Day 174 (7.6.17): Hei! Hei! Norway!

Today we left sunny, warm Greece and headed north to Norway!

The day before, we had packed up our suitcases on Koufonissi and caught the afternoon ferry to Athens.  Leaving Koufonissi was hard.  We were travelling light and couldn’t take our fins with us, so we gave them to our friend Giannis, asking him to find a home for them.  Team Hubbard all promised each other we’d come back to Koufonissi some day.

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The ferry took about five hours, and we arrived at the main port for Athens, Piraues, after dark.  We jumped in a cab to go to our hotel, which was the same hotel in Marathon where we’d stayed a week before.   Along the way, we saw the Parthenon on the Acropolis.  It looked impressive, but I don’t know that it was better than our time on Delos.

Our flight this morning didn’t leave until after lunch, which allowed us to take our time getting to the airport.  Soon, we were in the air and heading north, first to Oslo and then on to Trondheim.

 

The flight to Oslo was uneventful, and we were excited to land in Norway.  We had a short layover in the Oslo airport where minor high jinks ensued.

You see every country has its own little airport idiosyncrasies.  Apparently, in the Oslo airport you have to mill around outside of a security checkpoint until your name comes up on a screen.  Apparently, with this process passengers on international flights do not have to collect their baggage before transferring to a domestic flight.  There is a lovely little video that explains the process, and there was also an information booth staffed by a tall Norwegian (redundant) who looked like he was 14.   Having watched the video, I didn’t see the need to talk with the man-child.

We had about an hour to kill, so Julie and I browsed the adult beverages section of the duty free shop.  Our guide books warned that alcohol is heavily taxed in Norway, so we thought it would be a good idea to stock up on some beverages.  The girls relaxed near the security checkpoint so they could keep an eye out for our names.  With Julie in line to buy our booze, I went back to check on the girls and to see if our names had been called.  I had a few extra minutes, so I figured I’d double check with the kid at the information booth to make sure I understood the process.  By this point we only had a little more than a half an hour, and I wanted to avoid any unnecessary delays.

The boy at the booth confirmed that I understood the process, but also helpfully pointed out that the process only applied to certain airlines.  And didn’t apply to ours.  And that before boarding our flight to Trondheim we had to go to baggage claim, get our bags, clear customs, go through security, and find our gate.  Ack!

I grabbed Julie and told her the bad news.  (We’re never going to make it.)  We raced with the kids to baggage claim, where we found our bags sitting by themselves looking sad and abandoned.  (Uh uh.  Not going to make it.)  We zipped through immigration.  (Nope.  Not a chance.)  We dashed to security, relieved to find a relatively short line. (Maybe?  Just maybe?)  We ran to and reached our gate just before it closed!  As we boarded the plane panting from our sprint and with our pulses pounding in our ears, we noticed that the plane looked familiar somehow.  Yep.  It was the exact same plane in which we had arrived from Greece.  We managed to run in a big circle.

But the important part was that we made the plane!  Soon, we were in the air on our way to Trondheim, where we landed less than an hour later.

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We picked up our rental car, and drove for about half an hour to reach the city and our hotel, the Thon Hotel Nidaros.

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As we drove, we enjoyed looking out over the water.  We were not in the fjords yet, but it was still beautiful.  (Note that I’ll be trying to use topographical maps for Norway ’cause Norway has some crazy topography.)

Once we were settled into our hotel, we headed out to find some dinner.  The streets of Trondheim were lovely … and exceptionally clean!  Along the way we found out why:

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For dinner, we decided to have a traditional Norwegian delicacy:  pizza.

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We headed back to our hotel and went to bed excited to explore a new country.

-Will

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