I know lots of people want to travel and never get the chance. I have had the privilege to let my feet touch 3 continents Africa, Europe, and North America. In the winter of 2009, I visited Europe for the second time in my life on a visit to Sweden.
In Sweden, I stayed in a city in the province of Östergötland in eastern Sweden called Norrkoping. While in Norrkoping I was invited to train with FC Norrköping 2004 a 4th division football team. Much to my surprise while training with the team for the first time it began to snow. This was my first snow experience. Any child will describe their first experience seeing snow as magical. I can tell you it is just as magical when you experience it for the first time as an adult. However, it was extremely cold, I will never forget how cold it was.
My next stop was Sandeford a coastal city on the western shore of the Oslo Fjord in Norway. I flew there via Moss Airport Rygge, now closed due to the air passenger tax introduced on all flights from Norwegian airports. I toured Oslo and surroundings for two weeks on a bus/train tour. The scenery was breathtaking, with lots of mountains, green spaces, and museums. The people of Norway were very warm and welcoming to tourists. Of all the places I have traveled to this was one of my favorites.
I was lucky enough to be in Oslo when then newly elected President Barack Obama was being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." I heard Obama was going to appear on the balcony of Grand Hotel Oslo to wave to all who came to witness him being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I knew this was something I could not miss and made my way to the hotel to see if I could snap some pictures. I did not anticipate how large the crowd would be to see President Obama. There was a large police presence there to control the crowd. The onlookers were divided into two camps those who came to cheer and express their excitement on Obama's win and those who came to protest because they felt he did nothing to deserve such a prestigious award. Much to my dismay I unintentionally ended up in the crowd of people protesting against him receiving the award. The scene was crazy, they had banners and were shouting and chanting their opposition. While trying to get my bearings and get away from the protestors, Obama appeared on the balcony. The protestors made it difficult for me to see the president. As a result, I was only able to raise my phone and get a few pictures of the Grand Hotel Oslo (not the president) when he appeared and waved to the crowd.
As the crowd begin to disperse, I made eye contact with a tall, beautiful girl. I took a chance and waved at her, much to my surprise she waved back. I made my way through the crowd towards her and her friend. I introduced myself and chatted for a bit. I love meeting new people and having new experiences so when they invited me to join them at a party I agreed to go. We made our way to a restaurant on the westside of Oslo close to the Grand Hotel Oslo. Upon arrival, they introduced me to the rest of their colleagues who turned out to be plain-clothed police officers. We had enjoyable conversation and I learned they all had been stationed in different African countries during their training and had great experiences in their respective countries. Although none of them had been stationed in my home country of The Gambia. However, some of them were stationed in neighboring Senegal which has a similar culture to The Gambia. We enjoyed our food, danced, and talked long into the night. At the end of the night, some of us exchanged contacts and said goodnight. This was one of my favorite trips and I cannot wait to go back again someday.