September 1, 2012 by farbolino
Mike and I stood at the side of the road with drenched cardboard signs. Throughout the day we had been using three signs depending on what we thought would work best. One sign was ‘Oslo’, another ‘West’ and lastly ‘Tack’ which means Thank you, but in this context is used more as a ‘please’. We had lost nearly all of our motivation, and seemed to be stranded. After another hour waiting at this spot, and the sun about to set, we decided we would walk to the nearest town in Norway to look for a train station.
As we walked along the road we past a few bus stops and noticed there was only one bus a day headed to Oslo from this area and we had long missed it.
Finally the rain started to subside, and we could see the sun setting in the distance behind the dense forest. The wet road reflected all the colors of the sky, and suddenly the day didn’t seem so bad anymore, yet we continued to walk. The forest gave way to fields as we drew closer to the village of Magnor.
When we finally reached it, there was basically only one street in the town with the train station right there. We walked up to it only to realize it wasn’t functioning anymore. We saw some teenagers hanging out in a parking lot across the street, so we decided to walk over and ask them if they knew when the train passed through. They looked at us in a strange way and then one of them answered that the train hasn’t stopped in Magnor for over 10 years, but that we could catch it from Charlottenburg in the morning. As we turned to start walking back, the kid yelled ‘Hey, did you walk all the way here??’
We replied ‘Yeah, and now we’re going to walk back.’
We walked back to the gas station on the border where there was a good place to camp out for the night. The ground was soaking wet and muddy, so we decided to not bother setting up the tent and opted to sleep under some market stalls which would shelter us if it started to rain heavily again. The weird part was we were only 30 meters from the highway in plain sight. I started to imagine the scenario of being woken up in the morning to people setting up there stalls and wondering what the hell we we’re doing sleeping on the ground. Luckily it didn’t happen, and in the morning we woke up to walk the rest of the way back to Charlottenburg.
We washed up at a tourist info bathroom before starting the 7-8km walk back to town. Luckily the weather was much better today and there was no rain. Something I found funny that we passed along the way was a billboard for McDonalds in Charlottenburg which said ‘only 3 minutes ahead’ which made it seem so close to us, yet it took nearly an hour to reach it. We tried to thumb a ride from the infrequent cars passing, but no one stopped.
I used all my remaining Swedish kroner at the supermarket before we walked to the train station in town. We decided to not even try to get a lift, and to just take the train. The station itself was closed, so we would have had to buy the tickets on the train. We got on, and I remembered what a Swedish guy I had met traveling once told me, which was to instantly pretend that you’re asleep on the train and then they won’t bother to check your ticket. I figured it was worth a shot since if they asked I could just say I needed to buy one because the station was closed.
So the controller walked in, checked the other people who had just boarded the train and then left the compartment! I was shocked that it worked, but I guess people in Scandinavia are just more trusting then elsewhere. So in the end we arrived to Oslo after three crazy days on the road and without spending any money for a place to sleep or transport. It’s the longest single journey (time wise) by hitchhiking I’ve had to do yet, and hopefully it will stay that way for a while.