I was up very early (4:30am) in Oslo. This was the last day of my trip, the day I planned to return home.
I had accumulated quite a bit of stuff on this trip, and now I had to stuff everything into my three suitcases — quite a job. My big suitcase felt VERY heavy, and I later found out that it weighed about 75 pounds. With the help of a strong bellman, I got everything down to the lobby around 7:30am and arranged for a cab to the airport. I had a lot of stuff — my camera and laptop cases in addition to the luggage.
The cab driver was well-traveled, having visited 35 countries (how many American cab drivers can say that?). He was complaining about the immigrants who have been allowed into Norway and how they consume free medical services and do not work. He said he wished that Norway could be more like the U.S. I get the impression that this is a minority opinion, as most Norwegians do seem at least outwardly happy with their welfare state and are at least willing to bear the amazing prices. The driver said that the country is not benefiting directly from its great North Sea oil wealth, as that is being invested for the future. Imagine that happening in the U.S.!!
The flight from Oslo to Newark, New Jersey, was uneventful. I tried to sleep but without success (though I had had just five hours the previous night). Since I was in Business Class, I had good treatment and very nice food.
The weather in Newark was quite a shock — it felt like it was in well into the 90′s and with high humidity. I found a cab to take me to LaGuardia Airport. He made the trip with the drop-off of another passenger at the Waldorf-Astoria, so I got to see Manhattan. We pulled over to a street vendor there, and I bought two cans of Coke for $2.00. As a contrast with Norway, this was remarkable. Over there, two smaller (1/4 liter) cans of Coke would have cost me ten times as much!
We made it to Laguardia, and I checked all of my bags through to Madison. The heavy bag cost me a $75 penalty fee, not unexpected. After a wait of several hours, my plane left for Milwaukee. The remainder of my trip and the connecting flight to Madison were uneventful.
Now I am happily home and dealing with major jet lag! To make matters more complex, I will only be here for several days before leaving for the west coast to attend my brother’s wedding on Friday. It is a good thing that I absolutely love air travel and interminable waits in airports!!!
Well, the amazing epic trip is now finished! All-in-all, I would have to say that it went pretty much as planned. I had no serious mishaps or disasters. The scenery I saw was awesome, and the cities were lots of fun. I took 2700 pictures in all, and some of them were pretty good. My favorite scenery was the mountains and rugged coastline of Norway, though Lapland had a wonderful feel as well. I enjoyed my visit to the Baltic Countries and my stay with Liuda and Ceslovas in Lithuania.
Someday, I would like to return to the far northern region in the dead of winter to see the Northern Lights!!
I took no pictures this day.