Day 21, Wednesday 10/10
Waking up this morning knowing we had reached the end of our Hurtigruten adventure was bitter-sweet. We never like ending a cruise, but we had experienced such a wonderful time and we were excited to see what was next.
Thankfully we booze-packed our luggage the night before. So when we woke up it was really just our carry-on we needed to have sorted. Due to a miscommunication on our end, we were not out of our room by 8am as you should be and so we were in a bit of a mad rush to get sorted. G had already started looking at the weather in Oslo, to see if we would be getting back to warmer weather!
After we left the boat and headed to the bus which would take us to the airport, I was able to hug and give a kiss on the cheek to the exploration director, she was absolutely wonderful and I think she made the trip as good as it was!
Our bus ride to the airport was another cramped experience. Honestly, as majestic as the return trip would have been on our cruise, I think I am in desperate need for some wide-open spaces and need to get away from lines and crowds and rudeness and staring (seriously, four days is about my limit).
During our booze-packing last night, I seemed to have the insight that my luggage would absolutely be over the 20kg limit. We are flying with Norwegian Air Shuttle and I think this is the airline with the least amount of luggage permissible. I bought an extra two kg’s and thankfully came in with 400grams to spare. We cooled our heels at the airport for a couple of hours and we were able to say goodbye to our wonderful dinner buddies, Ros and Wendy – two beautiful souls from Adelaide who we had connected with on the trip.
As terrible as this sounds, honestly knowing we would not have to handle the aggressive behaviour and poor social skills of 75% of the guests on the ship had the same effect on us as too much champagne. As we boarded our bus and drove off towards the airport it was bitter-sweet. We could not believe that this journey which we had waited years for, was over. Just like that. What an adventure!
Once we made it to the incredibly tiny airport in Kirkenes, we had a few hours to wait before our flight. Our flight to Oslo was quite quick and to look out the window and see the beautiful landscape change so drastically was amazing. I guess given the 1800km stretch of land between Kirkenes and Oslo, was roughly the same as Cairns to Brisbane (with very little change in the landscape in comparison in terms of seasonal change), it was mind-blowing to see such huge changes.
Landing in Oslo was amazing, that airport is just phenomenal. We had less than 24 hours in Oslo and given our exhaustion we were so glad we had decided on the train into town for our very brief stay.
As we carried our gigantic backpacks, day packs and all of our de-robed jackets/scarfs through the streets we immediately realised that Oslo was a city we would return to one day. After spending a week in very cold, sparse areas of Norway it seemed a shame that we had only one night in Oslo.
We made it to our hotel, immediately received a room upgrade (this was so welcomed and so appreciated!) and then I decided to spend an hour in the shower. Washing, scrubbing, exfoliating, shaving (!) and basically stretching out in the gigantic shower-bath. I typically hate shower-baths, but after very cramped quarters on the ship, I was so excited to be able to reach behind my knees!
I decided to accompany my shower with 90’s music, a bottle of Limoncello (had only intended for a small glass but once I realised the extent of my wild-woman body-hair, the bottle quickly became necessary. An hour slipped away easily and as I emerged feeling like some glamorous, post-Arctic-circle siren – I threw my thermal leggings in the bin, dumped my empty Limoncello bottle on top of it, threw my hair into a top-knot and was ready for our express Oslo tour!
NB: ‘Tour’ means us legging it for as far as we can go in one direction, then coming home. Usually involves several stops at drinking establishments. Always completely worth it, as we always come across the prettiest places and sights, and all for free when you’re walking!
Our walk was warm and pretty and we could visibly see the seasons changing and I wasn’t wearing thermals! Yay! We hoofed it to Kampen and then walked back to Tøyen and then found ourselves standing outside what would quickly become Grant’s favourite part of Oslo. Way Down South. Hello, American BBQ. After all of the fish which I had consumed, and the Sheep’s Head we quickly tried to forget, it was for the best that my red-blooded man had come across a restaurant famed for their trays of meat.
*Edit – I have since become a vegetarian and I also believe that eating my weight in salmon and also seeing my Husband consume the head of a sheep had something to do with it. Oh, and the white/blood sausage, but that’s for a future post!
The hospitality was amazing, it was our favourite thing to do – banter with the Owner and Staff (our highlight was meeting the lovely Jim himself, enjoy delicious food, enjoy each others company and then go for a long and slightly tipsy walk home. We both left with our amazing #stretchypants t-shirts, full bellies and without the guilt, we perhaps should have felt, about scarfing down American style ‘Family Pickins’ platter BBQ in Norway.
Oslo was such a brief stop and I would be lying if I said I didn’t think of it often. One day I hope to return and spend a lot longer in Norway, explore the family heritage and throw ourselves into everything this beautiful country has to offer.
Thank you, Norway, for everything you shared with us, for all of your beautiful sights and for planting within us a seed to revisit. It will take us a few years (maybe ten or twenty) but we WILL be back!
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