My 1st full day in Norway
Oslo Travel Blog› entry 1 of 13 › view all entries
Get up, get ready, Drive into town! Typical event, typical day - simple enough right ? I mean how many times have we all done this before ?? Oh but wait, i woke up in EUROPE this morning and I am going to visit Oslo the largest city in Norway(i think its the largest??? ha ha). My 1st time in a foreign country where english is not the primary language. Typical? i say "not quite" !
So my friend Liz and i head into Oslo around 11:00am or so, after sleeping in (my body clock is a little off - 9 hours difference). We park the car and right away we are in the old Oslo S train station which has been converted into retail shops and like a little small indoor market.
I exhange my $ and the norwegian currency is "pretty", and they are handing me $200 and $500 dollar bills? and a $20 coin - ok, this is kinda cool and different.
I check out my first souvenir store and it is very nice and all is well until i look at the prices and do the curency exchange math in my head. Holy cow????? I fealt like i was in the forum shops at Ceasars in Las Vegas = $$$$$. ha ha, well maybe not quite :) $30-$35 for a normal t-shirt, $10 for a shot glass, $2-$3 for a postcard... deep breath! 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. The last time i traveled out of country the US dollar was still doing ok for starters. Now you add the weak US dollar, combined with Norways high tax's and also its high wages, etc. and wa-la, a sudden dose of reality for shane that the spending $ for the trip might need to be re-thought.
We leave the old Oslo S and head up the main strip which ends at the royal castle. As we leave we see a cool statue of a tiger(mmmm lunch photo), 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 cheesburger costing about $15NOK(norwegian kroner) hmmm thats like $3 US, what??? for a cheesebuger at Mickey D's ?? I am laughing a bit as i am feeling agony, and all of a sudden i am not as hungry....lol ( i remember a few years back in the states where a cheeseburger was 49 cents on sunday or something?)(and where is the 99cent menu...lol)
We continue up and we see lots of cool statues, i buy some better gloves (really warm and only $20 seems 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.
We come upon an outdoor skating rink which is a new site to me for sure, uh that means it has to stay below freezing right? :) then we head over to the Hard Rock cafe, 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 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 like where is the wal-mart ? lol like i said i am 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 do it quite well, so after a while i talked on my own without having liz ask stuff 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.
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 perfect. (This day marked the 2 year anniversary a serious car accident she was in, so she wanted to have a good fun day and go to dinner, sort of needed a good day to help balance out the memories a bit. So i decided dinner was on me, as i had told her prior to the trip) Now maybe this was not Norwegian food, but i have never been to a Peppes pizza before and i ordered a pizza i had never heard of before(some kind of cajun something :) The place is really cool, never seen a restaurant like this(pizza or no pizza), it was i think atleast 2 floors up(maybe more? memory) and we were taken upstairs to be seated(2nd floor).
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 america 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 from a long day(especially liz who suffers from neck problems from the accident), but she had lots of fun, seeing her city as she says "in a different way" than she had before.