Well what does one expect when one is spending Christmas at a ski resort high in the Norwegian mountains!!!
Mind you after the shenanigans we had getting here it was a blessing to see the gorgeous Dr Holms hotel in Geilo last Tuesday evening!!
With the bad weather we'd had on the weekend of the 18th 19th, we were worried about actually getting out of the UK on the evening of Monday 20th.... and despite being assured by the lovely lady at Norwegian Air Services that the flight was running and on time when I called at 2pm, by the time we arrived at Gatwicj at 3:45, we saw the dreaded word CANCELLED against our flight.... yes we weren't going anywhere that evening so we headed back to the house we had locked up only a couple of hours before and got on the PC and rebooked everything! We were lucky to get offered a flight early the next morning from Stansted, so grabbed it - and then went and prepared what Roger called the "Umbrella syndrome" - he got the snow chains on the car and I booked everything else...
So 4am on Tuesday saw us heading for Stanstead - on snowchains, which thankfully we were able to remove once clear of our own road! Once on the main A21/ M25/ M11 we were fine and we hit the airport at 5:45am and handed the car over to the valet parkers and headed into chaos!!!
Our flight was showing on the boards but with no details of where to check in or anything against it.... so we found a convenient spot - and waited.......and waited.... Finally - Roger gave up and went to look for something for breakfast and no sooner had he vanished into the crowds, than the announcement came over the tannoy (at 6:45) to go to the furthest check in desks and what looked like half the airport started charging towards the desks.... Rog came rushing back and we shoved the laden trolley after the crowds..... We finally got into a queue of sorts, at the nominated desks, and indeed there were 2 desks with Norwegian boards above them - but no - one to check in the passengers....
So we waited....... and we waited...... and we waited......finally at 7:30, someone appeared and even then spent another 10 minutes chatting to his colleague on the upper level. What was annoying was the fact that although there was no check in happening, the tannoy kept calling people to the unmanned desks so people were obviously thinking that they were late and kept trying to push into the queue. Anyway - after an hour of waiting check in finally started at 7:45 (remember the flight was supposed to take of at 8:20)......and we finally hit the desk at 8:15 to be allocated seats right at the back of the plane....
Then we had a mad rush through security and onto the wee train to take us to the gate (we didn't have to as there were dozens of people in the queue behind us but try telling that to a stressy husband!) where we sat for another eon waiting to board! We finally took off at 10:20, and were very grateful that we had allowed ourselves a cushion of 4 hours to catch the train up to the mountains!. We landed safely in Bergen and having grabbed our luggage, jumped into a taxi for the station.....
Roger had managed to nip to the Duty Free in Stansted to buy the celebratory champers for our wedding anniversary on the 22nd, and the big day... and he put the bagg with the precious bubbly in the boot with the bags.... only to see it go flying when the driver pulled one of the bags out at the station..... we watched £25 worth of vintage Veuve Cliquot pour over the cobblestone.....Fortunately the second bottle survived!
We stashed the bags in left luggage and nipped out to get some lunch.before heading back for the train...... check out these super comfy seats - eat your heart out SouthEastern railways!!!!!!
`Anyway - 3 hours later we were met at the station by the hotel minibus to take us up to the hotel! We checked in - and headed straight for dinner
The big event in Scandinavia is always Christmas Eve... the shops and skilifts all shut early to allow everyone to get home for the Julefest. We had the most sumptous hot and cold buffet with loads of choice of cold meats and seafood and the traditional meal of roast pork and lots of lovely desserts including rice pudding (YUM!!!). After dinner - we got a visit from a certain person with one of his friends....
Santa sat in the lobby dishing out presents to the younger guests - I was able to get up close and personal with his reindeer who was very tame and didn't seem to mind being pawed, petted and photographed by all and sundry!
See those Antlers??? They tell you that this is a lady reindeer as the males shed their antlers in the winter - proof positive that Santa relies on a team of ladies to get him round all those houses on Christmas Eve without getting lost!!!
Anyway - we had noticed in the ballroom that the Christmas tree had been moved into the centre of the dancefloor, ready for the traditional dancing and singing round the tree. Here are some of the dancers, and notice the beautiful national costumes which a lot of our fellow guests were wearing..... lots of them - and every single one was different!
Anyway - we finished our drinks and headed to bed....unfortunately not to wake up to presents as they had to be left in England..... can't wait until we get home to whether I made the nice list this year!!
Merry Christmas and happy new year to you all!