I wake up and I can smell coffee. It’s coming from the bathroom. Strange, but this is how the lady of the house likes it, and I can see why. The shared bathroom contains a coffee machine, so that upon waking, one can get a coffee and return to the warm bed for an hour or so to read. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to live slowly and feel that in doing so you’re actually more fulfilled.
There are obvious parallels with bicycle travel, which is a methodical, hands‐on, progressive style of living. But this morning I’m enjoying being indoors like never before.
I make my way downstairs and am given two fried eggs and bacon by my lovely host. Given the choice of anything in the world to eat for breakfast, I would probably have opted for just that.
It’s not easy to find company in Norway. If I thought the British were a reserved bunch, they’ve been thoroughly outdone by the Norwegians. I find it lonely here. “We’re as cold as the weather”, I had been told the previous day by the only person to make conversation with me since Oslo.
Luckily the day distracts me in its ethereal beauty. I pass through soft, ancient mountains and glacial valleys, the roads to myself. The blue sky is strafed with suggestive wisps of cloud, but the sun illuminates the valley throughout the day. The bitter cold is almost obscured by the splendour of the visible world.
I camp in a field, stamping out a patch of snow for my tent, tying the corners to my panniers and slinging them into the deep snow to anchor the pitch. This works well. I line the floor with a sheet of plastic obtained from a sports shop in Koppang in the morning.
Then I stand in the field, stomach full and bed made, and look at the stars. No wonder these things have inspired so many poems and works of art. Visible with more clarity here than anywhere I’ve been, I have a sudden feeling of where I am; standing on the surface of a rock, hurtling through space; my existence begun and ended in the blink of a galactic eye.
Like I said, it’s lonely here.