Landing at Oslo airport has to be among the most surreal experience I’ve had in awhile.
Not for anything except that it was the lousiest bit of planning I’ve done in ages.
The problem was that we only decided to go there during a night of heavy drinking (which is generally when the grandest plans are made). All we had were our Schengen visas and our multiple entry visas into the UK.
And so, that happy night in London, we decided, just like that, to head to Norway, with no further idea of what we planned to do there. We also figured that since we were going all the way there, we might as well check out Sweden and Denmark too.
Late next morning, we bought the cheapest tickets out of Heathrow into Oslo and return tickets, for 12 days later, from Copenhagen to the UK. That’s it. No clue on where we would be staying in any of the cities. No idea on transportation. No thought to what we’d be doing there. No problem.
It was a problem. Standing in line, waiting our turn at Oslo immigration, we were looking forward to exploring a new city. The immigration officer didn’t think so. He checked our visas and am sure would have wondered why we’d got it from all the other Schengen states except Norway.
He then asked to see our return tickets and proof of accommodation. We could only show him our return tickets from Copenhagen to Heathrow. And that’s when things started to heat up. We hadn’t made any hotel bookings, neither in Oslo nor in any of the other Scandinavian cities. Worst of all, we weren’t sure how long we were going to be in each place.
That was it. Off he went to his superior. A few tense minutes later, we were asked to leave the immigration line and ushered into a cabin.
The superior asked to see how much cash we had. Not much. He wondered how we were going to pay for our stay without too much cash. That’s when we took out all our credit and debit cards and laid them out for him. Finally, reluctantly, he proceeded to lecture us on Norway being the most expensive country in the world, to which we solemnly nodded in agreement. As an afterthought, he gave us strict instructions that we were to make sure we have all of our bookings in order in future, wherever we travelled too.
A few grins and handshakes later, we were ushered back in the immigration line and quickly stamped in.
“Welcome to Oslo”, he said.