This post will document the unglamorous reality of travelling on an extremely tight budget. I was effectively homeless from the time I left Stamsund at 12h on 7.20.10 until I arrived at Jacob’s place at 15h on 7.22.10. Soon I will post an expenses of Scandinavia thingie, but suffice it to say for now that I was extremely proud of myself for this stretch in that sense.
I intended to hitch out of Stamsund to the airport, but the continuing rain hampered this feasibility so I jumped on a series of busses, instead. By calling myself a student I managed to halve the price. I intended to stay awake for the entirety of the rides, but Drammamine had other plans. The first short leg, to Leknes, got me rather nauseated, so I popped a Drammamine (the recommended dosage being 1-2 every 4-6 hours) to sustain me through till Svolvær and Evenes. It knocked me out. This is an eternal gripe of mine, that dosages never take slighter people into consideration. When the dosage is a single capsule it’s extremely hard to vary for a smaller person. Sudafed also is lights out for me. And in København, Katja confirmed my annoyance: they do tests on 80kg pigs… that is the average adult male. What about the rest of us (Im getting thinner, but Im still at 54kg.. that’s like the average female, right? Female doses on boxes, pleeease).
This tiredness lasted through the next fuzzy days. I slept the first night in freezing cold Evenes Airport (heating, anyone) but the benches were very comfortable, at least. I awoke with a small cold. This was exacerbated in Oslo Airport. The strength I left the Lofoten with – nullified with two nights in airports.
I’d packed five sandwiches, a box of sweet crackers and a package of Marie crackers. This managed to last me the whole journey. Of course my liquid intake consisted of water, stored happily in the original one euro one and half liter bottle I purchased in Helsinki (you can take such bottles on board planes, if empty). I spent the day in the Oslo airport availing myself of the free services – I sat in a bookstore for a few hours reading a book before the staff sternly kicked me out (I still don’t see the problem of reading a book in a bookstore without paying). I’d gotten just over halfway through, and now I’ll have to find that book (The Piano Teacher) elsewhere, which is sure to prove difficult. The very friendly airport is also densely populated with free internet kiosks and is quite well equipped for sleeping: they let you sleep on the couches inside the bars and restaurants and even dim the lights!
I was rather starving by the evening in OSL, so I talked to the girl running the cash register for the ever present Pizza Hut. I asked her what they did with the pizza (they threw it out) and asked if I might have some when they closed for the night. She took pity on me and voila: two extremely greasy, calorie filled slices… of heaven. I intended to intercept her on her way out to sing her a song, but she was accompanied by her manager (who was unaware of our transaction). Regardless, I slept well.
I whiled away much of my first day back in København at the Royal Library. Later on I was informed that only Danes can use the facilities there, but no one bothered me, so maybe it’s the honor system? So many things in Scandinavia are based upon that. It’s quite nice. I’m much less mobile with my pack and coat so when I hobbled over to the walking streets I couldnt decide if I wanted to play. The first busker I met in front of the Rundetårn – a large black man with a piano on wheels – hailed from California and he was rather friendly in recommending me a pitch further down, across from the Post Office. I decided to send a bunch of letters instead.
Jacob was a touch late meeting me in front of his place. I was able to do some laundry (been awhile) and we had a wonderful barbecue in the open courtyard of his apartment complex in Vesterbro. Here I sampled (and liked) the apparently very Swedish bacon wrapped around banana and fried. Brent would love that, but he’s not reading so he fails. Katja was keen on heading to Islands Brygge. As it was we biked down and I was paranoid enough with my guitar strapped around me, unprotected from the hazards of the roads except with my rusty biking skills. Still, biking is the way to get about København, and it was nice to go at it. Besides a mishap where the chain came off at the beginning, crossing the road, it was strangely astonishing for me how much faster travel is with wheels.
In retrospect I should have brought my camera. The sunset was glorious – a boiling carpet of cotton candy red and pink, smoothing out into deeper blues and a soft indigo. The hues reflected off the surface of the canal, mostly still now that few people were swimming. I sang a few songs – one man nearby complimented my playing after Steets of London and the youngsters around us seemed to particularly like Hey Ya. After we’d eaten a typically Danish dessert: Koldskål, which tastes like a sweet, yoghurty cereal with a hint of citrus and egg, Jacob requested I Will Follow You into the Dark. The sun had finally fallen over the edge and all the ride back I heard it playing softly in my mind.
Song of the Day: I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab for Cutie