18 September 2007

Back from Oslo

Back after a 3-days "city break" in Oslo. It was ok, I guess. Smooth experience: everyone will speak English and nobody will ever judge you from appearances (they kept trying to talk to us in Norwegian first). Lots of smiles, lots of new buildings, lots of money (it's freakingly expensive, even for people coming from "rip-off Britain"), lots of tech, lots of water, lots of people trying to make the world a better place... We packed quite a few activities thanks to the Oslo Pass, which you certainly want to buy if you are in town for one or two days; it looks expensive at first, but check the museum entrance fees and you'll see that it's extremely easy to break even in a couple of hours, plus it gives you free travel on all the (ubiquitous, clean and well-run) public transport.

To be honest though, I left with an "underwhelming" feeling that there was nothing to discover, nothing that wasn't perfectly organized, nothing terribly unique apart from the unique efficiency. Even bakeries all looked like classy joints straight out of the IKEA catalogue. Also, I expected more "Nordic specificity" but the city looks astonishingly like your average central-European town (plus the fantastic fjord). It looks like a very nice city to live in, but not the most appealing to tourists. If I ever go back to Norway, I'll probably skip Oslo and go straight to the northern fjords to enjoy the wilderness, which is the best thing in the country (as the fantastic panoramic movie at the Maritime Museum clearly demonstrates).


Anonymous said...

It's funny that you decided to visit Oslo at around the same time I returned from my post-PyCon UK holiday. We weren't on the same flight from Manchester, were we? :-)

I think you could say that Oslo doesn't really have that many memorable landmarks in the same sense that, for example, London does, and it doesn't seem to fit some Scandinavian city stereotype. The prices fit the Norwegian stereotype, but that just makes everywhere else look ridiculously cheap!

toyg said...

Hey David, didn't know you were full-time in Norway now! But I hope you got on a better airline than me (EasyJet will soon make you pay separately for the air you breathe...).

Is the winter really as dreadful as people say? It was certainly cold when we visited, but we had lots of sun... which in Manchester is a veeery rare sight.

Anonymous said...

Well, SAS were much better on the return trip than Brussels Airlines were on the way to Birmingham. I actually arrived just a few hours before talks started on the Saturday.

I've only experienced three winters here so far, and the last one wasn't as cold as expected but, yes, it can get quite cold, even in Oslo. Temperatures of -5C and less have been known to occur.