Our bickerthon ends the second we see our son’s sunny, smiling face soaring out of school. He opens the car door just as our faces remember to match his. We turn to his bright words:
“Dad – we’re going to OSLO!”
The tired Friday afternoon traffic doesn’t slow him at all. His mind is zipping with thoughts of seafaring Vikings – and what’s for airport dinner?
I bid my husband and son farewell at the train station. No. 2 disentangles himself from my tight embrace with a chuckle: “It’s only for two nights, Mum.”
And they’re off. I wait to wave, then merge back into the traffic…
Excitement has been building for just three weeks, since the evening my husband arrived home from work, and asked No. 2 to think of a place he’d like to visit for a weekend. Quick eyes read ours and understood that the offer was genuine: “Oslo please!”
A one parent/one child weekend break – to switch family dynamics and provide a true travel treat for each. Our hope is to be able to arrange three more such excursions – one per child (equals a bonus of two per adult) – without breaking the bank.
So we’re grabbing cheap, no-frills flights (with no add-on expenses of luggage), at hours and on days less in demand. We’re trying to be clever with the best time to book (apparently 7 weeks before take off for short haul), and it’s agreed that birthday and Christmas presents are gifted sparingly, or not at all. Accommodation has to be basic.
Vikings. On the odd occasion that my son is not staring at his smart phone, he can be found centuries away in a big book filled with Nordic sagas.
But before setting off to see ancient long ships, I thought it might be useful to equip No. 2 with some more up to date Norwegian facts.
So he (and I) now know who the current Prime Minister is (Erna Solberg), that Norway’s population stands at 5,213,985 (May 2016) and that the country is the fourth happiest place to live in the world (after Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland).
Tusen takk means many thanks (literally a thousand thanks). Less obviously useful is luftputebåten min er full av ål (my hovercraft is full of eels)**, but you never know when it might come in handy.
And No. 2 should have remembered to order his dad a lunchtime utepils (beer to be enjoyed in the open air) with confidence today – thanks to a delve into this excellent and entertaining book by Gaston Dorren.
Regular updates via whatapp tell me that the pair landed safely late last night …
That a cup of hot chocolate is expensive – NOK 47 (about 5 euros) – but very good …
The Viking Ship Museum is oarsome …
The Fram Museum is very cool …
And the Kon-Tiki Museum is something else …
Money is full of holes …
And lunch comes with a rug to ward off the chill, a divine view, and (No. 2 got the order right) refreshing utepils to soak up the atmosphere …
The photos keep pinging in … I love vicarious travel.
The adventuring duo are packing in countless sights and museums, and travelling on public transport, all courtesy of their Oslo Passes – priced at 18 euros for a child, and 36 euros for an adult.
Savvy with costs though they (we are all) trying to be, we’re learning all the time, e.g. don’t order (too many) drinks in Norway.
And we know how very lucky we are to be able to play this weekend game of exploration at all.
** Explanation for “My hovercraft is full of eels” here (hint is in this post’s title).
More on that beer to be drunk in the open air – Utepils – here.
Extra random Oslo and Norway facts – like the King Penguin of Edinburgh who is also a Norwegian knight – can be found here.
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