there and back again

there and back again

… and there again.

A smooth sea never made a strong sailor and all that. Well, the sea has been pretty smooth and so far the biggest issue has been getting enough wind in the sails – and not just from the direction I’m going. Southerlies prevail as the dominant wind direction in the Oslo Fjord. I can imagine why the vikings decided to just settle at the bottom of the fjord, or Viken (yep, that’s the origin to the word “viking”). I mean, when you’ve sailed (or rather, been blown) up the fjord it’s damn hard work getting back out of there. Especially with the sailing technology of the viking era. The ships back then were excellent downwind, but not so great the other way around. As a matter of fact, the first time I sailed up the fjord – at what I thought was a pretty decent 7-8 knots – I was outsailed by a copy of the Oseberg Ship. Going back out means tacking against the wind. That’s not what the viking ships were best at.  And it takes a while with my boat too. But I did make it outside the Drøbak Sound in the end. And a fine sail it was. I caught a cod for my cat, and saw a dolphin! Well, it was actually a harbour porpoise. Swallows were circling my boat as I left and now this. Good omens? And what about phosphorescence in the head (that’s the toilet, for those of you who don’t speak sailor)? It’s got a wonderful name in Norwegian; “morild”. And a bit of research tells me that it’s called “mareel” in Shetland dialect. I wonder if that’s influence from the vikings again, or if that word has other origins? Any linguists out there to enlighten me?

I’ve spent a couple of nights in Son, an idyllic town that had been a natural harbour since – you guessed it – the viking era. My boat neighbour through the winter is possibly the only other Wauquiez Centurion 32 owner in Norway. We’ve become great friends and he keeps his boat here at the moment. And by chance he hauled out just as I was sailing in, so I got to use his berth. Lucky me! It felt great to visit a friend and celebrate that I have departed.

Well … Here comes the reason for the title. I had to make a quick return to Oslo. Pretty annoying, but it had to be done. I ordered stuff for the boat on ebay and asked that it please be shipped in a way that didn’t require ID to be collected. Guess what? It required ID to be collected. Meaning that my brother couldn’t go get it and forward it to one of my destinations. So I made a quick decision to just hop on a train now, before I got too far away from the city. It felt really weird, almost unreal, to be in Oslo, even just for a few hours. I wasn’t supposed to be there. It felt a bit like skipping school. What if someone saw me? Well, someone did! I was inhaling some pretty decent pizza at Østbanehallen while waiting for the train back when a couple of the excellent 4 Gringos guys walked past. They looked very confused to see me. I mean, they had been there making delicious tacos at my farewell party! We talked a bit and had a laugh about it. Which reminds me to say thank you once again, guys! You rock! Having the taco van parked right by the beach really made a difference for the farewell party. And what a night it was! Gorgeous weather, the boat moored just across from where we did yoga, some of my favourite people in the whole world within arms reach for a hug or two. I couldn’t have asked for more. It makes me feel so damn lucky. And now I’m out on my big adventure. Haha, two days of sailing out, and still only an hour away by train. Sailing is not fast. But, then again, it’s not just travelling. I am moving around with my entire house. Like a snail. I’m calling it snailing (I know, not very original). How long would it take you to pack up all your stuff and get settled into a new flat in a different town? Longer than hopping on a train for sure, and probably longer than sailing there too, right?

As a way of honouring my quick “there and back again” I also picked up my illustrated copy of Tolkien’s works at my brother’s place before taking leave once again. At the pace I’m going I should be able to read it before arriving in Lofoten. Heh.

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