This reminds of something I learnt in Stockholm about Swedish culture. The swedes (typically) are quite modest and humble- not into boasting facebook statuses for example. Instead, a more typical status might be LOOK GUYS, I MADE THIS HUGE STUPID MISTAKE, I'M AN IDIOT, DON'T DO THE SAME!! This is, of course, a massive stereotype but I think there's some truth in it. Not least because the biggest most important museum in Stockholm (and maybe Sweden) is the Vasamuseet, a huge museum dedicated to exhibiting and telling the history of a warship that sailed from Stockholm in 1628. The ship sunk after about 8 minutes at the first tiny bit of wind. It was salvaged in 1962, restored and now the Swede's most important museum is something like LOOK EVERYONE WE MADE THIS BIG MISTAKE WITH OUR SHIP DON'T DO THE SAME YAH?
Anyway, enough interlude. I left you in Malmö, about to board the bus to Oslo. This trip was originally viewed with trepidation- 8 hour bus journeys are surely not anybody's favourite thing. However, plug sockets and free wifi made Clare a much happier girl! I wasn't feeling the most optimistic at this stage. Malmö had been great, but my hosts had had lectures for alot of the time, and whilst I did have a lovely day exploring by myself I couldn't help but think it would be so much nicer if I was travelling and couchsurfing with someone, and sharing the experience. I felt really kinda lonely. I spent alot of the journey futilely attempting to take pictures of pretty lakes that we kept passing, and trying to convince people to come out and visit me in Bergen (or Oslo, Stockholm, anywhere!) I really really wanted some company. A girl in a hostel in Copenhagen summed up the travelling solo feeling quite well. She said how in so many ways it was great- you could do whatever you wanted to do, go wherever you wanted to go, act and be whoever you wanted to be. To one set of people you could be happy party Clare. To another you could be boring, moody. Nobody was going to judge you. You probably weren't going to see them again. You could be whoever you wanted to be at that particular moment and there was nobody to say "you're being different, you're acting weird, why aren't you being more happy/ organised/ positive?" She saw this as quite a good thing, but I think I disagree. I think it's nice to be with someone who knows the real you, who knows that when you're being moody or boring that's just a mood at that particular time and not a character trait, that actually you're usually another way. I was longing for some company.
Planning, sleeping and listening to music eventually I arrived in Oslo for another couchsurfing experience. This time I was staying with a 28 year old Norwegian man called Arne. I was frickin terrified. Couchsurfing works by that you search through the cities and find hosts, and then send a personal message to the ones you like the look of, explaining who you are and why you want to meet them. (I always offer to cook dinner as well). However there is now the option so that you can make a request public- so that hosts in the city you're travelling to can contact YOU and offer you a place to stay. So, within a few hours of making a request to some people in Oslo I had five or six 40 year old men sending me a message with things along the lines of "hey, you look really cute in your picture, you're welcome to stay in my apartment for a few days...." Erm, so yeah. Those are the ones you ignore. Back to the point. Arne was a guy I had actually sent a request to as he seemed really cool from his profile. But I was feeling a little worried staying by myself with a man- what with the many creepy guys who had been contacting me. But Oslo hostels are very very expensive (and quite bad) and the hosts few and far between (and so constantly inundated with requests). I was very very lucky that Arne had said yes to me. And he did have many positive references and several vouches and so, armed with the addresses of several nearby hostels, I thought I'd give it a go.
He was amazing. He picked me up from the bus station and carried my bags to his apartment which was right in the centre. I had my own room, with a mattress (which is such a luxury when travelling). He was really knackered after a weekend in Dublin but showed me round the city at night so I could get orientated, and then we came back and ate some Norwedgian cheese (which is really good- try the brown one, it tastes like caramel!) He was a really cool guy, and we spend ages exchanging youtube videos and zombie film recommendations.
He initated me to:
which is by a famous Norwedgian TV host... In return, I showed him a couple of Norwedgian music videos that I think represent the soundtrack to revision and post- exams in Durham...
The next movie I watch as well must definitely be this:
|Arne enjoying 'Slappin' my penis'|
In return I showed him clips from Shaun of the Dead. He loved my videos and couldn't stop laughing- and they went into his youtube favourites list. I felt so so cool.
Anyway, the next day I got up early, Arne went off to work, and I had a free day. Loneliness returned. I posted on the Oslo couchsurfing group saying I was around for the next few days and did anyone want to meet up for sightseeing or drinks. And then I went exploring solo. It was a beautiful day, and I decided to get the Oslo card which got me free public transport and entrance into
|Enjoying Oslo bars with CS friends|
Anyway this meant I had friends to hang out with the next day as well, and also some more people arriving who wanted to go sightseeing! I headed to the Munch museum first thing to get the rest of use out of my Oslo card (he's the guy who painted The Scream, and it's an awesome awesome art gallery and you should go if you can, and I don't even like art galleries...) So we all met to go to Vigelandsparken, which is a huge park full of naked sculptures by the artist Gustav Vigeland. Pictures speak louder than words here.
Anyway, fun day sightseeing with an amazing German guy called Ingmar, an English girl called Nadiah and a local called Marie. :)
Last day surfing with Arne as he had some more guests coming that evening but I was so lucky as rather than have to move into a hostel that evening my friend Idunn who is originally from Stravanger was in Oslo that weekend, and said I could stay at her friend's house with her :D That evening was also really good, met her and her lovely friend, we all had a huge catch up, Idunn was ashamed I hadn't heard of the Stonehenge video before (but pleased I was spreading the amazingness of the other videos). We had dinner, went to a bar and randomly bumped into Ingmar who ended up staying with us all at Idunn's friend's house. All very much perfect except for a 5am train to Bergen the next day...
There is so much to say and blogging takes so much time! I'm currently in Rovaniemi (the Arctic Circle!) in a museum that has free internet and computers. So long for now everybody, I need to get back as my host is taking me clubbing tonight....! Lots of love xxx