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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & Partners; Austria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western Hotels; South Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus; Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.
ReportsDuring my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.
Tuesday, 28 August 2001
Drammen --> Risøya Island (N) Today I had my first big trip by train from Drammen to Gjerstadt, where the way of transport changed into a bus to Søndeled and later the day into a small (wet) speed boat to the island Risøya where Paul Andreas Akerøy had invited me for the night...
It was Vegar who woke me up as I slept on a bed in the living room.
When I had a shower I noticed that Rune and Pål had stopped over from their work to say goodbye to me.
I at a few sandwiches with salami, which Rune made for me, and hurried to get ready as my train to my next location was going to leave at 11.49am.
I thanked them all for letting me stay and Vegar dropped me off at the trainstation.
I am being heavily spoiled with my free rail pass, but the travellers' information guide was right. It is the perfect and most comfortable way of sightseeing in Norway. I saw things I would not see from a motorway.
The train drove through tunnels, along mountain hills, green valleys and passed beautiful straight blue stretched fjords – the little ones of course, because I will find the large ones at the west coast.
For the complete 2,5 hours my face was glued to the window.
I had never seen such a green and unspoiled piece of nature like this. Rough forrests changed with the speed of the train into romantic villages with colorful painted wooden houses.
On the small mountain sides I could see the skiing lifts and the tracks going down. In less then two months Norway will be covered in snow until the end of May!
The train dropped me off in Gjerstadt, a little village on the south coast of Norway (read promotional welcome word by the major). From here a free bus took me to Søndeled, where no train could come.
Søndeled is very small.
Actually it is just a little strip of land along the main road in front of a Kiwi Supermarket, my meeting place for my next hosts.
I met the Aakerøy family at 3.30pm and they took me to their wooden house in the forrests. However it is remote, it’s a great place for the kids to grow up.
It was their son Paul Andreas who had invited me after reading about me in the Aftenposten newsaper, but today he was out to a little island just into the sea, together with his high school biology class.
But when he heard about my plan of coming over, he arranged that I could stay overnight on this island, together with his class, which of course sounded very relaxing to me. Great!
Around 8 o’clock he would come from the island to pick me up and take me up there.
So as Live Nelle, his mother, prepared dinner for the family, his father hooked me onto the internet for the usual things, because – of course – there is no internet on the island.
After I wrote my report I joined them for the fresh fish and shrimp cocktail with rice for dinner. It had been a long time ago, since I had fish, so it really tasted very good with the vegetables!
During the coffee in their rocky back garden, the father told me how, as their children grow up, they want to go out in bigger places. Therefore their three older sons now have two boats, which they can use to go anywhere.
Because the waterfront was below their garden, just a 5 minutes walk. And any boat was faster to a bigger town than a car would.
I kind of liked that idea. When I get back to Holland, we might need some more water there.
We got everything ready for my departure together with one sleeping bag and some food and drinks for on the island.
We walked onto the little path (where in the past big cubes of ice where distributed to big ships to transport the ice to England) to the waterfront and we saw Paul Andreas arrive with a friend in a speed boat. We loaded my lugage on board and I left the Norwegian mainland in high speed after thanking the rest of the family for the short stay at their place. With high speed we took off, while waving to the coast.
On the water it was very windy, so the clashes the boat made, created these little, very very local rains on me. However I got half soaked (and did Paul Andreas and his friend have big smile about that), it was a fun ride!
On the island, called Risøya, the class stayed in an old white house, owned by the motorboat club of Risør, the nearest big town.
Most islands in the neighbourhood don’t have any inhabitants anymore. Risøya it was last inhabited by Mrs. Ruth Vandøen, who had lived there until the late end of our last century, together with an unknown high number of cats.
I introduced myself to the about fifteen young classmates and was welcomed by the biology teacher.
Today they had been doing research on the island and collected locations of special and rare plants and they had just finished a barbeque.
I joined Paul Andreas as he went fishing with a friend. While I was there at the water, looking onto the mainland again, I saw an amazing sunset and I stared at the complete process for at least an hour!
This was just something I had to remember.
At the house the pupils were watching television in the white house, while others hung out in another house next to the white house with crispy chips and soda.
It was nice to be with such a group of young people for a day. Their average age was 18-19 years old and it is fun to see how they react on each other as young adults on a night out on an island as young adults.
It was about 11.30 pm when I got to the bed on the first floor of the white house, offering beds for 9 people. The teacher was already slept in the room next to me.
It was so absolutely silent, exept from some giggling from the other house. Ssstt.
Good night Risøya!
In the media today:
* Magnet Hot Bits (Brazilia/ in Portugese):
"Holandês conhece o mundo com a ajuda da Internet"
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