Remember I still kept the itinerary I have made last year for winter trip? Mira and I even made some cancellable hotel bookings in Lapland. In early Feb Mira told me that she read Norway was going to open soon for all travelers without quarantine and she would start to submit VISA application as soon as it opened. on Feb 12 Norway did announce that it has lifted all Covid restrictions and open their border to everyone who is eligible to enter. It says like this in their website:
Advice and rules for entry into Norway
From 12.02.2022 there are no requirements for testing, quarantine or registration upon arrival in Norway.
As soon as the news were out I quickly made appointment with VFS Global for Norway and started collecting all the required documents for Visa. I had to go to travel agents to make flights booking. I didn’t want to purchase the tickets yet (fully knowing the prices would keep going up) until Visas are approved. The uncertainty with Covid19 still lingering is high. In fact few days before appointments people close to us were infected with Covid so all us got tested again and Thankfully the test came negative.
Our visas were issued close to 2 weeks and I found out that flight from Lofoten to Oslo was already sold out, so I had to modify our itinerary. I also just realized that there is no private clinic in Lofoten which offer PCR Test with fit to fly certificate (We need that to fly home). There is 1 in Tromso but the price is too expensive. So instead of extending stay in Oslo, to accommodate PCR test requirement I added Bergen to itinerary because they have several private clinics which do PCR and while waiting for the result, we can do the famous Norway in a nutshell trip.
Finally after all those nights worrying if one of us would get Covid before our trip, those expensive plane tickets and the sudden Russia attack to Ukraine (totally not in my worst scenario), we somehow made it to the airport and queued for check in. The airport was BUSY! Not busy with families going for holiday. But it was crowded with a lot of young guys who apparently were sea men leaving for US to start working again for cruise ships. This outlook is promising which means travel for holidays is indeed going to resume again, Yay!
We finally were given priority check-ins as we have done online check in and the officers spotted young children traveling with us. Qatar airlines did not ask for our PCR nor Vaccines certificate, though we still took PCR test anyway before we left to ensure that all of us are healthy. I have looked up Qatar airlines and called their CS in Doha to confirm that Qatar will only be asking for documents as per destination country requirement. As Norway doesn’t ask for documents other than VISA so does the airlines. While inquiring to Qatar, I also learned that they no longer has email address and no Indonesian telephone numbers. An inquiries will have to be made thru calls to their listed Customer Service number. I do feel this is degrading our rights as customer because we can no longer have confirmation in writing from the airlines.
First Leg Jakarta to Doha departed on time and when we landed for transit in Doha, we were shocked to see how busy it was. It was as busy as pre-pandemic life. I guess everybody have moved on and resume mobility again.
Second leg Doha to Oslo also departed on time and we landed in Oslo on schedule at 13.20 the next day. Clearing immigration and claiming baggage took around 1 hour. We looked around for Lyca mobile kiosk at the airport as I wanted to buy Norway sim card mobile. Unfortunately the kiosk at the airport no longer exist so I had to buy roaming package from Telkomsel. Next time it is best to already purchase a European SIM card before leaving and put it inside a MIFI.
Finally landing Oslo!!!!
We only stayed 1 night in Oslo as we wanted to go straight to Lofoten so we booked the Raddison Blu airport Hotel. It is more expensive Vs staying in the city but it is only a few meters walking from the airport and it was nice to be able to go straight to our Hotel after a long haul flight. We stayed in a suite room converted to Family Room so it was very spacious and felt like we have 2 bedrooms.
Alyssa excited seeing snow in front of our Hotel
The boys felt tired and opted to take a rest in Hotel room while Alyssa and I ventured out to Oslo city. More about our quick trip to Oslo city here.