Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trip to Norway - Trondheim part 1

The flight from Amsterdam to Trondheim was about 2 hours long. We were given sandwiches of goat cheese and cold cuts, but since we were full from our airport dinner we put them in the backpack for later.

We landed well after 10 pm, and as we exited the gate, I noticed that the majority of people were heading into the duty-free shop instead of to the exit/baggage claim. Not usually one to bother about duty-free, I thought there must be something they knew that I didn't, and so we followed the crowd.

I'm not a drinker, and I don't know prices in Norway, and I didn't know how to convert the money, but I do know that things are very expensive in Norway, and the tax rate is high. Just watching everyone scoop up bottles of alcohol made me sure that I couldn't go wrong buying something there. But what? Miguel to the rescue - he suggested a whiskey for my dad, and picked out the brand and said it was a good one. I picked up a package of Toblerone chocolates for my step-mother, and we headed for the cash. The guy in front of us had a 6-pack of beer, so I asked him if it was a good price. It was, and so I picked up some beer too (for Miguel).

After duty-free we headed to the baggage claim and picked up our suitcase. I looked around for Immigration - nothing. The exit said 'nothing to declare' and there was nobody there. A booth beside that exit said 'something to declare' and there was a man inside. I went over and showed him my duty-free receipt and asked him if I had something to declare. He said it was fine and we were free to go. I was surprised that we had come all the way from Cancun via Mexico City and had we not exited in Amsterdam for our tour, we never would have gone through either customs or immigration! Hmmmm...should it really be like that?

Outside we had no idea where to go, but finally made our way across to the taxi area and found a cab. The drive to the hotel cost about $15 (I think). We checked in. I really was surprised at how well it had all gone, considering that everything was booked via the internet and we'd been in three different countries.

Our room was clean and had everything we'd need for one night's stay. The bed was not queen-sized, it was two twin beds pushed together. Each bed had its own Norwegian comforter and since the beds were not fastened together, there was no way Miguel was going to be able to slide over to my side and hog the bedding - he would fall through the crack and land on the floor. After 25 plus hours of travel, I was going to enjoy the night's sleep in my own bed with my own comforter. Yes!

My father told me that the hotel was known for having the very best breakfast in all of Norway, although he warned me it would be a Norwegian-style breakfast. Ok, I know about those - lots of raw fish and strong cheese and other things I won't eat. But wow - what a pleasant surprise when we got down to the buffet. There was just about everything anyone could want for breakfast, including a few different types of fresh-baked breads that we cut ourselves. I think I ate 5 or 6 pieces of toast along with some cold cuts, an egg, fruit, and other things. I really didn't need that much toast but the bread was the best I've had in many, many years and I enjoyed it.

When we first got to the restaurant we were the only ones there. There really weren't even any staff, anyone working there was in the kitchen and they just popped out to replenish the food. Nobody waited on us, nobody spoke to us. Self serve in every sense. As we were finishing up our breakfast, a troupe of about 25 people came in - all dressed like construction workers. We were lucky to have finished, because those people (I can't say 'guys' because there was one woman) went through the food like nothing. Good timing on our part.

After breakfast we headed back up to our room to wait for my dad (they live about 45 minutes away but he had other errands to run before picking us up). I sat in the chair looking out the window while Miguel shaved.

I am sometimes amused by simple things. Today a old woman was beating her rugs out on her balcony, probably enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. She had one of those folding laundry stands that collapse if they tip, and on top she placed her rugs. She used something that looked like a snow shoe to pound on the rugs - I googled and found it is called a rug beater. Funny, I used 'rug beater' as my search criteria and there really is such a thing!

I watched her beat the heck out of a rug and then she started to drag it into the house. The heaviness of the rug caused the entire laundry stand to collapse on her, and she messed around with it but finally won and got the whole thing inside. Then she came back out with another rug, set up the stand again, and gave it a beating too.

Over at another balcony I noticed comforters hanging out the window to air. Spring cleaning day in Norway.

About the time I figured my dad would be arriving, we headed downstairs to check out. Standing at the desk I saw a BMW backing into the lot. I've never seen my dad's car but I knew it must be him. And there he was! So good to see him. We loaded our stuff in the car and were off.


Leslie said...

Too cool! at first I was confused (having missed your entries of the past 2 days) dropping back through 3 entries to find the first Norway posting labeled Part 4! But I figured it out and now await the blurb on the rest of the trip!

Islagringo said...

Glad you are back to your travel adventures. You tell such a great story. Love all the little details that make it real.

Life's a Beach! said...

Great post Sue! I'm laughing about the rug beater because I have an old antique one somewhere. I should haul it out and hang it in my laundry room. It is shaped like a snowshoe, but just wire with nothing filling the frame. Maybe I'm missing something! Can't wait for more!

Bennie said...

I am so happy we are now getting to enjoy your Norway trip with you. Keep them comin' Sue.

Sue said...

Thanks guys for the encouragement to keep writing.

And Beck - let's see a picture of your rug beater. I did see one during my google that was wire - maybe it's the same.