Tag Archives: Narvik

A sad encounter [Norwegian Adventure, day 6]

When I finished my breakfast and was just about to put my camp down, an older gentleman walking with his dog stopped to ask if I had all the food I needed and if I hadn’t been cold during the night. Then he started talking about his situation. He had recently survived a big personal loss and was currently dealing with some problems that had resulted from it. He nearly started crying. That’s what happens when you travel by yourself – you get approached by lonely people who desperately need someone to talk to. So I listened to what he had to say, because what more can you do? And then our ways parted, or so I thought.

I put my camp down, walked to the road and started hitchhiking. Four hours later I was still at the very same spot, quite irritated. And then a car pulled over. Inside I saw the man I had talked to in the morning. He wasn’t going far, but he could take me out of this town, to an important highway junction in Bjerkvik. On our way, we stopped by his summer house where he was living now. He insisted that I come in and see it. It was really nice and offered wonderful view:

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He also offered me to stay in his guest house but I would feel too awkward accepting it due his personal situation. And besides, I wanted to get back on the road. He drove me a bit farther from the highway junction, so that I had better chances of catching a ride. After few minutes, however, I thought he had been driving me for too long. I suspected it was due to his emotional struggle and I didn’t want to take advantage of him, so I asked him to drop me off at the nearest spot I saw it was possible. He seemed a bit irritated by that, but didn’t say anything.

When I saw where I ended up, I felt a bit uneasy. It was a beautiful spot for camping – it offered wonderful view and was far enough from the nearest town. It was really bad for hitchhiking, though. While I was wondering how long I would have to wait there, I saw a cyclist I had been passing few times already.

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‘No matter how bad it gets, it would be much worse if I was cycling’, I thought. Anyway, soon to my surprise I got picked up by a couple of young nice guys. They drove me for a few hours until they had to turn at another highway junction in Nordkjosbotn. During the ride they taught me how to pronnounce that name, which I would often say from now on to impress all the other non-Norwegian travellers.


A day off [Norwegian Adventure, day 5]

First thing in the morning I did some laundry, and stretched another piece of rope between the trees to let it dry. Then I looked really pleased at my camp, admired the view from my spot, said ‘hi’ to some friendly joggers and dog walkers and generally enjoyed the well-deserved free time.

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And then I embarked to explore the town. When I had been in Kiruna last winter I really regretted not visiting it, so I was quite excited to get this opportunity. As it turned out, there was not much to do for me except to hike. So hike I did.

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Just a nice, simple, quick walk. At the top I met a few Polish girls who live in Narvik. That didn’t really surprise me since I had been meeting Polish people all day long. One of the ladies was so kind as to offer me warm shower etc. at her place, should I need it. It was first such offer on this trip. Luckily, the weather was so nice there was no need to risk the awkwardness of staying over at a stranger’s house.

On my way back to the campsite I wanted to get some groceries at a supermarked I had spotted earlier. That’s when I learned that in Norway most stores are closed on Sundays. So I walked a few hundred meters when a thought struck me: Why should it deter me? There must be some garbage bins around the store! I went back and noticed a big dumpster that looked promising. Unfortunately, all I found was some old, bad smelling flowers. I didn’t really want to dive in to look for some hidden treasures, but as an afterthought, I should have ripped some bags open instead of just checking what was on the top of them.

In the evening I made a fire on the beach to cook some peas. It takes at least an hour, so I didn’t want to waste my stove fuel on them. Acting like a tramp is tougher when you are vegan.

Overall, it was a nice day. I really needed a day off.


A long, long ride [Norwegian Adventure, day 4]

I’m standing by the road. The weather is nice, the place is quite scenic, so I’m in a good mood. After about an hour of waiting, an old car pulls over. A young kid asks me: ‘Where are you going?’

‘To Nordkapp’

He smiles and says: ‘Hop in’.

It turned out he was going to Narvik, about 700 km or 10 hours drive down the road. Sweet! And on top of that, I had heard some nice things about Narvik when I was in Kiruna, Sweden last winter.

The kid said he would always pick up hitchhikers, mostly because he enjoyed listening to their stories. Our ride would be the longest lift he gave to anyone and he seemed quite happy about it. Unfortunately, he also seemed a bit disappointed to learn that I had had a few longer rides before.

It was a magnificent ride. That day I saw my first fjords, entered the Arctic and observed the landscape completely change. The views were absolutely mindblowing. Sadly, after few hours the driver seemed to grow a bit annoyed by my presence in his car. I was not surprised by that, knowing his young age. At some point I mentioned being interested in magic. After I showed him a few tricks when he wasn’t driving, he got happy again. I guess he considered me cool again.

An interesting thing happened when we were waiting for a ferry. He insisted that I pay for myself. Of course, I was grateful for the ride and would pay for myself even if he didn’t mention it. But I found the way he told me to pay quite amusing. He did it not only in a very assertive way, but his tone might be considered a bit hostile in most societies. And the funny part is, the price was very low – 35 NOK, i.e. what you normally pay in Norway for a loaf of bread or a kilo of apples. My impression is that Norwegians in general are extremely assertive and never feel intimidated to settle up, even when it comes to silly small amounts.

On the ferry I finally got a chance to take a few pictures of the mountains. A Norwegian gentleman laughed when I asked him to take a picture of me. To him the view was so ordinary.
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I asked the driver to drop me off just before Narvik, so that I could set up my camp. I guess we didn’t understand each other, since he left me in a middle of a town. I tried to hitchhike from there, but I knew I didn’t have much chance. And after hour or two of futile waiting, I made up my mind: I would spend the next day in Narvik, use the time to relax and explore and get back on the road the day after. To my surprise (and relief) it took only 3 or 4 km walk to get to the far end of the town, where I set up my camp:
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Just by the beautiful Herjangs Fjord:
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I also learned how trusting Norwegians can be. When I asked two ladies who apparently owned a garage near my campsite, they not only had no problem with me camping there (and seemed surprised that I had taken the trouble to ask), but even suggested a spot that might be more convenient. Neither of them seemed to be bothered by my presence at all.


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