We visited so many beautiful places on this trip, but Drammen stands out in my mind as extra special. We debated if we’d even go there. We figured it would be hard to hitchhike out of Oslo, as is the case with most major cities. We knew of Drammen because there is a sail loft there that is the same company Jason worked with back in Ventura. We were also told there were farms that may need help, and Jason was looking for work. What the heck, why not set our bags down and stick out our thumbs a while. It wasn’t a great place, but it was near a freeway. I didn’t think there was much of a chance. But a few minutes later a red car pulled up.
“Where are you headed?” he asked.
“Hop in,” he said. And we did.
“Where are you going?” We asked.
And so it was decided. Come to think of it, this was our last hitchhiking ride of the trip.
This was the third time something bad happened that resulted in our good luck. His girlfriend was supposed to take a train to Oslo to a handball tournament but the train caught fire. So he had to drive her. We started hitchhiking just in time as he was about to get on the freeway back to Drammen.
When we got there he drove us all around town and gave us a tour, and showed us good places to camp. He said in the last couple years street art popped up a lot and showed us his favorite ones.
He showed us one he did as well:
He said he’d put multiple characters around town and we kept an eye out (and found some!) during the rest of our time there.
He paid the toll to take us up “the spiral”. We drove through a tunnel that spiraled around and around up through a mountain. It was like a never ending cave and I was actually a little dizzy by the end. Apparently they wanted to make an island but needed the material so they took it out of this mountain and the spiral tunnel was born. We got to the top back to daylight and the view took my breath away. Our new friend ran into the restaurant at the top and came back with ice creams for the three of us and we enjoyed the view.
We went back down the spiraly tunnel and he dropped us off in the city center. It was a gorgeous and small city, which is our favorite kind. It felt good to be there.
We found a supermarket and grabbed some food and ate at a table by a fountain. Then decided we should camp up above the spiral in the woods there. The guy who had given us a ride had pointed out the dirt path that would take us up there by foot. So with all our stuff on our backs we made the trek back up there. We found a good spot for our hammock in the trees then went back to enjoy the view until dark. Since it was almost summer in Norway the sun didn’t go down until about 11pm, and the sky never got completely dark. We sat and talked and when we’d said enough words we took a break and wrote some down in our notebooks instead.
We alternated this for a while until dusk and then Jason went over to the restaurant to get some cardboard to put in between our hammock ropes and the trees, in order to protect the bark. Camping in the woods is legal in Norway, but one of the rules is to not disturb the nature.
“You know what to do if you see bears?” asked the guy who worked at the restaurant and started to snap his fingers.
“There are bears?”
“Do you see any bears? No, because I’m doing this.” said the man still snapping.
Anyways, he gave Jason some cardboard. We figured he was just messing with us (he was) but I still snapped that night every time I heard a noise. You can never be too careful!
The next day we woke up late after what must’ve been much needed sleep. It was so peaceful up on our mountain, just us in the trees. I could’ve lived up there like that. If only we could’ve paused time. I was so incredibly happy, the feeling magnified by the knowledge that everything was about to change and my time with Jason had gone down to just a few weeks.
We hiked back down the mountain with all our stuff. We walked across the river to the hills on the other side. We went through a neighborhood trying to find the way up above the houses into the trees in the distance.
“You go through the graveyard, passed some houses, and left at the red pre-school,” said one couple.
We tried to follow the directions but the roads weren’t quite that simple. A lady was in her yard gardening and we asked her. She gave us better directions then we got to talking.
“You know, the woods that are right here are on my property. You’re welcome to string up your hammock there. And I’ll make you dinner.”
We climbed up through her property and found some good trees with another river view.
Our whole camping experience in Drammen felt so safe and blissful. It doesn’t really get better than sitting in a hammock next to your favorite person with incredible views before you. Until you hear, “Jason, Brittany, dinner time!”
We climbed back down and sat at a table on the patio overlooking the water. Our new friend was a spirited older woman, Norwegian, and Muslim. She told us her life story full of travel and love and heartbreak, and it was beautiful. By the time dinner was over it felt like we had been friends forever. She was full of wisdom and kindness. And the food was great! She told us about the bonfire summer solstice celebration that was happening that Friday and said she’d be there. We went too, but we didn’t see her.
The next day we checked out the sail loft. The owner was very nice and I loved his golden retriever, Sailor. He and his wife invited us back to their home for dinner and a place to crash that night. It was a beautiful home and they were wonderful company. He drove us through the hills and it began to rain. We went to a dog park where Sailor ran around. Back at his home we had tea and he gave us a huge chocolate bar, saying it was the best in Norway. And he wasn’t lying! I wish I had some right now!
By this point we couldn’t believe how many genuine and generous people we had met. Our hearts were so full. And there were still new friends we had yet to make!
With the help of our most recent hosts Jason had a few leads for work and he spent the next day inquiring if anyone needed help. We went into a coffee shop that had opened recently. The interior was inventive and futuristic. The artist/owner of the shop used a bunch of different recycled materials to create the place- it was really cool! They gave us sandwiches and waffles and to say our thanks we washed their dishes.
After a while of talking it was time to say goodbye. We were going to hike to the spiral again for another night of hammock camping. Literally as we were putting on our bags to leave a man walked in, someone who was helping to market the coffee shop. He also happened to be the inventor of the Pancake Bot.
We got to talking. He offered to let us stay at his house in a nearby town, and said he had work that he needed help with as well.
Another beginning of a good friendship, we got in his car with him and we were off…