Pining For The Fjords
Our new correspondent sets out on the big adventure. Stay tuned to Hackwriters
for more from the Wandering Welshman.
I was always restless
as a kid. My Mother used to say "Sit down, youre like a wandering
Jew mun." So its really no surprise that at the ripe old
age of 33, I finally got my arse in gear and decided to sort out a bit
of travelling. Having just split up from a long term relationship, having
bought a house and put my company into storage, it was finally time
to go. At bloody last I thought, and then realised that I had to come
back into the country to finish off my course of jabs. It was about
this time that I realised that rushing was not an option when wandering,
unless I wanted to end up in a hospital somewhere with a knackered heart.
So I decided to start it easy and go up and see a friend in Scotland.
On the first day I was hit by that strange split of feeling "I
dont want to go, but I cant wait to get there". So
I took the overnight sleeper between London and Plockton. Whilst at
the London waiting room, full of the usual number of happy London commuters,
I noticed the not too happy member of staff in the waiting room. While
I was sat there I realised that he had the worst deal as we were all
moving on whilst he was stuck there. So, on the way out I smiled and
thanked him, and blow me, he smiled! Funny how people respond when youre
nice to them. So, the train. What an excellent service, comfortable,
cheap, and gets you into the heart of Scotland with no problems. And
the scenery, wow. The view from the window as I travelled through Scotland
was magnificent, the hills reminding me of home, like the back of a
On the way by train from Inverness to Plockton (you have to do it) I
got chatting to a musician from the Isle of Skye. Lovely bloke, one
minute sitting writing music from his head (incredible), the next having
a larf and a chat about the beauty of the local mountains. Its
funny how people from different parts of the country have the same ideas,
perhaps Ill find that as I travel more around the World. It got
me thinking about the reason, is it because of the fabled Universal
Mind, or simply due to similar culturization. Who knows.
Plockton, what a beautiful village. Tucked away up in the NW of the
highlands, near the Kyle of Lochalsh, the beauty of the place left me
at peace. But, nothing for the locals to do for work so many people
leave to get work elsewhere, but thats seems to be part of the
common pattern in the small number of heartful places Ive visited.
At one point I was sitting at the local café (on the Plockton
station platform), the sun shining, birds singing, locals talking in
the background, smell of garlic bread wafting in the air, good looking
waitress, and I thought, where else would I wanna be right now? Soon
"The Rose was not searching for the Rose,
It was searching for something else."
I got thinking, the unknown is uncomfortable, e.g. in a new restaurant
do we order at the table or at the bar what do we do? How do
we behave? Does it matter if we come from our ego or soul? A good way
to find out where we come from is, for me, do I feel embarassed standing
here wondering what to do? Something to keep an eye on I think.
Good to see a friend of mine recovering from an illness, so with a happy
heart it was time for the next step in the journey, Norway.
Decided to get there by boat, as there are not many Viking Dragon boats
around these days I decided to get the next best thing, a ferry from
Newcastle! Very good bus service from the train station to the ferry,
reasonable priced and excellent timing the bus company lays on
a bus especially timed for the ferry. To get the bus go out of the train
station and turn left. Walk for about 500yds and Bobs your uncle.
Possibly. Also got mistaken for a Geordie, South Wales and Newcastle
accents are very similar apparently. At the terminal got chatting to
a good bloke, perhaps a bit of an eco-warrior, and sound. Had a few
jars on the ferry, and a game of cards with a bus driver from Birmingham.
Good how playing cards can bring people together. Perhaps because of
a shared goal people relax and co-operate? Ended up crawling into my
sleeping bag on the floor (very useful if going in the sleeperette section
as there is no way anyone can sleep in those chairs). Very comfortable,
as long as you notice the temperature gauge hidden in plain view just
inside the door.
Norway Waterfall -- Dai Clyant
But the ferry finally arrived, 28 hours later, at the first stop - Stavanger.
Eco-warrior got off. Very important to say goodbye to someone after you've
said hello, otherwise feeling of something unfinished. An uneventful trip
up the West cost of Norway to my destination, Bergen.
It was evening when I arrived there, but it was hard to tell as the evenings
were already starting to stay lighter for longer, and it was only the
middle of May. Used the Lonely Planet guide to sort out a place to stay.
Stayed in the Marken Gjesthus in town. Very cheap for Norway, good welcome
by the receptionist. Dumped my rucksack off in the lockable cupboard in
the room and then decided to go for a wander around the town. Went into
a nearby small supermarket for a snack and something to drink. Got mistaken
for a Norwegian (one of many times) and just stood there looking stupid
while the checkout assistant thought I was stupid, and gave me a large
amount of coins in change, as I had nothing smaller in notes. I realised
on the way back to the hostel that she had asked me if I had anything
smaller. Never mind. The bed was comfortable, but watch out for small
blood sucking insects in your bedding.
The next morning, in a shop again got mistaken for a local, so I started
to wonder, what is the right action here. Is it to try to bluff your way
in, shrug and make non-committal grunts, or just to own up and say "Im
sorry I dont understand"? Is being local better than a tourist?
Does it really matter? Or would you rather be a fish? Who knows. Used
the first phrase from the guide book, "Snakker du Engelsk?",
pronounced "Snakker doo engyelsk?" Very, very useful. In fact
this became my first phrase on any new encounter with the locals. Usually
they looked a bit puzzled, then replied in almost perfect English, "A
little". This usually meant that they could speak better English
than most of my friends. Bergen seemed a pretty coastal town, full of
oldie worldie and modern buildings. Very nice. Well worth a re-visit sometime
That afternoon it was time to get going to my final destination in Norway
(Norge in Norwegian), Turtagro Hotel. This was further up into the centre
of Norge, on the outskirts of the Jotunheimen National Park, up in the
mountains. I decided to take the ferry to Sogndal (450 Nok, at the time)
and see some of the fjords.
To be Continued...
More travel on Hacktreks
< About the Author
< Reply to this Article