I’ve arrived! After a reasonably long day of travel, I’m now in my apartment in Finnsnes. This was the view at 9pm tonight:
This morning I said goodbye to Tim and Tracy after practicing the thing I do best (moving church chairs!). The 50 minute flight from Stavanger to Oslo was full and seemed more like a bus journey.
My stop in Oslo was nearly 3 hours, so I had lunch and managed to order food without the lady switching to English. However at the checkout I was asked if I wanted to add coffee to my order in a special deal, but I didn’t respond quickly enough so without a thought the young lady changed to English. Oh well.
The 90 minute flight from Oslo, north to Bardufoss was spectacular. Oslo was under cloud and is now almost clear of snow. After ascending, we flew above the clouds for about half an hour. They were were completely featureless; something I’ve never seen before. Then the clouds cleared and we flew up the coast over a snow covered landscape. It was amazing and I’m glad I booked a window seat. I spent most of the rest of the flight taking pictures (see below). The descent was very gradual and we flew between mountain peaks. I eventually saw Finnsnes and the bridge to the island of Senja before we turned inland to Bardufoss. It’s strange but in the months which have led to this time, I have not really felt excited, but as we flew past Finnsnes my heart jumped – the excitement finally began – praise God.
I was met at the airport by unbroken blue skies, sunshine and Frank Stellmacher (Kateket / ungdomsprest: literally Catechist / Youth Priest). Frank is German and married to Ruth Astrid (Sokneprest: the senior priest) who is Norwegian (and a very good cook). His English is excellent, despite being his third language, and we had great conversation whilst we took the scenic route to Finnsnes.
At the church I met Ruth Astrid, Ann-Eva Hanssen (Kirkeverge: the boss) and Glen Hadland (another priest), together with the staff children. Eating together was a time of laughter as we tried to work out what language to speak, particularly with 5 children under 6!).
After touring the building, viewing my office, trying the organ, and meeting more people (details in the next post), it was on to my new home and bed. It’s now just gone midnight, and the sky is still not properly dark!
Sorry this post is rather long. Here are a lot of photos from the journey: