My 1st full day in Norway
Oslo Travel Blog› entry 1 of 13 › view all entries
Get up, get ready, and drive into town! Typical event, typical day. Simple enough right ? I mean how many times have we all done this before ?? Oh but wait, today I woke up in NORWAY and this morning I am going to visit Oslo the capital and largest Norwegian city. My 1st time in a foreign country where English is not the primary language. Far from a typical day for me, but bring it on baby, I am excited with anticipation.
So my friend Liz and I head into Oslo around 11:00am or so, after sleeping in (my body clock is a little off because of the 9 hour time difference). We park the car and right away we are in the old Oslo train station which has been converted into retail shops and is similar to a small indoor market.
I exchange my American dollars for the nice looking Norwegian currency.
I check out my first souvenir store and it is very nice and all is well(good) until I look at the prices and do the curency exchange math in my head. "Holy slithery snakes Batman"(I was surprised) I fealt like I was in the forum shops at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas and everything was $$ (ha ha, well maybe not that bad :) . Dollars = $30-$35 for a normal t-shirt, $10 for a shot glass, $2-$3 for a postcard... take a deep breath Shane!
Ok, so maybe I might need to cut down on the gifts I was planning to buy ;) . I was trying to wrap my mind around all this, as I am used to different pricing and I am thrifty/careful with my money.
We leave the old Oslo Station and head up the main strip which ends at the royal castle. As we leave we see a cool statue of a tiger, and little did I know that Oslo is big on statues, but I would soon find out. One of the first things I saw was a McDonalds with a sign for a cheesburger costing about $15NOK(Norwegian kroner) hmmm thats like $3 US, what??? For a cheesebuger at Mickey D's ?? I am laughing at the same time I am agonizing over prices, and all of a sudden I am not as hungry as I was before lol.
We continue up and we see lots of cool statues, I buy some better gloves (really warm, and at only $20 it seems like a bargain considering my hands are freezing :) We look at clothes as well but just hard to imagine spending twice the $ for pants similar to what I can get back home. ( I say all this so the people that are not used to foreign travel will be a bit prepared for higher prices, perhaps I am they only one who gets so shocked and was so naive going in - only had 4 days to prepare for the trip). I will do a journal on more stuff like getting partial retail tax's back for tourists later perhaps.
We come upon an outdoor skating rink which is a new sight to me for sure, uhhh that means the outside weather has to stay below freezing right? :) Then we head over to the Hard Rock cafe, because I really want to get my brother a Hard Rock t-shirt! I have never purchased from the hard rock before, and now I am doing it where things are more $ in the first place, yikes. I see the style shirt I want, I do the math and its $53 US for a t-shirt that says hard rock with a cool dragon photo. Now, my brother would like that and appreciate it and say "cool" (but not $53 cool), and he could add it to his other 100 concert t-shirts and it will get worn occasionally but $53, maybe if it was sweatshirt? :) So I thought I would keep looking for him and I could always come back.
Now later on in the trip I would adjust and not be so bothered by the cost of things (like gas $9.00+ a gallon US) but this was a huge thing for me at first as I was on a budget for this trip and was thinking to myself "where is the evil wal-mart type place with cheap prices?" lol. Like I said, I am a bit in shock, not culture shock as much as $ shock :) I also want to mention, that the people are very understanding of people speaking English and most speak quite well, so after a while I talked on my own without me bothering Liz to ask stuff for me in Norwegian all the time.
We continue to take photos of more statues, as we head up towards the Royal Castle. The pictures for all of this area pretty much explain everything. Then after the castle we head back towards the station just taking in things we missed on the way up while being too busy with our cameras.
We then decided we were hungry and if we left right then we would be sitting in rush hour traffic, so we decided to just stay in town and eat. Liz had mentioned peppes pizza as we were walking and it was back towards the station, so it seemed perfect. This day marked the 2 year anniversary of Liz surviving a serious car accident, so she wanted to have a good fun day and go to a decent dinner( she sort of needed a good day to help balance out the memories a bit).
So we leave peppes with my wallet much lighter and we head back to grab some souvenirs and needed supplies (like a three prong power converter for my north american surge protector)(remember this when traveling = surge protector, converter and adaptors especially if bringing your laptop)(I only had two prong northern euro adaptors with me) so all that was done now and after walking around doing that and working off some of the food we decided to head home as we were a bit warn out(tired) from a long day(especially liz who suffers from neck pain due to previous accidents).