Everyone, my true blog readers, the time has come. I am going home.
Not because my journey has ended, I am out of money or I have too much dirty laundry. Plainly because I want to see you again! After purchasing the tickets online, I have been planning thoroughly to fit as many people in as I could. Do you have a feeling I'm missing out on you or someone else, please let me know.
As usual it has been a while that I wrote a story on the blog, but it will definitely not be my last. Now where was I?? Right we were about to leave Ähtari after a nice holiday at Jasmin's parents house. We stayed there for quite a while, nearly 2 and half months! Even though we had a little round trip for a few weeks in that time, we both felt like a new challenge. We were also running quite low on money so it was time to start work. We did a bit of research in employment possibilities and Oslo came out to be the best for us. Geographically in the middle between our home countries and a strong economy. Off to Norway it was!!
To get to Norway it's quickest to go by ferry, but we were determined to drive. Therefore we had to go over the top, through the cold of Lapland. It was September so the cold was coming. The sooner we do this, the warmer it will be.
The first few days of driving were fine. Most of the nights we were sleeping in the Finnish teepees, which are located everywhere throughout the country and may be used for free. Bonus! The quality of these huts varied from a plain shelter to a nice cabin with a fire place and even saunas! The only way to find these was by GPS coordination, ours wasn't really functioning so we had a lot of trouble getting there. But boy was it worth it!
When we arrived in Rovaniemi, hometown of Santa Clause (the Finnish really believe this) and the crossing of the Arctic Circle, we had to visit Santa clause. And you know what!? He actually talks Dutch too! For some reason he told me to clean up my room, which is probably true as my family has used this as a storage room over the years. He told me also to give everyone "de groetjes" and he will see you soon! That same day we went out for a little evening walk and unexcitingly we had the honors of seeing the northern lights. For Jasmin this was everyday stuff, but for me it was the weirdest thing that I had ever seen. It's just unexplainably addictive to watch it move. The cold brings you back to reality so after 15 min we were back inside. To make pictures worth showing, you need a very good camera which of course we didn't have...
Because it wasn't too cold yet, we decided to drive further north to test our limits. The next day the weather worsened and the temperature dropped to 5 degrees. Remember we were still driving in the same clothing which we also crossed the Chinese dessert in, apart from the new gloves and boots. We were freezing our asses off, so we decided to head west to Norway. The map showed us a nice route towards Narvik and then south. What the map didn't show was the big mountain range we had to cross. Mountains = even colder. Reminder for next time for driving above the Arctic Circle on a motorbike: buy good driving gear. Fortunately it was still above the freezing point at most times, so we didn't have any problems dealing with slippery surfaces.
Eventually after pushing on for two days we drive down the mountain range and hit the coast of Norway. The temperature rose to around 10 degrees and the sun was shining again. Still we were fed up with the cold so our minds were set for driving south. That same day we met our first Dutch person, Thijs. We were having one of those many pee breaks and I noticed another bike which strangely had a Dutch plate. Thijs was doing a tour across Scandinavia on an old bmw f650. We spent the night on the same spot and headed south together. We both had a budget on our mind and neither of us had a hurry. For the first time in 23.000 km we were driving with someone else, which was easy to adjust to. Driving along the coast, fjords in and out, enjoying the views and now we finally have some pictures of Jasmin and me on the bike!
On our third day with Thijs it was time to split up as we were going couchsurfing in Trondheim. It was still 500 km to go, but Jasmin was determined to get a warm bed that night. Thijs kept following the coastal line and we caught the highway south. Our couchsurfing hosts Tonje and Sigurd hosted us for 5 days before we decided to head to Oslo. The weather wasn't showing any improvement for the coming days and we were sick of being cold so we drove straight to Oslo. It took us two days through mountainous regions (remember mountains= more cold) to happily arrive in Oslo to our next couchsurfing hosts. Knut and Hatle hosted us for four days, which was exactly enough time for us to find an apartment to stay in. Now it was time to find a job.
Jasmin didn't have any trouble finding a job, but for me it was a different story. Even though many friends and family tried their contacts in the colder part of the world (everyone thanks again!), I eventually found a job in the motorcycle business again. This time I work for a BMW and Suzuki dealer as an unqualified mechanic. Much better working conditions than the Honda dealer in Australia and the colleagues are great. The time really flies now!
Two weeks ago I had two of my best friends, Gijs and Luuk, from the Netherlands coming over for a long weekend. It was strange to meet up again after such a long time, but it didn't take long before it felt like the old days again. They more or less showed me Oslo, as I have only been working, we drank a few beers and had a good laugh. Thanks guys!
As I said before, the journey is not over yet. We are thinking of our next trip in Africa and can't wait to head out to the warmth again. First I'll go home with Christmas then we shall fight our way through the cold winter and save up for the next part of the world.
3 years 3 months and 23 days it has been. I can't wait to catch up on all those sweet birthday cakes and other foods I have missed (mouth starts drooling)... If I don't see you before Christmas or New Year:
Merry Christmas and a happy new year!! See you in 2013!! (unless we dont survive 21-12-2012...)