hitch south

Across from Hammerfest on the island of Sørøya lies perhaps the cheapest accommodation in Norway: a school that rents out beds in its otherwise empty dormitory for ten euros a night. But the reason I take a ferry there is not solely to witness this affordable miracle. The island is renowned for its beauty and It’s a great place to spend a day hiking over snowy hillsides and up a huge sand dune.

After one night back on the mainland it’s time to head south. I don’t have a whole lot of time to explore Norway’s north further as I plan to visit a friend in Oslo who will soon be leaving the country. So I hitch to a couchsurfer’s place in a small village a few hundred kilometers further south. It turns out my host is a pretty interesting guy: a former member of the Sami parliament who knows a ton about his people’s background, which is less obvious than it might seem. The government long tried to eradicate Sami culture and my host tells me he had to learn the language at university after his parents were forbidden from learning it.

I make my way to Narvik next. Hitchhiking is all right here, though occasionally I have to wait a while. But I actually don’t mind the occasional wait. The road follows a few fjords and it’s a spectacularly beautiful route. I do notice that almost half the people giving me rides are either foreigners or are married to a foreigner.

By far the most interesting thing in Narvik that I come across is the Second World War museum, which displays the conflict from various angles and does a great job delving into subjects other museums might leave out, such as collaborators and Soviet POWs. The city’s port was a major objective in one of the war’s early battles. Now it houses a lovely little marina.