Gardermoen in snow.
Since I offered a lot of items for sale, on a sales platform, I did get many offers but no one reacted after my acceptance. Today, this Sunday, I made an appointment for the first time. We agreed to a price and a place to finalize the deal. I went there with Conner, Gerry’s son. At the agreed location we waited until half an hour after the agreed time. The buyer did not show up, so we went back home.
On Monday, I prepared for my trip to Norway. I only have cabin luggage, but also a large box with a food processor for my family in Norway. It was a bit of a gamble to think that I might take that large item into the cabin as well.
Lillestrøm Railway station.
Early on Tuesday morning I left home, walking to the bus stop, after a short ride take the train and arrive at Schiphol two hours before lift-off.
I checked in, bought a bottle of whisky at the tax-free shop and carried on. At the security check, they wanted to examine the food processor. It appeared to be okay. At the gate nobody bothered about the amount of luggage I carried, so I entered the plane as happy as can be. View on Oslo.
Without delay the plane arrived in Oslo, airport Gardermoen. From there I took a train to Lillestrøm. There I had to wait for an hour before my brother was able to pick me up. It was snowing. Driving westwards to Sætre, the snow changed into rain.
Campfire and coffee.
Early morning view.
After settling in the basement, the days took their cause. Sleeping well, eating well, meeting other family members and just fitting into the daily activities. One of the daily activities is a good walk into the woods, making a campfire at a pleasant spot, enjoying coffee with home-made cake there. From those trips we get home mostly after something like three hours. It is a very pleasant way for pensioners, to spend a day.
Argentina on horseback. 1999, January 21-27.
For now I am staying with the Ringa family. They are helping me all the way, sorting out the possibilities to get a replacement horse for Jut. They go into town every day and that makes it easy for me: I can always join them going there, for shopping and other necessary requirements. They arranged an appointment for me at the Estancia Maria Behety. Early on Friday morning, the 22nd, I saddled Jil and started the 17 km trip. Jil likes it a lot and is fast, with Jut happily following.
At the estancia, the people there are not really helpful and even rude. They just don’t keep promises and so I conclude that connection without any success. After hours of waiting I saddle Jil again and we return through fog and drizzle. The ride back home is fast and I feel very good. At the Ringa place they are not pleased with the situation and call it a shame.
The next two days I am busy with my luggage and my horses. Talking to grandpa, playing with the children. On Sunday we all go to the local airport. The children are flying to Buenos Aires: Yamila (14) is responsible for the other three and I have no doubt about her abilities to take that responsibility.
On Monday I met the guy from Senasa, who provided me with all the necessary documentation to cross borders as far as Caracas in Venezuela, which was my intended final destination.
The weather is changing a lot and often fast as well. The wind is often cold and dry, with a low sun hardly heating the air. Looking across the pampa I see enormous clouds of dust and sand blown in the wind. Talking to all sorts of people, I am now very much relying on the use of my Spanish dictionary: it takes time, but I am learning and the locals are helpful and thoughtful waiting for me to express myself.
On Tuesday the 26th January, I start the 9th day of travelling. Jut is nasty and does not want to be packed. From the Ringa’s I get a special type of thermos bottle allowing me to drink mate the whole day. After only some minutes of driving, the load on Jut is tilting and I have to stop. I dismount the wrong way, my leg going over Jil’s head. He bolts and I am falling off, hurting my elbow.
After reorganising the luggage again, everything appears alright and we make some progress. We leave Rio Grande, the Mission and Estancia Violeta behind.
After a short stop, Jut does not want to start again. I try and try, but he is adamant and I decide to stay where we are, put up my tent and continue the journey tomorrow.
Wednesday, the 27th of January, my 10th day of travelling. It is a day of horror for me and I am not far from finishing this whole plan of riding to Caracas, completely. Jut is no longer available. He refuses to get packed, refuses to walk, but drinks a lot. Jil is full of energy and wants to go. That does not fit the situation. A passing fellow calls a taxi. The taxi takes my luggage to the nearest estancia Sara. I mount Jil and pull Jut to Sara. There I get the help I need. The horses go into a coral with plenty food and water. I get a place to make myself comfortable for the night. The bell for diner is ringed and a number of men arrive into the much too large dining room. I am asked to join them and of course I have to tell everything from the beginning onwards. They are amazed and react with some disbelief. Tomorrow at 7 o’clock the foreman will come: he will inspect my horses and give me advice. At 20:00 o’ clock I fall asleep like a log.