It’s the summer holidays and I have a ridiculous amount of free time in between my second and last year at university. For the past four years I have spent my summers working in the regional tourism office in my home town, and this year I returned for one last summer of working for the travel board. To get home however, I first had to complete one heck of a journey.
The journey from Newcastle to my hometown of Sortland takes between 15 and 18 hours. It’s only 1775km (aka 1000 miles) between them and logically it shouldn’t take that long. If I had lived in London it would have been a simple Heathrow – Oslo – Home situation, but I don’t so it’s not. Instead I start my day with a train from Newcastle to Manchester, via York, often at 4.30 am. Virgin East Coast Rail takes me south to York then further away form my final destination, but this route is usually quite scenic so I’m okay with it. I’m feeling good, munching away at the standard breakfast of a Sainsburys Meal Deal from the shop in the station. We get to York and switch to a First Transpennine train to Manchester Airport. Then, almost two hours later, they ask us to switch trains one stop before the Airport. I’ve probably failed to mention that on this particular trip home I have three suitcases with me, one for the cabin and two to check in. I’m not happy about this whole “running around like headless chicken trying to figure out what elevator- and escalator-less platform the next (delayed) train from Manchester Picadilly to Manchester Aiport leaves” situation.
We eventually get to the airport. The check in at Manchester Airport when flying with SAS can be a nightmare, but this time I was lucky and travelled on a Monday. I walk straight up to the desk, flash my silver Eurobonus card like it gives me the power to grant people eternal life, check in and go about my day. This little victory combined with a weird sense of accomplishment due to gaining a silver EuroBonus card leaves me smiling. Lunch is a sandwhich I hastily buy in Boots before running to my gate. It’s Gate 28. Always Gate 28.
This post is getting long and I haven’t even left the country yet. Lets speed it up a little.
Right, so we fly to Gardemoen Lufthavn, Oslo. It’s uneventful. but I do snap this photo as we take off, knowing I’m going to miss my evergreen second home. I play “On Top of The World” by Imagine Dragons and start missing England and everything in it.
After reading a couple of chapters in my book we land at Gardemoen Airport (OSL). The waiting begins. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Five hours of waiting to be exact. It would have been six hours, but I cross over a timezone and lose an hour which I always seems to be equally surprised about. I pay 4 pounds for a bottle of water, 7 pounds for some tiny bags of snacks and 10 pounds for a simple salad (WHAT IS UP WITH NORWEGIAN PRICES). Someone knocks my salad onto the floor after one bite and doesn’t apologize. I send them a mean look and sulk for the rest of the wait while watching Modern Family on Netflix. Gardemoen Airport has unlimited free internet and a good supply of electrical sockets for everyone so I decide I really like Gardemoen.
We land at Harstad Narvik/Evenes Lufthavn (EVE) and I hastily get my luggage and run out to the bus headed for Sortland. The problem now is that I see someone walking past with the exact same suitcase as mine just before the bus is about to leave. It’s bright pink and I don’t see many like it so naturally I feel the need to make sure I haven’t stolen someone else’s suitcase and run out of the bus to access the cargo room. As it happens the bus driver presses the “close” button on the hydraulic door just as I’m leaning in to check the tag on my suitcase. The door closes and after throwing my legs in after my upper body (to avoid them becoming spaghetti) I sit in complete darkness in the cargo room of an Airport Express bus for a good minute. I kid you not. In front of the waiting queue for a bus going in another direction I disappear into the cargo room of the bus like some magic trick, emerging a minute later to find people staring at the cargo room in both astonishment and complete amusement at my misfortune. There is pointing. The bus driver swears and mumbles something about me being a fool. I feel like a bit of a fool, but laugh it off and hide my red cheeks in the collar of my jacket. The bus ride is understandably long 😛
Now, after taking two trains, two flights and a two hour bus journey via the cargo room of said bus you may think I’m tired and ready for bed. However, when we fly in to Harstad/Narvik Evenes (EVE) Airport I am welcomed home by this:
The midnight sun in all its glory . It’s 22.30 pm and it’s been an exhausting day , but coming home to the land of Northern Lights, mountains, snow in June, fjords and Midnight Sun? It’s the best feeeling there is. And as the bus rolls past green fields, blue water and white peaks I contemplate the long journey and feel nothing but blessed for both the places I get to call home and for the opportunities life has given me.