guademy was awesome and a coruña is really pretty as can be seen above, but i'll blog about all that a bit later (including about how kde was coincidently on local television). first, however, let me welcome you to my "fancy" and most exclusive accommodations last night:
yes, that is a bathroom in a rural norwegian train station at 3am. i kid you not. how did i end up there? well, let's rewind to 24 hours prior: i'm gently nestled in my bed in the ac hotel in a coruña along the atlantic coast in spain. in less than two hours my wake up call would arrive and i'd head for the shower completely innocent as to what lay ahead.
check out was uninteresting and the cab was waiting to take me to the airport outside. everything was clicking. huzzah! 15 minutes later at the airport i'm informed that they will need to re-route me. i was supposed to go to barcelona and connect on to oslo from there. however, there is a problem with the airplane to bracelona and it is delayed indefinitely awaiting a part to arrive. since i can't carry on my bag (and i'm not about to toss out all my liquids and gels, which include some toiletries i'm pretty attached to) they instead book me on a flight to madrid and from madrid to barcelona where i will catch up with my flight to oslo. this should give me enough time to collect my bag in barcelona and catch my flight even if the airplane part doesn't arrive soon.
travelling a lot, one gets used to the unexpected. detouring through madrid didn't seem like a big deal. who knew i'd end up there twice in the same day, though. but i'm getting ahead of myself.
the madrid flight went fine, though i inexplicably had to go through customs in madrid despite my next flight being a domestic destination. barcelona was next on the (new) agenda and i arrive without much fanfare, except that i have to go through customs ... again. repetition would be the theme, as it turns out.
i then stood in line for 90 minutes waiting to check in because the belt bag was broken and there were mounds of suitcases and other luggage behind the counter in barcelona. they weren't taking any more check-in's until that was cleared out. i was concerned i was going to miss my flight as by the time they did check me in my flight was already supposed to be boarding.
having walked all around a coruña the day before, my legs were already a bit tired and standing around didn't help. nor did it help that i hadn't eaten yet because i hadn't had a chance to; the original plan to eat at the airport in a coruña was foiled by a broken plane and i hadn't had time since.
i rush on my now rather sore feet to the gate and get there just in time to board the bus which takes us out to the tarmac to board the plane. we get on board the scanadanavian air plane and sit. and sit some more. and site a bit more. i hear something about the mechanics seeing some "unexpected oil on a motor" and i groan inside. we sit some more (why not).
eventually the pilot gets on the mic and announces we're getting off the plane while they fix it. so .. back on the bus, back to the terminal and we get to wait for an hour. upside: i get to eat. downside: it's airport food and i'm starving.
i pass the time working on slides and wondering if i'm going to be able to get to an internet connection on time to commit my changes for libs monday. let alone, you know, have dinner with knut from trolltech as we'd planned.
i fall asleep on the airplane but that was short lived. a little less than halfway through the 3.5 hour flight the pilot comes back on the mic and wakes me up with the most disturbing sort of news one can get while 35,000 feet in the air: "that noise you hear is a maintenance bay door that has come open during flight. we're going to have to deviate and return to madrid to get it fixed and get some more fuel. apologies for the delay ... *blah blah blah*"
my faith in this airplane is spiralling downwards pretty quickly at this point. and then it occurs to me: this is going to be my second time to madrid today, and it wasn't even on the itinerary. i chuckle a bit to myself as the city expands below us ... again.
we land but they don't let us off. nope, we get to sit in our chairs while they assess and fix the errant door and then put more fuel in the beast. then we take off. i'm not so excited about re-starting a 3.5 hour flight in that particular machine, but ... why not.
a couple hours later the pilot comes on the mic again. this time to let us know that the flight crew is leaving. yep, they've been flying too many hours and have been ordered down to
they arrive and we eventually take off again and do eventually make it to the airport in oslo. by this time a 3.5 hour flight has become a 10 hour marathon. my legs are not happy, i'm grumpy because i've now had all of three sandwiches to eat all day (one of which i had to pull meat out of because that's all they had to feed us on the airplane to oslo... *grrrrr*) and i'm pretty much exhausted.
on the ground our bags take a while coming out (surprise!) but soon enough i'm on my way to the train. nobody loves me in oslo enough to come get me ;) but i've taken this train before. i hitch it the city center, but by this point in time it's midnight.
the train i was expecting to connect to is apparently not running anymore. so i ask one of the people working on one of the still-active trains which train can get me to nydalen station. according to this person, there's only one more train that can do that, but it's a surface train rather than the subway i was expecting. fair enough, it's only a couple more blocks to walk which seems like a small inconvenience given the rest of the day.
i purchase a ticket and head upstairs for a bit of food and a pint of guinness. can things finally be correcting themselves? will i soon be the arms of a wonderful hotel bed? ha!
i catch the train but miss my stop. yep, it blows right past us as i fail to disembark. awesome, just f*&!$ing awesome. eventually i find the train ticket person in another car and ask them what i can do. i figure i'll get off, wait half an hour or so and catch a return trian, but no ... no such luck. i'm on the last train of the night. literally. in either direction.
now i'm really unhappy. the poor ticket woman apologizes for forgetting to let me know that was my stop (i asked her when i got on the damn train), and suggests that the best thing i can do is go a couple more stops to where the first train in the morning starts from at 4:20 (which is a funny time, if you're familiar with the ganga culture). what to do for the next 3 hours? why, sleep!
they let me into the waiting area in this rural train station and one of the people procures a pillow and a rug (which confused me until i realized they meant "blanket") for me and i get about the business of falling asleep on a bench. upon waking, i head into the bathroom you saw in the picture above where i brushed my teeth, washed my hair and generally freshened up as well as i could.
nothing quite like luxury accomodations:
oddly enough, i had the best sleep i've had in a long time. it actually reminded me of when i was a young pup going into vancouver on the weekends to party: we'd end up closing out a club or three which would mean it was too late to get home as the ferries had stopped running hours ago. so we'd usually go grab an early breakfast (oh, how i miss the nam!) and then bum around town until we passed out somewhere from exhaustion. that "somewhere" was sometimes a bench in stanley park, other times a chair in the bread house and yet other times the facilities at the ferry terminal.
here i was, reliving the glory days ... only except instead of being with friends post-party i was alone on the ass end of a 24 hour travel marathon/mishap in rural norway. so .. similar, but different.
regardless, i woke up stupidly refreshed, got cleaned up and boarded the train. they got me complimentary coffee and i paid extra attention to my train map this time. i got off at nydalen, walked a few blocks, checked in, had a shower, grabbed my email (i have a ton of mail to reply to, having been off the net for some 36 hours) and now i am typing this all clean and relaxed in nothing but a towel. i'm about to head downstairs for breakfast and then i'll call knut and arrange to meet up. we have a marketing meeting at 10:00.
and the way i see it: after yesterday, the rest of this trip can only be downhill.
p.s. fresh underwear has never felt so good.