Last weekend I was a lucky fella, taking a trip to the north of Norway to visit a friend and his family who live up there.
While it feels like mid-autumn here in Ireland, winter is certainly getting itself established in Norway, with the country growing increasingly snowy as we flew north.
The views from the plane were very beautiful with endless fjords and dramatic mountains topped by recent snow, with the last of the colourful leaves of autumn visible in the valleys below.
I was listening to this on the flight up. It suited the view, but made me sad.
We took a boat trip through the fjords around town, and walked in the hills above. Having seen a fraction of the surrounding area I’d now love to go back during the summer when the midnight sun kicks in.
Most of my close friends live abroad. While they usually get home a couple of times a year we’re rarely all in the same place at the same time, so we try to co-ordinate a meet-up at least once a year. During May four of us went to drink wine in the Rheingau in Germany, so this was very much a bonus trip. It was also our first time up to see Mr Norway – who has been living in the north of the country for a couple of years – as his location is pretty remote. Another pal travelled from Belgium so the three of us were delighted to catch up, have a few drinks and listen to the music of our younger days.
Mr Norway and his wife are expecting their second child next April, after two miscarriages, so they are on tenterhooks like Irishmam and I. Fingers crossed we all get what we wish for this time.
On a separate note, pregnant women of Ireland are in a dilemma this week with regard to the swine flu vaccine. We’re being told by our health authority that it’s safe, but when you read references in the newspaper to unproven links to autism and other problems it’s very difficult to decide what to do. Our own doctor this week told Irishmam not to get it…and now the media and the overall authorities are saying yes.
So, do we avoid the jab and gamble that the flu won’t stop by our house, or take it and hope that the vaccine isn’t being rushed through the system?
I don’t know…I suppose we could head back up to Norway where perhaps it’ll soon be too cold for the virus to survive!