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In Summer 2007 I went on a hitch-hiking and couch-surfing trip across Scandinavia. This is the story of that trip.

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I don't quite remember why I wanted to do this trip. But I think I said to myself, "I need to get out of here.". Just to have a break. I looked at the map and asked myself where I have not been.

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Your narrator, from somewhere in the future of this story
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The route I ended up taking. Well, approximately.

IAESTE

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience is a worldwide organization that sends students to internships in foreign countries. It offers its student members a work as well as a cultural experience abroad.

North. The furthest North I've ever been was Copenhagen, in an IAESTE trip to an event called the Copenhagen Get-Together. It was a great city, and a fun weekend, but I felt one weekend was a bit short too see everything. Besides, we had a bit of a "package tour", so we only saw parts of the city the organizer wanted us to see (part of that was going to a coal powerplant, interestingly enough). So I looked at the map and looked at the northern part of Europe. Considering I am on a low budget, somewhere in my mind I had made it that I was just going to hitch-hike to get to where I want to go. I don't remember if I thought I'd go to Stockholm, or Oslo, or Helsinki, or all three, but all of a sudden the plan grew in my mind, "Why don't you go to Trondheim as well? Or Tromso?".

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Then I thought, what's the northernmost point on the map anyway? I looked at the map, or was it Google Maps, or Google Earth, and I found out it was Nordkapp. So I thought, let's go there! And I'll hitch-hike there!

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At first Finland wasn't part of the plan. Googling told me that hitch-hiking in Sweden is hard, so I thought I'd just go up north through Norway and avoid Sweden, except for a little stretch when I have to get from Copenhagen to Oslo. I suppose I thought of going down through Sweden, but I wondered what would be interesting in the north of Sweden, and then I thought, what the heck, why not go through Finland as well. When I found out the cruise ship from Turku to Stockholm costs as little as €10, I decided "I'm going to Finland!".

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Actually it wasn't that decisive either. I thought it'd be a fun thing to do, but there was no certainty that I'd do it. I had the idea late 2006 or early 2007, and it kept me entertained at that time, that I had an adventure that I was going to do, something to look forward to. Mostly it was a fantasy, a pie in the sky that I thought was not achievable, but was nice to think about.

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In January 2007, I started a new job. I mentioned this plan of mine to my boss, who was actually very encouraging about it. I was surprised about it, but I was glad that the possibility was being kept alive. Back then, I wasn't so sure myself that I would be able to do it, so sometimes I thought about just letting the idea die a quiet death.

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Actually, I had been telling some people that I was going to "hitch-hike through Scandinavia", and when they ask about it, I'd say "I don't know. Nothing certain yet.". I told a friend, Elvy, that I might not go after all, it's just a crazy plan. But her encouragements kept the idea alive in my mind, and made me actually realize it.

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  1. The Beginning
  2. Preparations
  3. Hamburg
  4. Hamburg, Day 2
  5. Goin' to Copenhagen
  6. Copenhagen
  7. Going to Oslo
  8. Oslo
  9. Going to Trondheim
  10. ... And Not Getting There
  11. ... And Finally Trondheim
  12. Trondheim Sightseeing
  13. To Bodø, The Scenic Route!
  14. Arctic Holiday
  15. Bodø
  16. The Lofoten Islands
  17. Lofoten Islands, Day 2
  18. Narvik
  19. Tromsø