Over the past few months, I dropped some hints about some mysterious adventure. Well, here is the story behind:
One rainy Sunday in March 2016, I decided I wanted to go hiking. It could have been the über-flat landscape I was living in at that time, or the fact that I (not yet) married into a family of hikers and was never quite able to relate to their experiences and stories and the pictures of their adventures when we all got together around Christmas time and looked through old and not-so-old photographs and memories.
Of course I had gone hiking before. I had done day hikes. I had done overnight camping, going there one day and going back on the following. I did a multi-day-roadtrip in 2014, going from the south of Germany to the north of Norway by car. But I had never been on a proper, multiple-day, carry-it-yourself-or-leave-it-at-home hike. "Trekking" I think it's called nowadays. So on this rainy Sunday in March, a decision was made: I would go hiking in Summer.
And I did.
Part I: Before
I knew it would be easy to get carried away by the possibilities once I started researching, because when you don't know what you are looking for, everything could be the thing. So I came up with a list of things I wanted (and did not want) and then - don't laugh - opened Google Maps and randomly hacked in some placenames. Helsinki - Tromsø (way too far). Luleå - Bodø (omitting Finland). Tornio - Å i Lofoten (do those bridges have sidewalks?). Norge på langs? Nordkalotten? Kungsleden?
I guess this is not how you would normally approach such things, but remember that this was (and is!) all very new to me and you have to start somewhere, right?
Still without the slightest clue about what I was doing, my mind settled on Oulu - Narvik. I'll wait for you while you check the maps. This route went through Finland, Sweden and Norway, I would get to see the Bothnian Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and lots of different types of landscape. Both cities could be reached by bus or plane. Google said that the distance between the two is 666 km, which I considered to be a good omen.
The following weeks and months I tried to learn some Finnish (I used the FunEasyLearn app), got myself a book on the topic, bought a shedload of new camping and hiking equipment and asked the hikers in my life a ton of practical and impractical questions. I spent more time than I would ever admit on a) the question which knitting project to bring and b) spiders.
I did all of this while still not being entirely sure about my decision and this uncertainty did not leave me until I had booked the bus ticket to Oulu and a room in the hostel. Which was about three days before the planned departure. I won't lie: All of this scared the shit out of me.
But I went.
And it was awesome.
Stay tuned for part II :D