June 2, 2015: The Miller Family Goes to Oslo

Picking up at midnight, no sleep for me.  I started today by getting all of the bills paid.  We are nearly done paying off the little green car.  It will be paid off in June, which is awesome.  It is a tiny bill, but it will be great to have it disappear.  One fewer thing to worry about every month.

Just before three in the morning it was time to go.  So hard to believe that we are leaving our Spanish home.  This place has really become home to us.  We feel in our element here.  We have been comfortable.  We love this little village.

The car was sitting up in the plaza all evening, mostly packed and ready to go.  We took the girls out and got them loaded up.  They are sad to leave, they love it here too.

While loading up our car I heard something on a back street off of the plaza and I looked just in time to see the bizarre luggie hocking guy who bathed in the plaza fountain that one day go streaking up a back street! Oh Spain.

The drive out to Malaga was long and exhausting.  Nearly two hours but the girls were asleep in the back immediately and I have been working late so often that this was not bad at all for me.  Dominica and I are pretty tired, though, not nearly as much sleep going into today as we had been planning on .

It was just before three when we arrived at the airport.  Getting the car dropped off was a small adventure but took no more than twenty minutes.  Getting everything together and doing the key dropoff in Spanish was slightly challenging, but it was nothing compared to the mountain of luggage that we, for the first time, have to move around manually.  This is our first time doing it with the addition of the giant suitcase that we acquired in Motril.  This is more luggage than we have yet dealt with.

We used two of the really large, heavy duty luggage carts to get us into the airport.  It was a good thing that we did because it was all that we could to move stuff through the airport.

Getting checked in at the airport took a really long time.  But it was really nice finally getting the luggage handed over.  Then we were able to go through the security line and we had lots of time to relax in the airport before boarding the plane.

We had to wait in one area while we were waiting for our gate to be announced.  While we were waiting there I did some shopping at a little kiosk and got some flavoured water and Kinder eggs to surprise the girls with for the flight.

Our flight was early, at six fifty five.  We boarded as early as we could and were underway to Oslo, Norway.

The flight was about two and a half hours and the girls sat with me and Dominica sat across the aisle.  Dominica likes having time to herself when on flights.  She appreciates that the girls and I are happy to hang out together while flying.

We landed in Norway late in the morning.  It was a grey and drizzly day.  We got our luggage and made our way out of the airport, which was a really nice airport – it looks like it will be much nicer than many of the ones that we have been using but we will not spend any time in it until this weekend when we fly out of here to head to New York.

We got to the train station and caught the express train that takes just sixteen minutes to whisk us to downtown Oslo to the main train station there.  Getting the girls and all of the luggage loaded up onto the train was a little bit of a challenge but the ride on the train was really nice and smooth.  It was nice to relax for a bit and awesome to be in Norway.

By this point in the day I was already painfully exhausted.  Lots of travel with zero sleep overnight is rough.

Once we were to the train station we had quite a challenge figuring out what to do from there.  The train station was quite confusing and hard for us to figure out how to exit.  We spent quite a while in or around the train station trying to figure out which exit was the one we wanted.  We had so much luggage that any little movement was a huge deal.  At one point Dominica and the girls sat and waited in one area while I scouted out the outside area trying to get enough of a signal on the phone to figure out where we were and what direction we were facing and how we needed to walk to get to our apartment.  This was very frustrating and took a lot of time.

Thankfully Dominica was in contact with the person renting us the apartment and was able to arrange that he would meet us halfway and would lead us to the apartment.  He described how to escape from the train station and where to go.  We would have been lost for a long time had he not shown up to save us.

We walked out of the train station, across a bridge and through the bus terminal, which just went on and on.  Right as we were getting to the far side of it we spotted our host and he help with some of the luggage and led us on a long trek from downtown Oslo to Tøyer (the Silicon Valley of Norway, I am told) where the apartment is.

It was a really long walk, a painfully long one, and nearly all up hill.  With zero sleep and hundreds of pounds of luggage I was not in great shape.

The apartment was quite nice, although the toilet seat had been broken that morning and there was no time to fix it.  That was a bit of a pain as we are staying here all week.  The apartment was nice but the bathroom was almost from the third world.  Very strange combination of things.

The moment that we were into the apartment I had to get a nap in.  It was very early afternoon when we arrived in Oslo so I was able to get two or three hours of nap in with lots of time before work.  I felt quite a bit better after that.  The bed was pretty decent.

I got set up right away and got to work.  The goal of the move during the night and missing all of that sleep was so that I could get to work in time to be set up and not miss anything, which we pulled off beautifully.

I worked for several hours while the girls all played and relaxed.  In the evening I set out to see about finding us some food.

I walked way back the way that we had come to find a Subway that we had passed by on the way.  This was a long walk but I knew that getting Subway would make Liesl very happy and everyone that that sounded good.  So I went for a bit of a walk and found that the Subway was closed.  But only “locked”, the open sign was still on and the people who worked there were in there and had friends in there who were all just laughing at customers trying to get in.  I pointed out to them, through the window, that their “open” sign was still on and it was still open hours and they just laughed.  Not impressed with Subway’s commitment to customer service here.  This wasn’t a mistake, it was a big joke to them.  First impression of customer service in Norway is that it is not at all what we have come to expect in Europe.  First time we’ve seen anything like this since being here.

I ended up walking all over trying to figure out where to get food.  There was really a lack of restaurants to choose from and those that were there were not what we were really interested in.  Nearly everything was middle eastern food, which we like, but we were hoping for something with some degree of Norwegian flare.  No luck though.

After about an hour of hunting around all over the place I finally found a Turkish takeaway that did pizza and veggie burgers.  I got a pizza for the girls and veggie and fish burgers for Dominica and me to split.  After all that time and walking, the place that I ended up at was right around the corner from our apartment.  So the walk back only took five minutes at most.

Dinner was about $50 to $60 which was less than we had been expecting.  We have heard such horror stories of the prices of things in Norway that paying $200 for dinner would not have been all that shocking.

We ate dinner, which turned out to be great – we loved it, and as soon as I could, I was off to bed.  So tired!

Liesl had put herself to bed, having kept herself awake the entire plane trip last night so her only sleep was the time in the car on the way from the village to Malaga, very early in the evening.  She had sneaked into the room where I had napped and fallen asleep in there, figuring that that was where I would sleep tonight as well.

There were two bedrooms, a little tiny one where I had napped and where Liesl was now asleep and a big one with two beds in it.  Dominica had claimed the bed by the window and Luciana took the one by the door.  (We would end up with the same arrangement for the entire time that we were in Norway, Liesl and I took the small bedroom and shared the bed there, Dominica and Luciana each got their own bed in the big bedroom.)

So when I finally got off to bed, probably around one in the morning, I had a snuggly Liesl already very fast asleep there with many hours of sleep ahead of me.  Dominica and Luciana fell asleep quite quickly.

We know that tomorrow, much like today, is a lost cause.  Today was pure travel and tomorrow is going to be nothing but sleep recovery.  We are not even considering doing anything at all.  We need to not get too exhausted.