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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:
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 & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth 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.


Reports

Friday, 7 September 2001
Bergen --> Ålesund (N)

Today I moved from the Marken Gjestehus onto a coastal steamer that would cruise me to Trondheim in two nights. The boat hit some tremendous waves, or was it just me and the alcohol?
"That's that guy from Letmestayforaday.com," I heard a woman's voice say in my room. I was awake but pretended I was sleeping. The lady was telling her compagnion about my project.

"He has this website where everybody can offer him free accomodation. Wow, what is he doing here?"

They dropped their luggage and left the room they would stay in the coming night.

After this pleasing wake up call I took a shower and got dressed. On the hallway I bumped into another receptionist. "Mr. Ramon? Unfortunately your breakfast has not been delivered to day by our catering company. Would it be okay if I'd give you 50 Kroner so you can buy yourself some breakfast from the supermarket?"

That was fine with me, but the Letmestayforaday-gift from Anna Margit Grindheim, my previous host, would stay with me until I meet a real host, though.

In the supermarket I bought myself bread, noodles and shrimp salad which I prepared in the hostel kitchen and ate it with fresh coffeee in the TV lounge as the clock ticked noon.

I watched two episodes of the Australian youth-serie Home & Away or something like that and checked out the hostel at 1pm.

I walked through the centre of Bergen along the fishmarket and the wooden houses towards the Visitbergen.com-tourist board offices, where Siri offered me to use one of their computers.

Within 5 minutes, the weather changed from summer hot into autumn with heavy rainfall. It felt like somebody was hammering on my head!

At her office, Siri treated me with coffee and logged me on to a computer with internet. I didn't get to writing any report, I enjoyed the responses on my question What do Americans know about the world and communicated with my sponsors, backupteam and friends and even had an interview with an American radioprogramme on the phone.

With my Norwegian leg of my journey ending within a few weeks, it got time to prepare myself again for another country to visit. The news is out right now and I'll be heading for South Africa on September 30!

After 5pm when the office was almost completely dark, Siri and I took off. Just outside the building the buscoach to the coastal steamer was standing ready for me.

I thanked Siri for everything: taking me out, being there as my tourist hostess, dinner, etcetera.

I almost dunked here into the trunk of the bus if I could, but then Bergen wouldn't have its own Bridget Jones anymore.

The bus took me to the coastal steamer of Hurtigruten, passing hotels and driving mostly people around with some 50 years of age differences.

Once on the boat I checked in, by just giving my name. "Oh, is that you? The guy who gets everything for free?" Well, that's not quite sounding very positive, but it was the truth.

I got myself a 4 bed cabin on the second floor of the 7 floors steamer and I was very impressed.

It was just 6pm and dinner would be served in the dining room at 8, so I walked around exploring the boat and all the different floors and even had a little nap.

The dinner was a buffet, so everybody could just pick whatever he wanted and that was quite enjoyable. Caviar is salty! Blegh!

After dinner, around 10pm, I felt like going to bed, because someway I couldn't write and eventually couldn't sleep either.

As I lay in my bed, I figured out that this wouldn't work out. I felt my body being pulled into the matress and lifted back up again. With my Dutch belly filled with the luxuries of the buffet, I already saw myself on my kneews in front of my cabins' toilet within one hour.

To prevent this I got dressed again and settled in the bar on the 4th floor with a book and a vodka-coke ordered on my cabin number (I didn't care about the result of that bill, I was in the desperate state that I could really use one).

I listened to these over romantic dance classics which could never have been successful without the existence of cruise boats and 50 years older people moving slowly on them on a tiny dancefloor.

It was around one in the night and it was a few mixed drinks later that I stumbled back to my cabin, not recognizing anymore if it was the ship or me hitting the waves.

Good night humble boat,

Ramon.



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