Here is the first adventure Nathan and I have experienced since returning to the UK 6 months ago! We decided to do a long weekend in Norway.
After successfully babysitting Wednesday night, we set out at 4am Thursday morning to endure the 4 hour drive to Standstead. We chose Standstead because the flights with Ryanair were only £32 return each to Oslo Gardemoen airport! Bargain!! Add on one case and that is still only £50 each for a return flight and case. It took about 3 hours to get to the airport, we dropped our bags off and then headed through security. Why is it that no matter where you fly from, people STILL don’t understand that…
You can only take one bag of liquids under 100ml through and no they won’t allow you to take more even if you beg
Yes you have to take your belt off to go through the scanner
No you can’t take the bottle of water through with you
It is very frustrating when people can’t get themselves organised despite being stood in a queue of 100 people, surrounded by signs that tell you what you need to do, what needs to go in your bag, what needs to come out, yet still cause a hold up when it’s their turn. Anyway. Rant over.
We got through ok, neither of us got searched, woo!! First time ever, then proceeded to find the Wetherspoons to have breakfast. After filling ourselves up with bacon, sausage and all the usual breakfast items we sat down to find our flight was delayed. We were due to fly at 940am but there wasn’t going to be gate information until 920am with an expected take off time of 10.05am. We wait. And wait. And wait. Finally the gate goes up and we get on the train to head to gate 34 and join the queue. It clearly said ‘now boarding’ on the screen and the woman trying to sort things out couldn’t use the tannoy to save her life so none of us knew what was going on. Eventually we were told to all sit down as they were still boarding the 8am flight to Copenhagen! 🤣🤣We did get onto the plane in the end. The best part about Ryanair? Their seating arrangements. So, you HAVE to check in online or pay a £70 fee to check in at the airport. Nathan checked us in online beforehand and our seats were allocated. 8A for me 32A for him. Explain that one when the plane was empty as he checked us in. I get on the plane and take my window seat and he strolls to the back of the plane. As people were getting on they were saying bye to their travelling companion as it appeared a lot of people were split up. Including a mum, dad and young baby which was just ridiculous. The plane was stifling hot and I was sat next to a huge muscly bloke and some other guy next to him. Meanwhile….Nathan had a friggin empty seat next to him!!! Don’t get me wrong I didn’t mind sitting away from him, I just didn’t get the logic behind it especially when no one was next to him. It was only an hour and forty five minute flight so all good. The views as we flew over Norway coming into land were amazing. You could see the rivers and fjords and towering mountains as we descended to the airport.
We got off the plane and Nathan got on the back bus, I on the front bus and because we were late, I said to him just to go straight through the get the car and I’d get the case. It was a loooooong walk to passport control, (the guy who checked my passport wasn’t even wearing uniform) then onto the arrival hall and baggage reclaim. As I got to the conveyer belt I could see the case and ran, yes yes I ran, to get it so that I didn’t have to wait for it to go round again. Then I exited and tried to find my way to the rental car place. The airport is huge!!! Eventually, Nathan and I were reunited in the Hertz rental car office. Car collected, we set off towards our Airbnb in Gran, to drop our case off and change as it was 30 degrees! Bearing in mind Nathan has driven pretty much everywhere we’ve gone except for about 300 miles, this proved the biggest challenge yet. Wrong side of the car, wrong side of the road, gear stick on the wrong side of the car. I lost count of the amount of times I said “I’m in the ditch again!” Or “I really don’t fancy going into that tree!” Don’t get me wrong it added a spot of adrenaline to the journey but still. I’m sure day 2 will be better 🤣! The Airbnb was stunning. We pulled up to it after climbing up some steep hills and the views were just amazing. The house itself is an old farmhouse with parts of it dating back to the 1800s and other parts really modern. It was beautiful, my ideal house with a winding staircase, huge kitchen, wooden beams on the walls and ceiling as well as a beautiful balcony where you can sit and enjoy a glass or two of wine, overlooking the hills in front of you.
We then decided to go and hunt for a bridge straddling turquoise blue water a little way past Lillehammer. The drive itself was beautiful. No photos do what we’ve seen of this country so far justice. Not too long after we left Gran we stopped at a viewpoint just off the road. You could see for miles over to the river. We continued winding along the road basically following the rivers path.We stopped at a rest stop to see what was around and took a few more photos from there. I stupidly didn’t have my trainers on properly so then struggled to get back up the hill, instead of wearing them properly. Never mind. Everywhere we looked around us was just beautiful. Fields so green, hills so tall, red houses providing a contrast and dash of colour amongst the green and blue. The roads aren’t straight like motorways back home, they’re winding and they undulate and sometimes you even go through the hills via the many tunnels that are several kilometres long. We didn’t locate the bridge we’d set out to see. We drove for miles past Lillehammer and still couldn’t find it so started to turn back and decided to climb the 936 steps up to the top of the Lygårdsbakkene ski jump.It is free too! We like finding free things to do. The ski jump you can see for miles before you actually reach it. People were using the steps to run up and down to exercise. We just casually strolled up them. The view was worth it. You could see down to the town of Lillehammer and even see the tower for the Olympic flame at the bottom of the ski jump from the 1994 olympics. At the top there’s the ticket office for the chair lift too with a fence made from old skis.We started the drive back to Gran passing a dam and a stave church on the side of the road.The journey back took a couple of hours and we got back shortly after 9pm. Our hosts weren’t back yet so we showered and attempted to plan the next couple of days. When our hosts came home they invited us to join them on the balcony for a glass of wine (beer for Nathan).
It was a lovely evening to end our first day in Norway walking all things Airbnb (we’re their first guests) and travel. It was lovely. We sat there for a few hours until retiring to bed. It never actually got fully dark throughout the night. The photo above shows about how dark it stayed throughout the night.