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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

Monday, 17 September 2001
Surnadal --> Åndalsnes (N)

Today I travelled by bus from Surnadal to Åndelsnes, a six hours drive with some short stops. In Åndalsnes I was invited to stay for a day in a hotel.
Around 11.30 Ruben and I hurried ourselves to the local Surnadal bus station, after having a relaxing breakfast.

Their home business in webhosting and distributing SeaMonkeys in Scandinavia had already started at 8 o'clock this morning.

Ruben paid for my bus ticket, as there were no trains in this vicinity and nevertheless my Scanrail Pass had expired yesterday.

In the royal class bus (don't expect that in Holland, unless you are travelling international) my eyes closed again. Everytime I looked up I saw myself surrounded by clouds and mountains, or by sterile little villages with painted wooden houses.

The bus ride ended in Molde, where another bus would take me to Åndalsnes within one hour. Ruben had given me enough money for the next bus ticket, so I took a café au lait and a donut as an extra while walking around in peaceful Molde. On the internet also mentioned as the city of roses and of jazz, but I didn't see any rose or heard any jazz.

From Molde it took less than an hour to arrive in my place of destination: Åndalsnes, the alpine town in the Romsdal Fjord.

Of course the tourist office at the bus station had closed at 3.30pm (every travellers nightmare if you travel without a guidbook), so I asked a bus driver for directions to my place to stay for a day here: the Grand Hotel Bellevue, which seemed to be only 5 minutes walking up the town centre hill.

I know you'll be going: "Way to go, Ramon! A free night in a hotel!".

But of course it is a commercial thing: the hotel loves the free publicity (I guess) when mentioned, described and linked on my website. But without a real host to go along with (but with a single bedroom with a snowy television, a bathroom and a mini bar) I do start to look at the little things.

I don't want to start rating hotels by now, but I find the Grand Hotel Bellevue quite unique in the small range of hotels I have stayed with so far.

I noticed the tub in the bath room and decided to take a long warm bath, which has been a long time ago for me. But first I had to return my towel to the lady at the reception, because it was more brown than white. Honestly, it was dirty.

Half an hour later, I watched some television without the broken remote control, I received a new towel.

And I concluded that I was the first person in this century to take a bath in this room, not because I had the water tab in my hand when I wanted to turn the water on, but because you don't want to know what arrived from under the bath after some (normal amounts of) water was spilled when I was finished.

I am totally not complaining but I have to tell you something about this day.

With a fishy dinner coming up in the dining room around 7pm, I spent my times enjoying episodes of Friends and Mad About You on Norwegian television.

An old waitress placed me on a table in the a la carte hotel restaurant, where I would get my special free meal. The restaurant seemed to be totally empty without the waitress and me.

The meal was good, cooked salmon on a bed of something orange, surrounded by a green sauce, together with mashed potatoes.

When I was finished, the waitress removed my plates and asked if I wanted desert. "Oh, yes please," I answered delighted. "What is it?" I asked curious.
"Coffee."

Now I got scared, where did I end up in Norway?

But this time it was just miscommunication between the Norwegian waitress and me. The ice cream in a strawberry sauce came together with coffee. Relax, Ramon.

Just again, without her in the dining room, it was painfully quiet in here, not really a recommendation for any single traveller passing Åndalsnes.

For now - I will publish this report right away, on the internet in the hotel lobby that I was allowed to use for free - and I am going to se what the rest of this town has to offer to a traveller. I'll tell you tomorrow.

Good night Åndalsnes!

Ramon.




More people killed on this planet:

CNN.com: "Four students have been killed after their school bus collided head on with a lumber truck in central Sweden."
For a lot of people far away, for me almost around the corner.

BBC:
"Bootleg alcohol kills 58 people in Estonia and leaves another 10 fighting for survival, more than a week after the first case was registered."

Just felt that I had to mention this too...



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