Before embarking on any trip abroad, I first calculate whether or not the airfare and hotel costs will fit into my budget. It was during this process when I recently came across Norwegian Airlines. A friend of mine mentioned to me that they offered super inexpensive flights to Europe and that they had just started flying out of Boston. Intrigued by this tip, I explored their website and came upon a round trip ticket to Oslo for only 600 dollars. At first I assumed that this must be for a one way ticket since the price seemed too good to be true. Or perhaps I would have to help the flight attendants serve drinks and clean the plane’s interior after the flight. Despite my initial skepticism, this discounted price was indeed the real deal. As long as I didn’t order a meal and did not check in any bags, 600 dollars would indeed be the price. Considering that I have grown used to paying well over a thousand dollars for a similar flight to the continent, I was more than willing to skip all meals and put my luggage in the overhead bins. It appeared that my trip to Norway was actually going to happen.
As I arrive in Oslo after a seven hour flight, I now have the pleasure to hang out at the airport for the next four hours. From there I will take a one hour flight to the west coast city of Bergen and check out all that it has to offer. I’m not sure what it is about hanging out in airports that is so mind numbing. I guess that when you’re sitting on a plane for hours on end, you at least have the peace of mind knowing that you are making progress towards your destination. Hanging out at the airport, however, causes my mind to enter into a coma-like state where I’m not sure what time it is and possibly not sure what year it is. The presence of large pieces of luggage at my feet that needs to be transported every time I get up doesn’t help matters. My boredom becomes so acute that I do the unthinkable and actually check out the duty free shops down the hall. My mind must really be turning into mush as I am actually considering purchasing an overpriced watch from a company I have never heard of. I ask the store clerk if the watch is Norwegian figuring that there aren’t many Americans who can say they own a watch made in Scandinavia. No, it’s made in China, she replies with a polite smile. Disappointed with her answer, I notice that the clock on my cell phone is still in working order. As a result, I think I’ll skip this purchase and give my credit cards a much needed rest.
As my flight for Bergen finally takes off, I notice that there is quite a bit of chatter amongst the passengers of this nearly full plane. Despite the presence of this noise, I am not annoyed by it at all. My lack of irritation is due mostly to the fact that I have no idea what these people are saying to each other. Being the good American citizen that I am, I can only speak English and have no idea how other languages work. This allows the Norwegian, Swedish, and various other tongues around me to act as a white noise that is actually quite soothing. If I was flying in America right now and the passengers were this boisterous, I undoubtedly would switch to my headphones for some music in an attempt to avoid their annoying conversations. Yet here in the north of Europe I am easing into my seat and feeling quite relaxed as my trip to Bergen is finally about to begin.