23 Sep 2007

Hitchhiking race to Nordkapp

Posted by walterheck

We got up early to make sure we were on the road by 8:00. We had decided to travel separately since it would much likely be easier for single people to get a hitch than for couples. Jeff (I’ll stop calling him French Jeff now as Canadian Jeff is out of the picture 😉 ) started from a gas station and I walked a little further to catch more on-topic traffic. We decided to meet up at key places along the way and then got started.

I got some good rides, including one from a photographer who could appreciate the awesome scenery and the beautiful colours. Fall was really at it’s peak here in the north, creating awesome sceneries with the most beautiful gold, yellow and red colours. Because this guy was going exactly in my direction, but well past the point that I would first meet up with Jeff, I contacted him and asked if he would be okay with meeting up somewhere later that day. He was (and at that point he was behind me, yay!), so I stayed in the car and finally got dropped off in some shitty little town.

It took me a while to get out of there, so I saw Jeff passing by. The woman picking me up said that she could only take me 5 miles but I still took the ride. Next thing I know I’m in her car for almost an hour. I just thought that she was _really_ bad at estimating distances (as were a couple of other rides the previous days. Weird?). The next ride finally explained to me why all these people were so bad at estimating: I just was an ignorant little fuck! Apparently there is something called the Norwegian mile that is about 10Km. Mysteries were solved and I could kick myself for not knowing this :)

Anyway, one of my next rides was a guy moving to Hammerfest, going exactly in my direction. He was even stopping in Alta for dinner (this was where I was supposed to meet Jeff), so I called him to tell him that he could come with us from Alta until the point where the road to Nordkapp and the road to Hammerfest split up (a little town called Skaidi). Jeff turned out to be only 10 minutes ahead of me (amazing after hitchhiking for 300+ Km!).

We picked Jeff up and went to Alta. This being one of the bigger towns in the region, we hadn’t expected to find a deserted little town where it was hard to get dinner. Dinner was not very good, but it was all we could find, so we were on our way pretty soon after reaching Alta.

After continuing our way from Alta, it was amazing to see how fast the landscape was changing. One minute we had beautiful autumn colours with all kinds of trees, the next we were driving through deserted wasteland with the occasional bush that looked like winter had settled in long time ago.

Our driver dropped us off in Skaidi (basically a big campsite with a gas station in the middle of nowhere) and we figured we wanted to go a little bit further, so we continued hitchhiking. We ended up not getting a ride and after an hour of trying with only 5 or so cars passing that were actually going in our direction and would have had the space, we gave up.
We looked for a suitable place to pitch our tents. This turned out to be across from the gasstation on a little piece of grass next to a parking place. It was getting cold so we made some tea and talked for a few hours in front of our tents. We had some good conversations and I really got to know Jeff a little better. We decided to turn in early and set our alarms to midnight to see if there was any northern light.

Around midnight it was already well below zero degrees outside, so we got out only for a short bit. We saw a very nice northern light. There was much more light, but it was less active. Back to our sleeping bags (damn, I’m glad I bought a good one before leaving Holland!) for the rest of the night!

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