Much as I dislike ryanair, you can’t really argue with a return flight to Oslo for less than £40. But it’s not really Oslo, it’s a hundred kilometres, or 10 Nordic miles. I think that’s ok though ‘cos most people I’ve spoken to here really don’t like Oslo.
So my intentions to start with were to get the Artic circle and back, in 5 days. I thought this was possible because I have a map of Europe that has deceptively changed the size of Norway so it fits on. The actual ridiculousness of this notion was very patiently explained to me by one of the first people I hitched with, a lovely old lady who advocated the delights of collecting mushrooms and berries in the forest (my first insight into how rich Norway is in these kinds of foraging resources). Together we went past the biggest lake in Norway, which is being made slightly smaller by diggers and cranes building a new road and railway, and dumping loads of rocks in the water, in a kind of line 'em up then tip 'em strategy that looked like incredibly dull work.
I camped on the banks of the Glommo river that night, and woke up to blanket fog. I peeped out of my sleeping bag about 5am and wondered why everything was white thought “to hell with the North Pole, I’m going West” then fell back asleep.
The road the next day took me from Hjerkinn and then westwards, probably one of the most wild and Lord of the Rings-esque landscape that I’ve seen in Europe. Around Hjerkinn there is a mountain that looks like half a soft-boiled egg and it gradually gets more jagged from there, until you reach the Trollvaggen. It’s an iron grey wall which strouded the valley in an early evening gloom. I felt like the pointed teeth of the mountain tops would bend down and bite me in two. This didn’t seem to put off the base jumpers in squirrel suits who lept out of a helicopter by the mountain peak. I watched jealously as I collected damp firewood and the temperature plunged. But I had made my bed, out of bracken, on a mossy knoll in the beech wood, and slept amazingly well.