E-Travels With E.Trules.....nyooks and neesas in norway...Scandinavia, Malaysia, SE Asia, Middle East Travelogue

« nyooks and neesas in norway »

june 21, summer solstice (“midsummer”)

oslo, norway

wow! an eye-opening week of natural wonder! what a physical and psychic chasm between the pinnacle/nadir of the economic evolution of mankind (gothenberg) and the awe-inspiring eternal beauty of fjordic norway.

1- a couple of very full touring days in oslo - seeing the 1299 castle and fortress of good king hakon V sitting dominantly and strategically above of the icy but protected harbor; the national theater of iconic and feminist, henrik ibsen; the haunting existential screams of 20th century man at the edvard munch museum; and the granite and bronze figurative sculptures of gustav vigeland in an 800 acre city green space named after himself. (there is one labyrinthine fifty foot high granite monolith to the sky with perhaps 300 human figures snaking in and around one another in an endless variety of human physiognomy. a phallic monument to the sculptural potential of mankind. another wow!)

2- the most sensational scenic seven hour train ride from oslo, west, across central norway to the coastal 12-13th century capital of hanseatic scandinavia, the city of seven hills - post viking, bergen. i hate to compare one travel experience to another, saying "the best this, the best that", but rest assured, if you ever want a spectacular train ride through quaint green alpine villages with white capped melting snow peaks towering above them, through a stark, naked glacial tundra wilderness, where the train has to crawl through old wooden tunnel/bridges built right through the icy glacial plateau, down through the warming & greening coast, your eyes and train wheels running almost as fast as the roaring, melting waterfalls making their way to the briny north sea -- then here's your ticket. get a scan rail pass - unlimited training for twenty one days straight!

3- two days of r&r in the stony sotra islands, just a "30 minute bus west from bergen center" (according the servas book) - on rural, craggy, formerly-isolated fishing islands, now strung together by a series of greedy suspension bridges built by the prosperously hungry norse oil industry. an industry so lucrative perhaps, that norway has for a second time, stubbornly refused to join the convoluted and prescriptive EU in a national referendum, displaying once again, the me-first self interest of corporate avarice - and - the thorny protestant work ethic of the leave-me-alone norse citizenry. me? i´m simply soaking up two days of long-awaited sunshine, re-charging my cold-impaired, run down battery, and resting my nagging cough, on west coast of the norwegian sea, where it’s supposed to rain 270 days out of the year! yet here i am with two solid days of sunshine. maybe it’s just another manifestation of my born-upside-fool-thing, once again tampering with and reversing, the weather, and fate itself...

4- “hurtigruten”! the eleven day postal-coastal steamer - from bergen -north - to the polar cap. no roads. no trains through this ice-age cut fjordic mail route-paradise. just boats. luxury cruise ships. mail boats. steam ferries. or – the hurtigruten, a three way combination of them all. a little too gray-haired and bourgsie for me -- the fat cat german, italian, french, american, and hardy norse couples gorging their way through smorgasbord after herring-filled smorgasbord, while simultaneously snaking their (our) way through one 1000 foot granite fjord after another. one thousand foot waterfalls tumbling seven at a time like bridal sisters, the midnight sun keeping me out on its eternally sunlit deck.

me -- truman capote/somerset maughm-like, chatting occasionally with a novelist or psychotherapist from berkeley, CA - or more likely, just keeping silent for most of the thirty six hours i’ve treated myself to, soaking up and surrendering to the meditative rhythm of the mountains, the fjords, the steamer, the air. interrupted only occasionally by the erudition of a blond haired nordic beauty working the ship - teaching me about the literary merits of noble (nobel) norsemen knute hamsun, the national treasure, mr. ibsen again, and her absolute main man, the poetic and as yet, untranslated-to-english, dag sulstag. damn, these scandinavian women are just as beautiful as they are educated, strong-willed, articulate, independent, and alluring.....

5- hope i´m not boring you...

6- the train back to oslo from medieval trondheim, the hurtigruten´s last trulesian deposit point -- another five hour whirlwind tour - to the largest gothic cathedral in scandinavia, named after the legendary and omnipresent, “st. olaf” of scandic viking lore. the same dude of the finnish fortress in savonlinna, karelia. seems the long bearded plunderer pillaged and conquered the entire medieval-ed west, but then in a self-deluded act of sublime stupidity, brought back his newly conquered subjects´ religion, the cancer-spreading and crusade-inducing catholicism - for which he was duly canonized ad infinitum -- until mr. luther came along and reformed & razed all the catholic churches on the planet for his new protestant vision of more of the same.

this train ride is softer and greener than the others, but just as lush, wet, and beautiful - huge white water black rivers racing along the tracks, sprawling river-cut green valleys covered by heavy white norse clouds, the valleys spotted once again with red barn monopoly houses, this time bowled out by one-eyed odin himself. odin, who traded his one eye for wisdom, who became the main man in the norse viking pantheon of gods in cushy, violent valhalla, where viking men fight, drink, and kill all day long in heavenly viking bliss, only to be reborn anew the next eternal day.

what else? a little norse mythology? why not? gotta keep track of these big oafish “trolls” living in the woods, fjords, and mountains, only to be outsmarted by the youngest, blondest, cleverest child in the family. coming to your local big screen soon: “grumpy old men IV, the norsemen” - gotta get danny devito to replace mattheau, i guess. “nyooks” - the mean-spirited, ugly-faced, children-eating creatures who live in the rivers - the best way for worrisome parents to keep their sons and daughters out of the water. “neesa” - the little barn people who you have to feed a lot of porridge on christmas day, if you want to keep your cows milking properly. “dwarves”. “faeries”. “elves”. we know these from snow white, cinderella, and the bothers grimm. “huldra” – the mythically-beautiful, siren-like women of the fjords, whose odysseus-like call lure weak, horny men to their destruction in the treacherous & icy glacial waters - never to return to mortal reality - or their wives - ever again. shit, why return? these women are something. i saw them – on the tour: sharon stone - angelina jolie - with tails!

and my favorite - the “gnomic” creatures from grieg´s hall of the mountain kings - who teach aspiring fiddlers how to play like whirling dervish paganinis - but only after the novice offers a fat enough offering (gold, goat, perhaps a soul) – and the entranced student-fiddlers’ fingers burst with blood - as the fiendish mountain kings force their hands over and over the squealing, singing, and demented strings.

anyway, better stop now. before i’m possessed. we’re just stopping in lillehammer. gotta change into my summer ski garb and schuss a quick downhill slalom. all those tiny, born-with-skis-on-their-feet nordic tots speeding between my knock-kneed beginners’ legs, as i wave my poles violently and try not to fall off the side of the mountain. wish me luck…

then gotta figure out where to stay tonight. no servas hosts in oslo. they’re all away for midsummer’s weekend festivities: bonfires, maypoles, fertility rituals & offerings to the elusive and long-awaited sexy sun at its zenith…

i´m not in LA
i´m not in LA
i´m not in LA

then one more click of the heels for each of you--

your main man in the fjords,

erik the troll