… And then there was that time I got on that plane and everything went smoothly. That time I went to bed at a resonable hour and got enough sleep. That time I traveled and everything went according to plan.
Said no one ever.
Whether you’re sitting around a campfire in the desert or enjoying a late meal an autumn evening, when telling stories, we all tell the ones where something, somewhere, went wrong. Yesterday, my something was, as usual, my transportation. My somewhere? Norway. Traveling within a country can apparently be more complicated than traveling internationally.
I’ve been thinking about going up north for quite some time, but have never gotten around to it. However, last time I left home was in December, which is way too long ago in my opinion, so I decided why not. Stavanger – Oslo – Alta, then by bus to Alta, Inner Billefjord to the home of two friends. My travel companion, my sister, was to meet me in Oslo, from Bergen. Easy, right?
Wrong. Snow. Lots of lots of snow. Of all days, all those rainy, rainy days, the weather chose our day to become fierce and stormy. A full-blown snowstorm broke loose at Bergen-airport, delaying all flights, cancelling a few too. My flight from Stavanger was late as well, but I still managed to be on my next plane. Mainly because that too was delayed. It left without my sister though.
She had the windowseat, so as I walked down the aisle to our seats, I figured that I could take hers. However, it was already occupied by an elderly, very chatty lady. Of course they gave her seat to someone else. Two hours in the middle. Turbulence, turbulence and more turbulence. It ended up being nicer than usual to put my feat on solid ground.
15 minutes. Find bathroom. Find luggage. Find correct bus. Go,go, go! First bus is supposed to go in the direction of…. *checks phone* Honningvåg. Problem: no bus toward Honningvåg. Great. Solution: Ask all bus drivers where they are going. I’m supposed to change buses in… *Checks phone again* Olderfjord.
Luckily the airport wasn’t big, and there weren’t all that many buses. I found the right one. Now the rest of the trip shuld go smoothly. It didn’t though. In Olderfjord we stopped, like planned, and I got on the right bus to my final destination (although I almost chose the wrong one first), like planned. I didn’t understand at that point how small a place I had come to. In terms of how many people living there – not size. But I was about to.
The norwegians living in the north are different from the ones living in the south or west. Not only in terms of dialect and how direct they tend to be, but also when it comes to how
much little they care to inform. He said we were delayed, then he left us. 10, 15, 30 minutes went by. An hour. At last I got up and asked if anyone knew what the holdup was. We were waiting for another bus, someone on it was supposed to be on ours, but it was late. Two hours late in the end.
“Yes, I am still coming. I just don’t know when…”
“Well, we’re cooking elk, and looking forward to see you. Just try to get off at the right place.”
“I can’t see anything, and have never been here before. How am I supposed to do that?”
“Ask the driver to let you off in Gårdak.”
“Excuse me, can you let me off in Gårdak?”
“Where in Gårdak?”
“Erm… Isn’t that just one place?”
“Who are you going to?”
*Says their names*
“I know where they live, on top of that hill, sure, I’ll let you off there.”
It took some time, but the little amount of daylight we had on the busride showed me that northern Norway will be worth it. I’m sure I’ll soon have several stories to tell.