywhere near there. Disgusting people have managed to even ruin Norway. Sad!

The next and also the last day in Lofoten was spent mostly in cars again. Well, in cars or waiting for one. Couple of times we got stuck again, thinking that’s it. We need to walk home. We got lifts from locals, Norwegians on a holiday and even refugees. Now I need to tell you that every single person you meet is not going to be ‘your kind of people’. You do meet occasionally people that you feel like you have known for half of your life already but you also meet people that you do not connect with. And that is okay. We saw a lot of different people with different backgrounds, heritage, culture. Now, one of them…. made me feel so uncomfortable. Well imagine this: You finally get a ride after waiting for couple of hours but the person just gives you a bit weird vibes. I don’t usually take it personally or anything as people are different and we just ‘klick’ with some of them and not with others. So, he was one of those I just couldn’t really understand or ‘klick’ with. Tom was sitting in the front, me on the back seat. Every hitchhiker knows that the one in the front seat usually takes the lead in the conversation and on the backseat you simply answer the questions when asked. This guy, however, kept asking me questions all the time. Even after hearing that we were a couple, he asked me if I wanted to go to the front seat instead to ‘see the better view’. Why? I have no idea. You can see why someone would be a bit confused. Then we made a stop at a viewpoint and again he kept asking me questions like ‘what’s your name?’, ‘what does it mean?’, ‘do you like life?’…. yeah the last one creeped me out. I was like… what? Doesn’t everyone… like… life? And praying he’s not going to kidnap me. Obviously he didn’t. He didn’t make a move either but the questions where so uncomfortable considering we were complete strangers that I just kept wishing to get out of the car. Now, when thinking back to it, I am not sure if it was simply because of his cultural differences or he really was a sleek. The question ‘do you like life’ I cannot defend anyhow, though. Can anyone?

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After terribly short rides in Lofoten we finally got one long one- straight to Narvik. Well, near Narvik. We spent the night 20km from Narvik and decided to check the town next day. Town as any other, to be honest. Would not be a final destination or a reason to go to Norway, for sure. We wanted to have a proper meal in a restaurant for the first time but when seeing the prices and hearing they have no local fish in, we decided not to. Instead, we started hitchhiking towards Lapland.

It was freezing cold and again we just couldn’t catch any rides. We decided to spend the night behind the national park in the woods. For some reason I had an idea stuck to my head and I was too scared to fall asleep. I kept thinking there are bears and as we had fresh fish opened in the tent i was sure they are going to come for us. After looking the seiling of the tent for an hour I decided to google if my fear was reasonable. Well, not sure how evidence based the site was but it said there is no reason to be scared of brown bears in Europe as they are simply more scared of you. Usually, they can smell you way before and simply change their way before you can even see them. Great! Good night!

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One of the main goals for me was to see reindeers. I have always been fascinated by them! Here they are wondering around, doing their own business, occasionally giving you looks. Not sure why this one is white, though. But just look at them! So cute!

The next night we wanted to spend in a warm bed and we managed to find a couchsurfing in Äkäslompolo. Unfortunately, it was a loooooooong way up there and we weren’t sure if we can make it. We made a fast stop in Kiruna. Again nothing special. I think maybe during wintertime the towns would have completely different feeling. It was far in the North and hitchhiking was supposed to be so easy, but it just wasn’t. Again waiting for rides for hours and getting one for maybe 30-40km. It was 11pm, we were standing by the road in the dark, smiling and hoping someone will give us the final 40km lift. And there was noone. NOONE. WHY? So close yet so far. We were wearing yellow?! How dangerous can a person be who wears a yellow raincoat? We were that desperate that we asked the host to come and pick us up for some gas money. And fortunately, she was sooooo kind to really come in the middle of the night and pick up 2 strangers in yellow raincoats. We had lovely time in Äkäslompolo and I for sure would like to go back in winter. I can already see me falling in love with the nature.

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The bad luck, unfortunately, followed us all the way to Rovaniemi. Lifts were short and we had to wait for a long time for one. Of course, I appreciate every single driver that did stop and took us. However, the faith in humanity was restored when we got 900km lift from Rovaniemi to almost Helsinki. That is a long time to spend with someone so I am super thankful for that guy who tolerated us the whole freaking day. With that one lucky ride we made it to Helsinki almost 1 day sooner than expected or planned. Probably if not catching the long ride we would have been in a rush! Oh, and by the way. They tell you on the website and over the phone that in order to change your ferry tickets you need to do it 24h in advance. Yeah, you don’t. Just go to the port and hope for the best. It worked for us.

That’s briefly about everything from our Norwegian trip. As you can see, there is s much going on in every trip that is nearly impossible to write it all down. I might try to find a way to get the stories out without all the unnecessary boring text in between. I just don’t know yet how to do it in order the stories to still make sense. I wish I had wifi and time during the trip already so I could do it in a dairy format. Would that be better? HELP!

All things considered, I sincerely recommend visiting Norway. It’s such an incredible and unique country with a spectacular nature. If you haven’t been there yet, GO! NOW!

NORWAY 🇳🇴 series part 4: Lost and found

Getting lost in the mountains and wonderfully generous people.

As always right before you need something, it breaks. So that’s what happened to the hiking poles. So now I had just one pole to climb the damn mountain. I left the other one down near the tent stucked in the soil.

As always the further up you climb the mountain the less people you meet. Again my magic boots helped me to do the tempo so we passed like 3 couples on our way up. Yeah that’s how competitive I am. It was one of the rockiest hikes we have done so far but kind of suited me. It was so hot while hiking but as soon as you stopped the wind got the best of you. I guess it’s kind of good way to keep you going and not waste too much time on resting.

While I was enjoying going up then whenever we had to go a little downhill I was thinking ‘oh sh**, I’m going to break my neck’. And of course I managed to slip and fall on the rocks. I sprained my ankle and fell between the rocks. I was lying there in an awkward position, my ass up in the sky and all I could think was ‘Now I am in the middle of nowhere, about 2h hike away from the closest road…. I cannot break any bones in here’. Well fortunately, that was a bit dramatic as I didn’t really break anything. Just a little scratch here and there, nothing major, but still. Why me?!

We made it to the top… well almost to the top as for the highest peak of the mountain you had to literally climb the ridge. And everyone knows even if it was safe I could never do that. So we stayed where everyone else was, down on the plateau. And there were way more people in the top than I expected. As always, Tom heard some Czech and started talking to them. It turned out to be a bus full of Czechs climbing some mountains around Norway. And again they insisted on taking a picture of us. Well, why not, I guess.

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So far no knee pain, passing all the people on the way, I was more than confident. Tom decided to take a little detour down and get some fresh water while I was supposed to just follow the track and continue the way down. As I knew approximately where to go, I decided to not follow the signs and just go with the flow… Yeah, worst idea ever. While I was focusing on passing people and doing it as fast as I could…. just because I could I got lost. Suddenly I was on the edge of the mountain, nowhere to go. Not a good feeling when scared of heights, I must say. Fortunately, going back just a little bit was enough to find the track again. I was really scared for one second, though. But I guess I am one of those people who just don’t learn from their mistakes from the first time. So I made the same stupid mistake when trying to find the car park. The track led to a tiny road by a cliff and I was ‘hell no, I ain’t going there!’. So I decided to go up and take a detour by myself… and managed to get lost again. What the hell?! How is it possible? I can see the car park but for some reason all the tracks are leading pass it. How am I supposed to get down then? So I just made my own track, wondering around like a lost lamb. If I didn’t have the magic boots I guess I would have had to make that 3km detour, go to the tent and get to the car park from the road, which was RIGHT THERE. Unbelievable! Now I was pissed, tired, hungry and hoped the toilet will not have 10minute queue. It didn’t. I drank some fresh water, hugged my tour guide (who I apparently need by my side 24/7 in order not to get lost) and it was all forgotten.

We packed the tent and hitchhiked further. We got the lift pretty fast which was nice. While driving down I noticed a traffic jam on the road. So this is what happened. If you  have been in any mountainous area you know the roads there. The same bus full of Czechs got stuck on one of the turns. Not sure if something happened to the bus or the driver simply didn’t know how to take those sharp turns. The bus was stuck in the middle of the turn causing a huge amount of cars waiting behind it. I think we were waiting like at least for 15-20 minutes before we managed to get further. Fortunately, as soon as the driver kicked everyone out of the bus he dared to take the turn and keep driving.

I guess we had been way too lucky for the day as it started raining…. well pouring. A German couple gave us a ride and let us hide in their camper van until their ferry arrived. After they took off we decided to have a dinner in the little waiting hut in the port. I wanted to use the chance and wash my hair and face in the sink. You would be surprised how nice that can be. Okay, this is something I need other people’s help. Especially the ones that are not born with perfect skin. How do you keep your face clean? Mine just hates me for not keeping the regime on the road and shows it off BIG TIME. I really hope it is just my stupidity and not the price I need to pay for travelling. HELP!

As soon as we saw another ferry coming in we decided to pack and try to catch a lift further. No one stopped although it was raining. We had been out for couple of minutes and I was already soaking wet. No one stopped until the last car from the port passed us and then reversed back. It was a local farmer with her daughter. One of the nicest people we have met on the road. They insisted us staying at their house as it was pouring rain outside. How nice was that?! First time during this trip we had a shower. Shame I had just washed my hair in the sink. We spent the whole night just talking and discussing all the issues going on in the world and sharing our travel stories. The amazing hot tea, good company and warm room made it perfect. I guess it was like in a movie or how you imagine hitchhiking to be. You meet a stranger and you get along right away and they are just way too generous by turning a hitchhiking trip to a full comfort trip. As you can imagine I slept like a baby that night. In the morning she even showed us around in the valley. Woods and everything. I must say, not a bad place to live in. Not bad at all.

Although the morning started well we got stuck on the road nearby. Waited for the next lift for an hour or more. Next 2 days were dedicated again simply to hitchhiking. Meeting lots of awesome people and having long conversations. You would be surprised how close you get with strangers when spending couple of hours together. In one of the cars we spent half a day and got to know the guys so well that I forgot that we just met. We cooked together, shared our experience and opinions about travelling, Norway, studying, life etc. We shared the food. That’s how close you can get with someone you barely know if you just give them a chance.

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When we arrived to Mo i Rana we did decide to take the coastal road as every single (local) person suggested that. Was it nice? Yes. Was it worth double amount of time spent on driving? I am not sure. Maybe my lack of excitement was because of the weather and the fact you couldn’t really see much through the fog. Anyways, if you really wanna see EVERYTHING, go take the coastal road from Mo i Rana to Lofoten, otherwise if you reach Lofoten from the highway, you haven’t missed out on anything.

LAST STOP LOFOTEN!

To be continued…

NORWAY 🇳🇴 series part 3: ‘Picture perfect’

Dumpster diving, fjords and all those views!

Last post I was referring to one of my favourite places I have ever hiked. Before sharing you the spectacular view we need to go back half a day.

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We got a lift from a really nice guy living in a village near Molden. From the spot we put the tent up you could see the fjord, mountains, waterfall, light from the village nearby and what is more, the sunset. It was one of the nicest evenings. Not just because we had the perfect camping spot but we got lots of FREE food.

Here you go, trick from the poors’ sleeve nr 3: Dumpster diving. Yes, you heard me right. I know this is very controversial subject and to be honest, I am probably not the right person to tell this or share the experience but I can just introduce you what options you have while travelling on a budget.  Dumpster diving in Scandinavia and dumpster diving in Poland probably will be completely different experiences but can save you LOTS OF MONEY either way. I am quite a picky eater when it comes to expiry dates. However, in Norway I saw a completely different aspect of it. That night Tom came back from the bins behind the shops with 5 Bolognese sauces and they were NOT expired, not opened, not gone bad, nothing. One out of 6 in the pack had broken and they threw away the whole box. We have also found some bread, cheese and ham, smoked fish, juice, all sealed and fine. Sometimes just expired today, yesterday or usually not even close to the expiry date.

My first step was to just be willing to eat the food from a bin. It sounds disgusting if you put it that way but why not if you can literally see, there is nothing wrong with it. I am still not eating food that is a bit iffy, especially meat products (another phobia I have) and you do need to be cautious in order not to get any food poisoning. I have never really dumpster dove myself, I have my own diver with me. I don’t think it’s weird or wrong but I am not there yet to do it myself. Seeing how much perfectly fine food people throw out (especially shops) makes me rethink about everything I thought I knew. People are starving in every single country in the world and shops just throw out food like it’s noone’s business. WHY? Because we take the expiry dates and other dates as something they are not. Among many others National Geographic has an article about this as well, showing how much food and money America wastes every year because people do not understand that expiry date shows quality but not safety. They claim that the smell/look/taste gives you better idea about the safety of the food than an expiry date. So here you go.

Tom also found a beach chair next to the bin and insisted carrying it around the whole time… GREAT! So in the morning we took off with a whole bunch of food AND a beach chair. We got a lift by a taxi driver who recommended having a hike in the mountain nearby. Meeting another couple suggesting to hike Molden, we decided, why not. We got dropped off at the car park in the woods. It was supposed to be just couple of hour hike so we decided to leave the bags in the woods near the car park. This couple of hours up and couple of hours down is the best length of a hike for me. It doesn’t tire or bore you too much but is enough to experience amazing views.

Already on our way up we saw nice blackberries and blueberries waiting someone (us) to pick them up. On the first viewpoint I was already blown away. WOW! The way the woods made the mountains look so exotic! Well just look at that! The mountains, fjords, boats, woods… WOW!

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I have noticed that I like the views half way up better than on the very top. The mountains look closer and I think the pictures are better as well. What do you think?

Like in Gausta, I was running down like a goat. Half way down we decided to fill all our boxes with blueberries as they were so big and juicy. We even made couple of other people follow our lead and do the same. When we reached blackberries Tom got a little carried away and I was too thirsty to wait for him so I decided to go to the bags by myself. While I was walking down towards the car park I heard some crazy noise from the woods. I saw something black flashing between the trees and I just froze. Is it a bear??? What am I supposed to do now? Run? Stay still? Oh sh**! As I was about to make the fastest sprint I have ever done in my life the ‘something black’ came out from the woods. Yeah, it wasn’t a bear… It was a cow. The damn cow was doing… I don’t know what in there but for sure it did not sound like a cow. Yeah, seems like cows don’t really like me.

Down from Gausta, next stop… well as far on the way to Lofoten as possible. That means the next couple of days on the road again. we chose to hitchhike up to Lofoten from the main road until Mo i Rana and then take the longer but much recommended coastal road.

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One of the views on the road to our camping site.

That evening we made it to Skei. We slept on a piece of grass by the fjord. Amazing view! Was not as private as one would like but perfectly peaceful and calm. In this part of Norway all the drivers seemed to be especially generous and interested in showing us around. They don’t just tell you what to see but also are willing to make stops and walk around with you. One guy even introduced us all of the people living in the valley. Yeah…

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They even insisted taking pictures of us.. which we never do unless someone offers and I don’t want to be impolite. So whenever I post a ‘couple’s picture’ know it was not planned!

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The best part of the fjords. It looks soooooooo amazing with the mountains and ships and all that jazz. One thing (a bit scary) in all this is having an emergency on the road. We saw an ambulance trying to pass on the road and it took forever just to take one turn. That is scary! People don’t really realise that it’s not a random guy trying to make it to work on time in the morning. Unfortunately, that’s how they respond, stopping in the middle of the road, keep driving and that’s why it takes forever to just pass one damn turn.

After most of the day in a car and rest in a ferry we made it to Trollstigen. And first time ever we were not the only ones with a tent. How I got lost on that mountain… twice and how we got saved by a farmer you can read from the next post!

 

To be continued…

NORWAY 🇳🇴 series part 2: ‘On the road’

Muscle pain, hitchhiking and free spa treatment.

I ended the last post with the budget question. How to afford butter on the bread in Norway?

Trick out of our poor sleeves number 1: If you are on a very tight budget like we were you do not buy bread at all. No it’s not a joke. You don’t buy bread because you don’t have to. Most of the Norwegian shops have bread slicers in the shop and for some reason local people tend to throw the ends of the bread to a (clean) bin next to the slicer. Here you go, here’s your bread that someone has already paid for. It’s not always perfect but the bread is fresh, untouched and what is most important, for FREE. So yeah, we ate the bread every single day the whole 2 weeks even when just thinking of it made you not want a sandwich until Christmas.

So we bought 2 chocolate cakes and took some bread from that small shop in the valley. While hitchhiking further a guy with an ice cream came over. You know, just to say that they would take us but their car is full. I have still not understood why do they do it. I guess it’s nice they come over and give us some company but… why. Sometimes they even pull over on the road just to say ‘sorry, I’m not going that way’ or ‘hi, sorry my car is full’. Confusing? Much!

It was so hot down in the valley that we took turns to sit in the shadow while the other one was hitchhiking. I tend to get heatstroke very easily especially when my head is not covered. I bought a hat just for that reason. As a girl with long(ish) hair another bonus is that it covers all your dirty hair. I have pretty dry hair usually but over 3-4 days cannot afford NOT washing it. Therefore, a hat on the road is your best friend. Finally, got a ride from a guy working in the Gausta mountain where we just came from. He had a day off and decided to escape the heat towards the next mountains. Perfect!

The first stop we made was on a view point to a waterfall. The driver told us all about the history of the valley, the town and Norway in general. I have noticed that I am far more interested in the history now than ever before. For some reason it is so much more fun to discover things from locals while being there than listening a teacher or reading it from a book. We heard everything about the heavy water and the sabotage as locals seemed to be very proud of it and mention it in every single car we sat in.

That and the next day we spent by hitchhiking around trying to see as much as possible. We made a little stop by a lake as I needed little cooling time out. We managed to find an access to the water from a private little bath off the road. That was a really dream come true. Sunbathing by a lake on a beautiful day. While standing there preparing myself mentally for getting in the water I noticed whole punch of small fish swimming around my feet. One of my… many…. fears are bloodsuckers. So whenever swimming in a new country or a bit muddy lake I get super paranoid that there are going to be bloodsuckers just waiting for me to jump in. Well this time there were no bloodsuckers but those small fish doing the same job… well almost. If you stood there really still they started gently biting/licking (not sure) your toes. I have no idea what they found there but the tickling sensation was kind of nice. Free spa treatment, jeei! And the water was surprisingly warm (considering it’s Norway).

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Again before continuing hitchhiking further we filled the boxes with fresh raspberries. So good! Raspberries are one of my favourite anyways and on the road they taste like heaven. Boxes full of good stuff, feeling all nice and fresh we managed to get to Odda by the end of that day. An amazing town in a valley by a fjord. You can see glaciers on top of mountain all around the valley. This is a town I would see myself living in. Having the mountains and water near your house is the perfect combination for us as a couple. What is more, one of the most visited mountains is right around the corner. As every other tourist we were hoping to walk to Trolltunga and have the famous picture on the cliff. Unfortunately, that did not happen for couple of reasons. First it was too crowded on top of the mountain so they decided to close the whole road going up there. Great! We could have walked from the car park but my legs were SO sore from Gausta. The last time I had my muscles that sore that I could barely walk was in university. So that was the main reason we skipped the most popular view of Norway. Well.. I probably would not have made it to the edge of the cliff anyways. I still had to get down to the valley from the car park, though, and oh boy, did that take time and effort. Couple of tears too.

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If this is not ‘Scandinavian’ then what is.

The whole rest of that day we spent hitchhiking further, hoping to get as far as possible. It wasn’t going too bad until we totally got stuck on the road in a town with the an amazing Viking church (above). Anyone who has tried hitchhiking knows how frustrating it can be. The most difficult part in standing for hours in one place is staying positive, keep smiling and not loosing hope. Even when it starts raining. I am quite an impatient person and it’s very difficult not to get bored or anxious on the road. Also one of the reasons (after safety) why I would never hitchhike alone. You can improve the odds by standing in a visible place with enough space for cars to pull over and look as friendly and harmless as possible but you will still depend on the strangers. Something that a control-freak like me does not enjoy. But I guess it’s a good way to grow, right?!…

And here is the trick from a poor sleeve nr 2: when on a budget, do not hire cars. Not just hiring them is expensive but gas costs more than you’re used to as well. Take a bike, walk or just hitchhike. So far hitchhiking in Norway has made me feel the most comfortable and safe during my whole hitchhiking experience. People are nice and don’t look weird when you’re standing by the road with your thumb up (can happen in some other countries in Europe). They always smile at you even though they might have no intention to stop. Unfortunately, taking a bus can be quite a nightmare in countryside so that’s why hitchhiking is the best option. Unless you have lots of time, strong legs and you want to cycle all those crazy mountains.

On our way to our new spot we met so many amazing people. We met two young Syrian guys who moved to Norway 3 years ago. We were so interested in getting to know how they find the life in there and how did they even end up in such a cold country. Apparently for a refugee Norway is expensive but full of great opportunities. At least those 2 guys found the life there to be pretty good. We also met two Polish guys who have been living in Norway over 10 years. With them we wanted to discuss what are the advantages and disadvantages of moving to Norway as a foreigner, what is it like to learn the language and how do local people feel about foreigners. Both guys spoke Norwegian and English so I guess the language is not as difficult as it seems. As an Estonian, and making the assumption just based on listening, it seems it would not be too hard for us to learn Norwegian. The sound of it is pretty sharp and robustious and should suit us perfectly. We also met plenty of Norwegians who gave us very genuine idea what is it like living in the countryside in one of the most amazing countries in Europe. I must admit I am very tempted to move up there one day. Despite the amount of taxis they need to pay and the fact they rely a lot on oil, they are pretty happy with their lives up there.

Because of spending most of the time on the road AND me having only 1 battery for the camera with (yeah, managed to loose one right before taking off from Manchester) I have very few pictures of those couple of days. I was really trying to save the battery for Lofoten. The featured image is from Odda, by the way. I have no idea why I literally have just 3 pictures of it, though. I promise I will make it up with the next posts! Speaking of which, next stop Molden aka the best hike AND view I have ever experienced.

To be continued…

NORWAY 🇳🇴 series part 1: ‘Day one’

New boots, fear of heights and the budget!

I cannot believe how long it has been since I last sat down and wrote something. Not even going try to explain why. Let’s put it that way- life happened.

Anyways, I am now back in UK, back in routine and am ready to tell you all about my last holiday in NORWAY. I am going to make it into a short series as there is simply too much to tell and that post is going to be way too long otherwise.

So where to start? Oh yeah, from the beginning.

I have always thought that Norway would be a country I would really really enjoy. Not just as a tourist but I believed I could even live there. Why? I am not sure. Maybe it’s just an intuition, maybe I’m a psychic, maybe because I like cold winters.  I really don’t know. It was my first time going there and I was already like… 90% sure I am going to love it. I guess by the end of this series I will let you know weather I was a psychic or not at all.

It all started with a flight from Manchester to Oslo. I was flying alone this time as Tom wanted to hitchhike all the way to Norway to save money but I refused to waste half of my vacation on travelling to the destination. Yes, it was not the cheapest flight I have ever booked but considering it’s Norway, I guess it could have been even worse. I know people travelling up there for 8 quid, so bargain hunters, do not burry your dreams just yet! I tried to mentally prepare myself for 2 weeks of starving. Norway has been my dream destination but let’s be honest I do not have money to have a luxurious.. who am I kidding, not a luxurious, a decent holiday in Scandinavia. As always we wanted to see as much as possible and spend as little as possible. Usually 500 pounds for 2 weeks has been enough but can you do it in Norway?

We met in Oslo on Tuesday evening and planned to stay for 2 weeks, hitchhiking all the way from Oslo up to Lofoten. It was unexpectedly hot when I arrived. I guess this summer has been unexpectedly hot everywhere in Europe. It’s been hot even in Manchester…. in the city of rain. We spent the night in the tent nearby the airport. I was a bit scared that there is not going to be anywhere to put up the tent or like in Canary islands, it will be in the dirt. This is the last thing you want- start your vacation in the middle of garbage. Fortunately, that was not the case. It is still Scandinavia we are talking about. We found some fine grass near a pavement under the birches. Was not very private, but good enough for a couple of hour sleep.

We took off the next morning, again with sun shining and giving us hope to get far up towards the fjords. While waiting for the first ride near the airport a girl came up to us and offered 2 (almost full) pumps of camping gas. We knew we are going to need it up in the North, so it was more than perfect timing. What is more, no wasting! Hitchhiking in Northern Europe is said to be considerably easy. Unfortunately, the first half an hour did not make me feel this way. We were trying different spots on a roundabout until decided we need to walk further as clearly noone is stopping. As soon as we picked our bags and started walking we got a lift. I may need to make entire post about hitchhiking in Scandinavia to explain it but it seemed like whenever you carry the bag people were willing to stop more often.

*Damn… I think I need to write these posts right after I’m back from the holiday as I already start forgetting the details- which driver, when, how far?

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Well, we managed to end up at Gausta mountain by the evening. We decided to take a little hike up to the top before putting the tent up. First time ever I was sooooooo excited as I had just invested my money into a pair of new hiking boots. After suffering from tremendous knee pain on every hike I decided enough is enough and bought a pair of Meindls. Yes, unfortunately, not a vegan brand but I really needed the pair and had very limited time and options. I am going to take a good care of these and hopefully wear them forever…. well I guess not forever but as long as I am able to hike. I am definitely not planning to purchase another non-vegan ones. Maybe by the time I need new ones (far far faaaar in the future) they have better variety of vegan ones. So, there I was with my new pair of hiking boots, climbing the mountain like a goat. I honestly did not expect the difference to be that major.

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Despite the comfort, I didn’t go all the way up, though. The very last bit of this mountain looked extremely narrow and because of the wind the fear of heights got the best of me. I decided to go back down and let Tom climb the last bit on his own. I hate when that happens. I am always scared I’m going to miss out the best views because of a stupid fear. Anyone with a serious phobia or fear can relate. I want to go but I don’t. I am not a psychologist and I don’t know how to properly treat an irrational fear. All psychologist-friends, HELP! Among all my stupid fears heights is the one I really want to get rid of. And so far the best way has been getting myself into the situations where the outcome of overcoming the fear will remain as a picture to remind me that the fear is not the boss of me. I am. Unfortunately, days are not the same and that day was not The Day.

On my way down I over took all the people I met when going up, feeling no pain in the knees, whatsoever. I felt like flying. The very last couple of hundred meters I did feel  the fatigue but not the pain. Of course Tom managed to catch me before the finish line despite my magic boots. But usually he does it way faster so I am still pretty proud of myself. Jeeei! Go me! The first night we spent under the stars near Gausta. We put the tent up on moss which is the softest bed ever. I had a very good night sleep that night.

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Next day, before hitting the road we decided to take most of the nature and filled our boxes with fresh blueberries. DE-LISH! I think we really nailed the season as there were so many berries to pick. What’s better than fresh berries when on a budget?! Especially in Norway where everything is SO, SO, SO expensive. Fortunately, not waiting long for the first ride. We got a lift by a local down to the valley. He was driving so fast down that I must admit I was a little uncomfortable. Not because I thought he’s going to crash the car or something but it just made me feel sick. Plus the fear of heights did not help either. We made it down safely (I promise, mom!)! We decided to check the local shop before hitchhiking further. You know that feeling when you just had an amazing hike, good night sleep, fresh berries, and then the reality check just shakes you. Shakes you hard! We managed to find a -50% aisle, something vital when travelling in Norway, Iceland or Switzerland. My sweet tooth was on fire as the only thing we bought was 2 chocolate cakes, each 3 quid…. Yea, not cheap even when -50% but they were so worth the money. I was craving for coffee and a salad as well but I had to punch that b*tch down right after seeing the prices. How to explain it? England is expensive but with a full time job you can afford butter on the bread. In Norway, with British salary you cannot even afford to smell the bread, with Eastern Europe salary you forget what bread is. Well, one needs just love, air and water to survive anyways, right?! You must be wondering how many kilos did I loose on that trip, well….. Not much. How? Well first, because I just said we bought 2 cakes for lunch but we also had some tricks ready to be pulled out from our  poor sleeves.

 

                                                            To be continued…

Oh, before I let you go, I have already uploaded some pictures of the trip. Not just the day one but through out the entire trip, Go check them out as well!