A prime minister’s odyssey

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Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg finally got home to Norway over the weekend, four days after he started what turned into an extremely long trans-Atlantic journey.

Norway's Prime Minister Stoltenberg talks with reporters in Washington

Stoltenberg had been in Mexico, Washington DC (photo) and finally in New York on official business when airports started closing because of a volcanic cloud moving east and south from Iceland.

Stoltenberg and several aides were at the airport in Newark, ready to fly home to Oslo Wednesday night when their flight was cancelled. They ended up spending the night in New York and Stoltenberg ran the government from an Intercontinental Hotel near the UN building.

Then the odyssey really began. When it became clear there would be no flights to Oslo or other Scandinavian capitals on Thursday either, Stoltenberg and his crew opted for a flight to Madrid. They’d hoped that they’d be able to fly north from Madrid after the cloud passed over.

Stoltenberg’s group finally did get a flight to Basel, in Switzerland, and then they started driving. Stoltenberg talked to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) along the way and, sounding like he had a cold, admitted he was getting tired of the long journey. To kill some time, he talked on the phone, sent off text messages and reports via Twitter and Facebook.

He finally could report he was approaching Norway on Saturday. He told newspaper Aftenposten that he stayed in contact all the way with his fellow government ministers, “especially (Transport Minister Magnhild Meltveit) Kleppa.”

Views and News staff