Day 16: Airports
We made it! Just a final trio of flights with two airport layovers, and our Norwegian adventure will officially be in the books — or the blog, let’s say.
But, first things first. At breakfast, we discovered the Oslo Airport Park Inn has a Norwegian waffle making stand. Having not seen this do-it-yourself culinary option at any of our previous breakfasts (we had seen them for sale elsewhere, but made in advance), we took this opportunity to give the local favorite a shot. It did not disappoint.
After breakfast, we checked out and enjoyed five minutes of nice weather as we walked from the hotel to the airport. After a pit stop at the Global Blue counter to get a tax refund (for the shoes), we proceeded to check in.
Tragically, we couldn’t find anything to spend our last 19 kroner on. Even a small pack of gum was 22 kroner, about the equivalent of three dollars. The coins were a better souvenir.
Having timed our arrival pretty well, we didn’t wait long for the first flight. Our seat assignments from yesterday were successfully noted on the boarding passes, so we were able to get on the plane! Take that, KLM.
The flight was smooth, and we made it to Amsterdam with an hour and a half layover before our next flight. Stopping at the food court, we used our remaining consolation food vouchers from two weeks ago when they bumped us. Two free salads and drinks later, we were ready to take our 11th flight.
The departures board told us our flight would be boarding in 10 minutes, which is what our information indicated as well. Then, rather abruptly, the board said our gate was closing. OK THEN! So we quickly jogged to the gate.
On the plus side, we didn’t have to wait around for boarding again. And in the end, our sprint seemed slightly unnecessary as they didn’t close the doors until five minutes before take-off anyway.
A mere eight hours later — involving several games of Ticket To Ride on the iPads (Scandinavian Coutries expansion, of course) — we landed in Minneapolis/Saint Paul. Hey Minnesota! We put our Global Entry status to work and cleared customs in a matter of minutes.
Taking advantage of the three-hour layover and our return to American IP addresses, we camped out at the gate and caught up on the two episodes of Game of Thrones. We also re-visited the Google Fi trivia vending machine in the G concourse, where we successfully answered a series of three (very) obscure geography questions in order to win fuzzy socks!
Eventually, our final flight boarded and we were delivered back to O’Hare for a 10pm arrival. Our bags arrived quickly, we hopped in a cab, and were home by 10:45pm.
Here are some fun facts we compiled about the trip…
- Planes: 12 (longest 8 hours, shortest 20 minutes)
- Trains: 3
- Automobiles: 17
- Boats: 12
- Dog Carts: 1
- Steps: 205,486
- Rain: 12 of 16 days
In Svalbard, it was common practice to take of your shoes before entering rooms — including public spaces such as hotel lobbies and restaurants. This seems like a really good idea, especially come winter when copious amounts of snow and slush get involved.
Camping and hitchhiking are very common in Norway. It is legal to camp anywhere unless otherwise noted, and many people plan on hitchhiking to get around. We saw many people with their thumbs out on the side of the road.
It usually looked like their plan was going off without a hitch.
Hey-O! Thank you for enduring one of our two Norway jokes. We’ll be here all week. Remember to tip your wait staff.
- 1 cracked phone screen (minor nick)
- 1 water damaged phone (glad it was an old phone)
- 1 blown power converted/wifi router
And finally, there was one Norwegian radio station called Norge, which played good music, but lost all credibility when they cut short both “American Pie” and “Blinded by the Light.”
Aside from those travesties, the bottom line is Norway is awesome. Highly recommended. Everybody should go. We might have to get back there someday ourselves.