The sing-song refrain from the Dr. Seuss book "Oh the places we will go," kept playing in my head as we walked through the Amsterdam airport. So many different languages overheard, so many different nationalities represented, and so many different destinations announced over the loudspeaker: it is stimulating. The airplane coffee was really bad so I also found some stimulation at the Starbucks. Can you tell how happy it made me? We flew direct from SFO on KLM and had a couple of hours to get through security and catch our connection to Oslo. The Dutch security was more restrictive than Homeland Security in some ways--like the overly familiar pat down. Once through we enjoyed the Dutch-i-ness of the place with the celebration of tourists and Rembrandt. It reminded me that on my top 10 places I will go someday is Amsterdam of the flower show and mart.
Then on to Oslo and the complete lack of security; no one even checked our passports at the airport. The super sleek express train carried us from the airport to the central rail station a few blocks from our hotel. It is great to travel with Tevis because of his natural sense of direction. We are staying at one of the Thon hotels (Norwegian chain pronounced "tone"). Our hotel is promoting a children's program and the young woman at the front desk in the parrot costume proved to be most helpful with her suggestions and directions.
I went across the street to the mall to find a toothbrush. I found one of the knitting shops on my list and was quite impressed. I also met a couple from Tasmania who were stuggling with the ATM machine. We figured it out and had a lovely chat. (Tevis rolled his eyes when I got back and told him I met some people from Australia--only took me 30 minutes on my own to bond with total strangers!) The grocery store was fascinating. Where else can you find such a wide selection of ground nut butters (Nutella!) And tinned fish on one aisle?
It is taking a while to shift into vacation mode. I have been doing some follow up work emails and winding down. Got to get my head out of work and into Norway. Watching Tour de France on television in Norwegian actually helped!