AlternaNorway ’09

Norway.

The land of vikings, trolls, big dreams, and broken hearts.

Here’s how it was supposed to go down:

  • Meet travel group on campus at 2:55am Sunday.
  • Get on minibus cab for 14 at 3:00am.
  • Arrive at Liverpool St. Station in London approx 3:50am.
  • Figure out where to get on Stansted Airport bus. Wait
  • Get on bus to airport @ 4:20.
  • 5:00/5:15: Arrive at Stansted. Check in.
  • 6:30 Flight departs for OSLO.

But no. It couldn’t be that easy!

First, the driver was about 10 minutes late picking us up. Then, he drove aimlessly around the East End of London, supposedly due to “construction” and “traffic diversions.” We drove down the same streets as the Jack the Ripper walking tour. At one point we were like “Oh look! There’s that church that the prostitutes used to circle all night long because they could only get arrested if they weren’t moving!”

A few moments later: “And there it is again.”

And then: “And…again.”

And then: “FOR THE LOVE OF PETE!  Is this church pulling us into its orbit like a bunch of whores??”

When we finally found the station (only after asking random 4am London streetwalkers), we had thoroughly missed the bus to the airport. HOPE WAS NOT YET LOST! There was another bust at 4:40 am, which, naturally, left late.

We got to the airport around 5:45. We ran into the terminal with the belief that we could still pull it off.

And then.

crowds 

A jillion people and their moms were in line at the RyanAir counter. The check in machines weren’t working, and we couldn’t do online check in because none of us have EU passports. A few intrepid leaders of the group managed to squeeze in sideways to the counter, and in the face of supreme incompetence, managed to secure roughly 3/4 of the boarding passes.

I was in the 1/4 left behind, but we sent the others to RUN FOR THEIR LIVES through security while we retreated to yet another line to see what could be done about rebooking for a later flight.

The boarding passers arrived just in time to see the plane pull away from the yet and dejectedly rejoined us in the other line. After much waiting, witnessing of Crazys Shout at the Poor Staff People, we finally managed to find someone to ask about our chances for getting on another flight (though at that point, there was still much line left to be waited in). He said the cheapest same day we could get would be £245, at which point we abandoned ship and retired to wallow in the food court.

It was at that point that I reached approximately 24 hours of wakefulness (because Saturday I got up at 7am to go to Canterbury and Leeds on a romantic Valentine’s date with the English countryside). The good news is that we’re going to hopefully get a partial refund of our tickets, and we want to MAJORLY complain to the stupid taxi company for a full refund.

We caught the bus back to London, and the group disbanded. Some went straight back to Egham, some (like me) stayed for the day and then went home, and the rest stayed the night in London.

Sorrows were drowned in milkshakes and the cuddling of oversized stuffed animals in the London equivalent of FAO Schwartz.

I came back to Egham that night with the intentions of sleeping and maybe trying to meet up with Team London for some kind of day trip. Had a nice 12 hour nap, woke up, heard the plan to spend the day in Brighton, in the south on the Channel. I was about to just give up and spend the day moping and being emo, but I got in touch with another girl who came back to RoHo with me, and we decided we might as well go for it.

BEST DECISION EVER!

feb-16-17-010

The sun and the waves and the smell and the sound of seagulls…it was LOVE at first site.

Now I understand why people in Victorian novels are always going to the seaside to Recover and Improve their Fragile Conditions. It has magical healing powers of awesome.

feb-16-17-009  

Except it was only after I got there that I was informed of the plan to spend the night there in a hostel and continue exploring the coast on Tuesday. Throwing caution to the wind, we agreed. Everyone else still had their luggage from You Know Where, so between everyone, we managed to round up enough to get through the night. The hostel was super cheap, and they only had 4 blankets and no sheets for the 7 of us. I slept in my clothes with my jacket as a pillow. ADVENTURE!

Our hostel was also a bar, so we met an interesting group of English people that bought us lots of drinks, and a rousing good time was had by all.

The next morning, we continued onward down the coast to Portsmouth, where we spontaneously decided to catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight. It was about 10 times bigger than any of us were expecting, so we definitely did not have enough time to fully explore.

feb-16-17-060

So from the wreckage of the Trip That Shall Not Be Named, we managed to salvage an enjoyable mini-vacay on the seaside. 

The rest of the pictures are here.

We all decided that it was a learning curve kind of trip. We know now what we did wrong and how it will be better the next time. And by next time, I mean tomorrow when some of the same group are going to Bruges and Amsterdam. The good news is that we’re on a (mostly) guided tour, and we have already detailed (to the minute with A LOT of extra time to spare) how we’re going to meet the guide at 7am at Waterloo station.

Fingers crossed…

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