I grew up in a small town on the south west coast of Norway. Seen from a distance, the area where the small town is located resembles a peninsula; to the west it boarders directly to the North Sea, to the south and north, there are vast fjord landscapes, which can only be crossed by a minimum of one ferry in each direction, and towards the east, there is the long main road, which crosses the mountains and goes all the way to Oslo; the gateway to the rest of the world. When I grew up, this road was numbered E76, which was also the name we used for it on a daily basis. Since then, the road has gotten a new number and a few more tunnels, but other than that it has not changed so much.

Seen from the distance of years and with the experience of living in several other places, the E76 road becomes a nearly mythical dimension, being the one and only road to connect the small coastal town with the rest of the world, without the barriers of any fjords or oceans. The distance to Oslo is somewhere between 420 and 450 kilometers, getting slightly shorter as the road is improved and more tunnels are built, but it is still a journey of something between 7 and 10 hours, dependent on the season and the number of stops. There is no highway, and there are no major cities or towns along this road, not before one reaches the Oslo area.

I traveled this road over and over again as a teenager, mostly by bus, and it is still the one stretch of Norwegian country road that I know best, and travel most often, by far. I now live on the other end of the old E76, approximately, and it is no longer the road leading out into the world, but the road leading me back to the landscapes of the past.