Pic of the day: Picture taken from the railway station at Gol.
VIP: According to schedule, there would be 8 minutes between trains in Drammen. "Are the trains still delayed?" I asked the nice woman at Kristiansand railway station. "Yes, but don't worry. They'll find a way." And they did. As we were starting to approach Drammen, a conductor showed up and told me to jump off in Hokksund. The express trains don't usually stop there, and the station was not announced. Luckily I recognize the place, having sold and customized a software suite there some years ago. And so not only did the eastbound train make an extra stop to let me off, but the nort-west bound train made an extra stop to pick me up. :) Very Important Me!
The Signatur train wasn't all that comfortable, by the (rail)way. This time I did not get a double seat alone, and so there was little sleep. The same applies to the Bergen train, too. Plus a happy party of Orientals occasionally shout loudly, just in case.
OK, snatched a few minutes of sleep. The Orientals are eating something Oriental (some dead animal and a little vegetable plus rice) so I finally got a chance to see how they actually eat with those sticks. Bet it takes some training!
As for myself, I haven't eaten much for the last 3 days. Whatever that "balloon" effect is, it is s wonderful dieting tool. I've simply not been hungry. Or, more disturbingly, thirsty. I drank a few mouthfuls of water at work before I went on the train, and have eaten a yoghurt or two each day, so I'm not likely to suddenly collapse or something. Anyway, the balloon is largely deflated by now. I should have plenty of time in Gol to eat and drink.
No, of course it is not stress-related. Whatever made you think of that? :)
I knew I had forgotten something. I always forget something. But not the same thing. I came to Gol before I knew what I had forgotten. Well, at least one thing I had forgotten.
As I stepped off the train at Gol, I noticed how the whole place seemed dead. It was almost 14 (2PM) on Saturday, and hardly a leaf moved. "If this town were any deader" I thought, "they would have to bury it." And this was where I would be waiting for the bus across the mountains. Great. When did that bus go again? I reach for my little stack of post-it notes, with departure times, phone numbers and such small essentials. Oh yes, I knew I had forgotten something.
I know I promised my brother not to explore Gol. I have an abysmal sense of direction, and tend to get lost even in large houses, much more in an unfamiliar town. However, there was not much else to do. Even the station's waiting room was closed (and with it the WC). And there certainly was no hint of food anywhere, either. I walked across a bridge, as there seemed to be more houses on the other side. There were. I saw a shop. Some farmhouses, most at least without a farm. Another shop. Some farmhouses. A China restaurant. More houses. Eventually it dawned on me: There is no town center, because it is no town. The place is just a lot of houses that people have built wherever there is a road. Some of these houses happen to be shops, or offices, or eateries. While others are not.
Eventually though I saw a sign pointing slightly uphill, saying "Upper center". Presumably there is a lower center, or perhaps a nether center, though there was no hint as to where. The upper center displayed a somewhat higher ratio of shops to farmhouses, but it's sort of hard to say which of the roads it follows. Perhaps several of them. And there, suddenly, came 3 blacks (or African-Norwegians or whatever) walking, a Norwegian flag waving gently in the breeze above their heads. This certainly must be the inner city, though still without the bus station.
But at least I found a bank. With an ATM ("minibank" as we call them here in Norway.) Woo hoo! Money! Mine is the power and the glory and the money for a few more hours. At least I can now hope to actually pay for my bus fare. If I find the bus station, that is.
Ambling ever onward, as only the congenially lost can do it, I eventually see a large house with the text "BUS TOURIST". Lo and behold, by sheer luck I have stumbled on the place I wanted to find, the bus station. What's more, it has food. And toilets. And Dagens Næringsliv (Daily Business, my favorite physical newspaper. The Web edition is slightly different but well worth visiting if you read Norwegian).
The people at the supposed bus station don't actually run a bus station. They run a smallish eatery with solid Norwegian farmer food, and some snacks and a dozen videos and a few dozen CDs. And the main newspapers. Everything you need, except perhaps the bus. Since no one here has anything to do with buses, I still don't know if you need to reserve a seat and/or buy tickets before boarding. Probably not. I hope not, because I haven't done any of the above.
My computer's batteries suddenly drop from 97% to 3%. They stabilize there for a long time. That would be the Toshiba, of course. (For new readers, my Toshiba is a showcase of how to make a shoddy computer without it being quite bad enough to return and demand the money back.)
The fog is hanging ever lower over the sides of the valley, obscuring the fine powder of fresh snow that is sprinkled on the pines and glazed over the mountains above. The KIWI banners move only slightly in the occasional breeze. It is almost freezing cold outside, but in the bus tourist eatery it is quite comfortable. I have read my paper. Now I am waiting.
OK, final note for today! Arrived safely at my brother's home. Nice place. Tomorrow there will no doubt be something new to learn. Hope to see you there. (Well, at the very least that you can see me - but I can also receive mail once a day or so during the "vacation", it seems.)
Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.