Life is bigger, than three sandwiches.

I went to Oslo last weekend.

It was my second solo trip, and this time I have travel medicine to take. On the way there it made me frightfully tired, and I would fall asleep, then wake up terrified and panting. But no vomitting, so that was nice.

It was cold and rainy, which actually I prefer. So that part was nice. It was not a long trip, so I tried to make the best of it, and the weather.

On the first day, I decided to take a long walk. I left in the morning, only eating a piece of bread with nutella, and half a banana. I first tried finding a pot so I could boil water, as most of the food I brought required such, and I had no cash for the deposit on the cooking supplies at the hostel. I found something suitable, for around 23 US dollars, and soon after, I gave up.

Oslo was very posh. At least in the center.

So, not wanting to take the bus or a taxi, I decided I would walk to the viking ship museum. This was only an hour and a half walk, according to google maps. Though, I am good at making things much longer. It was cold, raining for at least half the way, but it was fine. I quite liked it. For perhaps the first two hours.

I began at the harbor, because I like the sea at a city. They all have their distinct peace, their distinct stillness. They have their respective, languid mysteries, drifting beneath the surface. Sometimes you can smell salt, sometimes you can feel the chill breezes biting. Oslo’s waters were foggy. They were moody and mysterious, and seemed to echo something held long ago, just across from these countless fingers of glass and steel. My favorite part about being by any ocean though, is the smell of salt. I did not smell any salt that day.

I walked for a very, very long time. There were many points where I was lost, only aiming for a general direction. I was ready to give up. Though I was warm beneath my coat, the chill was getting to me. It set in my face, and I brought no gloves. No hat. I wandered and wandered, crossed through quiet neighborhoods and parks, over a highway. I walked through Tjuvholmen, which put me in a big circle, but I eventually found my way.

I passed through a marina, ready to give up, and managed to snag some wifi. I don’t know how. I realized I was much closer to the Museum than I thought, though it was still a long ways. I kept going. I went through a natural area, past pretty houses with green grass. And then I was finally fucking there.

When I got there, I was famished. It was nearly 14.00, and I last ate that pitiful meal around 09.00. Without thinking, cold and exhausted, I ordered a sandwich. I though I would order in Swedish, because why not, though I couldn’t quite understand what she said. First I had to tell her I wanted a different sandwich, and finally, I paid. It was incredibly expensive, but I thought, it is Oslo, a musuem cafe, oh well. I am hungry.

She takes out the sandwich, and puts it on a plate. Then there are three. I pay, and then look at the sandwiches. These, here, um, are these mine?

Yes, yes, you ordered three sandwiches.

Oh my. Well, I don’t know how, but something went very wrong, somewhere down the line. I apologized, she was nice, and gave me my money back. In cash. What could I do? Now I had 150 Norwegian kronor to spend before I left the next afternoon. Oh well. I brought food with me, and probably wouldn’t buy anything. Oh well.

I sat down, with my one sandwich, and one waterbottle, which did little to stave off the deepening dehydration. I already had a headache, but no time. It was time to eat.

I hadn’t really thought before I ordered, but the sandwich had a huge chunk of salmon, and an egg salad. I haven’t eaten meat in maybe, two months, and even then, it was very little. But all the same, I ate my one sandwich, and brooded in my, yet another, failure in the language I have worked so hard to learn and speak. But, maybe it was the four hour promenad, and the huge scope that one foot in front of the other can carry a single person across. Maybe it was the moody day that so suits me, maybe it was the overpriced sandwich talking. But I decided.

The world is bigger than three sandwiches.

This doesn’t entirely make a lot of sense, but it did in my dehydrated, famished, over walked mind. But accidentally ordering three sandwiches, is not a big deal. Learning a language is hard, and it is so much bigger than three sandwiches. A person is bigger than three sandwiches. Three sandwiches, is nothing. I am having trouble explaining this. But it had been reassuring. Saying something wrong, messing up in a language you are trying to learn, it’s ok. Sometimes we order three sandwiches, but they are just sandwiches, and you don’t need to beat yourself up about it. The world, you, ambitions, dreams, the mind, are all much bigger than three sandwiches.

So I finished eating my one sandwich, and realized I did not have much time left for the Folk Museum, and I was most definitely going to the Viking ship museum, because I had walked too fucking far that day not to go. Fuck it.

So I did my ‘museum power walk’. I first went to the open air museum, freshly refuelled, running through the exhibits. Hasty photos, but all was remarkable. The museum was practially empty, probably because most of it was closed, but it was gloomy and quiet and beautiful. There was this suspension, dripping from the grass roofs, hiding in the dark sleepiness that soaked in the logs. Shadows waited in the empty farmhouses, and outside rain would drip in an ancient rythm, of forests and a lives lived long ago. Yes, it was quite magical, this eerie emptiness.

I went very quickly through the indoor exhibit, strange dark mazes of lights and glass and mirrors, with some knick knacks here and there. I lost my sense of depth perception, and accidentally walked right in front of where a lady was looking, and then had to cirle back past them. Three sandwiches, more or less.

With that museum checked off the list, I went to the viking ship museum, which I nearly thought was closed. No, just renovations, free admission. Can’t spend my cash.

It was fantastic. Though my headache was getting worse, I still tried to look at everything. It wasn’t hard, the place isn’t very big. I have always loved viking ships. I don’t know. As a kid I went to this viking disney exhibit, and was convinced it was real, and there were still vikings rowing around in their wooden dragon boats.

And there I was, in the prescence of these massive creatures, that were replicas, of something that swam through those icy, salty seas. I was there, I was not, and it was wonderful. I bought two post cards.

Then I was certain to take the bus home. I was not walking the way back in the rapidly approaching dark, or light even. I would take the bus, and that was it. It turns out, you can only pay in cash on the bus. 50 fucking kronor. Three sandwiches, and it wasn’t so bad after all.

I made it home, and was ready to eat. I ate ramen, and probably four digestives with nutella. My head was pounding, and I was getting nauseous. I tossed and turned, and the lights stayed on. And then it was time, because I am not allowed on a trip without vomitting. The salmon, the nutella, the digestives. I can’t even look at them, think about them, without my stomach lurching. The bathroom was in the room, quiet, so I ran the sink while I wretched, so no one had to listen. If anyone heard, the said nothing. I slept fitfully that night, but woke up with no headache.

I spent the rest of my trip looking at a church, and reading in a cafe. Then I rushed off to my train, mostly because I had to pee, and didn’t remember to take my travel medicine before I was actually on the train. The way back was spent sleeping, less fitfully at least this time, and battling with myself not to vomit. I only had to go to the bathroom once, and only wretched. Then I was off to sleep in a lurching panic. It was a modest success.

Then on my last train back, for some reason my ticket was for not the next train, but the train after, so I waited an hour at the station. It was not so bad. I ate dinner, my traditional MAX after a long journey. Then it was over, I was home again, and now for damage control, reality, and beautiful insomnia.

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The last tea: they served it in a bowl for some reason, which to my dismay, made it very difficult to take sips without pausing my reading.
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I thought this was cute. My feeble opinion entirely, in Swedish my first thought is to say, Jag hoppas inte din mor följer… But in English we would negate follow instead of hope, I hope your mom doesn’t follow… Either way, we get the point, and something interesting to think about.
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A sturdy practical ship, fit for the high seas. Yes gaga.
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The beginnings of a great journey, three sandwiches, and later, vomit.
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NO ONE KNOWS what the RATTLERS were FOR
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New friends.
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The pretty pretty USELESS ship
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same.
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I feel like the storehouse could walk on legs.
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And this was Oslo.

 

Also, here are some pictures of snow, no in Oslo. There was snow for some days, and every time I looked out the window, I would be surprised. Why is it so white, jesus.

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There is a very special part of a winter day, this little space of twilight, the peace just before the night. It is my favorite. It is not blue, almost, not quite.
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And all the trees are now naked, bracing, but somehow less naked than we.
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All nice, and cold, and nice.

 

More stories to come? Maybe. Money is a shy creature, but I still have places left to go.

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köpenhamn och tåget: mardrömmer

Copenhagen and the train: Nightmares

It all started with the software update on my phone.

Amongst the most terrible things that anyone could alter on a phone, changing the alarm clock is ripping apart the fabric of our rushed little lives. Amongst these terrible updates, was a feature that allowed the alarm not to go off when the phone was on silence, a week and I realized alarms were not considered priority, and the other, more maleficient, the alarm not going off after one minute.

For preface, I have been suffering from chronic insomnia since April. Yes, yes, I know. Wake up early, exercise, no caffiene blah blah. It gets hard when you finally have time to go outside, and the energy to exercise, after 1 AM.

So I was reading the night before I would take the train to Copenhagen. I bought the cheapest tickets I could, which left around 07:22, and my bike has been broken for some time. Another story.

So, I  sit reading in bed until about 3 AM, and then finally curl up and close my eyes. Something in the back of my head told me to move my phone, in case the cover managed to suffocate that crucuíal 1 minute, but we are rarely such rational creatures.

I woke up, and the pickings in the sky were swirling around and the sun was nearly done. It was late. I looked at my phone. 07:00. Alarm silenced after one minute. Yes, yes, thank you for that.

I jumped around and dashed into the rain. It was barely five minutes after seven, and I was in bad shape. Huffing, and puffing, knowing I couldn’t make the 25 minute walk any shorter. This first train was a connection to another train. Halfway there, I realized I forgot my power converters, and I had to do homework. Also I forgot my phone charger. My phone has been my more or less trusty companion when it comes to navigating the slippery streets of unfamiliar cities.

Train station, another ticket, bought, and the expenses only climb from here! The person at the kiosk said I should let the personalle on the train know that I was running late. I did.

It’s hard to explain how stupid I was supposed to feel at the statement (ok, probably not, but I thought I would ask i alla fall). Nej, men de ju väntar inte.  ‘No, but they, as you know, do not wait’. Right, right.

Stockholm, 1 minute before my train to Copenhagen was to leave. Lucky for me, I solved that minor inconvience by buying another ticket, a power converter and a cable for my phone, all at wonder train station. You could practically hear the sobs as the numbers shedded and were lost forever.

I had around 2 hours to wait, so I hiked around and tried to find a reasonably distanced coffee shop that I could piss in before my first real train ride. I waited for the coffee shop toilet, my second train fast approaching, probably 15 minutes. Some asshole decided to wash up and laundry in an Esspresso House bathroom, whatever. Fucker.

Just before the train there I ate some cinnamon roll things and some onion and dill chips. These things, I will never be able to snack on and then feel bad about myself, ever again.

The first few minutes of the train were fine. I met this guy from Italy, and I don’t remember what we talked about. Nothing horribly interesting. When we parted I accidentally put my cheek to his ear. (At least I didn’t go the wrong way this time…) Nearly missing trains, horrible morning, the rain, the rain. We were on the back facing chairs, but I assumed I would be fine. I had gum and such.

I got sick after about ten minutes, grabbed some bags, grabbed my backpack, and sat in the spot between the cars (wagons?). Unfortunately, I was too sick to move, and I happened to be right next to the bistro. After awhile, I couldn’t close the doors anymore. Soon, vomitting became something familiar. Train stops. Wow, ok, maybe I can– Doors close, train speeds up. Train does a boogie, and there goes the rest. I was so sick, and had nothing more to thrown up, I think I began throwing up the spit I swallowed. Just like clockwork, wonderful. If only there was something that could make me sleep, the way trains make me vomit my fucking guts out…

I wasn’t recovered until I got off the train. It was a four hour train ride, and yes, I threw up and sat on the soggy spot between wagons, the entire fucking time. I sat there, in the leaking vents and the freezing, shaking, busiest part of the train perhaps. I thought, perhaps, this was my time to die. How could anyone enjoy these hellish nightmares that are trains. I wrote so much, I read an entire book, I did a full stomach cleanse.

There are three types of people that respond to someone hunched over a bag on a train. There are those that hurry as quickly as possible, dragging their children and trying not to look. There are those that simply stand there, their shiny feet pointing at the weakling wretch. And then, without a word, they leave.

And there are those that say, ‘Are you okay!?’ Well, of course not, but I am not that rude. I had nothing left to vomit and was practically foaming at the mouth. I still had three hours left, do you know how slow that train ride was? Please leave before I vomit on you. ‘I will survive, thanks.’ I am still bad with understanding Swedish, so if anyone tells my some sort of saying or slangy words of encouragement, I am utterly lost. Smiles, nods, and oh yes, right. Totally. Wait what?

The nicest person on that entire train was the conductor. He was nice enough to provide me a special vomit bag that stood up all by itself, delivered straight to my cozy little nook. He even gave me a soda, which I threw up about halfway through the trip. He checked on my with every stop, and I tried to pretend I could understand what he said.

‘Yes, I wish there was something I could do. I am so sorry about this.’

‘It’s fine, it always happens. So is it okay if I stay here though.’

Swedish.

‘I’m sorry, what did you say?’

Solemn nod, ‘Right, yes.’

At the train station I asked as woman, Är vi på Copenhagen central station? She looked confused. (Shit not again) Är vi på köpenhamn central station? Åh! Jaja, vi måste gå på…

I didn’t really speak much bad Swedish after that. I tried buying travel tablets in Swedish. That failed. Har du någonting för om man är åktsjuk? Danish words. I’m sorry. What did you say? What do you need it for? Something for if one is travel sick. OOOOoooo Right of course.

Copenhagen was fine until someone threw out my milk. That was a sour, black day. I scowled at the man laughing and smoking at a cafe. He looked vaguely like an author whose work I am more or less in love with, but that didn’t matter. Alone, at a cafe, on the sidewalk, laughter, my milk was nevermore. Smiles and laughter only served to mock the darkness that had casted a shadow upon my soul. Food was not cheap, the tea was undrinkable, and there goes anything that could have ever made me happy. Milk, is everything.

I also got very, very lost late at night, on a ‘walk’ (trek). I had to power walk through the viking and bronze age exhibits because the museum was closing and I was not paying for another ticket. The greenland exhibit was super cool. Everything else I wanted to do was closed, and I still had a day and a night left. There were people everywhere and they all walked so close together. I still can’t eat sausage, and it was Oktoberfest at my hostel. I had to take a shower on plastic bags because I forgot my thongs. I had to buy soap, and it all smelled like food. Everyone was incredibly annoying even though they never spoke to me. There was no free coffee. I got locked out of my room the last day and the girl wouldn’t let me in. I went to the lobby barefoot. I was on the fourth floor, and they were the kind of steps that you kick your shins and make you fall standing up. The only time I wanted a drink, I left my discount bracelet in my room and didn’t want to go all the way up to get it. I never had that drink.

Highlights.

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Sometimes, I too, enjoy laying naked on a madly gallopping horse creature.
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Bad picture, but this was really fucking cool.
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HOw do people even do shit like that.
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Danger at dinner.
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Anyone who says medieval art isn’t the most wonderful thing that has come to our world, please don’t talk to me.
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Yes that is wood. How, I don’t know.
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Bronze age, horn things. No one knows how to play them [citation needed], and they look like tentacles frozen in time.
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Bronze age cows pigs and sheep, were bigger. YEs. MONSTERS.
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The round tower. If you read the HC Anderson Tinderbox, there is a dog with eyes the size of this fucker. That is basically why I came to Copenhagen. Really really big eyes.

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Thank you gaga, for the second reason I came to Copenhagen.

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These were terrifying. The single most terrifying things in this entire museum. You look through that little hole, and see a cool scene, like a scene from the Vatican or something. It is a gaping hole, you put your eye up to it. You cant really see what is there through the glass window. Only through the hole. I think read somewhere that these were at train stations, and sometimes were terrifying scenes of the macabre. Or that was a story. But yeah, these were fucking terrifying. You could look in there, and see anything. And then they stab your eye out. And then you miss your train and your connecting train and have to buy new tickets.
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I am not entirely certain who did this, but according to my other picutes, it was Nana Riisager, Maleri af Troll Bille, 1964.
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A seal-skin anorak, used by Greenlandic Inuits. They put this on and seal up tight, and they are completely waterproof in their canoes– I mean they had a video of them turning round and round in the icy water. Also notice my poor choice of shoes. Tourist, yes. Luckily they had dried by then from the puddles I had to crash through on my mad dash to miss my first train.
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Typically, soldiers and commoners played dice games. From the Medieval Exhibit.
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Chess was a favorite game among nobles, both men and women. Pieces were often quite elaborate. Also, notice my pretty, pretty shirt. The only remaining clean one. The other smelled like trains and microwaved cardboard potato chips, and I had already walked on it a couple of times.
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Yes.
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Life size Jesus. I mean, this was a full size person. And it was really realistic. Can you imagine, going into some dimly lit room, and seeing him, fully painted bloody and dead? It gives me chills.

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I don’t think I ever loved Medieval bells so much than in that room, with bells on the floor and bells on the walls. They grew into an art, then they were melted down for cannon fodder.
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This chest had two different locks, so two people had to open it, with two seperate keys. Two keepers of one great chest.
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Medieval Women facial expressions II: I am holding a fucking house-church with one hand, so don’t even dream of fucking with me.
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I think my favorite thing about women in Medieval art are their facial expressions. She’s pious. She’s hard-boiled. She knows what she wants.

 

The way back was fine. My train got cancelled, the ticket agent was horribly condescending Well you know, I’m just an amateur. I saw a guy wearing an Canada goose parka (October though?). I left an hour earlier than I was supposed to, got on three different trains, and got home an hour later than I was supposed to. I sustained myself on Digestives, Bilar, and a Kex bar. Also water. No near death vomitting adventure. In Stockholm I bought a salad that didn’t come with a fork. My hunt for a fork proved unsuccessful, so I just used a coffee stirring spoon instead. It was cold on the walk back home, and I accidentally made eye contact with someone. Other than that, it was fine.

Back home, my salad dressing doesn’t move anymore, my insomnia is horrible, and I don’t think it is a train that will bring my end, rather, Icelandic. But at least back home, I don’t wake up one morning to find that some rando has thrown out my milk.

Things could have been worse, and lucky for me, train nightmares can end with travel medicine and sleep.