img_8582What makes adventures so interesting is that you never know what’s ahead of you. Who would have thought we wouldn’t even leave the city of Oslo today?

It has all started according to the plan. We packed up all of Steffi’s stuff, and Steffi’s friend’s stuff – who is also beginning her studies in Kristiansand next week. We went on a walk through the forest by Sognsvann Lake close to where my sister had spent the first three weeks (learning Norvegian at a Summer Language Course).

Returning to the van, organized and consolidated all of stuff so that we have things at our fingertips when we need them. Finally, at around 2:30PM, we felt prepared enough to begin our road trip to the Arctic Circle and beyond – we made our way to the motorway that connects Oslo with Trondheim.

Just as we turned off one motorway to enter the E6 which leads north, a combination of unfortunate events happened (mostly involving me misinterpreting a window of opportunity to take the turn-off with another car dangerously close-by) the result of which was that I tried to speed up in third gear which was too much for the work horse which then buckled… or stalled, because that’s what vehicles do. I managed to pull it off the road before we realized it wasn’t going to start again. Didn’t hear a single thing when turning the key in the lock.

To stand in the middle of that curve leading onto the motorway was a bad spot for potentially willing Norwegians to stop and help – they all looked but no one stopped, and I don’t blame them. A dangerous spot to flag down a car, too. Well, that’s where the German Automobil Club ADAC comes in handy – we’d call, they’d jump-start the van, and we’d be on our way in no time.

Erm, think again. Two-and-a-half-hours and plenty of horribly expensive phone calls to Germany (the ADAC central coordinator and of course our parents) later and funnily enough at the same time as a police man, the Norwegian Roadside Assistance arrived. It was a girl who really seemed to enjoy her job! I’m sure she tried all the tricks of the trade which involved giving starter assistance, trying a fresh battery, checking the starter, towing us (with a downhill stretch to see whether we can start the van that way), then starting to take off the casing around the steering wheel because she suspected the Electronics of the ignition to be the culprit (she didn’t have the special tools needed to complete it, unfortunately).

At that time, we were in a rather industrial area and thought about what our options were. It was a Saturday with repair shops not opening before Monday. The car definitely needed repair and was scheduled to be towed to the VW repair shop later on. The automobil club would reimburse us for accommodation and organize a rental car for us. Fine, but several phone calls and a lot of waiting later, they told us they didn’t have a car until Sunday morning – and from the airport (which is another trip-and-a-half). We used both our GPS receivers to check for nearby hotels, and one was only 500m away as the crow flies. It was an option, but we wanted to wait a bit longer for the tow truck to show up. Or not, in which case we’d have slept in the van.

We still repacked all our stuff and stripped it down to the bare minimum. Change of clothes for two days, a jacket, some perishable food, laptops, cameras, power adapters, sleeping bags. It took quite some anticipation of how it would all pan out and we could / must bring. We were tired of waiting for the tow truck, so we left a phone number where they can reach us at if they need the key, and we confirmed the hotel for the night.

We’ve found a shortcut across a railway track which would take us there in I reckon 700m (as opposed to the 2.6km that it would have taken with a car) and past a geocache which we logged in passing. The hotel is great and has free internet. We’re geeks, aren’t we ?!? Oh, and the van got towed to the VW repair shop at 10 PM.

Tomorrow, I’ll go to the airport in the morning, get the rental car, return to the hotel, pick up Steffi, and we’ll drive towards Jotinheimen, not too far from Oslo (but very scenic). We envision a night in a cute Norwegian cabin – that was something Steffi had wanted to do anyway at some stage, so we might as well do it now. We didn’t bring the tent for that reason. On Monday, we’ll return to Oslo and hope it’s an easy fix so we can get our van back.

That’s as far as the plans go for now. Pretty adventurous, huh? We’re seeing it positively – it could have happened near the Arctic Circle, then we would have been in much more trouble than here within the city boundaries of Oslo. Plus, our parents are pretty darn awesome when supporting it from the distance whichever way they can. A big thanks goes out to them – and I’ll reimburse you for all the phone calls today ;-)