Sipping on a cold Ringnes at the bar which constitutes half of a right-angle of light-hued wood, the other half of which is the reception desk. The receptionist-cum-bar-staffer is on the reception side looking at a chart on the computer. The two other visible guests who had been sitting on the rectilinear sofas by the cuboid fireplace have just left the area. The efforts of the air-conditioning are the loudest constant. Welcome to Wednesday night at the Radisson Blu Haugesund.
It has been six years since I was last in Norway. Considering it was the first country I lived in with my wife, the destination to which I delivered two offshore projects and the nation in which my first child was born: a moment’s pause in contemplation.
Flying here from Denmark involved a connection via Oslo Gardemoen. The darkness and the half-metre of snow did little to assist my dimming recollections’ attempts to recognise the place but clearly the airport had changed and sprouted some new buildings. Its scrupulous cleanliness continues throughout.
Judgement of Haugesund must wait as this hotel is on the outskirts of town and I will not have an opportunity to explore the centre during this flying visit (no pun intended) to conduct an audit. One hopes that there is more to “The Homeland of the Viking Kings” (as proudly proclaimed at the airport) than meets the eye in this vicinity.
A drive out along the E134 is very encouraging. The beauty of the mountains and the fjords is majestic, even with eight oktas cloud cover and much of the water frozen. On a sunny day with blue skies it must be superb. Slartibartfast has every reason to feel proud.
A repeat of that drive awaits me in the morning. In the meantime I can again reflect upon the obscure ratios between room price, decor and catering quality in Norwegian hotels while wondering if they like Gardemoen will change.
…and so to bed.