I can see my life slithering away into the abyss of oblivion. An army of horned beasts has descended upon me and with them is the scythe of death ready to smite me down. One by one they rushed towards me like an obstinate tempest, unstoppable and undefendable. With horns sharp as swords that curled around itself multiple times over but with sharp tips pointed at me and I’m on a bridge with no hope of escape.
Wait, what? Goats?
How the hell did I get into this mess?
Alright, a little background is in order. Once upon a time. There was a guy who likes to go on adventures. He saw a bunch of cool pictures about Norway and went there to experience the fairytale himself. Little does he know of all the misfortunes (like getting detained for drugs) that would befall him there. There are weird things that have happened to him during his adventures in Europe but none as bizarre as what happened in the Viking era bridge, Filefjell Kongevegen (King’s bridge trail), in Norway.
It started like this: “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” A wizard with a pointy hat knocked on his door and told him to go on an adventure. They set out on some random hike, at some random place, called Filefjell Kongevegen (King’s road).
The story will now switch to back to the first person narrative
The Kongevegen trail, as with most nature trails, meanders through forests and open grasslands full of sheep and other farm animals. Farm? Yes, somebody’s farm. Unlike America, Norway isn’t so gung-ho about private property. They have this deal called the freedom to roam, where every man woman and child (that includes you and me) in the land may use any public or privately owned land for recreation.
The Filefjell Kongevegen trail passes through a bunch of these lands (farms). No one seems to mind I was gallivanting on their private property. One can even camp on that property for 24 hours if one so inclined. Back home in America, somebody would have a shotgun ready to gun you down from stepping into their property. But no not here, I walked by some farmers going on about their daily routines and when I passed them by I would hear a loud “Hallo!” They don’t care and are happy that you’re walking on their private property. Friendly bunch these Norwegians.
Except maybe for their goats
I continued on my hike, jubilant that people there don’t mind I’m walking on their lands. But that all changed at the end when I arrived on the bridge (which is an old 18th-century bridge built next to an ancient Viking era stone bridge). I heard bells clanging. To the hundreds, it sounded like, and it got louder and louder barreling down towards where I was standing. I glanced in the direction of the noise, and that’s when I saw a horrific vision. I felt my chest tighten and my heart beat faster. There were about three dozen goats, with horns sharp as steel racing towards me. Barricaded like a battalion of ancient Roman cavalry, they charged fiercely down the hill in a stampede.
Okay now, what?
I’m not trained to battle goats. I’m not trained to battle at all. The only fight I’ve ever been in was with Martha Kassinger in third grade, and she whooped my ass proper. I felt my chest tighten and my heart beat faster. There were about three dozen goats, with horns sharp as steel racing towards me. I stood there frozen in time. Lost in my thoughts of last-minute wishes before I vanish away into the halls of oblivion gored by a goat. Is this divine judgment? Am I being punished for all the goat stews I’ve eaten? Can I return all the goat cheese I’ve ever bought and got a refund? I promise not to crack another goat jokes, like ever. Please leave me alone.
What the fuck is going on?!?
It wasn’t until the first hoof stepped on the opposite side of the bridge I that came around to. With whatever energy I had, I ran towards the nearest wooden gate at the end of the bridge. I barely reached the gate in time before I could lock it from behind me and escape.
I escaped death this time
The goats followed me closer but to no avail as I’m behind a gate. Were they mad because I stepped on their private property? The humans didn’t mind why they would? I waited for about an hour for the thing to subside. Bored of staring at me, they made their way back to whatever hell hole they came from. I slowly opened the gate and scrambled as fast as I can to find a weapon of sorts for protection. All I could see was a wooden staff. But it was more than enough to protect me from those heathens. It was imbued with magic. Yeah, magic! So, I stood tall on that bridge, my head held up high, and with renewed zest and courage yelled:
“You shall not pass!”
DONT MESS WITH THE GOATS
- The Filefjell Kongevegen trail (The Kings Road) is in the mountainous area between Lærdal and Valdres in Norway. It is the historical route that links Western and Eastern Norway.
- This is a great place to experience the “Roam if you want to” attitudes in Scandinavia. As long as the land is uncultivated and you treat it with respect, you can hike, camp, ride or ski it to your heart’s desire – except maybe hunting goats and cooking them for stew.
- Good luck! These goats pack a mean punch but make tasty cheeses.