I remembered to walk back to the immigration desk on reaching there as nobody checked my visa ,the bushy moustachioed Swede just grinned and said you got it stamped in Munich and that is enough so have a nice day,
In Oslo dusk settles fast and the sky was overcast with a definite chill in the air as we sauntered down the spacious lobby to our waiting cousin couple .
After the intial warm up of meeting them we cruised in their sleek vehicle to Riechstag a drive of more than two hours from the airport .
The roads were neat and pristine ,empty with a few cars zipping past ,
having come from a country where such emptiness was rare this was a treat for us .
The scenic landscape was mind blowing , farms with undulating green hillocks delicate as a damsels waist , intermittent mounds of grey hay clusters like the peeping wisps of a an ageing woman ,
cottages with coloured roofs smoking chimneys of warmth , lights glowing in their souls ,the twilight sky burnished by the setting sun ,meandering streams like shivas locks ,pines and ferns growing tall like shy teenagers ,the hush of nature ,the twitter of birds and the secrets of the earth all along the way .
We stopped often to click and glimpse at these gifts of the divine .
Soon we crossed the Glomus a famous river of the country ,it was broad and flowing and we could feel the chill of its waters
We went under a Moose bridge covered by green ( these are bridges built over highways for moose to cross to reach the forest on the other side )
Moose crossing by road could turn dangerous as there was considerable damage when a speeding car hit them more to man than moose .
Moose incidentally the national animal was a something between a reindeer and a cow and was huge with big horns
moose meat was a known delicacy in the these parts and was said to be tasty though a bit stringy and hard
The towns were small with one stop restaurants bars ,schools and offices ,
cottages and villas neatly painted with box gardens ,trees ,and flowers punctuating the place .
Everything was well organized and neat but people were hard to find ,either there was mass hibernation or they went to bed early !
Even petrol bunks are unmanned so are parking slots creating an eerie sense of the Salems lot ( Stephen kings famous novel )
We reached the clinic of Andreas our brother in law from Norway ,went inside and discussed the ergonomics of a Norwegian medical practioner ,with three doctors and a teacher the subject should have been boring only to one ! you know who !
The huge cottage with an internal swimming pool was homely with wooden floors ,wide verandahs and soft cushions ,bathrooms had floor heating which was a first for me ,their warmth and that of our hosts spread into our hearts as we slumbered like babies in the cosy bed for an undisturbed sleep .
Morning was bright and sparkling and with a cuppa of warmth we went under the apple tree in the compound which rained juicy apples and walked over the mushy apple strewn ground plucking ripe ones and crunching their sweet delights .
A walk into the town made us see more empty roads and lovely picture postcard cottages
One lingering thought we had of Norway was its emptiness .
Of course Oslo city where we went later in the day dispelled these notions as it was as crowded as any modern city could be .
Norway had a checkered history being under several countries over the times ,the early vikings were known for being fierce seafarers and Norway even today has retained its romance with the sea ,some of the best sailors and naval men are from this country and it is known for ship building and navigation .
The Viking museum in Oslo is just the place one needs to visit to dip into the fable of the great Vikings ,bearded and tall these brave men of the past strode tall in their exqusite boats which were as sturdy and powerful as them ,the boats were huge and were buried along with their statesmen and have been unearthed now to be housed in the museum ,every boat had the essentials needed for the nobleman and even his servants were buried with them ,the museum could take one back to those ages when the wildness of the earth was dared by the strength of the men who inhabited it
One bounces back to the present after leaving the museum to drive along the roads of the city ,climbing up a hilly road lead one to the famous ski jump where many have skimmed down into fluffy snow for the winter Olympics ,the jump has a park around it with benches for picnickers and this is when Andreas our Norwegian doctor brother in law joined us for an indian lunch eaten with hands
this evoked considerable curiousity for the locals as they saw one of their own sitting with two Indian women and an Indian guy comfortably tucking in with fingers ,spicy concoctions with ease !
There was a statue of the Norwegian king gazing at us benignly as he retuned from sking with all his dogs ,it is said he died of frostbite after one such unfortunate excursion .
Down the hill and into downtown Oslo we saw the heritage buildings like the parliament the Nobel hall where the Nobel peace prize is given ( only peace prize is given in Norway and all the others are given in Sweden )
We went tinto the cruise harbour and almost into a huge cruise ship getting ready to embark to Germany ,we did stop before getting into its bowels and into probably an unwelcoming Germany !
The opera house is a recent landmark to the city with its sloping roof touching the floor one could walk up the roof and gaze the skyline .
And suddenly it was all over as it was time for us to return
our Norwegian romance ended there but then we had fallen in love with the country and its people for ever
Night saw us flying back to Stockholm after fond farewells