Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Norway blog: part 1

It is always nice to get out of town for a while to go explore a new city, especially when someone else is footing the bill.

Back in April, I found out that I was chosen as one of the two UofA students that would partake in a week long course at the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway, along with students from UofC, UofS, University of Oslo, and the University of Tromsø, as part of the CaNoRock program.

After applying for travel grants, scheduling plane tickets, and hotel rooms the week finally came. After writing a statistics midterm on Friday the 22nd, I headed to the airport for my flight to LHR, and ultimately Oslo. Arriving late in the afternoon, we (I along with the other UofA student) didn`t head into the city. Instead we decided to head straight to the hotel to get some needed rest. The Esso On the Run looked familiar, but with different types of chocolate bars.

My jet lag prevention strategy was to not sleep unless it was synchronized with the final time zone. It seemed to work out pretty well. We woke up to an awesome complimentary breakfast at the hotel: waffles, bread, fish, cereal, yogurt, sausages, home fries, nom nom. I ate lots, and then hopped on the bus to the airport.

Waiting by the gate, the UofS students, Roman and Grant, met up with us, then Eric and Matt from UofC introduced themselves when they heard the word "theoretical" come up in our conversation.

We flew from Oslo to Tromsø, and then to the final destination of Andenes. Andenes is a small 1 gate airport with a military base. We hopped on the taxi that was waiting for us, and soon arrived at the rocket range. We had plenty of free time before the other students arrived, so we decided to go for a hike: straight up the mountain!

It was a little sketchy at the bottom walking over some boulders covered in grass, but I soon kicked it into overdrive and ripped up to the top. I traversed the ridge with the UofS students, eventually getting to the highest summit on the ridge at about 450m from sea level. The UofS students were motivated to summit when I told them that there was a logbook at the top. The weather was moving in and out, and I wasn't sure of when the sun would set, so it was a little risky.

After our adventure we played some Risk. Alliances were formed and broken.

Eventually the Norwegian students showed up, and the first dinner of the week was served: pizza, one of which had Tex-Mex toppings (Norwegians love their tex-mex). After dinner, we started to get to know the other students, but not without awkward silences (6.5 to be exact!).

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