Travelogue: Summer 2006

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In summer 2006 me and Mme F hitchhiked through Sweden and Denmark. The aim was to visit friends and do nothing. The trip was quite a success.

Before we left the country

Mme F. was waiting for me in the bus station of our lovely capital. The most entertaining thing to observe according to her was a girl dressed in black. The girl walked around quite aimlessly, trying to look very sophisticated. For looking sophisticated and deep one definitely needs right accessories. This girl had a book. A big and old one – The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. Modern days, what can I say.

By the time I arrived the girl was gone. I missed all the fun.
As our ferry was supposed to leave early the next morning from somewhere next to nowhere, we had to spend the night in the capital. So, our host there met us at the bus station. The first stop was at the supermarket, of course. It was the night of football finals and that needs some equipment. Besides that we needed some provision for the trip. In the supermarket we found a new brand of opera mints. Those were really good ones (as it turned out later). The host lost a chip of his car key there. We spent some time trying to find it. And failed.

As a side note I must say that the weather was horrible, as it actually had been for more than a week already. Temperature was above +30C and humidity high. Not really a backpack weather.

I wouldn’t like to stop much on that evening as the football was real disappointment. Drinks were good though. Oh, and we followed the game through a window as we were actually sitting in the garden. A bit exhausting, I’d say.

The day one

The next morning we were taken to the port 40km away on a jeep. In the port we were collected by another jeep which driver hard a whisky-problem (customs, you know). The trip across the sea was quite a trial as the ferry was full of nice families with small kids who obviously were let out of the country for the first time of their life. And at some point it started to rain. That was very cool as it was ages since we saw it raining.

In Sweden we got off the ferry on the jeep with whisky which was quite a new experience as we had never left the ferry on a car before. That turned out to be a very good idea as so we ended up in the queue of cars waiting for border and custom check-up. All we had to do was to knock on the windows and ask if anyone could take us to the other side of Stockholm at least. Mme F is good at this kind of thing and so it didn’t take much until we found another jeep. A kilometer from the border we changed the cars and in no time we were in Tumba.

Tumba wasn’t really bright place, only local transportation. We were hanging around close to a gas station next to the motorway. Eventually we got a short lift by some young chap to Södertälje. By then it was getting dark and we were literally on the motorway. The only interesting thing was a car with two blokes who had some interesting offers we were not interested in. We moved on a kilometer or so and started to look around to find a place for sleeping. Then a car stopped next to us and there was an elderly man, close to 70, I’d say. He said that he can’t help us any further on our way but he has a wagon in the next village and we can spend the night there. We took the offer.

The next village turned out to be 40 north from the motorway and was called Stängnäs. There was a wagon, caravan actually. Two of those, both quite old but good enough for sleeping. We got one. Our host turned out to be a huge fan of Elvis and Donald Duck. He brought us pillows, plaids and a bottle of red wine. After a long and boring conversation and some indecent suggestions he left us. We guessed that he was scared away by the caravan losing balance and sitting down on one end.

That was the end of day one.

The day two

After sleeping (quite restlessly, as the wagon was slope) in the quiet corner somewhere in the middle of nowhere we woke up into busy morning on a parking lot next to local dump.

The second day was all about getting back to motorway. People driving past looked really entertained seeing us hitchhiking but they never stopped. After two hours we eventually got a lift by a man who said that he used to hitchhike a lot when he was younger. He was a landscape architect who had recently lost his wife. We got a nice long ride and the conversation was quite good as well, especially considering the circumstances. The bad luck hit us when the place he wanted to let us out turner out not to be there. He had to turn off the motorway and the first chance to stop the car was almost 20km away, a place with a golfball museum. There we tried to hitch right back but that didn’t work at all. Then we tried to hitch the parallel road and eventually got a short lift by some young lad. He took us to the next road going to the motorway.

That was another long and boring hitching and at some point it started to rain. That wasn’t too funny even though we needed some cooling down after a long day in a direct sunlight. Just before the things turned bad a car stopped and another young guy gave us a lift. He was supposed to go to Linköping to make a dinner for his fiancée. He had very adequate ideas about good hitchhiking spots and he drove us 20km out of Linköping into a gas station. Really nice guy…

The gas station was okay. The usual motorway gas station, trucks and all. However, everyone was going to a) Stockholm or b) North. There was no road to north on my map but well, they should know better.

It was raining and raining and raining. Sleeping in the nature wasn’t tempting at all, so we decided to move into the shop at midnight. By then there wasn’t much traffic left and we were tired. Right then a guy walked up to us and said the he won’t go to Denmark but he could give us a lift to Helsingborg. Of course we took the offer, loaded ourselves into his car and I even didn’t forget my phone into the shop where it was recharging.

The driver was Turkish origin, the best chef in Norrköping. His name is Adam, so if you meet him say hi from us.

Some time before 4am were were on the motorway crossroads, 7km from Helsingborg. It was all dark and hitchhiking was pointless. We decided to walk to the city on the motorway. Which we did. Yes, I know it’s illegal.

That was the end of day two.

The day three

At that point we were not much into hitchhiking and that would have been too much effort for no too good reason, so we just bought tickets to the ferry leaving at 5.40. The name of the ferry was Tycho Brahe btw. A good ferry it was – we found a ladies room, did some morning clean-up at ourselves and even had a time for a cigarette. The ferry trip to Helsingör took about 20 minutes.

From Helsingör to Copenhagen we took a train. Not too big distance either and anyway all the area between those two tons seems to be very densely populated. We were in Copenhagen at 7am and that is definitely not a time to knock at anyone’s door. So we found some park and took a nap there. Later on someone mentioned that this was a park were gay men go out for a hunt. Well, probably we were in the safest place of the town then.

We were at our hosts doorway at 11am. It was a tiny little flat with one bedroom and no shower. The host was moving in – no TV and LPs in the morning, all of it and a lot of banana boxes in the evening. Anyway, we rested a little and then went out. One thing that we noticed walking around in the town was that houseplants are so unfairly cheap in Denmark. Like orchids. Too bad I couldn’t possibly hitchhike around with an orchid.

Ottox and Sunny were in Copenhagen, so the main idea was to meet them. Which we did. Also we met Santragenius V and couple jazz concerts. I admit we didn’t pay too much attention to the music though. Meeting old friends was too exciting for that. Mme F didn’t feel good and her foot hurt.

Eventually we got back to our backpacks and host and crashed in the corner of his tiny little living room. We were tired enough to not notice the uncomfortableness.

That was the end of day three.

The day four

Armed with some good advice from our host we greeted the new day in outskirts of Copenhagen, hitchhiking to Nykøbing F. Actually we were hitching still quite on the street, right after a traffic light. It took about 1,5 hours to get away from there. Some gentleman took us closer to the motorway. There we flagged down a car which was driving to Køre (as our host had warned us – sooner or later there will be a car going to Køre, don’t go there). We got a lift to a nice big Shell gas station. That’s where we saw the other hitchhikers first time during the trip. We refreshed ourselves there and nibbled something to eat and started to hitch again. Pretty soon a family of three stopped next to us and said they can take us. We didn’t even try them as the car was quite crowded. Nice people again, he was Croatian, she was from Iran and their son was Danish. They took a detour to take us to Nykøbing F. Really lovely people.

And there we were, knocking at Pierce’s door. It was like a last harbour as by then we were really tired and dirty and all that. After a quick shower we were in much better shape. However, by the time we reached the pizza place it was almost closed and Pierce had to become a pizzaboy. Fine with us… No really, it was better than at grandma’s. After some food and beer we were all quite sleepy.

That was the end of day four.

The day five

The next day was really slow to start. Pierce had left to work at the crack of dawn and we took all the time for doing nothing. Eventually we managed to drag ourselves out of the house and take a look around the town. Then it was about the time for culture. Pierce had mentioned gazillion times those free jazz concerts on the local town square every Friday night. It was a Friday.

The town square was quite crowded. We found a place close to the fountain. Music from the stage was anything but jazz. Mostly it was about dead dogs and dead horses. And it actually sounded even worse than you can imagine. Then again, it was quite interesting to see the life in the local gene pool – the fountain was crowded with big dogs and small children. Probably that’s how they make imps…

We had all kind of evil ideas about what we’re going to say to Pierce as soon as he turns up. About the local idea of jazz, of course. Eventually he arrived and told us that this was the worst concert ever heard on the square. That has still to be proven.

The night was saved by another band – N'City Blues – who performed at the Joker’s Pub. They were both good and cute. Especially Pedro. We even wrote a fan-letter to them. Some Pierce’s friends were around as well and so it was a nice night in the pub. The beer was nice, too.
That was the end of day five.

The day six

For some odd reason (as it turned out later) we were convinced that we must leave the town on Saturday and head north. That also meant that Pierce didn’t have any time to make pancakes for us. Obviously we have to travel there again one day. Anyway, he gave us a tour across few islands and eventually dropped us on the road somewhere. Næstved, methinks. From there we got a lift to Slagelse by a schoolteacher who was a menthol smoking lady who’s husband was in hospital in Slagelse. In Slagelse we were more or less grabbed from the road by some darkish guy before we even started to hitch. He was driving into completely wrong direction but ended up in a right place – Korsør. That’s where the bridge toll is. The toll officer shooed us away from there and we had to walk back for couple kilometers, to an almost deserted gas station. That’s where we saw the last hitchhiker on our trip.

After couple hours we eventually got a lift by a nice young Swedish couple who were going to some party in Odense. They managed to change our opinion about Swedes and their attitude towards hitchhikers.

In Odense there was a gas station with McDonalds. Good spot. We got a lift to another gas station past Fredericia. The driver was from Iceland.

From there we were picked up by some middle-aged danish couple who didn’t talk to us, didn’t ask any questions and were very quiet in total. Well, we got a nice long lift to Randers, which was almost the place we were heading to. Tartaronne was ready to drive over and collect us but since it wasn’t that late we stubbornly hitched on.

The next driver was completely and utterly mad and if not drunk then in a strange kind of hangover. Middle-aged man going to some beach party. We were invited. The driver was babbling with no end, mostly about his or that of his friends who used to live around the corner here but got killed in a traffic accident. Their driving style must have been quite like his. He missed our crossroad and got a bit lost but eventually took us even further that he had planned. Well, actually all the way we had to go. And there we were – at Tartaronne’s.

That’s another very welcoming and kind household with probably the best coffee in whole Danish Kingdom. After some chattering we went to sleep. It had been quite some kilometers.

That was the end of day six.

The day seven

The next day ws one of those lazy days. Tartaronne and Sig. S took us to some seaside village for a lunch. Nice place with a live music (no dead dogs and horses mentioned). After that we had a walk on the beach. It was quite a crowded place, both by humans and jellyfish. Lovely, and different from ours.

After that we did some nothing and…

…that was the end of day seven.

The day eight

Monday was very hot and lazy day again. We checked out the local second-hand shop and tried to walk around a little but it was too got for that. The rest of the day was spent with doing nothing in a very good quality.

That was day eight.

The day nine

The next day got a lazy start again but in the afternoon we were taken to a village where a huge flea market took place and Tartaronne and Sig. S were to sing there. The music was good and I managed also to hear them singing Leaving On a Jet Plane. The fair was amusing, too.

As it all took place only 7km from Tartaronne’s place we decided to take a walk back. That turned out to be quite some anabasis as we managed to get lost on the way. But it was still worth of all the effort as the landscape and weather were equally brilliant. Eventually we made it to the right place.

That was the end of day nine.

The day ten

Then it was about a time to leave this kind house and hit the road again. Tartaronne took us to the motorway in Randers and left us in some gas station (which turned out to be only shop and a place where some weird people came to have a picnic).

Our idea was to hitch further north and catch a ferry in Frederikshavn. So for the first time we had some time limits. And there we were – it took 2,5 hours to get a lift. Luckily we were dropped at the Frederikshavn’s port in one go, quite at the last minute. There we got slightly lost which also meant that we happened to be in the best place – at the queue of cars waiting to be let on the ferry. The first driver we asked agreed to take us to the boat which saved us from buying the tickets. He was a guy quite in our age and he had this desperate look on his face telling that oh those women, they will get what they want anyway. Verrry resigned.

Couple hours later we were in Gothenburg. We met our host Mathias in the town center and took a tram to his place. He is one funny guy, very easygoing. We unloaded our backpacks and made it back to the city. After all Gothenburg is a beautiful town and deserves more than just to be driven through. We even made it to the rose garden just before it got closed for a night.

When we returned to Mathias’ there was one of his friends with a huge problem. He was about to become a father and he wasn’t happy with it. We got a chance to do a lot of advising. Entertaining indeed.

That was the end of day ten.

The day eleven

The next morning the father-to-be showed up and cooked a breakfast for the whole lot and after that we hit the road again. The thing with big cities is that it’s very hard to find a way out of those. So we ended up hitching under a traffic light again, hoping that sooner or later there will be someone crazy enough to stop.

He was a guy from Argentina and we got a lift to Borås. The location was not so good though and the next driver, who was actually just testing some car after fixing it, took us to the other side of the town.

The next gas station was a good spot again and we got a lift to Linköping quite soon. The driver was a doctor on some island and a deeply religious man. A nice man anyway.

From Linköping to Norrköping we were taken by a man who was taking his Spanish mother home. Old lady had fallen with a bicycle and hurt her leg. It was a nice family and good chat again. Norrköping was a weird place but at least people were smiling at us. And after couple hours some of them even stopped a car.

It was a young family of bahai’s with a 10 month old baby. We managed to press ourselves into the car. It was a heavy discussion about environmental problems, global warming, religion and some other issues. Who said hitchhiking has to be easy. In Södertälje they took us to the railway station as it was in the great Stockholm area anyway and so we took a train and in no time we were at Freedom’s place. It was quite late by then and so I may as well say that…

…that was the end of day eleven.

The day twelve

Stockholm is a nice town too and so we decided to spend a day there as well. Unfortunately Titania didn’t feel good and so we didn’t meet her but other than that we had a good hanging around the town and as it was the last day of our trip we also did some shopping. Among other things we purchased the ferry tickets back home. Unfortunately one can’t hitchhike across that water.

And that was the end of day twelve.

The day thirteen

The twelve days of Christmas… no, that’s not this thing! Anyway, the next day we procrastinated a bit and then headed to the ferry. It was a nice and big one and we had cabin and all. Well, I think we deserved a little luxury after all that travelling. We found one friend of ours working on the ship as a troubadure, so there was some more nice music involved. When we ran out of nice music, we went to observe the karaoke. It was exactly as horrible as we thought it would be.

That was the end of day thirteen.

The day fourteen

Sunday morning greeted us close to our homeland. Saying good-bye at the port wouldn’t have been an option, so we lured out my sis and had a brunch with her. The funny thing about backpacks was that as soon as they smelt familiar air they became twice as heavy as they used to be on the way. So we dragged ourselves to the bus station instead of the roadside and took buses.

That was the end of the trip.

There are also some photos of this trip and beds. And some photos from last years trip as well.

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