It was about time too, I needed to get out, and unfortunately I don't have the funds for a longer trip yet, so this was perfect. The goal: hitchhiking to Norway, see the Preikestolen. To do this we had about 2 weeks time.
To get us started we had already fixed up a ride through a website to take us from Holland as far as Kolding in Denmark. It cost us about 45 euro's per person, but at least we had certainty we would make it quite close to Norway on the first day, so this was acceptable to me.
The man who drove us there was Peter, a retiree from Holland who now went to a market in Kolding, where he would buy Danish furniture to take back and sell back home. While he earned quite a bit of money from this occasionally it was mostly a hobby, but some of the prices were staggering to us. Once he had bought a chair for 10 euro's and had managed to sell it at an auction for 700 euro's... That is quite the profit!
Anyway, at 8 in the morning he picked us up in Heerenveen, and at 14:30 we made it to Vejle, just north of Kolding where he dropped us off at a big tank station, and wished us good luck.
Looking around we saw it was a good spot, but we decided to get a sign. So we started looking around for cardboard boxes, but we didn't find any. Asking inside the station, Willem managed to get a piece of paper.
It wasn't sturdy but it would have to do!
We wrote down Aarhus, and took position at the exit onto the highway. And got lucky with the second car to pass us by!
Merzad offered to take us along for a while, and dropped us off at a McDonalds at a location that I don't know the name of. Along the way he told us about his home country of Iran, and of the problems it faces in the perception by the media, the politicians in power who mess up the country, and the hospitality of the local people. Hearing him talk about Iran made me want to visit the country. He was a well-spoken man and interesting to listen to.
At McDonalds we managed to get a proper piece of cardboard, and with it we assumed position at an on-ramp.
Hitchhiking in Denmark
This time it took maybe around 20 minutes, and then Jespe showed up. Jespe was a softly speaking man that we sometimes had to strain to hear, but a very nice guy overall. He reminded us of someone we knew back home. He dropped us off in Randers (or at least that's where we figured we were at, we weren't quite sure!).
At this location it took us longer to secure us another ride, which came in the form of Njal, who apparently was named after a popular saga. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nj%C3%A1ls_saga)
He dropped us off further along the highway toward Aalborg, where the highway split off in two possible directions for us to get to a ferry. But the location we were now at saw very little traffic.
From where we were standing it was hopeless to get a ride within a reasonable amount of time, and so we decided to walk onto the highway itself, hoping to get a ride before a cop showed up.
And thankfully, we got lucky. A car pulled over, but it was so much farther from where we were that we doubted if he pulled over for us or if he was simply breaking down. So I ran over (quite a distance!) and went to look. Thankfully, yes, he did pull over for us. But he was nervous being on the side of the highway like this and wanted us to hurry up. I ran like the devil back to Willem, hoisted up my backpack, and sprinted back to the car. After quickly jamming our stuff into the back we got in, and we were on our way to Aalborg thanks to Willy, from the Congo.
Willy, as it turned out, had made quite the journey himself when in 2003 he was forced to flee the Congo due to hostilities in the area. He had been working in the south while his family had remained in the centre. When the fighting started he was unable to get back to them, and had to flee. And so he came to Denmark, not knowing what had happened to his family as the fighting moved up to the centre of the Congo.
Then, in 2008, as by a miracle, he had found his wive on, of all things, Facebook. She had managed to flee the country as well, and was living in Germany. What a miracle! And what's more, they now had a second child who was two months old! But they still had not gotten back to living together, because Willy wanted to finish school and because he didn't speak German, he couldn't move. And his wive didn't speak Danish, and had her own stuff going on in Germany too. So it might still be a while before they are back living together.
I wish them all the best!
Willy dropped us off in Aalborg, and we had a bit of a distance to walk to get out of town and onto the proper highway again. We tried hitchhiking through town, and we actually did get lucky.
This would turn into a common theme during our trip: in all the worst places we had the best of luck getting rides, and all the good places, where cars had lots of room to pull over, lot's of time to see us etc. we would be getting stuck for various amounts of time.
This time our luck was due to Onja, Peter's young daughter who thought it would be funny to help us. And so together they drove us out of Aalborg and to where we needed to be!
This was another place where there wasn't a lot of traffic, but this time we decided to wait a bit longer. We didn't have to wait long until another car pulled over.
Michael and Lylian were an older couple with a long car in which we could sit in the back. There were tools and other stuff scattered across the floor and we were sitting a bit uncomfortably, but we had a ride all the way to Hirtshals! And from Hirtshals there was a chance of us catching the last ferry for the day to Norway.
Along the way we encountered a horrible sight. An accident had happened just shortly before we came along. The highway was covered with pieces of debris, and various people had already pulled over to help.
What we think happened was a car carrying a woman and her children, who were now sitting by the side of the road crying and in panic, was smashed into from behind somehow. In return their car probably smashed into a car in front of them, which had flipped over and was lying upside down a bit further down the road.
Next to it on the side of the road was a man lying on the ground bleeding, being tended to by two people.
In the flipped over car we thought we saw a body sticking out the back, but we weren't sure. The couple giving us a ride moved through the accident and drove on. There were enough people to help, professional help was on the way and you don't need a traffic jam blocking their access.
This incident quietened us all down, and we didn't speak much untill we were in Hirtshals, where they dropped us off in front of the ferry terminal. Further misfortune: the ferry had already left, and we would have to wait till 12:00 the next day.
Looking around in the area we didn't find much in the way of sleeping spots, but there was a parking with some mobile homes that had people in them, next to the train station. And so we put down our sleeping bags next to the train station walkway when it got darker, and went to sleep.
Then we scared off a guy who rounded the corner of the building, thinking he could take a leak there. Nope!
Where we had slept. Here we are in the process of drying our stuff that got moist, and making some morning tea!
The next day as we were waiting for the ferry I taught Willem how to play chess, which I had learned to play in Canada. I had a mini-board with me, containing all the little magnetic pieces. It takes almost no room and weighs practically nothing, and you can hold it upside down without the pieces falling off.
And then we boarded the ferry.
After about three hours we had made it to Kristiansand, Norway.
We moved out of the ferry as quickly as possible to take up position at the car exit, and put up our sign.
Our first destination would be Flekkefjord to the west, and again we didn't have to wait long untill a car pulled over. When I ran over to ask where they were going exactly I was surprised to see two really good-looking girls sitting there, willing to take us to Flekkefjord. We had not expected that!
Ida (I don't know if I spelled her name correctly, and this is the first instances of probably many misspelled names!) and Louise took us to a little while before Flekkefjord, on our request, after asking them for a good camping spot. They suggested a location with some nice waterfalls and a lake, which they showed us.
We decided to stay there, and thanked them for helping us out.
The top of the waterfalls
A little further down
Looking around we didn't see a very good spot to set up our tent, except for maybe on the other side of the waterfalls. And so we decided to cross over, which I filmed with my GoPro camera.
We tried setting up our tent there, but it turned out that spot was crawling with red ants. So we picked a spot right next to the water, and decided to spend another night under the stars.
We also decided we wanted a campfire to keep us warm after sundown, and so the search for good rocks for a fireplace began, as well as the gathering of tinder and firewood.
Willem sitting at the campfire, still unlit
While waiting for the sun to go down we decided to play another round of chess. Good looking set, no? :)
Me breaking some wood for the fire
We spent the night sleeping on the rocks, but slept well considering!
The following morning we decided to move on and try to get to Stavanger, which I will describe in a following post. To be continued!