Oct 23rd To 24th – Generosity

Before it all starts I’ve realised something.  At the end of a day, the running, landscapes, small stops and moments are all incredible.  Like a fairy tale that you suddenly find yourself in.  Then night falls, you sleep and they are wiped down, removing the bright colours they once had and leaving just a grey and matter of fact version behind.  That’s why this blog and my journal is important.  Try help preserve the unique beauty in this journey.  In what I’m experiencing and what I learn.  Maybe there’s something to this that others should try and use?  It is amazing to think that a few days ago I was miles away, cold, frozen tent around me, struggling to light the alcohol in my stove because of the temperature and not looking forward to the burning sensation in feet and hands as I pack away my tent.  Now I sit in a petrol station drinking coffee.  Enjoying the lack of movement for a while and reminiscing about the two days that lie behind me…

I’m back at work. People are placing demands on my time and I can feel the stress building. Then there’s the noise. Constant sound of a multitude of kids talking, shouting. Suddenly I’m in a corridor and the hordes of the school are moving around from place to place. Amongst them a child is on the floor. Curled in a ball, arms around his head as if protecting himself from unseen blows. I go over, pushing my way against a torrent of people. The noise is deafening. 

I kneel beside the child and he look round. Eyes red and face glistening with tears. I put out my arm and he reaches out. Before he grabs my arm I look him in the eye…

‘I’ll help but you’ve got to get up yourself.’

He doesn’t take his eyes of me but slowly pulls himself up. Not a single word uttered.

Then I wake. An odd dream to have and I remembered it vividly. The words repeating in my head. ‘I’ll help but you have to get up yourself.’ Very odd, but it’s too early to rise with no light to even see the skin of my tent. I doze for a while until the first glimmers of sun light. There’s no rush. I only have 15km to reach the next stop point and checking again, the hotel is open. I need to sort my kit. It is damp. Damp means cold nights and the temperature is set to drop again in the next few days. I’m expecting a hobbit hunter today and wander if he will be more successful that some of the previous people. Everyone always expects me to be way behind where I actually am for some reason. The wind is still blowing. The same wind that made it sound like I was next to the world’s busiest motorway. And rain. Rain is falling making it the perfect combination for a cold run. I feel ok though. I will run and change clothing as I need to. It would be stupid to pile on the layers only to sweat and get cold. The kilometres pass. The distance gets hotter and shorter. I stop at a bus stop for shelter while hunting for my coffee. I’m struggling with tiredness. The sleepy kind of tiredness and I know the cure. Caffeine.  

I pour some coffee into my palm. The dry brown powder looking non too appetising. Down the hatch it goes. Water follows. It’s bad enough to make you want to retch. More running and gradually the caffeine kicks in, the legs feel smoother and the feet warm up. I arrive and run straight to the entrance of the hotel, grab the door, say hej to the locals stood outside, pull and…

It’s bloody locked!!  I can’t get in and with a single syllable ‘shit’ I laugh and run to the shop instead. Inside I head to get a drink. Check the website for the hotel and it opens at 12. I’m half an hour early, but I can wait outside and so I wander back from the shop to the entrance. I look inside and the chef spots me. I wander to the small alcove just to have a look and when I spin round he’s there. The vowel rich words of Swedish flow from his mouth and I just say…

‘Erm… I wanted to book a room??’

He ushers me inside, door locked behind me and a lady at the counter wanders over. I explain I want a room abut would like to know the price first. I get offered free coffee, told the price and I sit. Can I justify a hotel room? I look out the door, rain pouring down and I realise that really, with my clothes needing a serious clean, with my sleeping bag needing to dry out, I have little choice. I sip my coffee and in walk in Johan and his wife. Amazing! They actually found me. Shame I left early and got here too early. Would have been good to run with the dude. Especially since he’s sporting his lunas. He comes over, greetings exchanged, names exchanged and some chatting. He hands me a pair of thick Injinji socks. As always I thank him and feel I should pay. He convinces me to let him get me a meal at the buffet there and we sit to eat. It was great chatting. We laughed, I asked questions about Sweden, discussing things I’d noticed as I’d run from Ritsem, general chatting about running and even some technical bits about hormone imbalances in runners from over training.

I have to say that both are awesome examples of human beings. It almost felt like I’d known them for a while. Old friend meeting for a chat and laughs.

Meal done, and having seen the state of my sandals and tabu, Johan offers me a pair of sandals and organises Kirsten (another runner who I randomly met in the lakes whilst training) to collect them and find me with them. It was her plan to find me at some point over the next day or so (or at least that’s what I think is happening) so it seemed like a convenient way to get the sandals transported.

A pause here…

I feel like I’m ok for equipment despite the tabu socks and neoprene socks falling apart, my sandals having worn down to around 4mm of rubber, the strapping wearing through, the nights often being colder that I would like. I do look a state of you look closely. A man running in a red jacket that is clearly covered in dirt from the road and trails, toe poking out the front of both socks, heals and foot visible at the back and side of my socks. The normal reaction is that given to me by some children and folk who look that has a tinge of revulsion in it. I’ve weathered this look for a while but it is incredible that it is not the typical response of people. Generosity and kindness are the things that will save our world, should it ever need saving, as long as we have people like the 9 I’ve met so far on my travels through Europe. It is the act of giving without the need for thanks or repayment that really does make a person want to give their very best in return. Anyway! I’m getting sidetracked as always…

Time came for them both to leave. It had been a good morning of running, a great lunch time chat and now I was booked into the hotel. A quick visit to the shop for my evening meal and hen I set about cleaning my kit, setting it all out to dry and generally resting. I grab maps I’ll need to run Denmark and have a quick look at the route. It looks simple enough with two major paths running almost the length of the country. I check where Varberg is in relation to Granå and I’m now tempted to run back up once I hit Denmark so that I don’t loose latitude after the crossing. I will decide what I’ll do when I get there and leave the thinking alone. It is getting late and I simply can’t sleep. The question of why is it I can’t sleep is asked repeatedly, but there is no answer returned. Time passes and sometime near midnight, I finally fall asleep.

2am I’m awake.

4am I’m awake again.

6am I wake for the last time. Dress, go to breakfast. The buffet is minimal. Cheese, salami, ham, boiled eggs, bread, tomato and cucumber. I eat 2 plates of ham, salami, eggs and cheese align with the vegetables on offer. 2 coffees go down, a handful of hot chocolate powder sachets pocketed, some fruit juice drunk and I’m back to wash and pack. Packing doesn’t take long, but the slow breakfast means its approaching 10am before I finally get ready to leave. More juice if needed and drunk, the ladies behind reception let me checkout and one offers me a coffee for the road. I decline explaining that it won’t last long whilst I’m running. She laughs at the idea of the coffee going everywhere and then returns, takes my hand twisting it palm up and places 3 chocolates into it. I say thanks very much and get the reply Vashe gud (for the Swedish or Swedish speaking…. Please ignore that spelling!)

I say good bye and leave. Running feels easier today. The 28km to Koppaberg pass quickly, I wander close to the brewery trying to get a tour but there no reception, only the entrance and exit for the lories so I run into the centre and there is a restaurant dead ahead. It would seem rude to come here and not drinks cider, so I wander in. Cider ordered. Cider drunk. I leave for the shop, buying just enough for the morning. I still have a stash of meat balls, beetroot salad and gherkins to eat. A group of locals sat in the main entrance give me odd looks and I just laugh back. It’s time to shorten the gap for tomorrow. I’m here early. Far earlier than I expected. Now, I have just 7km to go before I reach tomorrow’s end point. At this rate, I’ll be almost two days ahead of my schedule! Legs feels good and I have the most lumpy ground to sleep on. Perfect camp spot picking by me. I’ll see if Kirsten manages to find me. I have my tracker on but there is no phone signal here. If she doesn’t, I’m sure the sandals will make their way back to Johan.

Now to try and find a reasonable position to sleep and finish the rest of my chocolate milk. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s