It's worthy to note at this point if you ever come to London that Standsted and Gatwick Airports - although they are "London Airports" both require over an hour of travel to get to actual London. It's much better to come into Heathrow where it's only a 15 minute high speed train ride to central London!
We were flying Ryanair- only £8 round trip to get from London to Oslo. very very cheap, I guess no one wants to go to Norway in the dead of winter. -16 C during the day, and only 4 hours of sunlight, or something ridiculous. Here in balmy London we get nearly 7 whole hours of sunlight (or of non-darkness since usually it's overcast)!
Ryanair also happens to be the worst airline in the history of airlines. It is cheap, but at a cost. We got on the plane, and every surface is smothered in advertising. Over the intercom instead of the captain talking to you, there are advertisments playing. And throughout the trip these poor stewardesses had to push trolleys of items up and down the aisles, trying to desperately sell you various bit of detritus (read: "smoke free" cigaretts you can smoke on the plane, perfume, copper watches the heal you, scratchies, etc etc ad nauseum). Worst of all, just as you would be drifting off to sleep, another advertisement would come over the intercom entreating you to buy some sort of horrible thing.
we arrived and were hit with the arctic blasts of the north, but also adorable pine trees coated in snow and ice:
Sadly I didn't have my camera with me, but google has surfaced some pictures that are very accurate. After a bus ride into Oslo, we had time to stop and see the Oslo Opera House before our meeting
The opera house sits right on the harbour, with huge great glass windows. We even got to briefly go inside and warm up from the freezing temperatures. Unlike this picture, you will have to imagine everything with snow and icicles. A very beautiful building- it looks like a ship when viewed from the sea.
The onwards by Underground to our meeting (by which point the 5AM start is seriously starting to catch up to me).
On the way back we were lucky enough to have time to tramp through the snow to the King's Palace
It looks a bit like Buckingham Palace here in London, but unlike Buckingham there isn't an enormous gate keeping the tourists at bay. In London, you can't even get within 50 meters of the palace. But the Norwegian Palace let you walk up nearly to the door. there were only a few men frog marching with machine guns right by the door. so friendly?
From this I have learned a few things about Norway
- Dogs never wear little coats outside - even if the dog is tiny and it is dark, snowing and -20 C outside
- It is perfectly normal to go for a run or bicycle ride in the freezing winter
- everyone gets to go home from work by 4PM - by the end of our meeting at 4:15pm all the lights were off, the secretary gone
- Norwegians watch lots and lots of TV and play lots and lots of World of Warcraft - perhaps in between bouts of healthful jogging in tropical -20C temperatures.
8 days until Christmas: