Valentines Day and Snow
Happy Valentines Day to everyone!
It was about 15 minutes or so later ( could have been shorter cos TA could not handle the cold) we got down the stairs. Walked around the town and checked into the Indian Restaurant to have our dinner ( and hubby eats biryani on Fridays as a policy). I will not bored you with the details of our food - but have to admit the biryani was great. And it costed SGD20 per biryani. I nearly choked when TA told me - but thankfully he told this AFTER the dinner. I would have cancelled the whole thing and have him eat the instant noodles instead. Anyways Valentines Day was over and done. The following day was "ice" day.
But Raihaan - gosh! He was like this free kindred being who was born in snow. He was running around, creating snow angel, climbing up the small mini hills, discovering trekking and stuffs like that. TA and I tool turns to look after Raihaan in the snow. I will be out in the open for like 20-30 minutes or so and then will drag Raihaan back to the restaurant. We will drink a cup of hot chocolate and then TA will bring him out for 10 minutes and be back.
My Valentines here was celebrated by climbing mountains, endure heavy cold wind as I walk up the mountain, take lots of pictures, and then end the night with a very expensive biryani at the one and only Indian Restaurant in Alesund ( its called Taj Mahal Restaurnat by the way)
Lets begin with the moment hubby came back from his meeting. He wanted to go out of the hotel and see the sunlight. (Well it was a valid request - he has been cooped up in the meeting room all day long and was getting depressed). So we go dressed into our winter gear and walked out. Hubby wanted to check out the same mountain I walked around. This time though, instead of resisting - I decided to climb the 418 stair up the mountain. I mean - I walked around that mountain for God's sake! I can definitely climb it!!! And climb we all did.
|At the foot of Atsla|
Actually - when I mention the number of stairs- you have to take the picture of Batu Caves out of your mind - its not like that at all. The beginning of the path to the mountain begins with a path - that seemed to be carved out of the mountain itself. You walk further up - you will see few steps leading up - turn the corner - comes another set of steps and so on. Its actually not that bad - but the only issue for us ( all three of us) was that the wind becomes stronger and stronger as you climb up. I am talking about very cold strong wind. You don't have to climb all the way up to see the view - you can see the amazing view half the distance itself. But nevertheless the hubby promised a good fish soup at the cafeteria on the top of the mountain. By the time we all reached the top - the cafeteria was closed for the day ( 5pm!!!) So we took our time to take pics, and check out the amazing view of the whole of Alesund.
|The path leading to the stairs|
|At the mountain|
|Me enjoying the scenery|
Since Raihaan wanted to see snow so much, TA checked out with his colleagues and asked around on where to look for snow...and we were told to check out the Stranda Ski Resort - which we did. I checked out the details from the Web and made the arrangements over the phone. All we had to do was to call this people from the website and ask them to reserve seat for us on the bus going to the ski resort and make payment for the transport to the driver itself. They will pick us up at the bus terminus at Alesund and then all the way straight to the resort. We were to be at the bus terminus by 0830hrs.
|In the shuttle bus to the ski resort|
As usual you can say hubby was late the following morning ( emails and stuffs like that), but we managed to get to the terminus exactly at 0825hrs. We did not see any bus waiting for us and actually I was panicking. I did not want to miss the bus for we had promised Raihaan so much. We asked around ( there were only 2 people waiting for bus at that ungodly hour!!) and no one knew about the ski bus. The Norwegians are so very punctual - the small bus came exactly at 0830hrs with a lady driver. It was around 2 hours of journey - which includes a 10-15 minute ride on a ro-ro. It was absolutely a new and wonderful experience not only for Raihaan - but for me and TA as well.
|On the RORO|
|TA and RA making a quick dash to the restaurant|
Again will not bore you with the details of the journey - lets focus on the destination. I felt snow for the first time in my life and it was shockingly awesome! We were there at about 1015 hours which was too early for people were just starting to open business there itself. It was only after arriving, we found out that we have to arrange transportation back to our hotel by ourselves and that being in snow was not actually fun and romantic as the Disney movies or any other movies make it out to be. Ok - let me describe the place. Lots of mountains - all white. And there are people living at the foot of the mountains - there are lots of small little cottages here and there scattered all around the white mountains. The ski resort has a hotel tied to it - but it was no where to be found at the scene itself. I was told later by a young babe that the Strand Hotel was like 5 minutes ride away.
|Us on the travellator|
So there's this ski resort that we have arrived at. Me and TA had no intention of skiing. We just want to see the god damned snow and we did. But I was not prepared for the weather. I did wear two other inner wear along with my winter wear and was very well protected - but the chillness was way beyond what I expected. I actually was that naive enough to think that I could handle the chill like I managed the stay in Alesund. This was far worse than the strong wind I encountered at the top of Atsla. We were also not going to purchase any skiing tools ( like I mentioned earlier - no intention to ski or waste any money on anything anymore). So the only thing we did was purchase tickets to go to the top of the mountain, have something to drink and then rush off. Then came problem number 1.
|Raihaan and snow|
The next bus out of the ski resort was at 1055hours. We were there at 1020hours. It was too short a time to actually feel snow and all. If we miss that bus - the next bus direct to Alesund city was at 1655. That's like 5 plus hours away. How to survive 5 hours in the snow? We decided to purchase the tickets to the top of the mountain an then work out the details later on. One thing at a time. So off we went after purchasing the tickets to the travellator that goes up to the mountain. At this point - you can imagine a image of mount Everest - but smaller. All high and mighty and white. On the way up - TA somehow managed to lose one of his glove and was already worried about his survival ( TA and cold weather - not a good combo). Once we got up- it was all awe and all - but god the wind was like a storm. There was this small little restaurant up on the top - and there's only one by the way. We rushed to the restaurant, and a big guy opened the door for us saying that they were not opened yet. For a while, I thought we will get Raihaan to play with snow for a while and then go back. But the guy told us to come in anyways. TA was so grateful to that guy - that he actually bought a couple of hot chocolates, coffee, waffles and french fries in the 4 hours we stayed put there.
|Me - very chilled|
Truth be spoken - I hate the snow. It was so windy, so chilly and so scary. Everyone knows I m a fat, overweight woman and it takes a lot of effort for the wind to move me. But I felt being pushed around by the wind. I had to constantly move around so that I will not be pushed here and there. I will not fly for sure, but if I trip and fall - I am pretty sure I can roll all the way down. I will have then created a new sport for the Winter Olympics called Rolling. I had to watch out for Raihaan too lest he rolls all the way down too.
|Raihaan and snow|
In short - we managed to spend 5 hours cooped up in the restaurant with a very happy child. The restaurant closes at 5pm. But we have to be down at the bus stop by 4.30pm at least since we now Norwegians are very punctual. I was worried the driver will not wait for anyone there. So we had to drag Raihaan back to the travellator and whoosh all the way down. A majestic sight of course all the way down. And on the way down - TA spotted his lost glove. When we touched ground - TA asked one of the guides to help him recover his gloves, which they did 15 minutes later!!! I was surprised they helped. If it was me - I would say poda! Nice people these Norwegian folks.
So we waited at the bus stop. We were early like 5 mins early, but waiting in that awful cold every minute was like being in an eternity and I so badly wanted to go back to the comfort of my room. The bus did not arrive at 1655, but at 1710. No matter how late - we got the bus, paid the money and reached room safely. I am not adding other minor details on how we managed to lose Raihaan's gloves on the connecting bus back from Moa - or the fact that TA ran back to the terminus to get them back only to find that the bus was not there anymore.
This whole snow snow drama was yesterday. Today morning, after breakfast we checked out from our hotel in Alesund, said our goodbyes and flew down to Oslo by Norwegian ( that's their flight name.Just Norwegian) Better leg space than the sardine SQ flights we flew in long haul to CPH. Anyway - we arrived Oslo like 40 mins later and checked into this budget hotel in this city itself.
We chose this hotel for two reasons - the airport shuttle drops in front of this hotel, and its not far away from the DFDS wharf. P Hotel - ( that's where we are now for one night only) is a very small hotel - cannot expect much from this. We did go out to get some bread - but being Sunday and all - its almost a ghost town. Thankfully no snow in the city, but cold wind as usual. We walked in the city central for a while, and then came back to the room to chillax.
I hope tomorrow's adventure will be a better one. Looking forward to our cruise to Copenhagen,