20 hours door to door, from my house in Seattle early Friday morning to Dan’s apartment in Oslo Saturday at noon. I can’t say quick, certainly not as pleasant as the Iceland Air flight to Reykjavik… but at least the 10 minute sprint from gate C74 to C135 in Newark to make my connection was the shortest possible layover. Pro-Tip: don’t fly United if you can help it. They leave no leg room, even on the trans-Atlantic leg. It’s their incentive to upgrade to “Economy Plus”… probably worth the $60 in hindsight, but I hate being nickle & dimed on an international flight.
I don’t think I would have been feeling so jet lagged that first day, except for the 3 hours sleep I had the night before and my inability to sleep on the plane. I have no legitimate gripe here. I still just get so excited to be going on a trip, it’s hard for me to relax. Pretty funny though meeting a bunch of new German friends to watch the UEFA futbol tournament kick off (see what I did there?) Saturday night, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I made it through to the last minute to see Germany beat Portugal 1-0 though! I also have as my excuse, if one can be granted, that Dan and I walked all over Oslo in the afternoon. It’s not too big, and very walkable, but still.
Sleeping in until half past noon on Sunday definitely helped catch me up. I wasn’t the only one. After walking back to their flat by myself to go to bed the night before, Dan and Siri stayed out with the group to celebrate the win, and came home when the sun was already rising again… probably around 3am at this latitude and time of year. We had a very late breakfast together before heading over to Andreas’ house, a co-worker and friend of Dan’s. The three of us followed Andy on his motorbike out into the countryside, to a firing range where we blasted safety orange clay pigeons with shotguns. I’ve handled a shotgun exactly one time before, firing only at a bagel thrown into the air for target practice on a failed hunting expedition East of the Gorge, WA. I’m a little more confident hitting stationary targets with a handgun at the indoor range, but I’ll take my 12% or so success rate my first real time shooting at something flying through the air… “Hep!” (Norwegian for “Pull” I guess).
The whole area outside Oslo that we drove back through and stopped for a meal at really reminded me of the Puget Sound. I think I will take to calling my neighborhood the Broadview Fjords from now on… or maybe Carkeek Fjord has a better ring to it. I understand now why the Scandinavians chose Ballard as their home in Seattle.
Today was another lazy start, sleeping in until noon and gently launching myself into the day. We took the Saab down to a bensinstasjon to clean it up and prepare the surface for a new set of rally stickers. Dan was a little sad to peel the German and Norwegian flags off along with his and Siri’s names from last summer… he has quite a nostalgic feeling about this trip: good omen for us! We strategized about my next few days making my way down to Hamburg before setting out for a last night in Oslo. We hit pub crawled to a few bars and hit a kebab place, then up to the top of the Radisson Blu for a still lit up view of the city at 30 minutes to midnight. Beware all ye imbibers of spirits in Norway… there is no Oslo on $50 a day. Perhaps $50 a pub if you fancy a couple single malts. Perhaps there is something to this “beer” beverage people speak so fondly of after all… Even still, at €10 per lager, you might be sipping all night.
Tomorrow I’m off in search of steeper fjords, and then will make my way to a ferry for Denmark. I should arrive in Hamburg on Thursday and wrap up some final car preparations before Kim joins me on Saturday and we begin the rally in earnest.