Shock horror, Richard is beaten to breakfast this morning! At least 4 guests are early risers, heading out to explore Tromso for a couple of hours. Breakfast at the Radisson Blu Hotel is buffet style with a nice selection, and somewhat busy at peak times. The waiters and waitresses work hard to replenish the buffet and clean tables ready for the next guests. Sometimes they are rather too keen, so we find it's best not to leave your dining table totally unattended if you're visiting the food buffet, otherwise you lose all your cutlery and crockery! Still, better to have too much attention than no service at all.
Late morning we all gather in the hotel lobby and join our coaches for the transfer to Tromso Airport. Although Richard and Dawn stayed up last night to check everyone into the flight and print boarding cards, we still need to obtain the flight luggage tags on arrival at the airport. This is done at self-service kiosks, which is quite fun. Dawn helps here, while Richard does the next step. Once you have your luggage labels you proceed to a self-service bag drop. Basically you attach the luggage label to your bag, put the bag on a conveyor, Richard scans it (like scanning your food purchases at the supermarket) and if the system approves, the conveyor starts automatically and your bag disappears. Everything is self-service. We can spot only two airline staff on duty. Give it a couple of years and we'll be making our own coffee and flying the aircraft too.
While we wait in Tromso Airport the snow begins to fall quite heavily. Airport snow ploughs and snow blowers come out. There's lots of activity but no aircraft at our gate. The runway is closed for a while. Richard begins to estimate how long it will take to dog sled to Oslo (where we have our flight connection). However, the Norwegians know what they're doing when it comes to wintery conditions. The runway is re-opened and aircraft start to land. We're about an hour late but at least we take off. Landing at Oslo we now have a quick connection which wasn't the original plan. The gentlemen of the party are grateful however, because this cuts out the opportunity to visit the duty free shops. We make it to our London flight and land into Heathrow pretty much on time. All luggage is retrieved and we head home. Happy holiday memories everyone!!