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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
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Reports

Thursday, 30 August 2001
Kristiansand --> Sandness (N)

From my sleeping place at Liv and Gabriel I travelled to Sandness by train today. My next host John Are took me out on a very unique picnic this night. The Vikings might have been jealous...
Gabriel woke me up for breakfast this morning. The dog Artus was already jumping on me and giving me those young dog bites in my toes on my way to the shower.

It was 7.15 am and I had a good sleep, but a time like this is not something I deal with everyday.

But of course, Gabriel and Liv had to go to work and for me that was a sign to head up to my next location again.

After breakfast I packed my stuff again as Gabriel dropped me and Liv off in the centre. I thanked them for inviting me and letting me stay and Gabriel drove off as Liv entered the local bank.

It was 8.30 and I already knew that my first train to Sandness was going to leave at 11.20am.

That gave me sure enough time to walk around the town centre of Kristiansand. I walked from the centre towards the little ships boulevard and back again on the main street.

When I found an internet cafe around a corner, I thought "let's give it a try", but no sign said when it would be open.

And within a few hours the empty and fresh city centre had turned into a flourishing and lively place as shops opened their doors and clothes where hang on the racks outside.

I sat on a bench and I saw how a new day had started for all those people working here. A local man, looking very astranged, started a long conversation with me in Norwegian.


As I got no space to say I am not understanding him, I just nodded and said nei (no) and ja (yes). When he told his life story he stood up and shook my hand.

One block up the shopping street he found another victim on a bench. He probably started all over, but the lady sitting there ran away from him as he sat next to him.

Maybe my nose is still a little bit swollen from last week's incident, because I did not notice if he smelled or something.


At 11.20 I made myself present at the train station of Kristiansand. My Scanrail Pass would take me all the way to Sandness, where I would arrive at 2.10 in the afternoon.

The view outside distracted me from writing my report on my paper notebook. And every time when I saw something very nice flashing by, I was already too late for a photograph. Suddenly there were tunnels, trees or just high rocks along the tracks.

But I did manage do make some shots which will remain in my collection forever. This is Norway!

I arrived in Sandnes at 2.35 and as my host for tonight would pick me up at the trainstation around 5 o'clock as he'd come from work.

I put on a sweater as it was getting a bit more colder up here and sauntered through stone paved shopping streets and roofed little malls.


I noticed that this town had a lot of young people around. They either still had summervacation or just spent their free hours from school.

I noticed that almost every young woman here does something with her hair. A blond paints it purple, a black haired dyes is blond and some had shaven some sign in their short clipped hair. Some new Norwegian fashion, I guess.


I walked around town and found the local library, located in an old factory, but totally redesigned inside.

The lady at the information desk first asked if I was a member of the library, because only members could use the internet for fifteen minutes.

I told her I am just a tourist, staying here for only a day so a membership wouldn't be any good.

She looked at the empty spaces in the internet corner and gave me a blink. "Go ahead, but remember the 15 minutes."

She was kind of right with that timing. I managed to read and answer some emails and before I knew she was standing behind me. After 14 minutes.

I smiled, logged off on the computer, loaded my backpack on my back again and left the totally deserted internet corner in this library with a smile and a "Thank you."

Someway inside I thought about what would happen if I would have been on the (always online) computers for 16 minutes. But I just cannot take any risks, certainly from a librarian.


I was sitting on a bench at the trainstation at 4.45 when John Are walked up to me. He was my host for the night, together with his wife Monica.

I loaded my stuff in the car and we drove to his apartment, just outside Sandnes.

John Are is economical advisor in Sandnes and had read about me in a Norwegian newspaper. When I asked him "Why" he invited me over he said: "Well, I think I am just a spontanious person. I just typed my address and confirmed it. And here you are!"

He lives on a hill which currently is a big construction site for new apartments. A whole site of the hill will be build full with rows of wooden houses within a year. He and Monica have just been living here in their new house for just a year.

At their 3 floors apartment I met Monica and the cat. In the kitchen oven a pizza was being heated as we talked about my project. About how inspiring it all is as I meet so many different people almost every day.

The pizza was going to be a little snack as John Are would take me out on a typical Norwegian picnic later this evening.

I also had a little nap this beginning of the evening. Just to reload again after this fine day of town walks. It recharges my battery.

After this reload John Are and I got ready to go out. We got into the car and drove to Ølberg in Søle, on the west coast near Sandness.

This was were the early Vikings would look out over the sea and where they took off to find England, Scotland, Iceland and even America.

However the Vikings did not seem to survive their time in what is now Canada and the US, Christopher Columbus became the first person to reach and really settle there. (So yes, the Vikings were there first...)

We arrived at this little harbour, with very small holiday cabins in a row (John Are told me that almost every Norwegian person with some money has a cabin at the coast) and we walked on the rocks towards the still water of the North Sea.

We climbed on the rocks and found a place with a good view where we sat down.

It was about 15 degrees Celcius and it was raining. Not hard, but just rainy.

John Are opened his bag and made hot chocolate. Then he got two plates out of the bag and started putting food on it. First some dry salty meat, sour cream and Norwegian flat bread.

This is what the early Norwegian used to eat and we were drinking it on the shore of the Norwegian coast while trying to find Scotland.


Our talking ended up about my website. I write these reports every day and I put a lot of time and effort in it, just to tell you how it is to travel around like me.

But some people my writing is a reason to climb onto a pen and send me emails about every little detail I write.

I posted on the messageboard about it:

"- If I write that it is raining outsite, I get emails from people that say I should stop complaining, while the fact that it is raining is just an observation.

- If I write that I stayed in a house that is not the cleanest house I have ever visited, it doesn't mean that I meant it negatively. I get emails from people who told me that I should help the people clean or "are you afraid you get dirty, Ramon?". It was just my opinion and it was the way those young people live. And I totally did not comment on their way of living, I even enjoyed it (what the complainers can't read probably), because it reminded me of my own student life.

- If I write that it is dangerous to travel from Poland towards Moscow because it is corrupt, do not assault me with something that is just a fact. Check out the internet for more info or a friend truck driver of mine can tell you all about it.

- If I write that I won't visit Afghanistan, where Internet is just prohibited, than it is my F R E E personal choice and I am in NO way offending anybody who wants to invite me there, because THEY CAN'T!!!

- These are just a few examples of letters I get every day.

It is a shame that every [i]opinion
of mine is being taken into pieces or taken so seriously! I had to loose these thoughts here as those ignorant writings are really bothering me."[/i]

In one way I just want to quit writing, especially for those people who start to call me names and tell me how I should really live my live.

And I don't seem to say thank you enough, it comes back in a lot of emails. Very strange, because how can they know about my saying Thank you alot to my hosts?

Fortunately I get also some positive remarks on my writing and that flourishes my mind too and keeps me going again.

In another way I think that I should just tease those people a bit more and give some very underlining statements on about how my view on life is. My view; so that means personally.

On the way back in the car, while I found his Beatles ceedee collection, John Are told me that a person is only immune in his own country. I can complain about Holland, of course, because that's where I come from and what I can defend.

But as soon as I write something about another country or another culture, some people have the urge to defend themselves against my words. Which is really not necessary!

You've read enough. It bothers me sometime.


As we were listening to Paperback Writer and Tomorrow Never Knows the night fell in as the rain fell down harder now.

Back home it was time to present Monica and John Are the Letmestayforaday Gift from my previous hosts Gabriel and Liv. This time a "How to make pasta"-book was given by Gabriel, as pasta is his favorite food.

"I guess we're going to eat a lot of pasta the coming weeks," said John Are laughing.

On the third floor was my guest room, next to a bathroom, a little work room and an open living room. This living room has walls with CD's, all on alfabethical order and with great names!

When John Are was a student, he spent most of his student loans on music and he still has to pay back a lot of CD's to the state. But his collection was enormous!

Neil Young, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, The Doors, etcetera. Including a lot of bootlegs.

When the night really set in, Monica and John Are went to bed and they let me work on my report in the office room.

Just turn on a Bob Dylan album in your stereo, turn of the lights and start typing your heart out. That's how it feels to travel the world and write to you.

Good night, Sandnes!

Ramon.


(Wow, I am getting emotional here!)



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