Tuesday, March 20, 2012


So it's true.

Oslo is Europe's most expensive city, and the second most expensive city in the world, only pipped by Tokyo.

To give some perspective, London is 30th on that list, Oslo is first.
Makes London seem like Thailand in comparison.

I arrived in Oslo, and the Brit collected me on the train. We really had the most wonderful weekend. Sure, we spent £12 on each St Paddy's Day Guinness we got, and had we taken a taxi from the airport to the hotel it would've cost £250. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY.

But we didn't. I can say though, that I had the most amazing salmon I have ever tasted in my life. Literally melt in your mouth stuff. When in Norway, eat Norwegian salmon. The fish might've swum in from Finland, but either way - Arctic fish is where it's at. Arctic fish are oily, flaky and pink and scrumptious. Best eaten raw.
None of this dry, tough as old leather stuff. Salmon is my favourite food. I eat it in similar consumption to air. So when I say the salmon was world class, I really fucking mean it. Cost aside.

Oslo is, as one might expect, ridiculously Nordic. Lots of clapboard houses, all painted red or mustard yellow with cute little wooden windows and steep roofs.
Oslo doesn't get the same glory child status as Copenhagen and Stockholm, and to be fair, they are slightly more beautiful cities.

Norwegian fashion. Chunky Scandi jumper much?
But what I liked about Oslo, was the fact that it's slightly off the beaten Scandinavian track. And it has interesting shit to see, like the new opera house that sits in the Oslo Fjord and is meant to look like an iceberg:

And the mahoosive ski jump that was built in 1952 and is used still for Winter Olympic events. The day was all misty though, so couldn't see it in all its glory. The Metro train wound up through the hills though, which was awesome. Since when does a subway train climb mountains? In Norway, that's where.

That thing is a ski jump. FYI. Sun came out after I saw it close up. Obvs.

Oslo also houses the world's largest statue park. Filled with emotive statues carved from stone, all meant to be existing between life and death.

And Akershus 'Slot' or Castle:

Oslo may be fucking dear, but all the above stuff you can see for free. So really, whose complaining?

It's expectedly clean, efficient, design-filled and the people are super friendly. ("HI!!") And rich. Rich socialists. Everywhere. Rich socialists? Only in the Nordics.

Can't stay there more than 3 days without bankrupting yourself severely, and I wondered why the 3 beggars in Oslo on the street chose to actually stay there. Why not beg somewhere warmer and cheaper? Like Spain? Move to Spain, your coffee won't cost you £6.

We also saw the government quarter, where the Oslo bomb detonated not 9 months ago by that right wing extremist dude.

The place is cordoned off, but you can see that all the windows of two buildings are blown out, and that they're still clearing the rubble and re-tarring the road where the car bomb had been placed.
It was really eerie, mainly because it felt very raw. The attacks shook Oslo not long ago. Even the church opposite the square had had some of its windows blown out. Bus shelters still held fractured glass - a reminder that it happened really recently.

And then the cold hard reality that after he did this, the fucker then drove to Utoya Island and killed almost 80 children at gunpoint. Pretty chilling, especially in a country like Norway which is filled with friendly little Viking faces. ("HI!")

The Brit is still there for work, and really miss him now.


Anonymous said...

Gee that's interesing never would have thought Oslo is the most expensive city in Europe, thought it would be a Swiss city as the cost of living seems pretty high in Switzerland. Well at least I know where to go to meet a rich dude thanks :P And 2nd most in the world, wtf, that's soooo weird, why is it like that???? please answer, really curious.


Peas on Toast said...

Hey Chan! It's a really good question actually, and don't know why for certain - but have my suspicions.

I'd take an estimated guess at the tax. Everything in Norway - and i mean everything - is taxed at at last 25%. Most Nordic countries operate high levels of tax due to their socialist model (government runs educationa nd health systems), as well as Switzerland. People get paid more there, taxed less on salary, but taxed more on items. The difference is that these governments actually give their people something to show for it - the only place where socialism really works.

Why Oslo is higher than Stockholm or Zurich say though, is perhaps because of the strength of the Norwegian kroner. None of these really expensive countries are on the Euro!

Those I believe are the main factors - Nordic socialism plus strong currency (bet you they're laughing all the way to the bank - they're NOT on Euro!)

The Chantal said...

Thanks for the great explanation!!!

I'm so upset Germany joined the Euro, the DM was strong now they're fucked bailing out all the loser countries.