The great Einstein proved that time is relative. To me this has always been a basic fact to be believed even if not understood. We all accept that 2+3 equals 5. Every time. And we accept that Einstein was right, probably because no one is clever enough to prove him wrong.
We spent so much time to prepare for the trip that was supposed to happen soon, some time next year, next quarter, next month, It never rally felt like it would be next week anytime. Or tomorrow, or maybe ETD (estimated time of departure) would be in 5 minutes..
The time of departure is always so far away that there are certain things that you just have to postpone, because there is always something that is very pressing in the immediate right now. Some near and present catastrophy that needs to be handled. And in the middle of all this, we realized 15 days prior to our prefered ETD that we never actually applied for our 6 month VISA for the USA. A very helpful friend was kind enough to inform us that once upon a time way back in the day he tried the same thing and it took somehthing like 90 days for the process to be completed. There where a surprising lack of faith and encouragement regarding the neccesary paperwork. And yet, this was a much easier process than expected. A total of 21 days from start to VISA arrival.
Then followed goodbye-happening after goodbye-happening over several days. Parents, close friends, siblings and others. Everyone waranted a proper hug and a drink or a cup of coffee. Yet with family situations and work and vacation in the mix, there where a few that could not make any of the numerous goodby settings. You’re all missed but not forgotten.
The last day we drank more coffee than any liver should be forced to endure. Feeling the love from all those that care, and those that we care for – was actually quite exhausting. Greatly appreciated ofcourse, but from an introverted thinkers point of view it took it all out of me. So much so that we never told anyone when the final date of departure was pushed yet one more day due to critical papers to be delivered by mail. It was the only way we could hope to finish packing for the next day..
And then suddenly the big day was here.
We where finally in the car, leaving Stavanger, Norway, in the rearview and heading towards our great adventure. First to Stord for a proper change of tires and more sencible rims. Now our Pajero proudly sports TOYO AllTerrain tires on 16” rims. Hopefully this will get us where we want to go. The next level of upgrade will probably be some kind of tracked behemoth.
Then we headed towards Drammen where we had an appointment with a well profiled 4×4 outfitter that where supposed to help us out with a few corrections and equipment issues. Before we got halfway we called them just to confirm our appointment once again. What I got in return was a calrificationt that there where no appointment scheduled after all (despite my written email confiramtion 1 week prior), there where no parts available and that they could not give us a price for any parts before after we had ordered them. Safe to say we did not, and will never, deal with this particular company ever again.
In Oslo we spent 2 days with our good friends Marthe & Espen, sleeping in the best RUM-bar in Oslo, right next to the sugarcanebased greatness. Incidently this is also Marthe and Espens apartment.
Driving form Oslo, everyone, including the GPS, boldly stated that it would take five and a half hours from Oslo to Malmø. Knowing this we decided to spend 1 our for lunch at my Uncle Gustav and aunt Evas summer retreat in Sweeden. How foolish where we? Travel time in total: 10 hours and some change. Dear Einstein. It is now proven yet again that there is no connection, relative or othervise, between assumed travel time and real travel time.
Arriving in Malmø late at night, something that we really tried to avoid, we just colapsed on our beds. The next few days just flew by. Malmø, Hamburg, Beverungen (west of Göttingen), Munchen, Ruhpolding and now Salzburg. After our would-be 4×4 suplier fell through, we where suddenly in need of a new supplier in a part of Europe where most people find the thought of speaking english something between scary and offensive. So the kilometers flew by through Denmark and on the german Autobahn. Not wanting to kill our newly aquired car I always let the engine warm properly up, and never pressed it past 120 km/h. Diesel engiene with a turbo made for proper offroad use gave me a choice between fast and short, or all the way and slow. I chose the latter. But offcource that made the Autobahn quite different from my earlier motorcycle trips in Germany. Being passed by cars doing well in excess of 250 kmph made me want to go out and push… Days of traveling between hotels on high speed highways makes you loose sence of anything but the next turn, trying not to get sanwiched and squashed between fast-movers and heavy-haulers.
Yesterday and today we got all day and night in Salzburg. Being tourists. Thursday night we found this fantastic little restaurant that could seat 16 people, where the kitchen was part of the main room and all the food is prepared by the cook just a fef meters from our table. What a wonderful and surprising experience. We’ll be sure to revisit in the years to come.
Friday morning we have an appointment with Taubenreuther, a 4×4 supplier in Anthering, Austria. Then after that the new Gordigear roof tent will be mounted on the car, and we’ll head for the hills. Litteraly. We’ll take the long way to Italy over the alps. Life is good. Our collective puls and sence of urgency is coming down. Any day now Tonje, my wife and copilot, will realize that we are actually on our way and have very close to 12 months worth of adventure ahead of us..