Surprisingly often over the past few months I’ve been asked, “how do you find the places you end up traveling to?” My answer; I make travel plans using StumbleUpon.com (and I must say, the inspiration for a majority of my adventures was found using it). It’s just so similar to how great travel actually does happen, because when on the road you end up stumbling across people, places, things – and that’s the exciting part.
We (my friend Sarah and I) flew into to Trondheim, Norway at 11:30pm on a Friday with no place to stay. There were no hostels that we could find online and the cheapest hotel room $150/night – I was ready to crash for the night at baggage claim but didn’t want to make Sarah regret tagging along on day one! But instead I got lucky, and while de-boarding she made the suggestion for me.
Our car reservation was for 8:00am the next morning, so with eight hours to spare Sarah curled up in a corner and I sat anxiously. I tried laying down, walking around the airport, writing, walking outside, among other things. But despite my efforts, the clock moved slowly.
The car was waiting for us at 8:00am. And after a few stall-outs in the parking lot we were driving east. The last few road trips I’ve done have been without GPS, which is rewarding in a silly way. There is something about following road signs and asking for directions that makes the drive seem more adventurous (whereas I’m sure any adventurer would have LOVED a GPS). Where we were heading was along the coast though, which gave me an easy land mark to work with…
Disaster happened right out of the gates. Disaster for me, at least. While flying down the wet roads that cut their way along cliff-sides, both Sarah and I were distractedly looking out either window. I was driving in the middle of the road to make it easier – so that when I did inevitably sway from side to side the road would be a bit more forgiving. However, while zipping around a corner on a narrowed stretch of road I was looking out the passenger window when suddenly an absolutely stunning view appeared out of nowhere – so we slowed down to a stop.
There wasn’t much of a shoulder on the road – just enough room so that the car was safe with its doors closed. While leaning into the back seat to grab all my camera gear, Sarah had already jumped out of the car and was urging me to hurry up. Unfortunately her pressuring work, and before I was ready I opened my door straight into the street without looking. Before I could even blink, I was already thirty-yards away from the car setting up my camera and realized that I had forgotten my remote.
It was cold and I didn’t want to walk back to the car. Instead I just dealt with it. And after snapping a few landscape pictures I turned the camera towards Sarah to try to make her blush. It work, and afterwards she pointed off into the distance at a fishing ship making its way to dock. The wind was strong, and like an idiot I let go of my camera (which I had taken the lens filter off) to turn and look at this boat.
Seconds later I turned back, and sure enough we had a man down…me – almost in tears as I pulled my camera off the wet and muddy pile of moss that had received it. Everywhere I have walked so far in Norway has felt like a mattress. Thick green moss and grass cushion the landscapes in the most comfortable way. And this is lucky for me, because even though my camera had fallen flat on its lens there were no scratches – just muddy water.
This made my camera fairly useless for the rest of the day (though luckily I had my GoPro!) since I didn’t have any lens cleaning gear. A few hours later we did run into a mini-mall type place and asked a shop owner if there was anywhere that sold eye-glass cleaner. She smirked and replied, “not on this island” (I did my best to clean up my camera, but don’t think I did well enough).
Yes, we are on an island now. A series of islands off the north east coast of Norway. The town we are in specifically is named Averøy, and there must be less than 50 locals – if that. It’s closest “city”, Kristensund, is just a ten minute tunnel drive under the Atlantic Ocean away. And it is beautiful.
One minute there is a hail storm and the next rain. A soft violet sky exposes itself when the clouds are generous enough to break. And the wind never stops howling, nor the waves violently crashes. Averøy impressions itself as wild, extreme, and unconquerable.
The next day we drove the Atlantic Road – I’m still in shock. As the swells from the Atlantic rolled in against the bridges great splashes soared over the roads. When walking along the intermittent islands where we stopped, the winds made Sarah appear almost weightless – forcing her to walk at an angle against it. However, with frozen fingers, noses, ears, lips, and eyes, we gazed euphorically in awe.