Days spent in Norway with young people from 11 European countries in the land of mountains and fjords, where the sea is full of fish and other treasures of the sea, where beer and cigarettes are the biggest luxury concerning their price, where the standard of living is four times higher than in Croatia, and where people are more friendly and kinder than in most European countries, will always leave a deep trace. Our team consisted of 12 young people from 12 European states, 18 to 22 years of age. At the beginning, we didn’t intensively hang out with other people because of shyness and necessary adaptation, but after three days we started socializing late at night in a local pub with HRK 55 beer, and mental borders between people completely disappeared. In only three days we became a truly inseparable group of people where everyone is interesting in their own way.
By plane from Norway over half of Europe
I should have started the travel from Zagreb by plane from Munich further on to Oslo and the final destination of Aalesund. But the first flight from Zagreb was delayed, so in Munich I received a completely different flight schedule because I missed the other scheduled flights. The road further took me from Munich to Frankfurt, to Oslo and Aalesund where I arrived at midnight. First location I visited was Langevag in the region of Sula. It’s a place of wonderful nature and fascinating mountains that surround it, so we spent the first night in the mountains, in the Red Cross cabin. It was our very first night together, so we slowly got to know each other with cards, dishwashing and other activities. The next two days in Langevag went by in a relaxed manner, touring and sightseeing, and going to bed around midnight, which was killing me, because the day lasted until one hour after midnight.
After first three days in Norway, we arrived to the town of Volda, located in one of the best known fjords in Norway. We arrived to a new family, where Vasil, Raquel, Kärlyn and I were situated. Everyone had their room with Internet and other “necessities”. Our hosts really took all effort to please our needs. Along with the necessary sightseeing and ubiquitous hiking, we started to go out at night. Our chief destination was a local pub owned by Moroccans we all met and became friends with. The waiter was from Bosnia, so I spoke with him in Croatian. We met local young people, so our standard route, after the pub that closed at 2 am, was to go to house of one of the locals for a pizza and a few glasses of wine.
We became an inseparable crew and felt as if we’ve known each other for half a year, not only a few days. In Volda I realized that our language is very similar to Bulgarian, so I was able to chat a little with a Bulgarian colleague in Croatian. A day before our last day in Volda we went to an excursion on a boat and had fun fishing. I took a fishing rod and simply threw the hook in. Every time I did so, I caught a fish three or four kilograms in weight. This was quite amazing to me, because I never saw waters so rich in fish. I think we caught some 30 or so kilograms of fish.
Postcard and stamp – HRK 50
We spent our last day in Volda on one of the famous Norwegian fjords - Geiranger, fjord bordered with magnificent mountains, lots of waterfalls and specific green color water. The prices in the town in the heart of fjord were astronomic. For example, I paid HRK 50 for a postcard and postage stamp. But that did not manage to break our good spirits because we truly enjoyed that place. The time in Norway went by fast and so came the day when we came to our last family in Vigra, a small island where the Aalesund airport is located. On the first evening we had a presentation at the meeting of the local Rotary club and meeting with the young people of Vigra. That was the first place in Norway where I saw the wonderful sandy beaches, with huge mountain ranges and waterfalls above them. Our host was a truly “young” 58 year old, and on the very first day, five minutes after we arrived, he took Vasil and me sailing and sightseeing in Aalesund.
We visited Aalesund, the biggest town in the region of Moreog Romsdal, so along with the sightseeing, we also saw the house of a famous Norwegian footballer Jon Arne Riise. We also did some shopping, but we needed to be very careful with the prices since some things were astronomically high, while other things were cheaper than in Croatia. I was most touched by a visit to a farm on the island of Valderoya that participates in a project aiding poor children in countries like Ukraine, Romania, Poland etc. During my two weeks stay in Norway, I met people from Bulgaria, Belgium, Spain, Turkey, Poland, Czech Republic, France, Austria, Israel, Germany and Holland, and quite a lot of Norwegians. The lifestyle of those people greatly differs, but that didn’t prevent us from becoming in the end an integrated team that always stuck together. I learned a lot about those countries and their customs, like the information that Belgian coast has 73 kilometers, and that a liter of vodka in Bulgaria costs from HRK 15 to 20.
Next year to Valencia with the same crew
This journey was a great experience for me, and I made some great friends with whom I stayed in contact, and with some of them I agreed to come to Croatia this winter, and next March five of us will travel to Valencia. We made a lot of other agreements, we just need to take efforts to make it happen. This trip to Norway was made possible to me by the Rotary from Koprivnica, and after some nervousness before the travel, I felt a relief as soon as I met the people in Norway. I am preparing an extensive presentation on Norway. I have already started planning the journey for next year, and I need to find an interesting destination again, because I realized only now that travels and travel experiences are the greatest treasure.
Sealed friendship with a colleague from France
Friday came, and it was time for us to leave Volda and head for Fösnavag. In Fösnavag we were greeted by local Rotary representatives. We had lunch with them and headed for the families we stayed with. That’s where I experienced quite a shock. Along with some minor personal problems and a generally poor mood, I was saddened by the fact that the boy from France and me were located in the house of the 86-year old man who lived quite far away from the place our team was located. But in discussion with the elderly gentleman we realized he was still working and that he is the president of the largest Norwegian company for the construction of submarine tunnels.
We entered his guest register, dating back to 1963. But concerning this relative isolation, Maxime and I got to know each other quite well, because we passed our time drinking beer in the garden, discussing everything we might think of. People from other families realized that we are not having too much fun in the house of our vital old man, so we spent whole days with our team from other houses, i.e. families, and we came back only in the evening to sleep and have a discussion over a pint of beer. In Fösnavag we stayed for only three days, but we managed to see a whole lot, from their shipbuilding plant tot he latest shipbuilding model where everything is completely computerized.