Camping Like Gods In Norway
July 20, 2002
am sure I already mentioned that ferries are many, and expensive here in Norway.
Three times today the road disappeared in water, and and we embarked on a more
or less long voyage on the water. On one such section we scored an actual ferry
schedule, which should prove to be of great value in the future.
The weather was as sunny as it can get, and we were often freaked out by locals walking or biking in shorts and T-shirts, with the temperature somewhere around 15C. Meanwhile, we wore boots, jeans, two layers of shirts, and -- depending on wind -- a jacket. It kinda reminded me of being in Scotland in Wick, where the locals were celebrating record high temperatures while I was freezing my butt.
Between two ferries - I actually forgot which two - we stopped at a "tree with table" marked place to cook some soup to fill both our famished tummies. As it goes, this rest area was right at a memorial for the Soviet soldiers who fell during WW2 while fighting the Nazis up here in Norway. Yup, the Germans made it all the way here, mainly by water, but didn't last too long.
Another story could be written about the hunt for water. In Sweden, or in general around the world as I have traveled it, you show up at a gas station and there is a "pump" for air and water. In good old America they will probably charge you for it but heck that's still better than nothing. As a spontaneous camper you learn to rely on such things. But here, with some luck you get air, probably because it doesn't freeze in the winter. Water needs to be researched, from station to station, until eventually you find a faucet without a handle at a Shell station. By request, the friendly station attendant hands you the handle and minutes later we can take off with our bounty, 20 liters of water - after returning the handle to the station attendant, of course.
Let's go back to the friggin' national park. This truly is one. There are some houses around the coast, few and far between, but nicely evenly spread. Makes you wonder what all the people do here - only that many people can be fishermen, besides many places there are houses with no fishing boats or boat landings in sight. But sure do the people live nicely here. They may have 20 km or more to the nearest gas station and store, radio reception is pathetic at best, TV comes courtesy satellite dishes - unless you live too close to a hill, as then you are screwed because your view of the satellite is blocked. I already see the listing: "House by the water, 200 m^2, boat landing, good satellite reception."
The radio here is a chapter of its own, too. Out here you get four stations at best, which in its own way is amazing. Only two seem to ever play music (channel 3 and 4), so that's the ones we stick to. Naturally, we don't understand any of it, so it sounds funny to begin with. But Norwegian just sounds cute. Maybe because the radio hosts are making dorky sounds all the time, they just sound very happy and not to be taken too seriously. Then they inject some English phrase, such as "bend over and spread them" which sounds curious in any case, and especially if you don't understand the context. Later they play music -- mostly very "happy" things such as Roxette, Pointer Sisters, you get the picture. To Essan's amusement or horror - at times I can't tell - I get groovin' quite often. And then there is the Norwegian rap music. What more do I need to say?
We drove by an airport: Sandnessjøen municipal airport, it says. Cutely with its own tower (not staffed at the time we drove by), arrival and departure halls, and rental car facility. Personally, that was my favorite. I wonder whether SFO ever looked this quaint.
Did I mention it's amazingly pretty here? That's why you see pictures of the fjords on this page and not of the car radio. But you will get to see a picture of our today's camp site: up on the rocks, overlooking a whole bay, simply beautiful. With the clouds coming up it looked threatening, but the rain didn't come. Yet. We are camping in complete solitude, far enough from civilization, with some fishing boats in visible range. When walking down to the water you can admire its incredible clarity, the amount of detail you can see of objects even deep in the water, even at this hour close to midnight. So you can see the jelly fish and the crab walking happily sideways.