17. Mai – Gratulerer med dagen!

The 17th May, also known as Norwegian Constitution Day, is an official national holiday that is celebrated all over the country. The Constitution was signed in 1814 and declared Norway to be an independent kingdom.

Despite me being in Bergen for almost 3 years, this was my first time celebrating it here so I was very excited!

We arranged to celebrate the 17th with some of my expat friends, so I decided to bake a “marsipankake” for the day. I’ve never been quite fond of baking as I find it quite stressful and as I expected, It didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped! My sponge base didn’t rise very much at all, so I had to run out to the shop to buy more eggs to bake another one! The second didn’t rise either but I managed to salvage the cake by putting the two sponge layers together. Recipe: Marsipankake

13275126_10154211189966079_1946643304_o

On the morning of the 17th, after having our champagne breakfast, we made our way into the city centre to watch the parade. The streets were lined with thousands of people, many of whom were wearing their traditional “bunader”. Bergen has its own traditions for the parade, that includes comic troupes, various local organisations, a children’s parade, and the unique “buekorps”. It was a great experience from start to finish, and we were lucky that the weather held out.

13262651_10154211111486079_438491209_o

After the parade had ended, my friends and I came back to our place and we continued the celebrations by drinking prosecco and vodka, eating “pølse” and “kake”, attempting to sing the Norwegian national anthem, and dancing to music until late!

Translations

Marsipankake = Marzipan Cake

Bunader = Traditional Norwegian Costume

Buekorps = Traditional marching neighbourhood youth organisations in Bergen

Pølse = Sausages (similar to hot-dogs)

Gratulerer med dagen = Congratulations with the day

Departure Day

This time last week, I was on my flight to Norway, preparing for landing at Bergen airport. One week later and my back still hasn’t quite forgiven me for the trauma I put it through earlier that morning…

The day prior to my journey involved me frantically walking into town twice to buy two new (huge) suitcases. I guess I had underestimated the amount of ‘stuff’ that I had to bring with me. I knew already they were well over the 20kg allowance but there wasn’t much I could do about it, other than pay the additional fees for them being overweight.

Saturday didn’t start off so well. After waking up feeling like I was going to be sick at any given moment, my taxi decided to be twenty minutes late. Luckily, I allowed more than enough time to get to the coach station and as I got there, the coach to Gatwick had just pulled into the bay.

The taxi driver reassured me that my cases didn’t feel as though they weighed more than 32kg (the maximum limit) and this put me at ease.

The coach was peaceful and quiet. This was definitely the calm before the storm… After getting plenty of sleep on the coach, we arrived at Gatwick Airport.

My first mini-drama was trying to find a trolley for my cases. Luckily I spotted some further back before the coach stop. Brilliant idea to put them there… I had to leave my cases unattended to retrieve one. It then took me a good five minutes to lift both my cases onto the trolley due to their weight whilst a group of people stood and watched.

The Norwegian check-in desk wasn’t too busy and I explained to the woman that my cases were heavy as I was moving to Norway. I was in shock to see that both cases were well over the maximum limit with one being 34 and the other 35kg. She explained that I had to repack them and get them both down to 32kg otherwise they would be unable to drop them. It was definitely the highlight of my morning, repacking my cases in front of a vast crowd of people checking in for their monarch flights. I removed a few of the heavy items from my cases and packed them into my hand luggage in hope that they would not weigh it.

After getting the weight of my cases down to 30 and 32kg, I re-approached the check in desk and explained my situation once again to a different lady. Although I was 22kg over the limit, she felt guilty for charging me £150. Instead, she charged me £70 and I got away with my weighty hand luggage.

Once I had gone through the security checks, I headed to a bar for a drink. Although it was 7am, my nerves for flying needed calming with a glass of wine, so I went to Cafe Rouge. After finding a table, I was greeted by a breakfast menu. I was still feeling nauseous and can never usually eat before a flight anyway so when the lady asked if she could take my order, I asked her for a drinks menu instead. She looked at me in disgust! After she returned with a menu, I picked up my belongings and walked out. I am not prepared to be looked down on by anybody! I walked into Bridge and ordered my drink at the bar. The bartender was jolly and happy, which lifted my spirits once again.

Once the gate number was announced, nerves and anxiety started to hit me as usual. I tried to remain calm and made my way to the departure gate.

Once I boarded the flight, I explained the the flight attendant that I was nervous as I broke down into tears. I had to explain that I was also an emotional wreck as I was also moving to Norway and that the reality of it all had only just hit me. Cringe… However, after take off, I felt completely fine and actually enjoyed the flight. It was over much sooner than I anticipated!

After collecting my heavy luggage and adding more injury to my back, I was greeted by the friendliest face; Bjørnar’s, and the day didn’t seem so bad after all… 🙂

Image