Tromsø #3. On the Big Truck.

Monday passed, I wrote. A friend dropped in and we played the oldest Super Mario game. I was very bad at it. At night, I went to a bar where they had a Blue Monday, which meant beer for just 39 Kr. That was just cheap enough for me to have one beer, no gulping involved. It was a nice bar by the way, decorated with Music Posters from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young, Nirvana, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Dylan, Madonna, and with drums and guitars on the wall. Smoking was not allowed inside, but according to Norwegian strict rules, drinking was not allowed outside. As a Berlin citizen, I was of course a bit, how would you call it?
Let’s take the next day here, too. I wrote in the morning, then went to the student’s center driv and the lastebilsentralen (cargo center) where I found out that Norcargo / Bring drives north. I got the cell phone of a driver, who took me shortly after 5pm to Tana Bru, of all places. It was a long night, but I enjoyed to be on his truck, having some conversations. Near the Finnish border (he drove through Finland to Kautokeino and from there headed north west) we saw a huge reindeer herd, which was claxoned away by the continuously used mighty horns of the big truck. The animals ran off the road. I asked if there never was a deaf one. Some Finns told me that reindeer were the most stupid animals on the planet, but I doubted, wondering why they could have survived for so long in those latitudes. It was a beautiful scene, seeing the flock making way for the large truck, one of a handful by the way, delivering goods to the upper north of Finnmark. Logistics become more easy to grasp in hardly populated areas, as to many things.

Back to the basics. I played with the thought of quoting Penn/Krakauer’s Into the Wild for some time now. “It’s hard to catch a ride up north”. For me, it was all too easy from the Truck Terminal of Tromsø. “Not all is well on the hippy front”. My ‘hippies’, the young couple with their three dogs, were very happy. “Happines only real when shared”. That’s true in Tana Bru.

Tana Bru is a little settlement, not more than a hamlet with a gas station, where they let me stay inside. I waited several hours and then got lucky again. When does it ever stop? When does the fairy point her wand at some other being than me? It feels sometimes like I am traveling in an aura of untouchableness, which is nice on the one hand, but if you yearn for being touched once again, it’s not a very good idea. So this time a carbage truck driver offered me a ride to Kirkenes, 140 km further east, near the Russian border. They have do drive all the carbage of the region to Tana Bru since there was the only dump, he told me. Again, logistics and all the human structure we create on the Earth’s surface became translucent, and in understanding I felt part of it. In the truck I thought about my writing, as my frame of reference converged with the window of the truck, which protected us from the snowy foggy, and completely dark, late afternoon.

My couch-surfing host was not there, so I had a small problem. I had to rely on the hospitality of the people here. First I asked if they wouldn’t let me just be in the hotel overnight if I did some work there. Impossible. I decided to let it all out, resulting in the following conversation:

Can I just, you know, sleep inside on the floor and I’ll work for you.
– No, I cannot help you.
Yes you can, but you won’t
– No, I cannot.
Yes you can, but you don’t want to
– No, I cannot help you.
Yes you can, admit it, it’s as easy as that, you just don’t feel like it.
– No, I cannot.
Yes you can, but you don’t want. That’s okay. You don’t need to be afraid to say you want to let a fellow human being down.
– No I cannot sir. [bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep]

Amidst the bleeping sound of the hung up intercom system and the neon lights reflected in the fresh snow, I walked away. It was time to visit the church. And right in front of the church, fortuna’s arrow struck again. A young German fellow, Daniel, led some youth group there filling in a gap year after High School, and told me it was no problem at all to stay at his flat. Saved for the night, again. I never run out of luck. Am I glad I didn’t run for president in the US, I really would have hated myself defeating Obama.

Maybe you think Kirkenes it in the middle of nowhere. But there are actually some interesting things here. Yeah, let’s render some statistics here! It is the youngest community of Norway, just celebrating the 150th anniversary as I write (that’s right); it has the only point on earth where three time zones meet, the border between Norway, Finland, and Russia, and you can book an excursion, which I won’t. It’s enough that I have to put my clock ahead two hours when going to Russia. Daniel told me a nice Russian border story. It is absolutely forbidden to cross it without a visa (if you do, you end up paying about 1000€ and spending a night in a Russian cell). So when fishermen went fishing at a creek that constitutes the border in some part, they threw out their fishing-rod just a bit too far and it got stuck on the other side. And then… a hand appeared from the bushes and threw back the line. Sometimes, Russian border guards are nice guys.



Tromsø #3. On the Big Truck.

Monday passed, I wrote. A friend dropped in and we played the oldest Super Mario game. I was very bad at it. At night, I went to a bar where they had a Blue Monday, which meant beer for just 39 Kr. That was just cheap enough for me to have one beer, no gulping involved. It was a nice bar by the way, decorated with Music Posters from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young, Nirvana, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Dylan, Madonna, and with drums and guitars on the wall. Smoking was not allowed inside, but according to Norwegian strict rules, drinking was not allowed outside. As a Berlin citizen, I was of course a bit, how would you call it?
Let’s take the next day here, too. I wrote in the morning, then went to the student’s center driv and the lastebilsentralen (cargo center) where I found out that Norcargo / Bring drives north. I got the cell phone of a driver, who took me shortly after 5pm to Tana Bru, of all places. It was a long night, but I enjoyed to be on his truck, having some conversations. Near the Finnish border (he drove through Finland to Kautokeino and from there headed north west) we saw a huge reindeer herd, which was claxoned away by the continuously used mighty horns of the big truck. The animals ran off the road. I asked if there never was a deaf one. Some Finns told me that reindeer were the most stupid animals on the planet, but I doubted, wondering why they could have survived for so long in those latitudes. It was a beautiful scene, seeing the flock making way for the large truck, one of a handful by the way, delivering goods to the upper north of Finnmark. Logistics become more easy to grasp in hardly populated areas, as to many things.

Back to the basics. I played with the thought of quoting Penn/Krakauer’s Into the Wild for some time now. “It’s hard to catch a ride up north”. For me, it was all too easy from the Truck Terminal of Tromsø. “Not all is well on the hippy front”. My ‘hippies’, the young couple with their three dogs, were very happy. “Happines only real when shared”. That’s true in Tana Bru.

Tana Bru is a little settlement, not more than a hamlet with a gas station, where they let me stay inside. I waited several hours and then got lucky again. When does it ever stop? When does the fairy point her wand at some other being than me? It feels sometimes like I am traveling in an aura of untouchableness, which is nice on the one hand, but if you yearn for being touched once again, it’s not a very good idea. So this time a carbage truck driver offered me a ride to Kirkenes, 140 km further east, near the Russian border. They have do drive all the carbage of the region to Tana Bru since there was the only dump, he told me. Again, logistics and all the human structure we create on the Earth’s surface became translucent, and in understanding I felt part of it. In the truck I thought about my writing, as my frame of reference converged with the window of the truck, which protected us from the snowy foggy, and completely dark, late afternoon.

My couch-surfing host was not there, so I had a small problem. I had to rely on the hospitality of the people here. First I asked if they wouldn’t let me just be in the hotel overnight if I did some work there. Impossible. I decided to let it all out, resulting in the following conversation:

Can I just, you know, sleep inside on the floor and I’ll work for you.
– No, I cannot help you.
Yes you can, but you won’t
– No, I cannot.
Yes you can, but you don’t want to
– No, I cannot help you.
Yes you can, admit it, it’s as easy as that, you just don’t feel like it.
– No, I cannot.
Yes you can, but you don’t want. That’s okay. You don’t need to be afraid to say you want to let a fellow human being down.
– No I cannot sir. [bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep]

Amidst the bleeping sound of the hung up intercom system and the neon lights reflected in the fresh snow, I walked away. It was time to visit the church. And right in front of the church, fortuna’s arrow struck again. A young German fellow, Daniel, led some youth group there filling in a gap year after High School, and told me it was no problem at all to stay at his flat. Saved for the night, again. I never run out of luck. Am I glad I didn’t run for president in the US, I really would have hated myself defeating Obama.

Maybe you think Kirkenes it in the middle of nowhere. But there are actually some interesting things here. Yeah, let’s render some statistics here! It is the youngest community of Norway, just celebrating the 150th anniversary as I write (that’s right); it has the only point on earth where three time zones meet, the border between Norway, Finland, and Russia, and you can book an excursion, which I won’t. It’s enough that I have to put my clock ahead two hours when going to Russia. Daniel told me a nice Russian border story. It is absolutely forbidden to cross it without a visa (if you do, you end up paying about 1000€ and spending a night in a Russian cell). So when fishermen went fishing at a creek that constitutes the border in some part, they threw out their fishing-rod just a bit too far and it got stuck on the other side. And then… a hand appeared from the bushes and threw back the line. Sometimes, Russian border guards are nice guys.



Tromsø #3. On the Big Truck.

Monday passed, I wrote. A friend dropped in and we played the oldest Super Mario game. I was very bad at it. At night, I went to a bar where they had a Blue Monday, which meant beer for just 39 Kr. That was just cheap enough for me to have one beer, no gulping involved. It was a nice bar by the way, decorated with Music Posters from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young, Nirvana, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Dylan, Madonna, and with drums and guitars on the wall. Smoking was not allowed inside, but according to Norwegian strict rules, drinking was not allowed outside. As a Berlin citizen, I was of course a bit, how would you call it?
Let’s take the next day here, too. I wrote in the morning, then went to the student’s center driv and the lastebilsentralen (cargo center) where I found out that Norcargo / Bring drives north. I got the cell phone of a driver, who took me shortly after 5pm to Tana Bru, of all places. It was a long night, but I enjoyed to be on his truck, having some conversations. Near the Finnish border (he drove through Finland to Kautokeino and from there headed north west) we saw a huge reindeer herd, which was claxoned away by the continuously used mighty horns of the big truck. The animals ran off the road. I asked if there never was a deaf one. Some Finns told me that reindeer were the most stupid animals on the planet, but I doubted, wondering why they could have survived for so long in those latitudes. It was a beautiful scene, seeing the flock making way for the large truck, one of a handful by the way, delivering goods to the upper north of Finnmark. Logistics become more easy to grasp in hardly populated areas, as to many things.

Back to the basics. I played with the thought of quoting Penn/Krakauer’s Into the Wild for some time now. “It’s hard to catch a ride up north”. For me, it was all too easy from the Truck Terminal of Tromsø. “Not all is well on the hippy front”. My ‘hippies’, the young couple with their three dogs, were very happy. “Happines only real when shared”. That’s true in Tana Bru.

Tana Bru is a little settlement, not more than a hamlet with a gas station, where they let me stay inside. I waited several hours and then got lucky again. When does it ever stop? When does the fairy point her wand at some other being than me? It feels sometimes like I am traveling in an aura of untouchableness, which is nice on the one hand, but if you yearn for being touched once again, it’s not a very good idea. So this time a carbage truck driver offered me a ride to Kirkenes, 140 km further east, near the Russian border. They have do drive all the carbage of the region to Tana Bru since there was the only dump, he told me. Again, logistics and all the human structure we create on the Earth’s surface became translucent, and in understanding I felt part of it. In the truck I thought about my writing, as my frame of reference converged with the window of the truck, which protected us from the snowy foggy, and completely dark, late afternoon.

My couch-surfing host was not there, so I had a small problem. I had to rely on the hospitality of the people here. First I asked if they wouldn’t let me just be in the hotel overnight if I did some work there. Impossible. I decided to let it all out, resulting in the following conversation:

Can I just, you know, sleep inside on the floor and I’ll work for you.
– No, I cannot help you.
Yes you can, but you won’t
– No, I cannot.
Yes you can, but you don’t want to
– No, I cannot help you.
Yes you can, admit it, it’s as easy as that, you just don’t feel like it.
– No, I cannot.
Yes you can, but you don’t want. That’s okay. You don’t need to be afraid to say you want to let a fellow human being down.
– No I cannot sir. [bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep]

Amidst the bleeping sound of the hung up intercom system and the neon lights reflected in the fresh snow, I walked away. It was time to visit the church. And right in front of the church, fortuna’s arrow struck again. A young German fellow, Daniel, led some youth group there filling in a gap year after High School, and told me it was no problem at all to stay at his flat. Saved for the night, again. I never run out of luck. Am I glad I didn’t run for president in the US, I really would have hated myself defeating Obama.

Maybe you think Kirkenes it in the middle of nowhere. But there are actually some interesting things here. Yeah, let’s render some statistics here! It is the youngest community of Norway, just celebrating the 150th anniversary as I write (that’s right); it has the only point on earth where three time zones meet, the border between Norway, Finland, and Russia, and you can book an excursion, which I won’t. It’s enough that I have to put my clock ahead two hours when going to Russia. Daniel told me a nice Russian border story. It is absolutely forbidden to cross it without a visa (if you do, you end up paying about 1000€ and spending a night in a Russian cell). So when fishermen went fishing at a creek that constitutes the border in some part, they threw out their fishing-rod just a bit too far and it got stuck on the other side. And then… a hand appeared from the bushes and threw back the line. Sometimes, Russian border guards are nice guys.



Tromsø #2

On Sunday we woke up with strong coffee, and went to explore the Fjord of Tromsø. It was really beautiful, and we left the car several times to take pictures of it.

[ picture of the Tromsø Fjord, thanks again to Tasos ]


I got a bit sad about the fact we’d split and I’d be alone again, and I felt some loneliness. But that is also a writer’s drug, and I try to be a writer. On our way back to Rovaniemi, we drove through a large tunnel complex with several underground junctions. Loneliness and underground junctions, sounds poetic doesn’t it?

Back at Melanie’s place I said goodbye to the others, and they drove back to Rovaniemi, and did some writing. The day passed, nothing special, and the next day too. I explored Tromsø a little bit, gazed at the Amundsen statue and dreamed about the Northpole, and stunned in front of Europe’s northernmost cathedral in Europe’s northernmost city with presumably more bars per capita than anywhere else.

I cooked a simple meal with rice, eggs (thereby overcoming an early trauma of rice ‘n eggs that I made as a kid and that was so groce that they kept reminding me). This time it was actually quiet good, and it kept me fit. I began to feel the long hours of darkness around here though, and laid down on the couch for a good night’s sleep.

Tromsø #2

On Sunday we woke up with strong coffee, and went to explore the Fjord of Tromsø. It was really beautiful, and we left the car several times to take pictures of it.

[ picture of the Tromsø Fjord, thanks again to Tasos ]


I got a bit sad about the fact we’d split and I’d be alone again, and I felt some loneliness. But that is also a writer’s drug, and I try to be a writer. On our way back to Rovaniemi, we drove through a large tunnel complex with several underground junctions. Loneliness and underground junctions, sounds poetic doesn’t it?

Back at Melanie’s place I said goodbye to the others, and they drove back to Rovaniemi, and did some writing. The day passed, nothing special, and the next day too. I explored Tromsø a little bit, gazed at the Amundsen statue and dreamed about the Northpole, and stunned in front of Europe’s northernmost cathedral in Europe’s northernmost city with presumably more bars per capita than anywhere else.

I cooked a simple meal with rice, eggs (thereby overcoming an early trauma of rice ‘n eggs that I made as a kid and that was so groce that they kept reminding me). This time it was actually quiet good, and it kept me fit. I began to feel the long hours of darkness around here though, and laid down on the couch for a good night’s sleep.

Tromsø #2

On Sunday we woke up with strong coffee, and went to explore the Fjord of Tromsø. It was really beautiful, and we left the car several times to take pictures of it.

[ picture of the Tromsø Fjord, thanks again to Tasos ]


I got a bit sad about the fact we’d split and I’d be alone again, and I felt some loneliness. But that is also a writer’s drug, and I try to be a writer. On our way back to Rovaniemi, we drove through a large tunnel complex with several underground junctions. Loneliness and underground junctions, sounds poetic doesn’t it?

Back at Melanie’s place I said goodbye to the others, and they drove back to Rovaniemi, and did some writing. The day passed, nothing special, and the next day too. I explored Tromsø a little bit, gazed at the Amundsen statue and dreamed about the Northpole, and stunned in front of Europe’s northernmost cathedral in Europe’s northernmost city with presumably more bars per capita than anywhere else.

I cooked a simple meal with rice, eggs (thereby overcoming an early trauma of rice ‘n eggs that I made as a kid and that was so groce that they kept reminding me). This time it was actually quiet good, and it kept me fit. I began to feel the long hours of darkness around here though, and laid down on the couch for a good night’s sleep.

Tromsø #1. All the way up.

Saturday. We woke up early, had some breakfast with Piita, scrubbed our car window, took in some groceries and gas, and headed north-west. We had a long drive ahead of us, through beautiful unspoiled land, first on the Finnish side, and then in Norway. Still on the Finnish side, we stopped over in a roadside shop, where they sold coffee and muffins, as well as postcards. I decided to send one with the aurora borealis (Northern Lights). I also saw some stuffed animals in the shop, among them a wolverine, the fascinating furry killer that doesn’t look like one, and is unfortunately near extinction. The also had a stuffed brown bear, which of course had to pose for our photos. I laid my hand in the bear claw and took a picture of that, saying “that’s Obama negotiating without preconditions to untamed dangerous world leaders in Iran and North Korea”. We fed the reindeer that lived there behind a gate. Tasos got himself a wooden mug with his name carved it in, and a reindoor bone stirring rod.

We crossed the border to Norway. It was the first time for all four of us to visit that country. The road to Tromsø was just terrific, and we got out of the car at the first shores, where Veronika and I tasted the water to make sure it was salty. We took some pictures there, with the beautiful background of smooth snow-covered hills and the reflecting water.

In Tromsø, after parking the car, we walked to Driv, a student’s bar with internet connection, and there we ran into Melanie, who agreed upon being our Couchsurfing host that night. We went to her place and cooked some pasta, then went out with a big group. First, we went to some party (which is usual in Norway, most likely because of the insane prices of everything with alcohol in it in pubs). We had a great time talking to various people, most of them were actually in the couchsurfing network as well. I spoke to a Palestinian who just received his degree in telemedicine from the University of Tromsø. The hospital is a reknowned centre for telemedicine (operations over long distances) probably because it is so far away from almost everything and it has numerous skilled medicins. Then there was a Brazilian biologist who wanted to travel to Spitsbergen (Svalbård), possibly with me, but soon we learned from a German biologist who had done his plant research there (yes, there grow about 100 species) that up there (80 degrees latitude) it is almost dark already, and it would be much more spectacular to go there late winter. A Kirkenes local later confirmed this. I also enjoyed the company of some Polish girls, who were great talking to. And there was Richard of course, a very young cook who had lived in France. I called him the new Bocuse, and he called me Michael Jackson’s brother, since yes I had to dance again that day.

With this group we went to a bar. Unfortunately age restrictions are very tight (and narrow-minded) and Richard was not allowed to come in. We moved on as a group to a bar called circa and had a great time there. Finally, I saw Tasos dancing as well, just like he promised us. We went home about 2am, and slept well in Melanie’s place.