Now I’m getting greedy. I feel strong enough that I could make a dash for it, to take it. The conditions are too good not to. It’s just asking for it. Go!
The internet is handy, such an incredible tool, it has become indispensable. No Wifi-no deal. But the internet is a thin experience, so thin anything done through the internet maybe shouldn’t be called an experience at all. Can a member of the Professional Organization of English Majors coin a new word for this please?
I looked at the northwest coast of Nord-Trøndelag on the internet and in a guidebook. It looked nice, interesting, and different from what I have seen in the cities. But the media sources didn’t prepare me to receive all that was wonderful about the Vikna Kommune (the Vikna area).
The drive in on the taxi was a thrill. I shared a cab with a local, it was a white Volvo wagon driven by a young woman. Of the 7 kilometers to town, the first 5 have no pavement markings on a twisting road. “Straight’n the curves, the only way they know how…” The opening song to the Dukes of Hazard was in my head, over the actual techno music from the radio, as we cut corners and hugged the curves of the opposite lane. I guess in Vikna, “Everybody does it.”
Speeding to town we meet a tractor in that unmistakable John Deere green towing a ship; swerve right. A massive suspension bridge rises, hulking gray towers and cables brightened by the low angle sun against an azure sky. Past the little harbor, and there, that. I finally smell the sea, the life of the ocean, here.
I’ve been on a ferry in the Oslo harbor, ran over, and along salt water in Trondeim and Bergen but I never smelled the sea. Here I did. It was the smell of life and death, change and permanence. Finally #lynyrdskynyrd.
I was dropped off at the hotel. Rørvik is the kind of town that has just one hotel, but the energy it saves in competition must be redirected to friendliness. The Kysthotellet had plenty of neat old stuff in their clean and modernized facility. Rich ochre paint, the color I have come to love as the quintessential look for a cozy home in Norway, covered the exterior. They even have real keys.
The room is big enough and the Wifi works, but this is no the time to check my Twitter feed. It is sunny outside: Run! Okay, first check Googlemaps so you don’t get lost in the middle of nowhere; Rørvik is nowhere adjacent.
Out the door and up the main road. All typical Norwegian wood-sided homes in the vertical style. Few homes have garages, those that do seem to have them packed with the detritus of life not cars. If anything they have carports. Remember, even this far north the ocean current keeps the land from freezing.
The pedestrian path takes me away from the sun, past the sports hall and up the hill to the school I would be teaching at, Ytre Namdal. My translation is “Outer Namdal,” it looks nice. I ran with my eyes scanning for a path to the right. Opps, ran too far, back and now left and down a new road to where I wanted to go. Like many wealthy countries, it is the cities that are swelling the small towns that shrink, drive through rural Iowa, Alabama, Michigan… In this small town, seeing new construction is encouraging and offers contemplative contrasts.
Maybe 50-some odd degrees fahrenheit today and sunny. There goes the ice cream man, he whips a right into an apartment complex and hits the music. I imagined a Bizarro World episode of Cops. Squeals of children erupted, I smiled. Run.
Looking to run along the water, sea water, and towards the big docks of town, I kept getting drawn down paths to the ocean only to have them dead-end at people’s houses or personal slips. If this was Oslo, there would be a path (he said with a hint of indignation), well it’s not and I’ll manage. Keep running.
I pick my way along the rim of the harbor. Past new row-houses that echo the landmark Brygge of Bergen, the coastal museum, and some old large building in shambles that appears to be being razed, just not with much enthusiasm. Maybe the men who are demolishing it used to work there, maybe it’s hard for their hearts and souls?
An elderly couple is at the dock, with bicyles. The man is taking pictures, the woman is waiting in the shade. How can you not stand in the sun and soak up all the rays you can? The latitude and longitude of Rørvik hangs above us, I feel like I’m intruding, run on.
I curve around the harbor to where I got my first sniff of the Norwegian sea and I had to make a choice: go back or go on. Ahead the bridge was soaking in the sun, from the bridge I could get a picture of Rørvik bathing in daylight. Go.
Still running. A bridge that big is farther away than it seems. I pad the road underneath to find a place from the west to get a good photo. I run down a new private road with a barrier, a future exclusive development. If they put up Norwegian versions of McMansions to dot this hillside overlooking the channel, then we have made another bad cultural export.
Picture taken, now let’s take the bridge by foot. My phone battery has been on the red-line and warning me of death for a while. Will I have enough juice in the phone, because I have enough juice in the legs.
Up the curving road that is the approach, I first notice the prominent sign noting the wind speed. Infer that it must get awfully windy on a regular basis to need a fancy digital sign to warn motorists. Currently the wind was one meter per second. The second observation is that people don’t run on this road. There are no footprints, there is barely a shoulder, and the oncoming drivers seem surprised by my appearance.
Before a questionable idea became a bad idea the bridge decking came into view along with a merciful sidewalk on the west side. To the middle and at the crest I take my photos. For a little cell phone, I think they will do.
And now to cross the bridge. I reach the south abutment and stop to take one photo of the welcome sign for the next community. Nothing. Dead battery. Unfazed, I reached down to touch the dirt and then it’s back across and to the welcoming arms of the Kysthotellet.
Wow, I’ve got to call my wife!