6 July, Norway – ‘All Over The Place – Europe, Part 2’
If I had a bucket list I’m not sure hurtling down the side of a mountain in a bobsleigh at 100 kph would have been on it. Maybe it would. I dunno. Everything I imagine I would have had on a bucket list has been ticked off over my years working on ‘All Over The Place’ (apart from seeing where my Dad spent the first few years of his life in Sri Lanka. Doesn’t quite fit our remit that one!).
Anyway, to find myself in said position we had to leave Finland yesterday. We said goodbye to the flat landscape of pine trees and lakes and just over an hour later found ourselves disembarking from a plane in Oslo, Norway. As we travelled down the dual carriageway in our bus to Lillehammer my first impression of Norway was that it was like Finland with hills. Once we arrived in Lillehammer we all nodded approvingly at the surrounding mountainside and fiord, and then shook our heads disapprovingly at the price of even a cheap meal in this country (Norway is the 2nd most expensive place to buy a Big Mac in the world!).
Went to bed with glorious sunshine outside my window and woke to torrential rain and cloud, which was a slight problem considering we were filming outside all day. I sighed, put on my waterproofs and gritted my teeth.
Actually, when I alluded to the fact that Naomi and I went bob sleighing today, that wasn’t strictly true. We actually took on the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympic bob track in a “wheel bob”. It is, as the name suggests, a bobsleigh on wheels, which gives you the chance in the summer to experience 3 Gs of G force as you thunder round corners unable to lift up your head. As the rain lashed down on top of the mountain we were strapped into our helmets and kidney belts (which help to stop you weeing blood from your kidneys shaking too much – nice!) and then we were left waiting with our “pilot” while they set up cameras below.
Once we finally set off we were feeling quite a sense of trepidation and I did my best to remember to keep sitting upright as much as I could to prevent hurting my back and neck. The nice thing about bob sleighing / wheeling is that it requires no real skill unless you’re the person steering the thing, and seeing as our pilot had over 900 trips chalked up on the course we were in very safe hands. In just over a minute we found ourselves at the bottom having negotiated 16 curves and spent the entire journey screaming as we were rattled from side to side as the course zipped by at a rate my brain couldn’t compute. As the camera was pushed into our faces to record our response I could barely speak. Isn’t it crazy what human beings do for fun?