OSLO, 1971

You took the train outside the city to see the Holmenkollbakken ski jump, it was late summer, green out. You went to the top and stood where they take off from, like the top of a roller-coaster. “Not for me!”

Then you visited a museum where they had recovered a large (100 foot?) Viking ship from the bottom of the ocean and were restoring it. They had to spray a solution on it for 24 hours a day for an estimated seven years to keep it from crumbling.

You were alone, wandering. How much beer did you drink? Or maybe akvavit?

When you walked off the base in Bremerhaven, you had a thirty day Eurail Pass, $300, and no itinerary. So you went to the station and got a train to Denmark (where you had been before). Normally you would look for 8-12 hour train rides at night in order to save on a hotel. Either on the train to Denmark or probably from Stockholm to Oslo, you were in a cabin by yourself when a guy came in and sat down. You nodded to each other but never spoke, assuming he didn’t speak English. Eight hours later when the train pulled into the station, you got up and put on your pack, said “goodbye.” He looked up and said “goodbye!” so you asked where he was from, and he said Cleveland, Ohio.

From there you just traveled down through Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Spain before running out of time and returning to the base. You went to Frankfurt and flew to New Jersey in the cargo hold of a huge transport plane. You had planned to hitchhike to Ohio, but you were too tired and flew home.


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