Part III: Bodø, and a Widerøe Dash 8 to Tromsø.
Last time, I left off in Trondheim, after visiting the city; the hotel, P-Hotels Brattora, was decent accommodation at a reasonable price (695 NOK), but more than in OSL
due to the number of hotels in Trondheim being much less than that in Oslo. The room was a decent size and the Nordic-style decoration made it look bigger than a cluttered Southern European style would. All in all, a decent hotel, next to the train station, but nothing spectacular. They hang the breakfast on the door handle, so when we exited the room around 7 am, we found it there and it was easy to take it to the train station as is—no fussing about. Well done!
Once we checked-out and made the long walk to the train station (as I said before, the next building over), we found our train to Bodo already there. Since we had bought tickets at separate times (299 NOK 3 months in advance, 399 NOK 2 months in advance), we had seats in different cars.
However, when I entered my assigned wagon, I found my seat occupied by some kids. Well, I thought I might be in the wrong place. In turns out, I was not, but that I was reseated in car 5, seat 20. Coincidentally M was also seated in car 5, so I was more than happy to move. Once I took my seat, I let her know about this development. We left soon thereafter. After the conductor checked that we had tickets (a bit of a problem here too—my ticket wasn't transferred to my new seat so the conductor had to go see the other conductor to check), we moved together since no one was seated next to me anyway. BTW, you can't choose seats when you buy tickets on NSB, at least for the special price ones. This is similar to what happens in Romania when you buy a train ticket on-line, so no problem. I got window seats anyway. However, I must say that train companies in general seem to suffer from a number of problems in organization. This transcends borders, as it were. The procedure was much easier than at Deutsche Bahn, where the ticket control was strict. Here in Norway, it was very fast and no one scrutinized anything.
Well, as you might know, Hell station is pretty close to Trondheim, and even closer to TRD
Hell shopping center?
Views from between Trondheim and Bodo:
Near the Arctic circle:
Overall a nice journey, albeit a long one (9h 50'), and not as scenic as the Oslo-Bergen train ride. It's still some nice scenery, just not as “impressive” as the other journey.
That leaves in Bodø, a small town in Northern Norway, beyond the Arctic circle, which means 24-hr daylight (though the Sun would go below the horizon for the first time in a long time that night). There are not that many hotels in Bodø, so the best deal I found was a non-refundable double room at the Radisson Blu Bodø, for 796 NOK. The hotel was not that new, but it was the highest class hotel I stayed at throughout this journey, and the check-in occurred quickly and without issue... The in-floor heating in the bathroom was intense and very pleasurable. No one wanted to exit the bathroom to go eat and visit the town
We stopped to eat at Paviljongen, which is somewhere not exactly a full-service restaurant, in the sense that you got your own drinks/water, but the meal would be delivered to your table, with payment ahead of time at the bar. The food was good and for 175 NOK, I had a steak with potatoes, salad and a couple of sauces/dressings. Very good meal IMO, at a decent price for what I got. I suppose the meat wasn't as good as the meat at some steakhouses in the USA, but it was perhaps more flavorful all things considered. I'm a big fan of red meat, and this beef passed my trial by eating.
Afterwards we strolled around town until it got dark. Oh, yeah, that's right... It didn't, so we got back reasonably late. Bodø is a nice town, you could hear and see Dashes and Boeings taking off every once in a while, and the flowers were in full bloom so there was a pleasant aroma filling the air.
Here's the hotel:
From the restaurant:
Some islands off the coast:
Bodo's main attraction for non aviation fans:
Mountains from the city park:
Hotel room after our return (around midnight, then, I think—btw, the hotel was right next to a construction site, and they were hammering away even at midnight):
After a good night's sleep and with the confidence of having the airport just under a kilometer away, we headed to the Aviation Museum via the city park—checking-out and storing our bags in a room near the reception.
Control tower and airfield view:
F28 view and cockpit view:
The museum was split into two parts, civil and military, as well as the control tower part—arguably the most interesting since it gives a good view over BOO
as well as what seemed to be a live ATC transmission, and the scheduled arrival times of aircraft here. Nice touches, and a good place to hang out for aviation geeks. I believe entry was 80 NOK with student discounts, an OK
price all things considered. Since this is the holy grail for someone sharing this interest, it is well worth it, although the F28's missing engines disappointed me. The military part is arguably more interesting but since I'm more of a civil aviation fan (when am I gonna ride in a military jet, anyway?) I still liked the civilian part a bit more.
Afterwards we headed towards the airport via the hotel; even with bags the distance to the airport seemed reasonably short and it took just about 15 minutes to reach BOO
. As we got within 200 meters of the airport it started to rain very lightly—on and off—it seems like we got there at the perfect time.
They even had a shower room at BOO
After printing our boarding passes and dropping off our bags we headed towards security—not not before stopping to grab a bite at the restaurant they had. A special offer for an Asian dish (not really described, but it was an Indian curry IIRC) for 130 NOK (small portion) plus 29NOK for a small cup of tea. It's OK
for an airport in Norway. The portion wasn't that small either, and it came with rice and bread. Very good, actually!
Dashes waiting on the apron—hey, look, the one towards the back is a -200, LN
Security opened only one lane but there weren't many flights leaving BOO
around that time so it went quite quickly.
Gate 16 for our flight to Stokmarknes/Skagen and Tromso:
: not that scary:
Dash 8-100, LN
first flights on a Dash and with WF
Seeing as Wideroe doesn't do assigned seating, I made sure to queue up nice and early; once the Dash arrived I took a couple of pictures and lined up at the gate. Looking at the weird placement it seemed not all rows would have a good window view so I wanted to avoid that—well, on board it was clear that indeed every row does at least offer a view outside, so no reason to rush
Well, it was still a while before we were allowed to board—the pathway to the aircraft is covered but it's stairs only so passengers with reduced mobility had to take the staff elevator down and were led to the aircraft. This took a while but once everyone settled in, we were allowed to board. Don't think I heard English during the boarding process! Well, a flight to Stokmarknes probably doesn't see that many passengers that don't speak Norwegian.
With a 39-seat aircraft, the boarding process can't take that long—and it doesn't! Soon we were ready to go, boarding completed.
Safety demo—same as with SAS, done during Norwegian announcements, with an English summary afterwards.
Dash 8 safety card:
Soon we were on our way, engines started and we headed towards the west for a runway 25 take-off. Of course, being a Dash, we didn't go all the way to the end of the runway, just an intersection take-off today. After probably 500 meters or so, we took-off. Seemed very fast, a 17 second take-off roll if I remember correctly. The flight time to SKN was announced as 25 minutes, and indeed, the time passed very quickly.
Mountains/plateaus on our way to SKN:
Cabin view, looks lovely:
We were served a small chocolate by Wideroe, a nice touch, even on a 25-minute segment. Small and sweet indeed.
Soon it was time to approach SKN, which was, as you expect, quite scenic in itself. We descended through mountain peaks, went past the airport and then did what seemed like a very sharp 180 degree turn to line up with the 900 meter long runway at Stokmarknes. Landing was exciting, as it was the shortest runway I'd ever landed on.
Little terminal building and tower:
All but 4 or 5 passengers disembarked at SKN out of the 39 that had been on the flight here (well 40, as I believe someone was in the jumpseat). That means that not many people choose these milk runs, I guess. Anyway, we were supposed to fly to ANX (Andenes), when I had booked this flight, before reaching TOS
. However, WF
adjusted their schedules and SKN-TOS
became non-stop. What a shame
The passengers from SKN embarked and I believe there are 37 passengers going to TOS
today, just the backward-facing seats empty (I may be mis-remembering here, though). Flight time to TOS
was not announced, but it was somewhere around 35-40 minutes, a bit longer than from BOO
SKN terminal--arrivals to the left, departures to the right:
Cabin view in SKN:
Take-off on Skagen's miniature runway (we barely needed half of it!)
The flight to TOS
was scenic—and the weather was a bit better than at SKN, which meant better pictures. I had switched seats with M in SKN, so she had this view and took the pictures. You know me, I like airports of which no one has ever heard so I wanted the approach into SKN over that into TOS
After we left SKN I went to investigate the lavatorial facilities... Shockingly, there was no place to wash your hands, just some wet towels IIRC. Well, there's not much room in the Dash!
Well, this is close:
Arrival in Tromso meant a bunch of picture taking of the apron and a bye-bye shot to LN
-WIR, our old friend
Arrival in Tromso:
We couldn't find the airport bus stop near TOS
so we eventually bought tickets for the Airport Shuttle they had there—90NOK return, a bit too expensive for what it is. Then again, bus tickets would've been 56 NOK, so not a huge difference anyway. We were dropped off one block away from our hotel and walked there. The City Living Hotel provided us with a large-ish apartment (well, for a hotel room, anyway), for 790 NOK a night, complete with kitchen, cooking tools, etc. Not bad. The shower was awkwardly placed, so it might be a problem if you're not reasonably thin—you might not fit through the shower doors.
The bus stop is behind the parking lot. Not on the main road that passes by the airport, but on a street... You can't really see it from the airport, but it's there
Thanks for reading everyone, and comments are always appreciated!
Next part will feature pictures from Tromso, Longyearbyen, the SAS flight to LYR and maybe, (but probably not), the return to OSL
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