The next stage of my journey was in four parts:
Washington – Reykjavik (Iceland)
Icelandair – 6 hours – sat next to Knut (as in the king who tried to stop the see), a Norwegian living mainly in the US, who took me under his wing. It was a very informative time as he encouraged me about the language, reinforced some stereo types (joked about not drinking in front of me, “the priest”) and told me what was good and bad about both countries, as well as giving the flight attendants a hard time about their service and the size of the portions. ‘It’s not like first class’ he kept telling me. I have no idea what that would be like! At Reykjavik and he continued to give people a hard time: this time over re-screening and passport control. We had breakfast and then half an hour later we boarded for Norway, although in different parts of the plain. A nice man.
Reykjavik – Oslo (Norway)
Icelandair – 2 hours – sat next to a lady who slept the whole way (how do you wake a complete stranger who doesn’t speak your language, to go to the rest room?).
Pictures below of ‘powerwashing’ the plane, the leaving Iceland (note, no trees), where the snow capped mountains and clouds merge), crossing the Atlantic some and landing at Oslo Gardermoen (the largest of Oslo’s 3 airports). The only snow on the ground near Oslo is the remains of the ski slopes, although most ponds and lakes are at least still partially frozen. It’s now lunchtime, so enjoyed spaghetti bolognese.
Oslo – Stavanger (Norway)
SAS – less than an hour. A short internal flight to Stavanger on the west coast. Most of the journey was cloudy, but got a couple of pictures (see below). I’ve never had problems with air pressure and my ears until we began the descent. It was excruciating, but the flight attendant was very helpful. All luggage arrived safely – hurrah!
Stavanger – the home of our friends Tim and Tracy in a hidden valley about an hour away by car.
The home run (at least for now). Tracy picked me up and having negotiated the city traffic we were relieved to get to the open roads. The journey is beautiful as we climbed into the snow capped mountains, passing lakes and rivers, through tunnels and forests. The next few days are my introduction to life in Norway, plus time to rest and keep up with my unfinished work in the US.
Total awake time – 36 hours!