Viking Travel Journal—Day 2

Site of Omar the Norwegian’s assault

Day 2 started in the same place day 1 ended––in the Lufthansa Lounge in the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

Day 2 ended with our arrival at the the hotel in Oslo, around 11 p.m.

What happened in between is already firmly cemented in GSB travel tour lore and likely will be talked about around camp fires for years to come.

Our flight from Frankfurt to Düsseldorf was uneventful, which is the way I like flights.

As we waited to board our flight from Düsseldorf to Oslo we learned Ann had arrived in Oslo, sans luggage.

Even worse, because she had changed airlines in Amsterdam, the luggage was not just late but lost.

When we finally landed in Oslo, we were pushing 33 hours since we had awakened the previous day mostly without sleep. We were looking forward to getting to the hotel and getting in bed. Unfortunately, our car service did not show up, so, we got into the first taxi in line, which is what one does at an airport.

I noticed almost immediately after leaving the airport that the taxi’s meter had already registered 40 Euros. A little later I asked our taxi driver––his name was Omar––how much it was going to cost for fare. He said 1800 Krones, which is about $225. That seemed excessive. While I was not doubting Omar’s driving skills, I didn’t think his skills worth $225. If it had been Simon Pagenaud or Helio Castreneves, I would not have questioned the fare. But I had never seen any Norwegian drive in the Indy 500, and I was pretty sure Omar the Norwegian––assuming he was Norwegian––had not.

Well, my instincts proved correct. I began Googling different websites to determine what the fare should be. The answers were consistent–about 750 Krones or $100. So, when we arrived at the hotel, before paying, I went inside and talked to the concierge who confirmed we were getting gauged, but he claimed there was nothing he could do. He also said the police would not do anything about it. Apparently, it is like the Wild West in Oslo.

So, I walked back out to the taxi where Omar was standing behind the tax with the trunk up. I noticed he had not taken all our luggage out. So I took out one suitcase and sat it on the sidewalk. Omar then slammed the trunk to keep me from getting our last suitcase out of the trunk. I started to open the trunk to remove what was lawfully ours and Omar physically attacked me shoving me with both hands to the chest to push me away from the trunk. Reflexively I shoved him back and in what seemed like an instant we were in a scuffle.

As I am mixing it up with Omar the Norwegian at the back of the taxi, my Southern, genteel, 86 and 89 year old mother and father-in-law are standing a few feet away looking on in horror. While I am in this physical altercation time slows down, and I remember being amazed at my cat-like reflexes. I hadn’t had to call on them for years. Good to know they are still there if I need them.

Fast-forward…we get our luggage, pay, and go inside to call the taxi company to register a complaint. Perhaps if it had been Pagenaud or Castroneves I would have been willing to show some grace, but I wasn’t feeling it for Omar the Norwegian. The concierge tried several times to call but could never get anyone to answer at the taxi company. By this time, everyone was tired after a day and a half of travel, and we decided to call it a night.

I’m not sure what the take-away is from this day. Maybe it will come to me as the story of this GSB study tour develops. GS

Leave a Reply