Stavanger: Snowblind

17th of February. A date like any other that serves as opening for a blog entry just as well as a pick-up line. But fuck you anyway. Heh. I said buttfuck.

 

I didn’t make it. Preikestolen. Not even halfway. And though I was going in the right direction, I wasn’t aware.

With about ten centimeter of snow, the path had vanished altogether. The only thing I could count on were the footsteps of those before me. Or, so I thought.
I set off quite well. I was surprised with how difficult the initial climb was, trampled powder snow really can be slippery; not to mention the small streams that lay frozen and hidden under snow. But, I can handle difficult. I enjoy it. It make me pick up the pace and find all the more satisfaction in reaching the top.

Howver, when the foot trail suddenly splits in three seperate ways, there’s just no way to tell which direction is yours. There were markings but they too were either covered by snow, or simply not there. Obviously, the path itself did not split and should be quite obvious, making signalling obsolete. I on the other hand, was left in the dark. I tried going straight ahead first, but that led to an area of huge boulders on the steep side of a mountain. I probably wouldn’t have stopped there, if it wasn’t for the snow and ice making the climb pure suicide. I was alone, and although I tend to push the line of the outright stupid from time to time, this was a little too far. Quite possibly the only hiker on the hill that day and without cell phone reception, I would be downright fucked if I got myself into trouble.

I explored all three options for a few hundred meters, but there wasn’t a sign in sight. I did however, spot a path higher up the rocks that lead over the saddle and out of sight. So I figured I needed to go up and between peaks, instead of around them. I picked the most logical path that turned away and up the slope, and went on my less than merry way.
It fucking vanished on me. It simply faded to a white carpet with bushes underneath, making me sink in up to my knees and more. Imagine having to go up a mountain through that shit. But that’s what I did: I knew the trail ran above me, and after about an hour of struggling I found it. Patting myself on the back, I looked left and right… seeing the side that I thought was right do down before curving behind the wall. But, if the trail turns on itself twice to end up higher on the mountain, it makes a sort of S shape, no? Maybe I had gotten to the center of that figure and I should be going left in order to end up going right.

I lost precious time with situations like this. I had no map, and my compass couldn’t tell me anything new since I knew which direction the fjord was. The sketch given on the start (the picture from last entry) was too simple to be of any value, even though I had memorized it well. I lost my way a second time, ending up in even more misery. I had to cross an area of large boulders, visible only as mounds in the snow. I had to jump from one to the next, hoping that there was indeed a rock underneath and not a bush, making me sink to my hips in snow- again. If I missed, I risked getting my foot stuck in the holes between the rock, which I did more than once, or worse.

I eventually found a sound path again, but I didn’t know it it was the right one. I had stumbled across so many different branches of the same trail that I had become convinced that there were in fact several, for some goddamn reason all using the same signs. The fact that every in-between area was indicated, but Pulpit Rock itself was not, only aided in making that crucial mistake. I was never sure of myself, wasting lots of time with looking for alternatives.

After yet another dead end on a raised location, I stopped and assessed te situation.
I had no idea where I was. I was convinced that the path I was taking was the wrong one, and might as well lead me away from my goal- although that was unlikely as I had walked parallel to the fjord, which has Pulpit Rock by its coast. I figured I had simply walked past it.
I didn’t know how to get back. Reversing was no option. It was getting late and if I kept going, I would risk having to walk in the dark, something I wanted to avoid at all cost.
It stung, but I had to go back. To be safe, of all things. Luckily I hadn’t started this with the peak in mind, but simply out to get a nice view. And I got plenty of those. I tried to take pictures but really, I ended up deleting most of them frustratedly as they simply would not do.

So, maybe next time. I know now where I went wrong and I would try again, if it wasn’t for the fact that my friend has to entertain herself in the local village in the mean time. Whether she insists that she doesn’t mind or not, I’m not going to put her through that twice in a row, possibly even more since I still haven’t gotten to the second half yet.

 

February is almost coming to an end. And here I was wondering after five days how I was going to last another week, let alone two months.
Now that I can put things into perspective, looking back, I’m thinking it’s about time to head home. My bank account is telling me the same thing: I reached the yellow zone. As I suspected, bills and rent are quickly draining it now that any income has run dry. I’m okay now but I do have the future to think about. If I run dry before coming home, I’ll be in serious shit the next month.

But, I lucked out this time. I’ve been mentioning this to the people here and they were so kind to ask around with their friends and relatives, and so on. And it so turns out, that the colleague of the brother of my friend’s mother [sic], a truck driver, is headed to Paris straight from my current doorstep. What’s more, he’s Dutch.
In other words, I can sort of pick any location, including my own home town, between Oslo and Paris, and be taken there. For free. By a fucking truck. Just how awesome is that?

The details will be known tomorrow, wednesday, and we’ll be heading out on friday 20th. But where to?
I can’t help but find it a bit of an anticlimax to just be dropped off in my home town. It sort of goes against the point of this whole trip (whatever that may be) and there were cities along the way I was hoping to visit. People, too: Although the girl I met in Dublin may be a little too much out of the way, there’s someome else I was hoping to see there, as well, who lives in the town where Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany come together. However Germany is huge, and even if he would, I am not going to ask my driver to take a detour. This means, that after being dropped off, I may very well have a few days worth of travelling ahead before even getting there.

All this assuming that things go according to plan, and if I’ll be welcome there. I dropped her a note so we’ll know soon enough.

 

My time spent here in Stavanger has been focused almost entirely on the people here rather than the town itself. In other words, I can’t be bothered with getting off my lazy ass and swithing off the X-box. Fallout 3 just sucks you in like um… Yeah. My character has turned into this evil opportunist despite my efforts towards behaving a little. Of course, first thing I did upon escaping the vault was blow up an entire town, residents and everything, and then proceed to murder the survivors in cold blood. I can honestly say I felt kind of bad about it for a few moments.

I’ve been catching up on my Norwegian. If I concentrate (quite a feat for me) I can make out the gist of a conversation, and occasionally even understand full sentences. Many words are very similar to Dutch and English, but often a word will sound the same while meaning something completely different, so it takes a little while before you catch on. I think I’m getting close to three months of combined time in Norway so it’s about time. I refrain from speaking though, until I get the hang of the vocabulary, with the exception of things like "Nei, takk" when asked if I want a receipt. Often I will understand something said to be by someone unaware, but have no response other than a stupid grin.

I don’t want to be seen as a tourist. It’s exactly what I am, but the very term shows a certain degree of disrespect towards the locals.
Just passing by to stare at your stuff, never mind me. I do not intend to understand your culture in-depth, just the most spectacular parts, and I won’t bother with your language any more than what serves as personal amusement. Can you say something with an ‘Å’ in it please? I’ll pay you for it.
That’s what a tourist is to me, and it’s the last thing I want people to assume about me. It’s a paradox I have to deal with every time I go abroad. I want to look beyond the tourist traps, and see what makes the locals tick. But most often I simply don’t have the time for that, so in the end I will leave again without any decent effort spent on either. It can make me a pretty boring travel companion, I suppose. But the reward when succeeding is all the greater, Liverpool being the perfect example where I actually managed both.

 

So next thing to figure out is where to go next.
I’ll let you know when I get there, I suppose.

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