The first leg of my four flight journey was from Amsterdam to Stockholm at 10.20am, not too early, thank God. I was up at 7am, had breakfast and headed off at 7.45am. I had already checked in online but I had to check in a bag. With the cold weather and snow that was forecast for Lofoten, I had to pack warm, heavy clothes and boots. This flight was about one hour forty minutes. Once I got to Stockholm, I had something to eat. In economy class, Scandinavian Airways charge for their food on board, so I thought well I might as well buy some decent food at the airport, rather than paying for plastic, overheated airplane food.
Stockholm airport was quiet enough at 12.30pm. I liked it. I always prefer the smaller airports. My bag was checked through to Svolvaer but as I found out from Wideroe, the airline company who were taking me on my last leg of the trip, I would have to clear customs at Oslo, which meant I would have to pick up my luggage, go upstairs, check in my bag again and get through the baggage check. But luckily I had an hour and a half to wait for the next flight, so I had plenty of time to do it. At least I didn’t bleep going through customs there. At Amsterdam I did, even after taking off my clodhoppers, as I call them (my walking boots) and bloody hell, the security woman checking me got very up close and personal! It must have been the underwire bra that set the machine off. Jeez man, they go practically everywhere. It does feel like an invasion of your space.
The flight from Stockholm to Oslo was forty minutes and from Oslo to Bodo, one and a half hours. It was 18.40pm by this stage and my last flight was from Bodo to Svolvaer at 20.45pm. Not too long to wait, or so I thought! I grabbed something to eat from the small shop in the departure lounge. Now I knew that I would be arriving late in Svolvaer airport and I still had to get to the Sjohuscamp. So I had gotten a taxi number of the local Svolvaer taxi company and the guy running the Sjohuscamp told me that the best thing to do, would be to call the taxi company when I was in Bodo and book a taxi then to pick me up from the airport.
So I called the taxi company and told them that I would be staying at the Svolvaer Sjohuscamp and my flight into Svolvaer should be arriving at 21.30pm. They said fine, it was no problem and they’d be there to pick me up. Previously I’d bought two Vodafone credit vouchers of amounts of 20 euros each to top up my mobile. At the airport, I topped up the first one but the second voucher didn’t work. So I only had 20 euros credit on my phone. Great! There was an announcement in Norwegian and English that the flight from Bodo to Svolvaer was going to be delayed by half an hour. So I had to call the taxi company back and tell them this. They said they would check the internet and keep an eye on the flight status. That used up a good bit of credit on the phone.
At 21.15pm they said that the flight was delayed again and it was due to arrive at 21.35pm, on its way from Stokmarknes. There was about 20 people on this flight and by this stage most of us had started walking around the departure lounge waiting for the bloody plane to arrive. There was another announcement which rattled away in Norwegian and I had to ask a guy that was waiting what they said because they had given up announcing things in English. This guy said that the plane would leave at 22.30pm, once the crew had been fed. Everybody just laughed when they heard that. They were pissed off waiting too. We were the last group of people waiting to board a plane.
At 22.30pm, finally the ground crew announced that they were boarding. We all got on this little twin propellered plane and the stewardess told us that the flight would take 25 minutes and she apologised for the delay. I saw on the internet that it was supposed to be fairly windy over the next few days. Well windy wasn’t the word for it! It was friggin’ blowing a gale out there! Thank God it was only a 25 minute flight because the last 10 minutes was scary, I’m telling you. The gusts of wind were blowing us left, right and centre. Never mind up and down! I was holding on to the arm of the seat and just hoping that I wouldn’t throw up. Just as I was about to give up on getting there in one piece, we landed.
Anyway we got inside the terminal building and had to wait for the guy in charge to open the doors where the baggage was. There were 4 trolleys attached to each other with bags and boxes on them but no black and white Eastpak rucksack with my name on it. Great! A guy from the taxi company in Svolvaer introduced himself to me and I told him that my bag was missing and that I would have to sort that out first. So he said he would be waiting outside for me. The guy in charge of the luggage asked me to show him the baggage tag, which I did and only then realised that my bag was only tagged to Bodo. I was waiting for 4 hours in Bodo and didn’t know that my bag was sitting there waiting for me to pick it up. I hadn’t checked the baggage tag. The guy said that he would send the bag onto me in a taxi first thing in the morning, after he took a description of the bag and the name and telephone of the place I was staying. Luckily I had brought emergency stuff like a couple of pairs of knickers, nightclothes, toothbrush and toothpaste etc in my hand baggage just in case.
It was now 11pm and I was wrecked. The taxi brought me to the Sjohuscamp and the guy who runs the place, Gair, was waiting for me. I had phoned him earlier at Bodo and told him that the flight was delayed too. I signed the register and we had a short chat. He was also saying that the Northern Lights were fairly strong that evening, between 9 and 9.30pm. He said you could even see them through the clouds, which didn’t make things any better and I thought to myself “Aw Jeez, why did you have to tell me that, you’re making me jealous”. I missed them by a couple of hours. Darn. He’s a photographer and is always looking out for opportunities to take photos of the Northern Lights and the scenery around the islands. I was still hoping to get to see them while I was there though.
The Sjohuscamp was really cosy and had a homely feeling to the place. More importantly it was warm, which was nice because it had started snowing outside. It was spotless too and it was nice to come back to somewhere like that at the end of a long day’s traveling. www.svolver-sjohuscamp.no Twelve and a half hours it took to get from Amsterdam to Svolvaer. Crazy, I know!
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