If you’ve ever seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1), you’ll be able to picture the scene where Harry is standing all alone in Privet Drive, about to leave for scarier times.
It’s kind of like that right now. I’m sat alone in my rented apartment in Reading, all remnants of my normal life either stowed away in my car, in Norway or in the bins outside. It’s a strangely hollowing feeling knowing that you can go from feeling comfortably whole amongst possessions, to strangely empty with the removal of a few key items.
I move out tomorrow, tonight is my final night in Reading. Tomorrow will be my last visit to watch Reading FC, a team I’ve strangely adopted, and then it’s back home for a few short days before the flight out to Oslo for real.
Four days ago, the scenery was completely different. It was yet another trip to Stansted airport to travel to Oslo, this time with the purpose of moving some of my stuff over there. In my luggage was my computer, monitor, various clothes and bedding items, as well as some other home comforts. Luckily I was able to rope in a friend to bring some extra luggage.
In typical fashion, and in keeping with the aged old tradition of airports screwing me over, my flight out to Oslo was delayed. Arriving at around 14:00 local time, and after the luggage was collected, the first action was to grab my rented car.
Problems arose first off when Sixt decided to give away the Volvo I’d decided to rent to another person. To their credit, the alternative they provided was far superior in every way, and I was now the proud (albeit temporary) owner of a Ford Kuga 4×4.
Driving in Norway is something I’ve had limited experience of, but after a bit of confusion figuring out the automatic gear box, it was plain sailing all the way to Hamar. A massive shout out to whoever manages Norwegian roads, despite previous heavy snowfall and minus temperatures, the roads were ice free, smooth and an absolute joy to drive on.
One of the most glaringly obvious things to note about driving in Norway is probably the sheer lack of cars. It’s pure bliss. I was on the E6 (a comparable road would probably be the M1 here), and the pure quietness of the roads is just a joy. When you do encounter other cars, everyone is driving sensibly, no one is looking considerably pissed off and generally, driving on Norwegian highways is stress free.
Made it to Hamar with no major issues, and found my new house easily! I had the chance to grab the keys in advance, and for the first time stepped through the door of my home for the foreseeable future.
I guess you could describe it as typically Norwegian? It’s Wood, hardwood flooring and cozy and inviting. Had a quick chance to meet my housemates kittens, who are curious and cute, and then it was straight off to IKEA.
Now this next part will probably sound a little like my love letter to IKEA, but for anyone kitting out a place with furnishings, IKEA is a godsend. I managed to acquire a bed, mattress, mattress topper, desk, chair, bedside cabinet, plates, cutlery, glasses and duvet for under 5000NOK, and another shout out to the staff of the IKEA in Hamar for being lovely and helping me translate some tricky words!
By this point it was a quick trip to CC-Stadion for my own “fuck it, lets just eat at Burger King” first night in Norway tradition, and after the refuelling, it was back to the house to assemble furniture, meet housemates and sleep. A third shout-out to my friend who came along on the trip, whom without his invaluable flat pack furniture building skills, would have left me sleeping on the floor.
The next morning was more flat pack building, before finally we had a bit of touristy time, and with the addition of the rental car, we decided to take the trip to Lillehammer to see what its all about.
The heavy fog and the sporadic nature of the trip left us with little plans other than to “drive around” and see what it’s all about. We ended up following the signs to the Ski-jump, which is a lot bigger than I first imagined, and the surrounding forests and nature were pretty breathtaking.
A little time spent in Lillehammer before it was time to take the two hour journey back to Oslo airport, again a pleasurable and enjoyable trip. No issues with the flight coming back, and my car pulled up into Reading about 01:00.
So this is now my final update in terms of move preparation. I’m prepped, ready and i’m going out there Tuesday. I guess there’s nothing else really to say other than, keep reading if you want to find out how terribly I do over there.