We booked the flight back in winter of 2014. Never thought May 27, 2015 would arrive. Was like a kid waiting for Christmas or first day of summer vacation. Longing for the days to pass. When I was young I wished I could just go to sleep and wake up to the day I was anticipating. Childish I know, but sometimes I still feel that way–I want the world and I want it…NOW! Although this kind of thinking was in mind, I have grown up enough to know that time crawls and just when you don’t want it to, it flies. So I did my best to make the most of it.
Finally May 27th arrived. Wednesday morning. Monday was a public holiday and Tuesday was my first day off. Can’t remember much of what I did on the 26th. Bag had been packed for months prior to leaving. Spent as much time with the dogs as I was able to. Always feel a bit sad before leaving on trips like this one. Not that they would suffer in any way. Just the opposite. This was like a holiday for them too. Our amazing sister/dog sitter lives down stairs from us and the dogs LOVE her. So do we! We would not be able to do 90% of the traveling we are fortunate to do without her. The dogs would get more attention, petting, massage, and play time than they already do. Two pups certainly of the More More More variety. Knowing they are well cared for frees up our minds.
Wednesday morning arrived and for once we didn’t have a crack of dawn flight to deal with. We had the comfort of a 1:40 p.m. departure. I was able to go for a very pleasant walk with the pups along the river in the morning and then make sure that everything was packed and ready to go. Miriam also was ready. We left with plenty of time and even caught an earlier bus to the train which would carry us to the airport.
I’ve often recognized when I go someplace that I start noticing other people who are traveling as well. For example, I saw an american family at the train station here in Munich. Because of the baggage they had, it was obvious they were going to the airport. And just as it goes time and time again, I was to see them on the train, and then again at the airport, and yup! on our flight too. Funny how it works this way. It’s not even like we live in a one-horse town or something like that. Maybe there were others too but the american family stood out. No matter what any of the kids or the wife did, the father disapproved with vicious eye rolls and head shakes. So maybe there were others who also just happened to be going all the way to Oslo from the sleepy east train station in Munich, but they just didn’t make themselves as obvious.
Afraid that my backpack would be overweight; at self- check in nervousness gripped me . The week before, I took my loaded pack to the bicycle shop across the street and weighed it. 19.8 kilos! Just 200 grams from the twenty kilo limit. I weighed it twice. Once more after resetting the scale and still came out the same. Still I was anxious that the airport scale might have a different calibration, I was so excited to see that the total weight only showed nineteen kilos. “Whew!” with a wipe of my brow.
I had printed out a sheet of FAA regulations along with personal details. This was enclosed with our camping stove. Didn’t want to have the stove confiscated under any circumstances. If it were, then we’d have to get a new one in Iceland (we wouldn’t need a stove for our one night in Oslo). Most likely we wouldn’t be able to replace it with the same model and then we’d be stuck with our mug/cooking pots that were designed for the particular system we carried. This was the next item of worry on my agenda. Hoped for the best.
With the on-time arrival at the Munich airport, the smooth check in, and knowing the dogs were taken care of we proceeded to the gate. Bought some water for the flight and walked all the way to our gate only to find out: Flight 287 to Oslo-DELAYED! The man at the gate told us due to a mechanical difficulty, the plane we were waiting for hadn’t left its departure city yet–Oslo, Norway. Knowing that it is at least a two hour flight, we were looking at an approximate three hour delay. Damn! The airline employee got a brutal eye roll and head shake from the american father. There they were again!
We walked back through the terminal, got something to eat, walked some more, drank a lot of water, and waited. Plane finally arrived and we were taken by bus to it. Boarded out on the tarmac and we were ready to go.
Ride was smooth. First time I was on a plane with Wi-Fi. Could even access navigation on my phone while in flight. As we were preparing to land, out my window I saw Sweden spreading out below us. I looked off into the distance and imagined our friends, Iris and Antje, who have created a sanctuary for aged dogs, sitting outside their beautiful farm house. The plane then banked turning away from Sweden and descended into neighboring, Norway.
The Flytoget Express Train runs every twenty minutes. It is a twenty-two minute trip directly to the train station in the center of Oslo. A local Flytoget train also runs from airport. Also running every twenty minutes. It is only slightly longer than the express and for those in hurry, is a fine option. Cost is 180 NOK (approx. 20€ or $22). There are discounts for students and seniors. Children under the age of 16, when traveling with an adult are free of charge. Tickets can be purchased at automatic ticket machines just before entering the platform. Very friendly service personnel are there to help. Swipe your ticket card to enter platform and train, and upon arrival at Oslo station simply exit. When departing Oslo Station to go to the Airport: Swipe ticket card to enter platform and again upon arrival at the airport to exit the platform.
Oslo airport, Gardemoen is a very beautiful. The terminal’s made of massive lumber and its high ceiling is impressive. Clean and friendly but as is everything in Norway–very expensive! Norwegians notoriously cross the border into Sweden to shop–and Sweden ain’t so cheap either!
Finally on the ground, it took awhile for our bags to come out on the carousel. Always seems no matter where I’m going, my stuff is always last and it was no different this time. First thought was: Bastards got my stove! As soon as it was off the belt I removed my backpack from the duffel bag and peeked inside. Stove was still there! Hell, yeah! and to the town we went…
I was so excited to be back in Oslo. I was so excited to be in Oslo with Miriam. I was so excited to be in Oslo with Miriam and to be on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N! The weather was fine and even though it was nearly 6:00 p.m., the sun was high and the skies were clear.
We hurried to the hotel we had booked. Same place I’d stayed at with Lexa-Lu a year before. The very friendly and centrally located Comfort Hotel Xpress-Youngstorget. By Oslo standards cheap and free coffee and tea. We checked in and dropped our bags and hit the streets. Before we left, Miriam had read a review of a restaurant that was supposed to be amazing. It was a two-minute walk from our hotel. I had been looking forward to eating there all day. With our flight delay I was hungry and getting grumpy. Panicked that the joint would be closed, I damn near ran down the street. It was still open!
The Fiskeriet fish shop is actually a fish monger but meals are also sold. Very small but in my opinion, out of this world. Seems a lot of locals use it as a take-out, but they also have some small tables outside. Fresh Scandinavian seafood. Yum, yum!
Next I wanted to show Miriam around since I had spent a couple days there last year. Being the end of May, daylight would last long so we had some time. We walked through the town and looked at old buildings. We wanted to kick off our vacation with ice cream. There was a famous brand we were looking for. Suddenly though, a Ben and Jerry’s shop appeared. Not what we were looking for, but since we don’t have them here at home I thought, what the heck? In we went. We took our ice cream to the street and walked. Towards the Opera house. Towards the Last Train. A bar where an old friend from back home used to hang out. To the park across from the Opera house. The one end of the park was filled with Bikers. Gang affiliations on their backs. Harleys. Tatoos. Long hair and beards. We walked right through the crowd of them with ice cream in hand.
We looked for a place to sit near pools of water in the park. That’s when I noticed the trouble. Terrible trouble. It was war! Angry seagulls flew above dropping poo bombs on the people below. They weren’t going to get us though. We left the park and headed towards the harbor.
Once at the harbor we walked up to the fort overlooking it. Then down and along the water. Sun continued to shine. Finally we found the ice cream brand we had been originally looking for. What the heck! Vacation, right? So we had round two. The seagulls at the harbor were friendlier. Here they put on The Flirt working for handouts. Jumping around us wanting a morsel of something. No poo bombs here! It was nearly 10:00 p.m and the sun was just starting to set. We walked around. Then we saw it!
“Oh, damn! That’s the brand I had read about.” Miriam had really done some reading beforehand about the places we were to visit. I get too excited I guess and just like to soak in the town whereas she actually does the smarter thing. “Maybe it’s too much?”, she continued. I looked ahead and saw what she was referring to. It was another ice cream place. What the heck, on vacation, right? So we did it. Round three!
Completely full and sick of ice cream, we took our time walking and returned to our room. Darkness of the night never arrived.