Beaujolais, moonshine, and cod…and blogs
A very tired and exasperated Jefferson Smith urged his fellow Senators that, “I’m doing the best I can” as he struggled to stay standing during his filibuster in, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” But he was just one man trying to convey the sentiments of thousands and thousands in his western state. But how could one man organize so much and then produce the quality and clarity needed to make sense, to be understood?
Having shown that movie more times than I care to remember in my government classes, I know it well. I empathize with the junior Senator, those Boy Ranger legs can only stand so long. These Boy Ranger fingers are doing their best, but they are so tired. How can I convey all that I am seeing and doing? How do I balance writing and experience? I don’t know, honestly, but I’m doing my best.
I am behind in my posts. A post delayed is a post spoiled. There are some foods that just must be enjoyed fresh, like beaujolais, moonshine and cod. Old blog posts are like old cod, well, you know where this goes. I promise to include all my drafts waiting for publication but not before they are ready. Sadly, I will end up with some strange deviations in the calendar narrative. Please be kind.
A longer journey today meant an earlier start. By 10:45 AM I was out the door to drag my luggage up the hill to wait for good ole #32. As typical, I left in a rush. Thankfully Meghan had me squared away the night before but the last moments/hours before leaving always keep me on edge. I got a meaningful farewell from my better half, less than enthusiastic goodbyes from the twins.
Since there were people already at the stop I knew I didn’t miss the bus. Shortly I was done the hill, off the bus, up the hill to Lysaker Station to wait again. This time for a train. I was expecting a standard commuter train at about 11:20. But the video screen said the L12 train to Eidsvoll on track 4 was coming after 11:30. Damnit, what happened? I checked my app, “On time.” Huh? This is why I’m never relaxed until I am at the terminal gate.
The Flytog (airport only train) was approaching on track 3. If I got on, then I would get to the airport on time for the uncharacteristically tight schedule I had challenged myself with. So tempting…but the Flytog costs double and I would most likely have to eat half the bill. Stay strong, believe in yourself. I waited.
The monitor now said the next train, R10 to Lillehammer was coming on track 3 at 11:21. Hey, that’s my train! All that worry for naught! Maybe by April I will have the trains and times down pat. In the meantime I will work on my ulcer. 11:21 the R10 arrived, 11:23 we departed, I relaxed, a little.
11:57, Oslo Lufthavn, get off. 12:03 print boarding pass at self-serve kiosk. 12:04 baggage check at self-serve belt. 12:13 passed through security control. Land speed record and O.J. Simpson didn’t have to hurdle any luggage!
First time on SAS, same Boeing 300 that Norwegian Air flies, what’s the difference? Ah, SAS is more Norwegian than Norwegian Air. SAS has little mirrors in the overhead luggage bins so you can see you are holding up the aisle. Now you can get a sense of urgency without listening to Ola Nordmann passively-aggressively exhale.
OSL to TRD, clockwork. In fact, even better because we were early. Now I could stew longer for my wait to fly on the twin-prop DeHavilland of Widerøe; no good deed goes unpunished. Man, that’s a little plane.
Open seating on this flight, unescorted kids get boarded first, and in the best seats. Good idea. Without trying too hard I was the first adult onto the tarmac. Great, blind leading the, uhm, the…passive. No, not passive, too stereotypical. Ah, “curious.” I obviously “wasn’t from around here.” Maybe they just wanted to see what the fool would do. I sat at the window, starboard, towards the back.
Fudge, the low-hanging engines are blocking my view. Too late to change, here comes the herd. A full flight, 43 passengers by my count. Next time I’m sitting in the back row.
The taxi speed must be the same as the jets, but this low to ground and with a prop it feel faster. There is a nimble feeling to the plane. More like a sports cars than a bus.
14:16 we’re away (there was no gate). 14:19 runway, and with no pause we’re off. 14:21 the seatbelt sign is extinguished. To my surprise this flight is not direct. First we fly to Namsos, then on to Rørvik. Reminded me of the old ‘ism from Marine infantry school, “I’m up, he sees me, I’m down.”
A young guy is seated to my left. Below is a deck of fog from the ocean contrasted with the brilliant blue skies inland, they clashed. In the fog bank little islands of hills poke through. Are they suggesting the greater array of islands in the archipelago just offshore? This area has a universe of islands, skerries, and rocks challenging the sea for permanence. We are headed for one of them, Inner Vikna. Please, go to a map and check out this area, let you mind wander, I won’t be offended, the blog will be here when you return. Go!
Right? I told you it would be worth it.
Below, the inland lakes and inlets of the sea mix and twist. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. In a prop plane on a short flight, we fly low, an intimate flight with the geography. I see the blooms of sediments and enriched water flowing into lakes, tiny deltas. In the calmed salt water there are ribbons of color, streaking through blue-green: nutrients, different water temps, mystery.
Descending to Namsos. In this plane you can clearly see you are tilted at the runway, you are pointed down and flying towards the earth. And you always thought you were gliding, coasting to terra firma; no. 14:44 we land.
On the tarmac I have a real conversation with a real Norwegian, so proud. Thank you Øyvind. Coincidently, I think he is either a student or teacher at the school I am visiting. When does the Crown Prince offer me a “you’re a real Norwegian” card?
14:59 we taxi. A momentary pause, for suspense, and then full throttle. It’s like we bounce into the air. More trees and bald granite hilltops; a kingdom for a red squirrel. There are buoy markers in the water, red and white, like a skiene. Probably the markers of fisherman traps. More of the same, then giant wind turbines.
We dip a wing and descend, 15:07. Øyvind points out a town, I’m trying to take a picture. It’s Rørvik, I got one shot, it will have to do. The runway is on a rare flat stretch outside of town. The landing zone starts at the water’s edge. Clear green water greets the approaching plane. Ducks skitter, gulls rest, unfazed.
15:09 we land. Full stop at 15:10. The sun is out and I know enough that I will need to take as many pictures as I can. A sunny day with fall colors is not to be wasted anywhere, but especially here.