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.