Yes! I went to Norway in 2009! It was their springtime when I went there but it felt like mid-winter to me. Thanks to a travel programme aired around that time, Norway became a very popular destination among the British. I got to know this when I met up with my friend in Norway on my last day there, the one that I met in the Panda City in China before I flew to Tibet. I briefly mentioned her in one of my previous blogs here.
After the trip to France, my ex-Deutsch classmate and I had been talking to each other about her life in Denmark. The more I listened, the more I was interested. In the end, we decided to travel in that region. The question was which country. She kept telling me Denmark was very gloomy all the time, it was very depressing and there was nothing much to see. ‘I don’t understand why it is ranked “the happiest country in the world”. So many people commit suicide here. The weather contributes a lot to that.’ She then suggested Norway. I was happy with whatever she suggested. I had never been to that part of the world so I was ok with anything.
She then did a lot of research and asked me where I wanted to go. She said, ‘I hope you’re not going to say “Svalbard”.’ Wow! That was a very good idea! She screamed, ‘No! It’s very expensive!’ Ok, ok. She also made a to-do list:
1. see northern lights! ‘This is a MUST!!’
2. see reindeers! ‘Yeah! The wild ones are even better!’
3. go dogsledding! ‘I love huskies!!!’
4. go snowshoeing in the woods ‘ok. That will be a good experience.’
5. other miscellaneous ones: visit ice hotel, and
6. just play in the snow – that was my wish.
As you can see, I hadn’t seen snow for quite some time since 2005 in Tibet. Seeing and feeling the snow was something that I yearned for. But I didn’t expect the snow would be that thick and it would be that cold!!!
My friend was so organised that she put our itinerary and costs in an Excel spreadsheet. Her Deutsch husband was also interested and so here came the division of labour: he would drive, my friend would do the research, the planning, the booking of the hostels… just organise the entire trip and I would just sit back and relax and share the costs with them. I LOVE that idea. 😛
They arrived in Oslo a bit earlier than I did. When I went out of the airport to catch a shuttle bus to the town centre where our hostel was, I was so excited. The cold air rushed into my nostrils (LOL!!) IT FELT SO GOOD!
Then came the reality.
That bus trip was super expensive!!!!!!
I had my student card with me but it didn’t occur to me to use it. However, there was an age limit. If you were older than 30 something, even with a student card, you couldn’t get a discount on the bus.
After I got off the bus, I walked towards the hostel on the snowy paths. The snow was so soft, and so white that it glittered. It was extremely tranquil too. I could hear the sound that my hiking boots made when I treaded on the snow.
Oh! I loved it. (Later in 2013, I didn’t feel the same way. I will talk about my trip in the US, South America and Kazakhstan later.)
I don’t like extreme weather but I like snow that’s good and thick enough for skiing. I don’t know if I can still do it as I have problems with my knees now. I am glad I have done all the activities that I wanted to do when I was younger before I started having any health issues. No regrets in my life anymore. Thanks to my past me.
It was a very sunny day. I love the sun in winter. It gives us warmth amid the coldness.
My friend saw me as I was approaching the hostel. Guess what we did again? Yeah, what else? But we were very conscious of our volume this time because it was too quiet, unlike in Gare du Nord in Paris.
We caught up with each other and started to talk about our travel plans in details. We’d stay in Oslo for 1.5 days as they would not come back to this city. They’d fly from another city in Norway back to Denmark. I’d have to come back to Oslo to catch my return flight. She was so happy after she landed in Norway. ‘Away from the gloomy Denmark’, she exclaimed. It dissuaded me from visiting Denmark. LOL! No, I will still go and check it out myself.
But it’s true that Norway has inspired many poets and artists possibly because of its geographical features – beautiful snowy mountains, lakes, northern lights, wildlife, etc. I was sure we’d be inspired too while we were there.
My friend was a big fan of birds. She loved taking photos of them with her powerful camera and lens. However, in 2009, I had a not-so-good camera which was really a shame because I couldn’t take many photos of the northern lights. You’ll know later… sigh
Speaking of aurora, my friend had carefully selected a place where we had a better chance of seeing it. However, I saw something peculiar on my first night after I checked in the hostel and as we walked towards the city centre to find a restaurant.
The commonest colour of the aurora that we see is green. That’s exactly what I saw as I was walking towards the centre. From afar, I saw a spiral of smoke rising slowly from the horizon, like the smoke from a cigarette, but in green. It looked very light, as light as a feather. It curved gracefully in the air as if it were doing a slow dance. It turned slowly until it reached the sky. Then it vanished, without a trace. I asked my friend, ‘can we see northern lights here?’ ‘No, of course not. There is light pollution here.’ She said.
When we nearly reached the place where the green light emerged, my friend screamed. ‘What happened?’ I asked. She answered, ‘a dead bird.’ I looked at the ground and yes, I saw the dead body of the bird. It was very obvious that it let out its last breath not long ago. Was it the soul of the bird that I saw? I didn’t say a word.
The sky was very clear that night.
We could see the crescent very clearly.
The couple and I love museums so we visited Viking Ship museum in Oslo the next day.
I have always loved boats. The Lego pirate boat is my favourite. Some intricate models of war ships captivate me too. I was probably a medieval soldier or a sailor who fought with and killed those evil one-eye pirates in my past life. I say medieval soldiers because I like architecture from that period. If you feel some connections to something, that means you probably were connected to them somehow, sometime. Hm… That means I have an old soul. I am old. Hm…
Even though the sky was very clear last night (in ancient times, people predicted the weather by looking at the sky at night), it was a very cloudy day today. My friend said, ‘This is what it is like all the time in Denmark.’
Tomorrow, we would go to Tromso! We had got everything ready!!! 🙂
29 – 30 March 2009
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