Viking-land fly-by, or new friends on the ride home


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Europe » Norway
May 28th 2015
Published: May 28th 2015
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Another 4-country day...

So this morning, I got up earlier than I wanted, but I guess that's just the excitement of heading back home. Since there really wasn't anyone to check me out of the place, I just left my key in the room and walked downstairs with my bag. I left a couple of bags here and there on my way to the airport bus, my "things to leave in Europe" stuff. It was a pretty pleasant walk to the bus stop - though it was probably a mile to get there.

I walked through the Vatican one last time and took some good photos. There was already a line forming to get into St. Peter's, but it wasn't that long yet. Some of the kiosks along the street were just opening up, but no one was there to harass anyone. I had bought my airport bus ticket online, and not long after I got to the stop, a guy in an orange vest showed up and asked if I had a ticket, so I showed him the photo of it on my iPad. That was all he needed. The bus was only 2 minutes late, but we were on our way after only about 2 minutes of waiting. And the ride, which was supposed to take 70 minutes, only took 40.

The airport experience was pretty painless. I got there too early to check in, but I had time to get something to eat and drink. Speaking of drinks, I've recently begun enjoying cappuccino, so that'll be fun when I get back. I just hope that my new addiction is just as good in America as in Italy. I met a Norwegian guy named Aksel while waiting in line to check in. He hadn't paid for any checked bags, so we were trying to figure out how to do that online instead of at the desk (which is always more expensive). As for me, I had already paid for baggage, but only 20 kg. Even after getting rid of everything I thought I could, my bag was still 21.2 kg. I'm guessing those guys At the check-in desk have discretion to let it slide or enforce the excess weight fares, because the guy at the desk had no problems with my bag, and I didn't have to pay anything extra!

I got my boarding pass, but Aksel was having some issues, since he hadn't paid for bags. So we parted ways and I went into the next terminal to get to the security control area. There was a fire at this airport a few weeks back and things haven't quite gotten back to normal. Anyway, I looked for a little food before I left, since I knew Norway would be much more expensive. Then it was time to play the waiting game. Before we started boarding, I met back up with Aksel, and we had a good conversation while waiting and then on the bus that took us to our plane. He really liked my hat with all the pins from the places I've been, but then Eno told me that she saw all kinds of people eying this hat with envy during our time together. Each pin has a story!

Some airport fellow was giving away free bottled water - and not that fizzy water crap either - so I scored me one of those before boarding the plane. All in all, it was a pretty smooth flight to Oslo. Aksel was 3 rows behind me, and I had an elderly Norwegian couple next to me. I had a window seat. The woman kept bumping me with her elbows, so I'm not sure if she realized how wide her gait was, or how narrow her seat space was either. Or maybe she just like rubbing up against me. The only thing really rough about the flight was touching down on the landing. It was a hard jolt, but we all managed to laugh it off since we were all fine. It was raining, and as soon as I got off the plane, I was grateful for the cardigan I was wearing - it was probably only 40 degrees F out there.
We took another bus to the terminal, and there was someone checking tickets for connecting flights at the end of the corridor once we got inside. It was time for me and Aksel to part ways - he's finishing up his studies in Oslo, and I had a flight to Florida. We got a selfie while we waited in line, and then we parted ways with a smile and a handshake - "Now you can say you have a Norwegian friend."
I didn't have much time to be sentimental, since as soon as we got through passport control to leave the Schengen Zone, the gate for my flight was already "closing." Twenty minutes later, we were heading for takeoff, and I was on my way out of Europe after 11 weeks.

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