The next morning I woke up to a very rainy, gloomy day. I was glad that I had decided to hike down the night before, as the path would have been almost impossible to navigate down safely.
I had a completely open itinerary for the day but I really needed some coffee. I wandered to the village of å and nothing was open yet. I decided I would continue to walk around until the only bakery in town opened. I stumbled in the a tiny house/cabin like building. There was a room with a two tables, and the doors were held stayed shut with weights and a pully system. At first I thought I was in the wrong place – until some three locals sitting at the table said something in norweigan and pointed towards the other door. I opened it, and behind the door was a small room with wood fired oven. A young girl was working – and as we started talking I learned that this over was over 170 years old, and that the bakery was famous for this. I grabbed a coffee and cinnamon bun and went back into the other small room. I asked to sit with the others – and they continued on what seemed like a business meeting. I read my book and peered out the window, the rain was coming down hard. Some time passed and the locals headed out into the rain. Shortly after, a man came through – just as confused as I had been. I pointed to the door – and he wandered through to the bakery. He came back out and asked if he could join me. Roberto was from France, but currently living in Cape Town, South Africa. We decided to wander around the village together. That quickly turned into us running to the Fisk Museum.
We opened the door and no one was around. Fish skulls were all over the place. We shouted a couple of times but no one came. We decided to wander upstairs – and opened a door to find an old man sitting next to the window. “Ah, I wondered if you’d find me.” He offered us a cookie. The bowl was a dead fish head. I declined. But I took him up on the offer for a cup of instant coffee. He turned out to be the museum owner and had been leading tours for over 40 years. He said he was starting to get older and that he was starting to worry. He didn’t think he’d be able to give up the museum to anyone else – it would be too hard for him. Yet he also knew that he would start forgetting things and would have to shut down the museum. We watched a video and wandered around the museum before Roberto and I decided we’d spend the day together. We jumped in the car and headed north. We came across the iconic yellow hut – jumped out to peak in the windows.
We stopped what felt like every 5 minutes to explore, everything was beautiful. We came across a beach with people surfing – we just watched for awhile and kept going.
We ended up taking a road to Unstad. We came across the most beautiful beach. The weather was still bad but we walked along the coast. We were admiring the people in the water when I decided to just go for it. “Roberto – I’m doing it. I am getting in the water.” His response, “Let’s go!” (I took this photo moments after we decided to surf.)
We went up to the surf shop and rented gear before heading back down to the water. We were basically drawing the whole time and conditions were awful but we had so much fun in the water. We got out and struggled to get out of our wet suits in the pouring rain then ran back to the surf shop to warm up and get coffee. Roberto got a call and his mood changed. He seemed sad. I asked him if he wanted to talk about it – for the next two hours I would learn so much about this person. I won’t share his life story – but I learned, or was reminded of, some really important things during this conversation.
We are all broken. It doesn’t matter what you have. It doesn’t matter what career you have or how much money you make. We are all human and we all have broken parts. Just because someone is showing it doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting.
And also, everyone feels alone sometimes. You know – its kind of funny. In a place like Portland with thousands of people around you at all times you’d think it would be hard to feel alone. Well, its not. When I first moved to Portland – about two years ago now.. I felt VERY alone. I lived in a beautiful studio overlooking downtown, and I was making friends through the church I was going to. Even though I knew people and I was making friends, I felt more alone than ever. No one knew me fully. I was afraid to just be myself, and in that I began to isolate myself emotionally. I ended up making really great friends but I wouldn’t let anyone in. I never talked about how I was actually feeling. A couple of friends — Janine, Erin, and Danielle really began to break down my walls. They asked questions and expected that I answer honestly. I began to feel less lonely. Ask people questions, encourage your friends to open up. They might need you more than you think. Even just asking Roberto if he wanted me to listen made a huge impact on him (and me).
Anyways, continuing on with the trip.
We got back to Reine and went our separate ways. I decided to go find the iconic fútbol field that I had been dreaming of playing on for years, and had seen from my Reinebrigen hike the day before. I stepped on the field, surrounded by racks of dead fish hanging out to try. Nothing felt real. And naturally – with my luck, two guys jogged onto the field. I asked if I could join and we kicked the ball around for awhile in the rain.
A bit later I decided I should find a place to set up camp for the night. I crawled into my tent and looked at the time, it was already midnight but looked like it was still daytime. My sleeping bag was so cozy but I couldn’t seem to fall asleep. I tossed and turned for awhile and at some point my brain must have finally had enough because the next time I opened my eyes it was 4:30AM and I decided to wander out.