Mission To Halden

This morning I was tired, more than I have been in a considerable time. This fatigue is not due to partying, for which I am glad, though it is due to a certain lack of sleep. Mostly, however, a journey to Norway is to blame.

Our friend Nina went to the vegetarian fare in Halden, to show her vegan shoes, and our family decided to follow, knowing from previous experience that it would be a sterling weekend. Normally on these occasions, Jo helps out behind the counter and I, along with Nina’s husband, Daniel, look after the children and generally have a good time. And so it was to be this time, too.

We set off after work at four o’clock on Friday afternoon; Our hired van was a new Mercedes Vito, spacious and rather pleasant; Our destination was Halden, a tourist town in the south west of Norway, just over the border from Sweden.

Our journey went well, with the exception of Freya gaining a companion in the form of a tick. How she noticed, I do not know, since the tick had found its home in her armpit, and had not long resided there. We soon put an end to its free ride by stopping at a roadside petrol station and borrowing a pair of tweezers. One tick free armpit later, we were once again bound to Norway, arriving at our hotel a little before midnight.

I did not sleep well. I don’t know how much the stuffiness and temperature of the room played a part, but I missed a few hours of sleep that would have given me the rest I wanted. Saying that, it did not affect me, and our early morning, fuelled by a hotel breakfast, began well. Nina and Jo took the van to the festival, whilst we walked the reasonably short distance through town and up, up, up to the fort where the event was to take place. The town itself is quite charming, especially viewed from the fortifications.

The fort was not what I had imagined it to be. It was much, much bigger and covered a huge area. The various views that were offered from the many vantage points were incredible, and kept us entertained for a good portion of the day, whilst Nina and Jo were busy selling there wares inside a badly lit dungeon cell. When I first saw the position they had, I was quite angry: outside, the weather was showing no signs of being near the end of summer, and the many food stalls surely benefited, whilst I thought only a minority of tourists were going inside. Despite my negativity, many of those were spending time looking and buying shoes.

The overall event as quite well put together. It was difficult to guage how many visitors to the fort were there solely because of the festival, and I am inclined to think that a positive thing. Veggie fares held indoors attract the already converted, whilst this one blended into a well visited tourist attraction. Regardless the event attendance, Nina’s sales were not far behind a veggie fare in Oslo last year. I cannot speak for Nina, but she must have considered the day a success.

We left the fare in the early evening. The children, as we adults, had a fantastic day out, even if it took twelve hours plus travelling time there and back. We are hoping that the organisers share our opinion of the day, and a trip to Halden is on the cards next year.