blogging, Travel

Friendly Friday – Meet Olav in Norway

Back in 2004, I jumped on a subway train in Norway. It was my first time visiting the country that was to steal my heart. I had little knowledge of where I was going that day, or what would happen, other than I was headed for a ski jump outside of Oslo, which had panoramic views and a ski museum.

oslo
Oslo, Norway

Meeting Norwegians

You know that feeling of confusion you have when orientating yourself on a public transport network, in a new city. I felt like that. With the aid of some young Norwegians, my young son and I found the platform and the unmanned train – a curiosity for us, as there are no metros in Australia.

Without station reminders or announcements, we sized up the young passenger sitting opposite for advice on when to depart the train, in order to go to Holmenkollen station and ski jump. The passenger was not only keen to help out with the required information, but offered to take us home for dinner and to meet his family! I politely declined the invitation, but thought how open and kind Norwegians were. Albeit a little too friendly towards strangers.

Believe it or not, that summer in Oslo was hot, especially after walking for several kilometres up Norwegian roads with a laden backpack from Holmenkollen station. It may have been a bit of jet lag, but I was tired.

Walking to Holmenkollen Ski Jump

After walking those few kilometres, or so it seemed, I spotted the ski jump ahead, and also the road to it winding round and round the mountain for another kilometre or so. If you have traveled with kids, you’ll relate to questions like: – Are we there yet? How much further etc. etc. My son was a stoic, but I feel sure he was making plenty of facial grimaces behind my back.

It was with that thought in mind that I spotted a narrow walking track up a grassy slope on the side of the road, that appeared to lead directly to the ski jump, I thought a short cut would save us time and energy.

With only a slight hesitation, my 11 year old and I took the track up the grassy slope.

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

A little over halfway up the hill, with images of mountain goats flitting through my mind, I pondered what I, as a 41 year old Aussie Mum, was doing. I wasn’t young and fit anymore. No sooner had I thought that, than I had to reach my hands forward to the ground, as I climbed, just to maintain balance.

Oh uh, Mum. It is getting steep, really steep.” I heard from my son.

Don’t stop now, we’re so close to the top; just keep going,” I urged him, not wanting to lose any of my forward momentum, lest the slope become too much, for me.

At that moment, ‘Olav,’ who had, in all possibility, been trained during the Nazi occupation of Norway, appeared at the crest of the hill, standing feet astride, hands on hips, in an authoritative stance.

He boomed out at me, in English, “You can’t come up here. Go back!”

Oh, wait – Why not? I said as I scrambled the last few steps of the slope. “I mean, I’ve paid already. I have an Oslo Card,” fumbling in my pocket for the 48 hour tourist card that allows a visit, to any tourist attraction in Oslo, for one pre-paid charge.

Olav, his name emblazoned boldly on his badge, in ‘Arial black font’, glared at me.

I prattled on, stupidly thinking he had misunderstood. “Oh – you Norwegians. I thought you were all so nice and welcoming….” I stopped mid-sentence thinking how silly that sounded.

To which Olav repeated his intimidating mantra a little louder this time,

“GO BACK. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE COME THIS WAY.”

A sickening feeling of guilt crept into my throat as I realized that the short cut path we had taken, that would save us some time and energy, had NOT led us to the entrance of the ski jump, but had in fact, led us inside the museum itself. Olav thought we were trying to gatecrash, without paying.

A quiet Aussie accent reached my ear. “Let’s just go back, Mum.”

I turned to my son, “Yeah okay, I made a mistake; we’ll just go down again and walk the long way around.

I took a few steps off the edge of the slope and was shocked to see just how precipitous a slope, we had scrambled up. I nearly lost my balance, just looking down.

It dawned on me that going down was not even going to be difficult, it was going to be downright dangerous, especially carrying a heavy backpack. I could see that one of us would surely slip and potentially break a leg or something. Any alternative was better than that.

Gathering courage I didn’t know I had, I turned back again towards Olav, his implacable face and overly muscular body still blocking my way into the ski jump museum.

“Look – I’m really, really sorry, I just can’t go down that way. I’m more than happy to pay a second entrance fee, if you want. I never intended to avoid payment or do anything wrong. I am from Australia, I didn’t know.” I was blabbering quickly now, like a child caught with his hand in the candy jar.

“I am more than happy to buy another ticket. I do have an Oslo card, so it’s all paid for, already.”

I hadn’t explained myself well, as Olav remained unconvinced.

“Then why did you come up this way?” he spat.

Because, I thought this path was a short cut.

He looked bemused. I started to consider whether the phrase, “short cut,” might be lost in translation. So I continued:

It is so very hot today and I thought it would save us walking in the heat.” Olav’s face showed no indication of relenting.

Mum, c’mon let’s just go.” My son started walking down the precipitous slope again. I wavered.

What should I do? It was clear that Olav was not ‘feeling the love,’ the other Norwegians had shown us, so I made a bold decision. Fight or flight must have taken over.

After muttering under my breath to give myself courage, I said:

Look, I’m not going to potentially break my leg going down there, when I have already paid to go into the museum,” I said with as little nervous emotion as I could muster, at that moment.

So, I’m just going to run over there to the ticket office and thrust my Oslo card at the attendant, cos I can’t, I just can’t go back down that slope.

Why not?” – Olav again.

I’m terrified I will fall.”

Okay, then,” was his final response. To my complete surprise, he turned his back and walked away.

I literally ran over to the ticket office, to show them my Oslo card, my heart beating wildly for the next ten minutes, or so.

There was an awkward moment when we spotted Olav again, in another part of the exhibit, but he remained silent, a serious nod to us the only acknowledgement of our previous terse interaction.

Travel Note: The Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum has been renovated and is in a slightly different location than 2004.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Meet One Person

This is not my typical travel story, but as this is Sarah’s first week hosting the Friendly Friendly Blog Challenge, I wanted to post an interesting story of someone I had met in my travels.

Have you met someone interesting on your travels and wish to share a story or photograph about it? Someone who might be a little friendlier than Olav?

In her post, Sarah writes about her guide in Senegal, called Cheikh.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

Sandy and I would love your support in welcoming Sarah, the new co-host of Friendly Fridays.

I will be back hosting the challenge again on Friday 13th August.

Book review

Jo Nesbø – The Devil’s star

Cover of "The Devil's Star"
Cover of The Devil’s Star

BOOK REVIEW:

The Devil’s star  by the Wonderful JO NESBO – Harry HOLE ( hoola) series

There is a serial killer on the loose in Oslo, but the murders are not sexually motivated. Harry Hole is the only detective with serial killer expertise in the Norwegian police force,  having brought down a killer in Sydney,in what was the first book of the series. (“Bat” published in Norwegian) With Harry Hole on  a downhill spiral of drinking too much booze and insomnia due to his own mental torture of recurring nightmares, arch enemy Tom Waaler heads up the investigative team, however Hole’s boss asks unofficially for Harry’s help, even though Harry’s services are to be terminated in 3 weeks time, because of his failure to turn up for duty on more than one occasion due to his inebriated state.

In true, Harry style, he pursues this killer unofficially, a puzzling crime by someone who has left a trademark red diamond in the shape of a star on each of his victims. Harry has to find the Question to ‘why’ and not ‘how’ or ‘who’, in order to crack the cryptic code the killer has left. Time is running short and Harry is under pressure to find the killer before the fifth victim dies, but is forced to work alongside Waaler…. can he cope?

Touted as the next Stieg Larson, which is in itself, ironic, as Jo was writing and publishing books many years prior to Larson’s Millenium trilogy, the reader can expect a  multitude of plot twists and turns in Nesbo’s book, and likewise, should expect to be intrigued when the crime is solved only part way through the book. Therefore, one is not surprized when events suddenly take a different turn, and the reader is then led to believe that all that meets the eye is not real…. Nesbo will give you clues, but highly doubtful that most ordinary readers will pick them up. I certainly didn’t.

Loved the Devils’ Star even though I hated the title. I look forward to the next instalment of Harry’s adventure. I could not fault Harry interpretation of events unofficial investigation; Unlike Camilla Lackberg’s series, where the detective often bungles the investigation, to this reader’s total frustration!)

The good: Fantasticly woven crime thriller story that keeps you guessing

The bad:   The Title – a bit unimaginative I think…..

The Ugly: the severed fingers and what is under the fingernails…

Rating: 4.5 out of 5, only because I find it difficult to give a 5 out of 5 for anything.

Can’t wait to start the Redeemer, next in this series.

A few weeks ago, Jo Nesbo was touring Australia and quite openly admitted to taking some scenes in the Leopard “too far. He “regrets this”, he said.  He also mentioned that he has a plan to eventuallly kill/retire the Harry Hole character. He knows how he will do it, but not yet when….

Chronology of Harry Hole series translated to English

1. The Redbreast- reviewed here http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=504112467947203806#editor/target=post;postID=7000598131250317883

2. Nemesis

3.The Devil’s star

4. The Redeemer –

5. The Snowman – TBR

6. The Leopard   – TBR

7. The Phantom  – TBR

 

( the “Bat” is the first book in the Harry Hole series but is now in English)

As I reading that now, I will ponder some more before I post a review.

Community

Proverbial Thursday – Wise words from days past

Proverbs provide us with wise words hitherto uttered  by generally anonymous people, but succinctly and at times eloquently uttered.

The first saying is attributed to Norwegian Gustav Vigeland has written on an undated drawing that “He who is once bitten by love’s snake, never heal”IMG_8863

and there are several sculptures in the Vigeland Sculpture park in Oslo that effectively portray this emotion.

The next two authors are completely anonymous, but thought provoking, nonetheless.

  1. Everyone thinks his own burden heavy.
    French Proverb
  2. Every path has its puddle.
    English Proverb

Something to ponder over today.