Day 1: Amsterdam/Lysebotn
We left Chicago on Friday ready to spend the next fifteen hours traveling to Norway. Before even boarding our flight, the standard trek through the airport turned a bit more exciting than usual when we stumbled past some free giveaway booths on the way to our gate. Starting with some sparkling smart water, we also received t-shirts, snack bars, Leinenkugel beer samples, and a glass of Titos vodka lemonade.
Obviously, this is the right way to start a trip. We even ate Juicy Lucys at Twinburger during the layover in MSP to honor the local culinary traditions. Eventually, we boarded the most Minnesotan international flight imaginable (accents & mannerisms) as we took off for the second layover in Amsterdam.
Well, the universe seems to have a way of balancing itself during out travels, and after a great start with smooth flights leaving on time from ORD and MSP, we were bumped from our flight from Amsterdam to Stavanger. This is because Delta’s website doesn’t have a freaking clue how to function properly when a flight involves their “partner airline” KLM — from displaying the right prices, to letting you select seats. Not having assigned seats for the oversold KLM flight made us the bumpees.
In response, a handful of nameless KLM ticketing agents did what they could to help (we noticed they don’t wear name tags when they work in the “we f’d up” division) and we were eventually re-booked on a 9pm flight. One thing they don’t do to compensate bumped passengers is let them into the KLM lounge (I guess that might ruin the mood, ha), so instead we found some awesome bean bag chairs in a makeshift rain forest-themed area without the monotonous “final and immediate” gate announcement for the whole of Belgium. Naps and planning adjustments for the next seven hours!
We used half of our “apology” food vouchers at the airport sports bar before finally saying goodbye to dreary and rainy Amsterdam. They didn’t put dates on the other vouchers, so we’ll give those a shot in a couple weeks when we return.
Finally landing in Stavanger at 10:15pm, we collected our bags and surprisingly didn’t have to go through customs again (which we figure was either an EU thing or some sort of Stavager airport oversight, and we’re leaning toward the later). Thankfully, our trusty Hertz man Tor stayed open late for us, and we were still able to pick up our swanky hybrid rental car.
The upshot in all this schedule havoc is that we drove three hours to Lysebotn on completely empty roads. The only other creatures out and about were the free-range sheep that felt they owned the place. We had our first taste of crazy switchbacks (that may be more common than I think) and we survived just fine. Driving in the dark actually made it a little easier, and less scary. We also had a great view of the stars at 2:30am in the morning.
It was a somewhat rocky start, but we successfully caught up with our planned itinerary. We contacted the hostel earlier and they agreed to leave a side room open for our 3am arrival. Seeing as how the sky was already getting brighter for impending dawn, we decided our naps in the Amsterdam airport would have to do. Hey, let’s pull an all-nighter! Update the blog, lay down for about 30 minutes, and then off to eat breakfast.
Here’s hoping for a smooth hike and travels tomorrow/today! #WhoNeedsSleep