Friday, 5 August 2011

Day seven and on...

Day seven...

Jup, certainly the least comfortable night EVER. We are SO fucking spoiled, the city brats, haha. Ow, boohoo, we slept on a hard ground without blow-up mattresses, ow, boohoo, it was nippy outside and the seagulls were SO noisy! For the love of all that's pancake-like, and we call ourselves adventurers! If Snufkin should hear me now, he would throw me off a fjord! :)))) He would mock us viciously: "'This rock is too hard, this water is too wet, this snow is too cold!...'" But yeah, it was ridiculously difficult to sleep. It doesn't get dark at all anymore and the seagulls are real pests. It's rock hard ground on the shore and it was damn cold. And yet it's over now, the sun is shining, it's warmth for my old bones, I took a nice shower and will make a nice brunch. And the new day on the road will begin :D

Intermezzo: hihi, there now exists a short movie documenting how General took a dip in the Arctic sea :D if I manage, I will post it ASAP... :D

Easiest thing in the world to see is how Tolkien got his inspiration for Hobbiton in Norway - all you have to do is drive around for two days and small, heavenly peaceful villages with houses practically in the grounds and tress and grass over the roofs are a-plenty. And also why the Vikings would deems and fear these parts like they would fear the Gods: on a pretty day, this is a wonderful land to drive through, but on a difficult winters day, elements rule supreme.

We are starting to run out of the map....

So... In this land, where the summer sun shines eternal (if at all), we have almost, almost reached the end of earth. Over hills and valleys, tundra and taiga, through swamps and elk herds, around lots, and by that I mean LOTS of fjords, we are finally at the gates of Nordkapp... If it were a mountain, this would be the base camp. Best way to describe it would be, hm, well, foggy, and JesusFuckMaryJosefandJohnonastick cold. We drove though regions today showing 25 degrees of Celsius, too hot for shorts and sandals even and then we arrived here through some very intestine tunnels and it just... dived. The democracy once again voted for the accommodations to surrender to cabins, warm and cushy, so we can watch movies, write postcards and draft blog entries like people and less like souls condemned. :))

Day eight

Okay. JesusFuck but next time before an old, fat, computer geek couch potato bag lady decides to take a 6 hour cross-country trek in the fog and icy wind without any practice, somebody stop me. Seriously, somebody punch me and knock me out. I'll thank you later. Haha, there was no way to carry on driving today. No way. We walked the distance to that strange little place, past a place that might have been that village that got bombed in the war and never recovered, but now there's just driftwood (whole trees, to be precise, and occasional very big stuff from ships) and to the weather-beaten box that says 'sign here, you're on the real northernmost cape....' Then we walked back, talking any old story we could think of, using my souvenirs topperware to carry water from the creek... By the time we reached the giftshop and other pretty halls of NorthCape, we could barely walk. The General was soaked through and through, having carried my backpack, and none of us was fit to continue on that kind of a swampy, rocky road. We're back at basecamp now, in the hut next to the one from last night and eating cold dinner, completely in silence. We got the fridge magnets for the kids and snow globe for families, and a few vintage post-cards for me. And a "careful, mooses passing" road sign for G. Then we watched MacGruber and passed out...

Day nine

Oddly enough, we made a lot more mileage than any of the previous days. Starting at seven, we drove from the North Cape, over Finland, Lapland and through Sweden, on remote roads, dodging herds of northern elks and occasional sleeping flock of sheep on the asphalt. Mostly it was the smoothest going ever. We don't much stop and have long stopped wanting to make any real detours, even lenghtly tours through old towns and museums, now kind of just wishing we got home soon, so we can edit the photos and tell the stories. Usually towards the end of the ride we start fighting, so I know that as he gets cranky, it means he's getting tired. I make demands we find the next camp and pitch the tent. After we get out of the car, the tired tension wanes again. Because we fall asleep, mostly.
     Tonight we camped on the shore just next to the town called Lulea. We put up only the otherwise inner tent, nailing it as much as we could into the sand and ate cowboy dinner of beans and veggies from a can. The light won't deminish until we reach Germany, I think, and nor will the seagulls or boats or planes... All the sounds that I need to feel closen to the civilization. Oddly enough, as magnificent as these vast Lapland birch forests are and the tiny secluded villages are quaint, I wouldn't want to live here long. Even on this trip I miss the people, the hanging out in night bars in hotels and beach resorts, comparing hitchhike stories... But this is not the land for such communal gathering. People move about in their private little bubbles, families, couples, packs of bikers or retired old pairs on super posh mounts... There are no campfires or beach parties. It's way too cold - and it's never musky and dark quite enough!
      Not even I am, at the end of the day, in the mood to poke around anymore. The rides are too long. I want to go home, too, and then read about the places I drove through and put down on paper the stories I conjured, inspired by the sights from the dirty windshield... Museum hopping and old town photographing is another sport, having much less to do with driving for twelve hours on tricky roads. I know that now. I know where to return to, should there be another siren call from North lands (Ekeby!). And what sort of a trip to plan for us next, as the General and I have two exactly opposite wishes for vacation... :D Well, it wouldn't be half as fun, if it wasn't a challenge ;)

Day ten

We are making ridiculous mileage indeed. The General is really good at  driving and I am making sure the job is easy on him. I choose the routes, I make us stop, I make us eat and shower and I read out loud the adventures and misadventures of the Berling dude, messed up as they may be...  We have gotten pass Stockholm in two days. Tonight we couldn't find any other camp than one without an open reception, so me being me, just ordered us to drive in and set up the tent just barely enough to sleep. In the morning, if anyone notices we are here, we will pay, otherwise we'll simply keep on driving. It's not the first time I've done this, although the General is so uncomfortable, breaking a rule, he is practically sleeping underneath the car. Poor sod. I cannot imagine how honest people live. I mean, I am not a mean person or a blatant thief, but I am anything but a model citizen. Snufkin agrees with me for once, famously hating the park and its regulations. Yet again, if he chooses to sleep in the swamp, that'd be his choice. Personally I lean towards the neatly cut grass, security from odd road folk and anti-mosquito spray at this particular junction. And I have sort of gotten spoiled by camps. I like the noise of other campers, many traveling with dogs and even cats and babies, and being able to pee and brush my teeth indoors... If we were to just camp somewhere in the wold, I would rather we did it somewhere in the arctic tundra, on the plain, and not here, where the nice fields and clearings look like gatherings of junkies, dealers and masturbating freaks. Knowing travelers, I even make sure my precious Crocs flippy floppies are safe over night, yet alone all my shiny toys. Can't imagine a random hitchhiker who would say no to an iPad if an oportunity presented itself in the back of the car. You don't want to insult them by thinking they are thieves - which goes for people in general - but never trust them as far as you can spit. This is wisdom from both ends of the looking glass ;)

We got the night back, by the way. Sleeping outdoors got another little bit easier. Though the General is still cranky as a horsefly every time we wake up.  City slacker :p

Day eleven

Another looong, long drive - but I think tomorrow we will already get home. The roads are messy the further south we go, with worse drivers, so there's no certainty in planning, but sometimes the traffic gets scarce, the lanes get clear and it's smooth sailing all the way. Tired, pretty drained and hungry, we treated ourselves to a Burger King lunch (road food for the win!) and stopped in a hotel by the highway. We often pay just for two beds, needing only two, grateful for the showers and the mattresses... Alarm clocks set at five; nine, now, is already late.