DAY 22(May 15)
I woke up late today with almost no time to eat breakfast. I did a hurried rune draw and got Hagalaz, hail, the destructive forces of nature. I thought about it a minute and decided that I would internalize that; I would become the destructive force of nature, I would be the hail, and the hammer.
We got on a bus and rode it to the train station. After much waiting around we finally got on a really fast (+100 mph) train, and in about ten minutes we were in downtown Oslo. There was a film crew with us the whole way watching us get on the train, ride the train, and get off the train.
When we got off we took a walk through the city. I found it to be unique to all other cities I have been in; the mix of old and new architecture was especially interesting to me. Our walk eventually led us to the royal palace, where Henriette was waiting.
We were divided into teams once again; I was on the red team with Dana, Jessica, Jonathan and Amy. For our first team challenge we were given 5 clues, the clues were about historical landmarks / sights that could be found in Oslo. We had to travel by our own means to these five points, and take pictures to prove we were there. The team that got to the final destination first would win.
We had staggered starts, and were timed separately. A coin toss determined that the blue team would leave 15 minutes before us. When it was our turn to leave we took off, and decided to go to the famous sculpture park in Norway where we were supposed to find a furious baby. We rode the tram there and got information from people about the other clues on the way.
The rest of our journey took us to a famous statue of a glove pointing to where the city of Oslo was to be built, the opera house, another statue of a huge tiger in the middle of the city, the final destination was a balcony off a room of the Grand Hotel, the same balcony where Barack Obama accepted the Nobel peace prize, and a hotel where dignitaries of every stripe have stayed. When we got there we all stood on that same balcony and waved to the people below on the street…pretty cool.
Then there was more waiting while the results and pictures were tabulated. Each wrong picture would cost a 30 minute penalty in the total time. As Henriette was giving us the results we learned that we had gotten all the clues correct, our pictures were all right! The blue team it turned out had one picture wrong, so they got a 30 minute penalty. We were EXTREMELY confident at that point because we had moved very quickly and found all the correct places. Imagine our shock and dismay when it was announced that the blue team had beaten us by 5 minutes!
I was shocked, and even a little angry. It didn’t make sense! Then after the results it was explained to me that the difference was the blue team had chosen to take the subway instead of the tram to the sculpture park. The subway, apparently is a much quicker form of transportation. We had no idea. The blue team had gotten lucky at the last minute and a Norwegian on the street advised them to take the subway. Oh well…sucks for us, we have to play the cards we are dealt. Tomorrow the blue team will have a slight advantage on the next competition. Things happen the way they are supposed to…that’s hagalaz.
We are all thinking that tomorrow we may be Russ, we are looking forward to that, but we’ll see.
We found out this evening that we will be staying here for a whole week! At the swankiest hotel in Norway; the Grand Hotel. It’s kind of hard to believe.
The Grand Hotel is one of the most beautiful buildings I have been in. I took some time to notice the intricacies and the art that is all through it, some of it very old, and the architecture is amazing. The whole city is wonderful though; statues everywhere, old stuff, new stuff, no garbage on the street. It is glorious, and I am a very lucky guy to be here. It is now 10:00 in the evening, 2200, and life is good.