Narvik, Norway

March 31, 2003
Weather: high of about 30ºF and sunny

In Kemi, Finland, we prepare for our long bus and train ride by getting provisions from a gas station, since the grocery store is closed. They have Mr Bean soda. I hope Su forgives us for not trying it, but she only asked us to eat one unidentifiable thing each day, and Julie already had some distressing gelatinous yogurt today.
The ride through northern Sweden is beautiful. It somehow feels very different from Finland, but it is hard to say why.
These are the hyper kids that made our train ride miserable. It was by far the worst train experience of the trip, including Vietnam and India. It was like riding in the middle of a high school lunch room for 3 hours. We're overjoyed to see them go.
We have no idea what we'll find in Narvik since our guidebooks don't mention it, but we have to go through it to get to Oslo. It turns out to be a perfectly pleasant place with a ski run practically in town and a view of a fjord from our hotel room. The town looks a little industrial because the economy is based on iron ore.
We don't see any Nordic Tracks, Nordstroms, or Norwegian Ridgeback Dragons. Maybe we'll find them further south on the way to Oslo.
We find out that there is a ski slope just five blocks from our B&B, so we just have to try it out. The tourist info booth says that there are plenty of places for beginners there. The ski patrol dude says there are no beginners in Norway, and there is only one run that is easy. (Actually he says Norwegian children are born with skis on their feet. Ow.) But the snow is great and we take our falls with good humor. After three hours, we're hooked.
The crowd of people at our B&B turn out to be the cast and crew for the Norwegian version of Survivor: 71 North. We were fighting with them for slices of cheese at the breakfast bar this morning and now they're filming a TV show on the very slope that we're trying to learn how to snowboard. (That clump of orange jackets is the cast being filmed. Probably gossiping about the member they just voted off the fjord.)

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