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Norway Winter - Day 1
Today was the day. I first took the bus to the train station in Eindhoven and then the train to Schiphol airport, in Amsterdam. It was already pretty cold outside. The check in went fine and I tried to pass my time by eating some fresh food now that was still possible. As in Norway it would be dark 17 hours a day I also bought a book so I would have something to do at night. I bought the sequel to 'the Rosie project'. That's a story about an autistic scientist who cycles everywhere and couldn't manage to find a girlfriend, therefore he developed a checklist to speed up the screening of single women. Of course I can't relate to that at all, but it is a very funny book. Afterwards I found some stationary bikes which allowed charging your mobile phone by cycling. While sprinting as fast as possible I started reading, the people who walked by were confused why I was cycling without charging anything.

 

During the flight everything went well, but I wasn't super excited to be freezing for 5 days. During my other flights the pilot would always announce something like 'it is 35 degrees and sunny' before landing. Now he said "it is -16 degrees and dark'. I took the train to Oslo, where it was -11 degrees, and then the subway to the outskirts. Fun Norway fact #1: that subway line has the largest height difference in the world, from sea level to 450 m. After 20 min I arrived at station Frognerseteren. There were some sled tracks. In the Netherlands these were usually some lame 20 meter high bumps. Here you could rent steerable sleds including a helmet and then race down a several kilometer long track. There was also a luxurious restaurant.

I organized all my gear and started walking. After 100 meters I remembered to test my GPS. It turned on, the battery drained within 20 seconds, and then the device switched off. The second time the same thing happened. I figured this might have been due to the cold. As I hadn't been able to buy a map online I now wouldn't have anything to orient with. Fortunately they sold maps in the restaurant.

 

In the beginning I followed a wide forest road that even had lights. Later it turned into an unlit smaller path. The moon reflected of all the ice crystals, which looked very nice. After an hour it was 8 o'clock and time to set up camp. It was pretty cold. I got ready to cook dinner, this time I had brought Esbit tablets to cook with, instead of my gas or petrol stoves which don't work well at low temperatures. I took out my lighter... it didn't turn on, likely also because of the cold. As I was still close to the restaurant I decided to  return tomorrow. I purposely had brought some spare granola bars for situations like this, so didn't go hungry.

 

It also seemed wise to eat the orange I had bought, before it turned into a frozen cannonball. Pitching my bivy bag and sleeping bag went pretty well, although going inside it was pretty cold. Soon it became really dark and the temperature dropped even more. I put on the leggings I had brought and also used my sleeping bag liner. By then I didn't feel cold anymore; these temperatures were a lot more serious than the ones I had experienced in the Vosges or Black Forest.