The Norwegian Wine Debacle of 2019

Every time I get a little cocky about my traveling prowess, something will happen that reminds me that I’m just a dope.

Case in point, two nights ago I arrived in Oslo, Norway. Now this isn’t my first time here, and I’ve learned, after many trips, that Oslo is very expensive. But there are a few tricks to save a few Krone. One is to buy your wine at the airport, which I did, knowing a glass in the bar is the same price as a whole bottle from Duty Free.

But it was a little late when I got to my hotel. Nothing was open to grab a bite except 7-11, so I bought a panini and headed to my room.

Once settled in, I realized I forgot to pack a corkscrew. I decided to call the front desk to ask if they had one I could borrow.

I looked at the phone in my room and there was no indication as to which buttons to push for reception. I hit zero…nothing. I hit nine…nope. I tried seven…nada. So I started looking around the desk for some instructions.

There was a sheet of paper on the desk with some safety tips and general information so I perused quickly for a number. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but was able to read “if you need help, dial 112.”

For those not familiar with it, 112 is the equivalent of 911 in the U.S.

I dialed.

“May I help you?” said the deep voice on the other end of the line.

“Yeah…do you have a corkscrew?” I asked

“Excuse me?”

“Do you have a corkscrew? I bought a bottle of wine in duty free, but forgot to pack a corkscrew so I was hoping I could come down and borrow one,” I continued.

“You called Emergency Services for a corkscrew?”

After apologizing, I hung up and found the number for the front desk. Problem solved.

I really wish this were the end of the story. It’s cute, tidy, short.

But it’s not. Last night is part two of the tale.

I got to my room and passed out for a short bit. I woke up and was going to work on some photos and finished off the bottle from the night before. I kind of wanted another glass, and then remembered the corkscrew debacle from the night before, and noted the time. Since it was after midnight, the bar downstairs would be closed and I wouldn’t have access to, apparently, the only corkscrew in the hotel.

So I moved into MacGyver mode.

I had done the “bottle in the heel of a shoe against the wall technique” with success before, but it was a no go last night. After a couple of other unsuccessful attempts at tricks I saw online, I decided to take the file of my large nail clippers and push it between the cork and the glass, and force the cork on down into the bottle.

If you can picture this, I’m on the floor, kneeling over the bottle like I’m giving it CPR, pushing this cork in. Just as the cork popped down, wine squirted up, and I mean UP, making the entryway to my hotel room look like a crime scene. I looked like some psycho in a movie who had just hit an artery.

There was wine splattered all over me, the walls, the door…. So I grabbed a towel, and, of course, hotel towels are always white so there isn’t hiding anything. As I was wiping up the mess, I thought how funny it would be to leave it, get some white chalk, and make the outline of a body on the floor. I’m sure housekeeping would have appreciated the humor.

After all was cleaned up and tidy, I sat at my desk to pour a glass of wine and work.

I tipped the bottle, but nothing came out. The cork had floated back up and just slightly plugged the hole.

Of course I decided to grab a pen off the desk and poke the cork back down. However, in doing so, I had a repeat of the earlier splatter incident.

After a second cleanup (picture my towel at this point), I tried one more time to get my glass of wine. I tilted the bottle, opening over my glass, and gently poked the cork in with the pen, like a dispenser, and let the wine flow.

“I’m so smart,” I thought as I tilted the bottle upright, as the pen fell into the bottle.

I was tempted to call 112 for assistance. I didn’t. I drank my glass and went to bed.

I hope nobody in housekeeping decided to finish off my bottle for me…that Primitivo would have a slight ink finish.

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