Day 1: SERIOUSLY JETLAGGED
It wasn’t until around late morning that Julie and I finally arrived in Oslo. After the usual stress of queueing up for passport control, then hoping our luggage made it here with us as we waited patiently at the conveyor belts had come to pass uneventfully, the next order of business was to figure out how to get from the airport to our hotel in Oslo. We were kind of on our own on this trip even though we had pre-booked accommodations throughout, and we didn’t have a rental car until tomorrow morning in an attempt to save money (knowing that we wouldn’t be driving on this day).
Julie and I were pretty alert but also pretty dead tired. We had just flown on three different flights with two connections. I wondered whether we really had to do this in order to get to Norway, but in any case, I really looked forward to coming here knowing that there were waterfalls galore in this country.
Besides, we made it here in one piece. That first leg where we flew from LAX to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport was scary because it was the roughest landing we had ever been on. The plane actually bounced hard on the ground, then briefly went in the air before finally landing. All the oxygen masks went down and a lot of us on the flight were kind of looking at each other like, “what just happened?”
Over the PA, the main pilot threw the co-pilot under the bus by apologizing for the rough landing and saying it was a pilot in training that did that landing. Well, at least the remaining flights went by pretty uneventfully, where we had to fly all the way out from Chicago to Stockholm, then catch one last short flight from Stockholm to Oslo.
Eventually, we found a bus that took us from Oslo to a terminal station near the center of Oslo. From there, we got our luggage, then rolled it around looking for the place we were supposed to stay at.
At first, we had a little trouble not being very oriented at all with this place. Also, the signs were all written out in Norwegian, and I kind of immediately got the sinking feeling that all those Pimsleur lessons in Norwegian didn’t help one bit as they made it seem way too easy to pick up the language when in fact, there was a lot more vocabulary and practice that I needed than what those lessons were putting out. What a rip off!
But eventually, some people would see that we needed help, and they eventually pointed us to the right street. It was a good thing because the street we went to was pretty obscure. But we eventually checked into the Edderkoppen Hotel some time around 1pm. And after dropping off our luggages, Julie and I immediately headed into town looking to do a little sightseeing.
We ended up meandering the streets of central Oslo though our top priority was to pick up some software and a road atlas. We ended up finding some 1:250k scale Garmin Mapsource of Norway. We were hoping to be able to use this software in conjunction with our Palm Pilot unit hooked up to our Garmin eTrex GPS. We also went to another shop in town to pick up a Norwegian road atlas, but truthfully, we were looking for the Statens Kartverk map and couldn’t find it. So we ended up spending money on some imitation that we would eventually find out it wasn’t as useful.
Then, we continued to meander about aimlessly in the streets of Oslo. I recalled we went to some main eating area around 3pm where we ultimately bought ourselves some $7 ice cream scoop! Ouch! I guess that was our first initial taste of how expensive things were in Norway.
Julie was getting really tired at this point, and even though she suggested we should check out a Viking Museum, we gave into our jetlagged state and returned to the hotel by 4pm. We both slept, and it wasn’t until around 6pm that we forced ourselves awake and went back into Oslo for dinner.
We eventually found some place not far from our hotel, and we ended up eating reindeer and some other thing I couldn’t remember. It wasn’t until around 8pm that we finally left the restaurant (though the restaurant bill turned out to be on the order of some $80 USD). Again, we were hit in the wallet!
When we left the hotel, we strolled around the waterfront for a little bit. Even though it was almost 8pm, there was still quite a bit of light left. Once again, we thought we could do the Viking Museum, but now it looked like they were closed.
And by this time, Julie and I figured that there would be no way we could be doing any more touring in our jetlagged state. We went back inside our hotel room, and Julie simply crashed in bed. Meanwhile, I was worrying that my plan of getting the Palm Pilot working with our GPS unit wasn’t coming to fruition! On top of that, the lap top that we had used in New Zealand last year, wasn’t communicating with our GPS. In fact, it seemed like the serial port was not working! Argh!
I had a sinking feeling that we were screwed, and we would have to navigate through the country the old fashioned way… by good ‘ol paper maps, road atlas, and a lot of reading signs…
Shortly thereafter, I too crashed in bed with Julie. Lesson learned from this experience – book an extra night in the first place you stay whenever you head east. That jetlag was a real killer. Oh well, I guess there was a first time for everything…