NORWAY MY WAY

           Tuesday and my siren alarm didn’t wake me or the building up  at 8:30 am.  The battery was dead…but I knew I had to be up, so at 8:20 I awoke.   Schipol Airport..one of the best in the world…casino, brothel, baby grand piano, excellent food, easy to get around, free cologne, easy on the eyes, Free Wi Fi, massage, …you never get bored waiting for a connection there and is waiting for me!  KLM here I come.

    Peter was up when I came downstairs to have a shower, coffee, light Breakfast and by 9:30 we were on our way.  

       Checking in was simple and chocolate was waiting.  I picked up some duty free Sapphire Bombay Gin and was having my Latte and Chocolate before heading for Gate C 20.

Cologne

 I walked back and forth trying to find it.  The sign said Gate C 1-26 but on gate 20.  Then after asking I was told there was NO Gate 20.  My seat assignment was C 20 and my Gate was B 20…on the other terminal a mile away!  I had time and made the gate just in time. Life is different at my age then before.

 It was a short 2 hours flight that I spent reading ‘Frost on your Moustache”.  Almost done but now his adventures have taken him from Iceland to Norway so I’m still enjoying the anticipation of sharing some of his experiences as I did in Iceland. Great book that I have to thank my learned , well read , chef friend Mike for.

OUR KLM

RYAN AIR..no toilets


        We arrived on time in Torp Airport…an hour or so away from Oslo.  Sissel, my CouchSurfing host already told me I choose the wrong airport, but anxious me didn’t wait for her reply and booked it impatiently 10 minutes before her advice arrived via email. Oh well…I thought it a chance to see a bit of Norway on the way in.  I did and it was nice but the time saved would have been better.  I hadn’t researched the exchange rate so just picked the highest denomination available on the ATM machine thinking it to be around $300 – $400 in Dollars…wrong.  6000 Norwegian Krona was almost $1000 I carried into Oslo for 5 days.  I didn’t even know I had $1000 left in the account until my SSN check clears at  the end of the week. 
       I walked out to catch the bus in and pay my fare of 250 Krona and boarded the bus.  10 minutes later they told us we had to wait for a Taxi.  There weren’t enough people on the bus to warrant the gas…so they sent a Van Taxi to haul us in…a minor inconvenience.  I forgot I googled the fare and could have got a Senior Citizen discount for 1/2 price!  I will on the return trip!

 Off we went to Oslo…on a half overcast half sunshine day.   The road in was walled with Norwegian wood fence or Hedges or anything to keep animals and snow off the road…and obstruct any view I could possibly have of Norway.

Norwegian Wood

 Once and a while a glimpse of it appeared and I made an attempt to photograph it.  


      Five O’clock traffic was heavy as we approached the Capital of Norway.  I noticed there are very few vehicles on the road over 3 years old and they were mostly Mercedes, Audi’s, BMW’s etc.  60 billion dollars in Oil and Gas reserves for 5 million people.  You do the math.  Sissel later told me the 4% interest is what the people get….not bad really. I didn’t want to be rude and ask her how much cash she received each month or year but sure was curious.  This is a very modern city and growing by the day.

Iceberg

 The hotels were at full occupancy because international businesspeople keep residency here…from Dubai, N.Y., Halliburton, and every oil and gas company in the world…I don’t really know.
        I arrived at the station with only my hostess’s address within walking distance.  I asked 5 people and got 5 different replies.  The tourism information in the center was not of much help either.  The lady said go here…circled it on the map….then take Tram 11 , 13 or 16…something like that…and tell them you want off at…such and such…I said…could you please tell me where I am on the map so I know how to get to “here”!  Oh…just go around the corner…not get a ticket at 7/11 or a day or three day pass…NO EXPLANATION at all.  Then when I thought I should go back and ask…there was another line and get a number.  

        If it was within walking distance, I had a map, I could find it. I’m an AMERICAN!  I couldn’t even find the “round the corner” Tram stop…with the street address.  I did see a fancy hotel nearby.  Having worked at fancy hotels, I knew they were well trained to advise guests.  I popped in and sure enough I was on the street that would take me right to Nordre Gate…all I had to do was walk straight up.  I thanked the front desk clerk and headed out the door with a purpose.  

Tram 10 minutes to this stop..my destination

      The map showed a creek I had to pass over then a fork in the road.  Being a bit dyslectic…I went right instead of left then the cross streets didn’t match the map but I persisted until I was lost and couldn’t find any streets on the map where I was.  I had veered off and walked a mile out of my way.  I was tired of pulling this suitcase, walking (UPHILL) and had to piss. Now I had to focus.  I stopped a man and got directions that put me back on track. 
       I finally arrived at the front door ….ON TIME but exhausted and hungry. The building was built in 1890 so had a lot of  history.  I got to watch my host Sissel down her really delicious looking dinner while I babbled on about my trip while drooling. She wasn’t being rude..I was the one that interrupted her meal, so when I mentioned I needed the keys and would venture out to one of the places I saw to grab a bite…she dropped everything and took me to a “Food Court”.  I’m thinking a “Food Court” like at the Mall full of cheap crap to eat.  

     We ended up walking through a nice park with a river running through it to a converted manufacturing complex which is now a massive restaurant complex with fine markets and establishments serving top notch food from around the world.  Not what I would term a “Food Court”.  We meandered around the first place we entered but I gravitated toward a Northern Spain Pintxos and Wine Bar.  Like Tapas but upscale.  We had a wine and I had two Pintxos…both excellent.  Then she took me to an underground huge Bar Restaurant where you ordered at the bar and took your drinks to the table then when the food was ready picked it up yourself.  Nice and convenient.  Wine was not as good as the last but the Pulled Pork sandwich with fresh Potato Chips cooked on premise , far surpassed anything I expected.  I ate half and took the rest home for lunch.
      Sissel was well traveled and though had no children of her own, had nieces and nephews around the world.  One nephew in Puket Thailand, has made his living off Internet poker for the last five years.  He married a Thai and enjoys a nice lifestyle.  My kinda guy. We returned to her apartment and I settled in to my room, made my bed and unpacked.  She had suggested some places to visit so I need to end this day and get some rest.  The cold weather takes a lot out of me.   Good night.

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