Monday, 12 July 2010

The Scandinavian Expedition 2010 - Diary Day 12

The very beginning of the High Coast track.
Back after a break (no internet access to transcribe and upload my thoughts). In Sweden now, finally on the Hoga Kusten, apparently the last piece of Swedish coastal wilderness (says the Rough Guide). Let me tell you, getting here was an ordeal!

Here are the links to the next two photo galleries: Trondheim and High Coast.




Trondheim
Trondheim University.
I stayed in Trondheim one day longer, but not at Fred's; he had to leave. Instead, I went to a hostel, and I liked it a lot. For the same price as in Bergen, there was breakfast included and free internet. They also make dinners for just 50k, which is an excellent money value considering the portions and that it would cost double anywhere else. Beer is also quite reasonable compared to other places, and as if it were not enough, the night I stayed there was a free rock concert. Too bad I was so tired. I barely managed to lazily walk through the town streets and then I fell asleep before the gig even started.

Hellish vehicle...
Hell
I left Trondheim on Sunday and thanks to inaccurate information about hitch hiking spots I ended up thumbing on a highway, 100 metres before a tunnel. Luckily a Norweguan guy with a 1986 Alfa Romeo took me to Hell (the next town's name, and it didn't take long to get another ride. Three African guys in a rental car took me just across the Swedish border, some 70km from Hell. Funny name for a town, isn't it? There's even Hell Airport and you drive there through the Hell Tunnel. I wonder how a dialogue would develop from "Where did you fly from? From Hell, the locals say Hello..."




Ostersund and Alice
Only picture I took in Ostersund. Not a thrilling city.
It's on the Swedish side that things got more interesting, though. While standing by the road I met a fellow hitch-hiker, a Welsh girl called Alice. She had just come from nearby mountains after a three-day excursion and it was a pure coincidence that we met (she was heading toward the train station, met me, I told her there's no trains on Sunday...). We were both heading to Ostersund, so why not stick together for a while. It was raining and nobody with a fancy car would take us. In the end a local breakdown service guy had mercy and took us on his towing truck. He drove 80km just to pick up a caravan with a flat tyre. I worked in breakdown assistance business for five years and this was a nice, experience. Would have even been useful if I was still in the business.

Alice and pizza
Once arrived to Ostersund, Alice had to placate her 3-day old craving for a pizza, so we found the only place still open and and I was struck by the cheapness of it. It's really weird to say something like that in Sweden, which is anything but cheap, but since I just came from Norway...

The name High Coast
is spot on.
It was really nice to meet a fellow traveller and have some company for a while. It's a shame that Alice likes girls the same way I do, if you know what I mean. The next day we parted ways, she went South and I went East, to the coast, where I am right now, after an incredible town-to-town ordeal (Ostersund – Sundsvall – Harnosand – Some God Forgotten Village – 2 km on foot on a paved road and then, finally, the damn hiking trail, all this in a 34°C heat). Now I'm sitting by the water and relaxing at last, writing. The big walk awaits me.

One last funny little note to add. I used to work for Veolia in London. It's a huge company with many different businesses in several dozen countries. When I climbed on the bus in Sundsvall and noticed the driver's company t-shirt, I said "hey, Veolia, I work for them in England", and guess what: I got a free ride. Yuhuu!

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