Tromso and spring and everything in between…
Everyone keeps asking, how was Norway? My standard response:
It was cold. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It was expensive. Very expensive. It was eventful.
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
I went dogsledding, we went snowboarding, twice even.
The boys didn’t tell me how renowned the Kroken ski lift is for being a shitty death trap. I foolishly got on it before I had mastered the snowboard basics of Stand, and Stop. After getting whacked in the baby maker by the strange hooks that you have to shove between your legs and hold onto as they drag you up the BIG hill, I finally got on… and then fell off half way up, held on and got dragged up the hill on my stomach… then gave up and came screaming all the way back down, with one leg strapped to a snow board and unable to stop. The Norwegians looked at me like I was a strange bug in their red wine. The boys watched and laughed hysterically at my ineptitude. I wrote on their thank you card ‘Aim for the moon, and at least if you miss you will be amongst the stars… or on your ass half way down a ski lift. Ha.’ Ended with one very sore right knee and me feeling sorry for myself. I realized snowy hills are much scarier then they look. It’s not like skiing behind a boat; you can’t just let go of the rope!
And the dogsledding was hysterical. They were small Alaskan huskies and I couldn’t take them seriously. They were forced to wee and poo on the run and had me in stitches. Learning to steer the sled also had me laughing hysterically as I veered off through the snow. And being the end of the day, the dogs got tired, and Sebastian had to push the sled. Heh. Good times. We also ate reindeer stew in a Sami hut.
My first Couch-surfing experience was a good one. Endre, Marius and Joakim- Norwegians who speak English with an American accent (go figure!). The house was gorgeous, the guys welcoming. Heated tiles (yes, I was obsessively in love with them, I just cannot extol the virtues enough), touch operated stovetop, which took me 4 days to figure out how to work, comfy bed, and gorgeous view. Sleeping past lunchtime, Guitar hero, Carl Barron jokes (FiFi!!), constant puns and sarcasm made me feel like I was back in Oz. Ended up staying the full week there. We went out in town twice, where the beers are not cheap ($12 AUD is a conservative estimate) and the pubs and clubs shut at 3am! Norwegian kebabs are tasty and come with sweet corn.
I didn’t want to come back to Vinarska, I cried on the plane. Left a piece of my heart behind. Will have to go back to get it (according to Endre, people can’t truly live with their hearts in pieces).
No, I didn’t see the northern lights. Why? It was freezing cold outside; I couldn’t convince the guys to do midnight snowman building; It was a little too late in the year and the sky was bright; It was overcast and snowing a lot; After watching a Norwegian Zombie movie that Endre assured me was ‘funny’, I had trouble going outside by myself at night. Sigh.
And the 21-hour bus ride? No biggie. We went through Germany, got the ferry to Denmark, then another ferry to Sweden and onto Oslo. And back.
I hitchhiked on the final day in Tromso. I missed my bus to the airport, turned around, stuck out my thumb, and the first car picked me up. He was nice.
The shit money situation persisted, despite daily phone calls to MasterCard. Fuckin hopeless. How many times do I have to tell them, I am in the Arctic Circle, there are no Western Unions or express delivery here! Finally did an international money transfer and withdrew money from my Czech Bank Account. Why didn’t I do that sooner? Because it is supposed to take 7-10 days to process. Lucky for me, it happened quicker than that.
Wisdom teeth started coming through for serious shortly after my arrival. Swollen face, hurts to eat and couldn’t open my mouth properly. That (combined with injured knee and AWESOME sinus congestion that had me blowing bright yellow snot out of my nose every 5 minutes and feeling like my brain was going to explode when the plane landed) had me on the phone to Dominic in tears for a good hour or so.
The most beautiful place on earth to cry.
It is Spring in Brno. From -8 degree weather in Tromso, to singlet and shorts in Brno. It makes such a difference, feels like home. It smells like Australia. Missing everyone at the moment. Consoling myself with strange (but delicious) salty Norwegian ‘lakris’. Much love, Happy Easter.