This is the first part to my little adventure blog from my recent trip to Norway. I thought I’d post it up in case you guys enjoyed reading it.
Right, so, as the title would suggest I recently (in 2014) took a mini holiday in the beautiful wilderness of Norway – Home to Vikings, Trolls (not internet trolls, troll trolls), mountains and fjords.
The getaway was completely unplanned and the destination selected purely for the fact that flights were only fifty quid.
For this inexplicably poorly planned adventure I teamed up with my fam from another clan, King Of Scots (not his real name, obviously). Now, those who do not know us personally will not understand why this was a recipe for disaster, so, I’ll fill you in: between us we have the luck of a man struck by lightening after missing the last bus, and are about as accident-prone as Owen Hargreaves.
With that in mind the trip started off seemingly well, we got to the airport on-time, the flight had no hiccups (other than having to pay £50 to check our bag in) and we got our bag back in one piece. Life was good.
Shortly after collecting our overly-sized army rucksack (filled with tent, camping stove and all that survivalist shit) from the Rygge airport baggage claim, we made our way to the Hertz car rental counter, to get our method of transport for the holiday.
This is the point where the powers that be decided to cosmically re-align and blast us with their fuck-up inducing laser beams from the heavens.
There we were, stood at the car rental counter. Two young men anxiously anticipating our inaugural drive on the Norwegian tarmac, while, unknowingly about to begin the spate of unfortunate events which would leave any superstitious person thinking they’d shattered every single mirror within a 100 mile radius of themselves.
That’s right, we hadn’t even left the airport before our fragile hearts were beating at a pace that would give Usain Bolt a run for his money. Turns out, although not stated anywhere on their site, you can’t pay for a rental car with cash. This was a problem.
Before starting the trip we both emptied our accounts to change up the money, this meant we couldn’t get our car and caused myself to have a heated argument with the management while KOS (a tall bearded guy with a heavy Scottish accent and hands like cinder blocks) frantically asked strangers if we could borrow their bank card, and called people back home to ask them to transfer the amount.
After one of the longest hours of my life, our mutual mukka, Stark, pulled through like an absolute champ and transferred the spondoolies into my bank account. We then proceeded with all the normal car rental admin and received our car, a bloody Mitsubishi Space Star.
At this point I couldn’t of cared if it was a Robin Reliant, I just wanted to get out of the airport and see what the country had to offer me.
This brings us onto fuck ups two and three. Before I start I will ask you this; have you ever tried to drive on the opposite side of the road? I hadn’t. We nearly died. Like, really nearly died.
Since the airports get iffy about bottles of aftershave and whatnot, we thought it would probably save a lot of hassle if we bought the gas canister for the camp stove while in Norway, instead of trying to take them on a plane post 9/11.
This in mind, we decided to stop in the first town and look for a camping-gear shop (probably not what they’re called), meaning, I would have to tackle a roundabout that goes the wrong way, for the first time.
It sounds simple right? Look left instead of right. Try telling my brain that! We approach the roundabout and I look right, it’s all clear, sweet. Without thinking twice, I pull out quicker than a Catholic man who can’t bear the though of having yet another child to hear KOS say something along the lines of “shiiiiit” and, the sound of some poor Norwegian slamming on his brakes/sounding his horn.
His car came to a stop, literally inches from our car, and the two of us let out a small sort of “shit we nearly died” chuckle. Adrenaline pumping we continued with our journey to the camping-gear shop, did our shopping, and went back to the car.
At this point fuck up three comes into play. It became apparent that, mere minutes after nearly killing the two of us, I’d lost the keys to the car which contained all of our belongings in a foreign country. Needless to say, we panicked, and I headed back into the shops while KOS waited by the car so no-one stole it.
After about fifteen minutes of inspecting every last square inch that we traveled and asking a load of random strangers if they found any keys, I headed back to the car empty handed. Now we were really panicked and started thinking of Hollywood movie-styled schemes to not have to pay for the losing of the keys. We used our better judgment and decided to send KOS in for a look, you know, a fresh set of eyes an’ that.
What seemed like an eternity passed before I heard a feint whistle, I looked up to see KOS’s watermelon sized hand rattling the literal key to our existence in Norway. Turn’s out, I left them on a stand near the loo. We both looked at each other and laughed for a good few minutes while smoking enough cigarettes to give the entire city lung cancer. We then jumped in the car and proceeded with our journey.
As mentioned above, this holiday was completely unplanned. The only activity that was even remotely planned was that we wanted to drive from Rygge (east) all the way to Odda (west), without any sat nav or map, and then climb Trolltunga (a huge mountain).
After numerous hours of driving, getting heckled by locals, clipping curbs, asking for refunds on over-priced baccy (£22 for a pack of rolling baccy!) and just generally being amazed by the scenery, we arrived at a quaint little camp-site called Groven, in the district of Vinje.
Having been driving for roughly six hours on no sleep and after a Ryanair flight, I was considerably shattered, so, we decided to pitch the tent before we lost the sun, then, go find something to eat.
Tent pitched and food eaten, we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves so decided to roll a few spliffs and make a dent in the bottle of Jim Beam that we bought in the UK duty free, before trying to get some sleep.
The rain started pouring, the temperature dropped and needless to say, neither of us slept very well at all.