Monday, March 31, 2008

How not to get where you want to go (Especially with your luggage)

If you haven't worked it out yet and haven't been following the news, we managed to be some of the first passengers to fly though BA's new terminal 5 at Heathrow, London. We were travelling from Norway to Singapore via London and, after landing in Oslo at 7:10am from the West Coast, we were to originally wait until 11:45am to fly out. However for those of you who weren't following at home, the opening of T5 didn't do quite as they had planned (especially in the six months testing they 'carried out' before it's grand opening). With issues from staff not being able to find parking spots to them then not being able to login to the computer system to the brand new baggage system shutting down in the early afternoon (more on that later).

Anyhow, the issues early in the morning caused our flight to be delayed by 2 hours. When it finally came, we all boarded and flew into London. After landing and driving to the terminal, we were informed that the automatic guiding system that guides the planes the last 15 metres or so to the gate hadn't been switched on yet and to hold on. We were informed a short time later that we were still waiting, and that the plane on the right was here 40 mins before us. Eventually they had to get someone to manually guide the plane in, but once that was done we still had to wait, as the person that would have switched on the guidance system was also the person that extended the gate to the plane...

After finally disembarking and making our way to the terminal we were greeted with the scenes that many of you may have seen on TV. As many flights had been either delayed or canceled, hundreds (and read here hundreds) were in line waiting to be rebooked. Thankfully though we weren't one of them, as our flight to Singapore was departing from the old Terminal 4. This however required taking a bus from one terminal to another which, like everything that day, was not to be underestimated. As it turned out, they had hired new bus drivers to run these routes from the new terminal to the old ones, ones that a) had no idea where they were supposed to go (ours getting lost on the way to pick us up) and b) ones that couldn't reverse, which lead to us driving around for a further 5 mins rather than reverse the 30 m we needed.

Starting to bring a long story short, we arrived at Terminal 4, waited for our flight and proceeded to Singapore. The flight was amazingly empty, perhaps due to many people not able to make connecting flights, as all BA flights from the UK and EU were rerouted through T5 that day. We landed at Singapore and were informed that our baggage wasn't on that flight. Further it was nowhere to be found. It appears that they were 2 of the over 5000 bags lost in the bowels of T5.

And now as I sit here typing this blog, three days after we landed, we still don't know where our bags are. They are not in the system, and London have stopped responding to Singapore's requests for information. We are leaving for Australia tomorrow and the likelyhood of our bags being here are less than none. Stay tuned :)

Norway: Part 3 - Walk in the snow

Monday turned out really fine after all that snow, so what else do Norwegians do? Go for a walk! This time was near the sea. We drove a little bit, then left the car and walked.

Ingfrid had 2 of her dogs with her.

As we went up, the views got better.

I never knew before, but there was a German fort from about 1940 when Norway was occupied by Germany in WWII.

Inside the watch bunker.

On top of the bunker looking at 2 of the 6 cannon sites.

The watch bunker from the front.

We walked back along the access road.

Anyway, that was the last hurrah in Norway. The time was over much too quick, but we do want to get home!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Norway: Part 2 - Around

Around the Haga farm, we found life much as usual. We got to relax at least. That was the first priority.

Second was to eat nugatti on bread. A lovely, more sugary version of nutella.

Liv and Leiv agreed. A few after dinner drinks and lots of talking - Norwegian on my part, poor Llew, but they talked English to him.

Saturday was not a public holiday, so after a shop, we drove around a bit. This was the high school that I went to in 96/97.

This is a nearby beach. It wasn't too cold, so we got a snack and sat and ate. 10 mintues of the breeze was enough!

Leiv usually makes dinner. This time was angler fish - fabulous.

Sunday was then rediculously snowy, so again, we stayed inside. It was Easter anyway, so we had a family dinner with the fish above.

Llew had to go play in the Norwegian snow. It was a little different from Indiana snow.

Monday was Liv's birthday so I practiced Happy Birthday with their current exchange student.
Llew wanted to make a cake - but not just one, three cakes in one. The bottom was brownie, the second hazel nut and nugatti (hazel nuts and nugatti between those two) and the top was raspberry (raspberry jam under that one). Then a fondant on top and all covered with icing. then white chocolate writing and ta-da!

Llew also made dinner - elk meatballs, deer braised in red wine, vegetables and tomato paste, vegetable gratin; dessert - coconut milk and pear and pear cider layered jelly.

The other thing Llew had to do was go and feed the calves in the barn. The milkers are at another place, the sheep are somewhere else too, so that just leaves the calves that were born in August.

Norway: Part 1

We arrived in Norway from Amsterdam on Wednesday night - Yeh, a long time ago, sorry. Thursday was really bad weather, blowing a gale, rain that was icy and half turning to snow at times, cold. Friday was a little better so we decided to go for a walk. Leiv and Leonardo (woof) came with us up into the forest.

We walked up the next road. In the middle of the photo, the red house was the Haga's house.

It was still cold - about 0C :) and that night was the coldest in Norway this winter so far.

Using technology in the middle of nowhere!

It was extremely muddy, but I had borrowed high boots. Llew's boots were lower so he had to be careful.
Finally we reached the hut in the woods and had drinks and hot pancakes. Yum.

Then we kept walking.