Ålesund


It was with a superbly packed eight kilo cabin bag, and not my usual array of hugely unnecessary bags, that I was dropped off at the airport in time for a full day of travelling. Even though Norway seems near, the journey was eight hours and three flights. I was almost tempted to get another direct flight somewhere else for the same amount of time. I wonder where I would have ended up? However, I handed my car over to my delighted dad, minus my previous idea for sticking notes around the dashboard as my own version of the car’s manual, and headed to check in. Turns out I didn’t need to, as the bemused air hostess informed me, as I had already checked in online. Oh well, it gave me a chance to take a random detour in the airport whilst looking for the security. This bit had changed since I had last flown but I made it through the turnstiles, the sliding doors, the metal detectors and managed to reclaim my bag with relative ease. Apart from almost falling over trying to put my shoes back on.

Thanks to my new glasses I was able to see all the notice boards with a clarity I didn’t know I lacked until my recent trip to the opticians. It was like being able to see clearly for the first time! It was then onto my first flight armed with my trusty meal deal and kindle. At Copenhagen I was able to turn myself into a walking perfume shop before finding my gate. It was here that I suddenly heard a tinkling of faint music. I thought I might have to also go to a hearing specialist untill I noticed an abandoned phone underneath the seats. I asked around to see if it belonged to anyone and went in search of a member of staff. Although, from the looks I got from the people nearby I think they thought I had claimed it for myself. Now that would have brought a lot of perfume! However, I answered the phone when it rang again with “Vil du snakke engelsk?” before swiftly remembering I was actually in Denmark, not Norway, and reverted to English. Luckily the owner did and I waited for him to come bounding up to me to claim his phone. It was almost like a romantic scene where two people run up to each other in an airport. However, this man was a lot older and promptly presented me with twenty dollars so maybe it looked a bit more like an unsavoury proposition. Yet the man was overjoyed as he raced back to board his flight and I can still buy a relatively small bottle of perfume. If only someone had been there to save my new phone. Luke has been trying to ‘bring me into the twenty-first century’ and this meant buying a new phone as even the phone shop laughed at my previous mobile. I told him there was no point with my track record and that I didn’t want anything too expensive. However, I was lured in by a talking to-do list. It was a definite plus for the environment as my room is littered with paper versions. I then promptly dropped the phone down the toilet the next day. What was more annoying was that my old, battered phone was in my other pocket. But no. It just had to be my new phone that is now water-logged and somewhere in a repair centre. Oh well, it is a lesson learnt. I am just relieved I had the foresight to buy insurance straight away. Phew!

I arrived in Oslo a few hours later and followed the signs for transfers which promptly landed me at the arrivals gate somewhat bewildered. Umm. I then preformed a mini magic trick as I made two bottle of water disappear before having to go through security again.I just hoped I wouldn’t need a wee for the whole of the next flight. I then settled into my extra-leg room seat. Although I suspect that I had the shortest legs on the plane as it appears the Danish and the Norwegian belong to the lands of the giants. I even spotted a family of them with all members being at least twice my height! Finally I was picked up by Luke and we made our way back through the snow filled landscape which was a contrast between bleakness and beauty. The town had lovely buildings. 

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 We did get to see Luke’s apartment including the sauna and a snug in the turret. Yes, a real turret! photo

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but we couldn’t stay there as Luke was still waiting for a bed so we had nowhere to sleep.

After exploring the rooftops of Alesund from the rooftop terrace (and who said being a graduate was hard!) we headed out to find dinner.

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Unfortunately, Luke hadn’t realised that over Easter everything closes and gets quiet so it looks like I chose the wrong weekend! Luckily we found a place and I got to have a lovely plate of surf and turf.

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The next morning we went in search of bedding for Luke’s flatmate and I got to see how expensive Norway is. It was then off for a drive through the breathtaking scenery. It was beautiful weather but again nowhere was open so we did a full days driving and hopped on various boats

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before beginning a search for red wine. Unfortunately our search was in vain and we had to have dinner without any wine as the shops had been shut since Thursday. Where is a vineyard when you need one!

The next day started off with an amazing breakfast of lots of random things including sardines. Well, we were in a fishing city! It was then time to get cosy in the car and with the seat warmers back, which I have missed since leaving Indiana, we headed out into the midst of the snow in search of the Fjords. We didn’t have to search hard as we emerged from the mouth of one of the long, rocky tunnels as were greeted with breathtaking glimpses of crystal clear lakes surrounded by numerous forest filled mountains. It was just the most perfect place to drive through. Apart from when Luke went off-road down a track he said could be quite icy.

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Great. We did survive but all I wanted to do was get outside and go for a walk but I wasn’t brave enough to do this as I hadn’t got my thermals plus the seat warmer was just so, well, warm.

I did become braver when we returned and we climbed up to the view-point to look over Alesund. It was definitely worth venturing out as you could see for miles and really appreciate the tranquil remoteness that hugs the city.

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My valour didn’t stop there as I opened a can I had picked up form a petrol station for dinner on account of the lack of shops. It had a child’s face on so we placed bets about whether it would be baby food or something more sinister.

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However, it was pate.

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Yey I thought untill a similar smell to cat food wafted from the contents. This has taught me a lesson. Never buy tins from foreign petrol supermarkets with the aim of eating the contents if you do not know what they are. Especially if they have a ridiculously smiley child’s face on. A trip to a bar later helped me to overcome this incident. As the Scotts came in from the oil rigs we made a swift exit back to the hotel before any re-enactments of Braveheart began.

On my last morning we had a walk around and I don’t think we saw another living person. All the houses looked really inviting and I certainly saw a few I wanted to have a closer look round.

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They were just so quaint in a fishing village sort of way. We also got to see the lighthouse

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and a few boats as they zoomed past. I then went to the airport to begin my long journey home. I was a little bit dubious it was a proper airport as one of the security guards was having a little snooze by the X-Ray machine and I definitely heard snoring form another office. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed through yet so I did the best thing I could albeit a little bit cowardly. Wait for someone else to go through first and follow with caution. I made it through and picked up some supplies, including Norwegian easter treats for the family.

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 I was unhelpfully bemused when the girl at the till could not work out what change to give me. I could offer no assistance as I hadn’t a clue what each coin ment so I must have looked a bit rude just unhelpfully standing there while another customer began to sigh impatiently.

I settled down for my flight after trying on all the perfumes in the shop, much to the security guards amusement. I had a bit of panic on the plane after being handed a baggage label for my carry-on, but deciding to ignore it, then trying to squeeze my suitcase into the overhead locker. I think I held my breath until the air hostess had managed to close all lockers and I knew I wouldn’t have to do the walk of shame to hand my suitcase over. Luckily there was no problem with my last plane and I made it back to Manchester at a reasonable time. The inly irritating thing about my journey was on the train where lots of children kept on stepping on my toes or use my as a thing to lean on while their mother completely ignored them. I decided that this was the perfect time to reinstall my ‘evil stares’.

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