Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Strawberry picking in Norway

Sara & I decided to go fruit picking in Norway, mainly on a whim.  We had heard from a friend that it was not only possible but also could be good money.
Having  no money, we decided to hitchhike there. The easiest way was to hitch to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and take a ferry across to Bergen.  When we got there, after many  adventures, (like sleeping on someone's  living room floor in Newcastle.), we found out that it was too expensive.  We hung out at the  docks 1-2 days in the hope of someone offering us a passage. No luck.

We hitch back down to London, spent one night in someone else's living room floor, we made our way to Norway via  Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden to finally arrive in Oslo early evening.
We met other hitch-hikers who were on their way to celebrate the Berlin Wall coming down, with Pink Floyd performing. However tempted we were, we quickly had to rid ourselves of that idea as we were broke and continue with our original plan of finding work in Norway.
Thinking of sleeping on the floor of the train station,  we found out that the station was closing for the night. Too cold to sleep outside & too broke to sleep in a youth hostel. We were trying to find plan B when a young Somalian/Ethiopian student, called Aabi, overheard us & offered us to stay in his apartment.

The next day, we hopped on a train to the rural areas where we could find fruit picking work.
After a full day of fruitless (no pun intended) search for a job, we were just looking for a place to sleep as it was dark already. The strawberry season had started 2 weeks earlier and all the jobs were taken by Polish workers.
We knocked on a door and eventually the family offered us their living room floor for the night. The next morning, we were told that the grand-father wanted to meet us. He was also living on the land. Despite the fact that he didn't speak much English & us no Norwegian, we had a fun breakfast all 3 of us.  He even gave us a backgammon travel board for the road. To this day, the backgammon game is in Sara's kitchen.
Soon after we were on our way to Bergen.
Photo of Tony, the grand-father.  Egge farm in Lier, Norway. July 1990.