Day 11 – Journey Home (19th August) by Julian “The Famous Five find their way home”
“Gosh what is that dreadful smell?” said George. “Sorry about that” said Dick, “I think it is my shoes”. “Really” said Ann, “Can’t you pack them at the bottom of your case wrapped up in a carrier bag. People should not have to put up with that. How utterly disgusting”. “I am afraid they will have to” said Dick, “I am wearing them home”.
This conversation was stopped by the early arrival of our taxi. This was not Anne’s fault, who had planned everything to perfection as usual, but that of the taxi firm. None the less the outcome was the same with everyone galvanised into action and a flurry of last-minute packing and checking of bedrooms etc. Fortunately, Dick had got up early to ensure he could eat any food items, irregular shaped or otherwise, that may have been left behind so he was virtually ready. Timmy, who was maybe the fastest camp breaker and case packer Norway has ever seen, was also ready in a trice. George was pleased to find that having eaten all her expedition food she could pack quickly and while her case was still heavy, she could actually lift it. Something she could not do on the journey out. Anyway, we were all soon in the taxi, joined by ‘Jo’ and ‘Tinker’ who would travel back with us, and off to the airport we went.
Julian thought Svolvaer Airport was a lovely little airport, where the check in lady later becomes one of the baggage handlers and where they can take their time and search through bags to their hearts content as Dick found out. Poor Dick. It was Dick’s stove that seemed to be the problem and as Julian also had a stove in his case he was rather anxious that he too would have all his smelly items, including undergarments on display, but no, his case went through without a problem. He didn’t even have to remove his belt or take off his shoes. No wonder he liked the airport. The cute little plane held just 35 passengers and had two propeller type engines. (De Havilland DHC – 8 100 series.) The lovely people asked us to leave our carry-on bags by the steps so they could put them in the hold and help balance the plane properly. Julian is now wondering if it is quite so nice after all and getting anxious again.
I am sure all readers will be relieved to hear that all is well and just a little behind time we take off and then land successfully at Bodo Airport.
Here you can spend a great deal of your left-over Norwegian money on not very much at all. A family sized packet of peanut M & M’s being the equivalent of about £7.90.
After a couple of hours, it was onto Oslo Airport where Dick was first in line at the food hall, Julian managed to get a gluten free burger, with chips and a drink for about £23, and Timmy surpassed himself. He thought he had got a decent salad at a reasonable price yesterday down by the museum but here it was a help yourself salad bar. When George first found Timmy, I think he must have run away from the circus. The way he managed to balance everything into and way over the top of his bowl was quite miraculous. He then got back to his seat without even a tomato rolling off, showing all the poise and grace of a circus acrobat.
Once George had seen that Timmy was properly fed and watered, she managed to slump across the table for forty winks showing no poise or grace whatsoever.
Next it was just over two hours on the final flight from Oslo to Manchester. During this plane ride Julian wondered if like him the others were hoping their suitcase would be lost like Anne’s had been on the way out. Only, if so, he would be ever so pleased if they never found it again and he could replace all his worn out camping and kayaking equipment with new on the insurance! (No such luck everything turned up tickety-boo.)
Dick knows a lot about modern technology and is almost as interested in gadgets as he is food. Yet even he was surprised at how clever the airports facial recognition system was. It let him through regardless of the fact that he had recently shaved his head for an Iron Man / Charity event and looked nothing like his passport photo!
All safely through, bags collected and now going our separate ways home allows time to reflect on what was truly a jolly fine adventure. You don’t need to be a member of the Famous Five to arrange wild camping in foreign places, just a member of Liverpool Canoe Club where you can find likeminded, adventurous paddlers. However, a tip from Julian – try to find someone like Anne to coordinate and organise. Anne did a jolly splendid job for us. Thank you, Anne. It was a pleasure sharing my ginger beer with you.