|July 12, 2010
I signed off yesterday just before boarding a plane from Amsterdam to Oslo. The flight went just fine but when I got to Oslo Vladi Trzebunia wasn’t quite there yet. Unlike me, Vladi did not fly for this adventure but rather drove all the way from his home in Zakopane, Poland. This involved traveling 1400 kilometers by driving through Poland and Germany, then across the Baltic Sea by ferry boat, and once again driving, this time through southern Sweden and finally into Oslo, Norway. We both knew the schedule of the ferry may cause him to be late picking me up so when I couldn’t find him I wasn’t worried. Sure enough he arrived within the hour.
The other slowing factor was that Vladi actually towed along his camping trailer. Yes, all the way from Poland. The reason being is that Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world. With his camper we can sleep anywhere and prepare all our own meals. Not only will we prepare out own food, but most of what we eat Vladi brought from Poland. It’s a heck of a deal and what makes this entire trip possible.
So there we were in Oslo, I flew twenty hours and Vladi drove forty. We were exhausted. Nonetheless, like you’d expect we were so excited we brushed sleep aside and headed north. That brings me to another detail of the trip. We are going Atlantic salmon fishing. Tell anyone that knows much about Atlantic salmon fishing and inform them you are headed to Norway to do it and you are automatically assumed rich. Atlantic salmon fishing is truly one of the most expensive fly fishing habits there is and to do it in Norway is unimaginable for a couple of fishing bums like us. Nevertheless, once again, Vladi makes it possible – he guided here for six years! However, that was not since 1991 which is why we are here. He misses it tremendously and needs to visit some of his old friends.
We drove about five hours into the night before pulling over to sleep. As normal with me when I cross oceans, I could only sleep about three hours so at 3 am I had us up and continuing north (remember its light at 3 am). There was some absolutely gorgeous scenery along the way. At about 9 am we arrived in the town of Stören on the banks of one of Norway’s most famous salmon rivers, the Gaula.
Vladi may have been more excited then me. We can all relate to returning to a place or time in our lives that we enjoyed so much. That’s what it was for Vladi. We travelled along the river stopping at nearly every pool. Not only did Vladi remember the fish either he or his clients caught over the years but he had a story for each. It was an unbelievable treat and soon became a day I will never forget.
We had every intention to fish today but I let the time go by without mentioning it. Vladi’s stories of Atlantic salmon were fantastic. In a way I was fishing by listening, studying the water and observing other anglers as we went. After two hours and 100 kilometer meander upstream we came to a roaring canyon fed by a waterfall. Vladi parked and we walked as close to the falls as we could. “Watch my friend”, is all Vladi said. I probably don’t need to tell you the rest but I will. I sat and watched one of the worlds greatest game fish leap the falls. There weren’t many of them, a sad reality, but there were enough that two hours later Vladi had to drag me away.
We are presently camped on the outskirts of Stören on the banks of the Gaula River. We just feasted on a spaghetti dinner mixed with half the countryside of Poland. It was delicious. I will now attempt to sleep a whole night and in the morning try for a Norwegian Atlantic salmon.