My First Hitchhiking Adventure – Rygge Airport to Oslo City

by JP Morgan on July 10, 2011

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At 11:10am, my flight landed at Rygge Airport, 100km south of Oslo.

Having sat in the first row and with no baggage to claim, I was first through immigration and standing out in front of the airport parking garage by 11:17.

It was a good spot, because both the cars leaving the pickup point and the ones leaving the parking garage had to pass by there.

I like to count things, so the moment I unfolded my Oslo sign, I started counting them.

1…2…3… This is funny.

4…5… Are they even seeing me? Of course they are…

6…7…8…9…They’re probably not going to Oslo…

10…11…Ahh…no space for me…

12…Oh there’s the cute girl from the plane…hmm…she looked at me weird.

13…14…15…Its so nice out today. The sky is so blue here. And the air…

16…17…18…19…20…21…22…23…24…26…Shit, 26?….No…24…Uhh…25!

26…27… Oh that’s nice, that old woman smiled and shrugged as if to say “Sorry, not going that way.”

28…29…30…31… Most of these cars are new BMW’s and Mercedes…I can’t imagine any of them stopping. I certainly wouldn’t have stopped to pick up a hitchhiker in my BMW, but that was the USA, where hitchikers are psycho-killers. This is Norway, where everyone is an angel…so of course someone will stop.

32…33…34…35…36…37…38…39…40…41… Maybe I should have stopped. Is this how karma works? I’ve never picked up a hitchhiker…what a hypocrite!

42…43…Hmmm…maybe after 100 cars I’ll walk to the roundabout at the entrance to the motorway….

44…45…46…47… I wish my sister didn’t tell my Dad I was doing this. I can’t expect him to get it. I barely do. Is hitching as an adventure OK? Or should it be left to the ones who really can’t afford it? This feels a little bit fake…

48…Oh, what are they doing? They stopped ahead of me and are just sitting there. That’s not how it works right? They are supposed to pull up beside you aren’t they? They are kind of far away… Ah, nope. Off they go.

49…Taxi.

50…51… I could have probably fit in the back of that van. That wouldn’t be very safe though. Wow…I remember how when I was 16, I carried friends in the back of my Chevy S-10 pickup truck…just like my friend’s construction company in Las Vegas does when they go each morning to pickup the Mexican immigrants by the side of the road and like cattle they transport their cheap labor army to the job-site and then at the end of each day they bring them back to the side of the road in that desert where they come from and they go back to… I miss hanging out with Harry in Vegas…what a brilliant guy…I’d love to go to Vegas with Head Hacking to teach street hypnosis this winter…

52…53… Maybe I’ll sit down. That’s comfortable.

54…Oh this is stupid. They can’t see me and I look broken. I’m standing back up.

55…56…57…What time is it? 11:40. I’ll stay until 1pm and then walk to the roundabout. Or should it be 100 cars?

58…59…60… They must be busy and in a hurry. I always was. Plus hitchhikers are smelly. I don’t want my car to stink. And I can’t see what they’re doing back there behind me in the back seat. This is a total karma fail. I so don’t deserve to be picked up.

61…62…63…64…65…66…

At 11:50am the 67th car pulled over, an old large pickup truck, it’s tires slowing and coming to a crunching hault beside me.

“I can take you to Oz,” said the man with a pony tail, leaning towards me over his Indian passenger with an arm stretched behind him out the other window tapping the ash off his cigarette.

“Oslo” I asked?

“No, Oz.”

“Where is Oz?” I asked, instantly zipping back in my mind to being 8 years old and eating apple crumble with Vanlaarhoven ice creme on my living room floor while watching “The Wizard of Oz” with my sister. My heels moved slightly as if to click …”there’s no place like home”….

“About 25 minutes from Oslo. I can take you that far.”

“OK, great!”, I said opening the rear door to the cab and jumping in beside a folded up roll of carpeting.

My driver, my first ever hitchhiking driver, was a German man, probably 40 or so, who had came to Norway a year prior. He had gotten some boots from his Norwegian grandfather many years before, but they were much too small for him. He kept them anyway though because they were great boots as they were made for Norweigan winters and his grandfather had worn them a d his grandfather was a great man. So he kept them in his closet. One day, years after receiving them, he was moving some things and found them again. He tried them on and to his surprise the darn things fit!

“What!? This is not possible!” my driver shrieked, reinacting the moment in front of the steering wheel for his friend and I.

He took the boots fitting as a ‘sign’ and took his son and packed everything they owned and up and moved to Norway to live in the woods surrounded by large stones of granite, which he needs to protect him from the radiation, that he can feel because he is very sensitive to it.

“There is too much radiation in Oslo,” my driver insisted, blowing his cigarette smoke towards his open window, which instead of exiting the truck only spiralled around behind him into the rear of the cab an encircled my head.

“Yeah…true”, I say, continuing to breath out slowly until the smoke had cleared.

The Indian man was from London too and didn’t talk much, except about the breathing workshops he was running. They were both ‘healers’ with magical powers, the kind I meet frequently at the fringes of the personal development industry. Despite my experiential disconnect, I could speak the language well enough to maintain rapport all the way to Oz.

At 12:15 my wizard dropped me off at a gas station by the highway, showing me where best to stand. By the way he handled it all, very matter-of-factly, I imagined he had hitchhiked many times before, and saw this not as a nicety, but as a duty.

Waiting at the E6 on ramp in Oz proved a bit challenging. At around 200 passing cars, I actually got to the point of considering other options. There was a bus stop at the on ramp, and when the bus for Oslo stopped, I did ask what it cost. Deciding NOK90 (£12/$16) was too much, I apologised to the driver for flagging him down and went back to my pitch.

A gorgeous blond Norweigan girl came to the bus stop and with her white earbuds on, standing a safe distance away, she waited, watching me suspiciously. I thought about asking her to hitch with me, because I heard more cars stop for couples than they do for single men, but she looked uncertain enough by my presence, so I left her be.

At 13:42 the 278th car, an old BMW driven by a younger man pulled over. He didn’t even open the window, just nodded and smiled, so I opened the door and got in. My second driver was a soft spoken Lithuanian construction worker with paint covering his overalls.

“This is not common here,” he tells me.

I had begun to figure as much by the curious way the Norweigan people had looked at me from their cars.

He told me he tries to stop whenever he sees someone on the side of the road, because he spent many years on the side of the road waiting for rides to school when living in Lithuania.

I was thinking my second driver would take me straight into Oslo center, but instead he dropped me off at a gas station on the outskirts of town.

From 14:08 to 14:27 I counted 47 cars waiting in Alna at the entrance to the motorway into Oslo City and then a guy walked up to me and said some stuff in Norweigan.

“What did you say?”

“Ahh, you speak English!”

He asked what I was up to, so I told him where I was trying to go and then he offered some advice…

“Take the T-bane. You don’t have to pay. It is very rare that they check tickets, especially on the weekend.”

He pointed over the small hill.

“It’s a 5 minute walk.”

By 14:40 I was on the T-bane, ticketless, and headed for the city center.

‘What a slippery slope this hitchhiking thing is,’ I thought. ‘It’s only been a few hours and I’m already an international criminal, riding trains without paying!’

At 14:56 I arrived in the center of Oslo to a big hug from my wide-smiling friend Brock.

“Come on, let’s take the tram. You don’t have to pay. I never do.”

And so began my introduction to one of the wealthiest and safest countries on earth.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben White July 10, 2011 at 11:03 am

Dude that’s serious perseverance! Fingers crossed for the return trip!

Reply

John P Morgan July 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Taking the bus back if I can save enough. Don’t want to risk missing flight as have biz to attend to on Tuesday. Just paid GBP10 for a coffee and pastry!

Reply

kathy crassweller July 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

As always, John, so wonderfully described. I was right there.

Reply

Rich April 3, 2012 at 12:48 am

Awesome dude! You’ve just inspired me to do that same in Norway 🙂 Where are now?

Reply

Ilayda May 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

You definitly give me insperation i need. I will be in rygge tomorrow (9th of May) and hitchhike to Oslo. Wish me luck 🙂

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