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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Norway!

NORWAY | Sunday, 2 December 2018 | Views [129]

"Norway in December, you are a brave soul" -Sara Wall, fellow perpetual traveller

About two months ago I had a dream: one where I was viewing the Northern Lights. As I woke up I thought "why have I not seen them?" Plenty of times I've thought of going to Alaska or Iceland in winter to get a glimpse of the colourful aurora but have always placed it on the back burner. On my past three visits to Pennsylvania I've done a trip in the middle: last year it was Newfoundland and Saint-Pierre, and earlier this year it was Ireland. For the longest time I had Bermuda on my radar, but in the past two years I've been to Wallis & Futuna, the Maldives, Lord Howe Island, Samoa, Tokelau, Norfolk Island, and New Caledonia. Therefore, I've been to enough islands for now. Norway was my calling, regardless of how cold it may be.

Getting here was rather frustrating to go with a bit of adventure and a slight detour. At JFK Airport I was handed my boarding pass and I didn't realize until I was nearly at the security checkpoint that my takeoff time stated 8:00 instead of 10:00 and it was already 8:15. The guy at the desk said "let me have a look for you" and then said my flight was cancelled and that flight time is actually 8 AM in the morning. Annoyed, I said "why couldn't they call or send me an email?" and then I could have stayed in Manhattan for another night. They said they could put me in a hotel but that wouldn't do anything for me because first off, I can't stand hotels. Secondly, I only have 11 days in Norway so if I lose a day it's a fair bit of time. Third of all, if they put me in a hotel I'd have to be up at 5 AM and I likely wouldn't sleep. They said they could put me on the Stockholm-bound flight for 10:30 PM but they were having trouble setting me up a flight from Stockholm to Oslo. Then, I said I could take the train from Stockholm to Oslo but they said in that situation I'd have to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed, which could take up to 60 days. Eventually I did get put on a flight to Oslo but I'd arrive at 4:30 PM instead of 11:30 AM. It's still better losing only a few hours rather than an entire day. Norwegian has to be the world's weirdest airline: the cabin crew are all American and no Norwegian is spoken even when it comes to the safety demonstration. I wonder if the same will be when I fly to Tromsø in a couple of days. The only thing free on board is hot water, so it's a good thing I brought some instant coffee with me.

For the next few days I'm in the town of Hønefoss and my hosts are a Bosnian couple named Nina and Zeljko. There's a former basketball player named Zeljko Rebraca, so I knew how to pronounce Zeljko's name correctly: the "Z" sounds like the "g" in "rouge." Nina is pregnant with her first child. They told me that hitchhiking is tough in Norway but right outside the airport I was picked up by a Lithuanian guy named Arunas. He was with his friend were only going about 20 km west but decided to go for a drive and drop me in Hønefoss. They even shouted me a hot dog and a coffee on the way. Oslo's Gardermoen Airport is far from the city centre and I didn't want to spend my first three days hanging out in Oslo.

Drama aside from flights, the drama today was the gloomy weather. Nina made some Scandinavian waffles for breakfast. Unlike their Belgian counterparts, Scandinavian waffles have a soft texture. 

Days are very short in December in Norway and I wanted to get out whilst it was light for photos and geocaching. Whilst I found quite a few geocaches, I only managed one or two good photos today. This bridge caught my eye. 

If you look closely, many homes have the year they were built written or painted on them. 

Like Australia, New Zealand, and the US, Norway is very multicultural. At the Shell station last night I was chatting to the clerk who is from Eritrea, and when I stopped for lunch at another petrol station, the clerk is from Afghanistan. Whilst I haven't found Norway to be outrageously expensive so far, fish & chips for lunch set me back 100 NOK (about US$13.50). A few years ago, USD$1 was about 5 Norwegian kroner but now it's more like 8 kroner, therefore it's made Norway cheaper and has brought more visitors. Norway is a user-friendly country where nearly everybody speaks English. Norwegian is fairly easy to read, as many words are borrowed from English. 

Scandinavia is home to, in addition to ancient architecture, some really impressive modern architecture. The new Hønefoss church was completed last year. 

 

The original wooden church, completed in the 19th century, burned down in 2010 after an electrical fire. Hønefoss is named after Hønefossen, a waterfall right in the middle of town: 

There isn't much to see here in December but in spring the waterfall is quite a sight. It was dark by 3 PM, and when I returned home Nina made a tasty dinner of chicken and rice with vegetables. Hot food is always good on a cold day.  

Norway is another country I waited years to visit. Hønefoss is considered a bit far south to see the aurora, but in the next few days the chase for her begins...

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