The Knack to Human Flight. Sorry, I Mean Happy Ferrying

Norway, having a somewhat fjordy coastline, has a lot of ferries.

Good view? Yes. Good food? Rarely.

Good view? Yes. Good food? Meh.

Being stuck in a ferry queue and damning the world is one of the most common Norwegian pastimes. Sometimes we also damn our fellow motorists for being too many and the shipowners for operating too few ships. We never damn ourselves for being too late, though.

Surviving the misery that is ferry travel relies on a few smart choices. Some are obvious: Bring a book. Take slow and deep breaths. Never have children (this goes for all travels by car, of course). And give yourself a reward.

Now, the last one – that is the knack to happy ferrying.

The ferry pancake. A lifesaver - or is it?

The ferry pancake. A lifesaver – or is it?

Side note: The knack to – that is one of my favourite expressions in English. I very much like the sound of it. Douglas Adams wrote that the knack to flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Well, I never learned that. But I try to say knack a lot.

Back to the ferries. Yes, the knack to happy ferrying is enjoying something called a “svele,” a thick pancake made with sodium bicarbonate and hartshorn. It’s the staple food onboard ferries, and as such, something that I will from here on refer to as ferry pancakes.

There are two schools of thought concerning the consumption of ferry pancakes. One swears to adding buttercream and sugar, which is fine. The other prefers brown cheese, which is just plain wrong.

Both schools, however, agree that just the thought of a coffee and a ferry pancake can relieve tensions that otherwise would have led to acts of bloody aggression while queuing. The svele is a peacekeeper.

Coffee. Pancakes. Self service.

Coffee. Pancakes. Self service.

Rough seas are appreciated. You don't eat when you're seasick.

Rough seas are appreciated. You don’t eat when you’re seasick.

This concludes the part of this blog post that I wrote in the queue, before driving onboard and actually having one of these ferry pancakes. And now we’re through the looking-glass.

Because holy mother of mercy – holy mackerel with a mohawk! – that’s… actually quite nasty.

That’s not the way they are supposed to taste. They were supposed to be an instant relief to all ferry-related worries. Not like this doughy, bland and tasteless icky sweet loaf of mediocrity.

Could it be a bad sample? One simple bad product among the sublime pieces of heaven that my brain tries to recall? Better have another one just to be sure…


Damn you, world!

Sometimes when the ferry food is really bad, there is no option but evacuation.

Sometimes when the ferry food is really bad, there is no option but evacuation.

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