We’ve been in Latvia for just over 24 hours and you think Norway would still be fresh in my mind, but it’s amazing how fast things get displaced when you need to make room for the urgent and important… i.e. how to buy food and how to get into our apartment.
Before we get lost (literally) in Latvia, I wanted to give you a few notable highlights about Oslo.
Walking the Kids
Oops. It wasn’t until after 2 days in Oslo and getting frustrated with the whiney state of the kids, did I start putting two and two together when I looked at my Fit Bit. Turns out the reason Alpha became quite ill the first day of exploring was that we’d walked the kids 16kms in 29 degree heat. Then we followed that up with a lighter day of walking 11kms in roughly the same weather. No wonder Lennox wrote a story that read: “I went to Norway and it was “boring”. I saw building and building. It was boooooring and the viking ships were boring. The most fun thing was the tubes.”
So lesson learned, we turn city, ‘non-walking’ kids into a ‘walk everywhere’ kids straight off. So we’ve backed off on that, and will work up their walking legs.
Most Norwegians are impressive with switching languages. They were so fluid with speaking one to the other that I often wondered if they were speaking English all along and I didn’t hear them correctly.
I really enjoyed the Norwegian language, it was fun to try and emulate and it seemed logical in a “I have no idea what you’re saying, but it sounds right” kind of way.
Something that surprised me was hearing Norwegian being spoken by people you don’t automatically associate with the language. You think Norway and you think of tall, blonde and viking-ish. You see someone with Asian, East Asian or African heritage and when they spoke Norwegian I was taken back. It was unexpected and I loved it. It made me appreciate again, the diversity of the world and how conditioned we are to the ‘norm’.
(As a side note, Nat fit in really well. Men wore coloured shorts and T-shirts, short blondish hair, tight beards and converse type shoes. Basically Nat.)
Oslo is a clean, neat and orderly city and really quiet. Auckland could learn a thing or two on how to lay out a city so there’s lots of housing and green space. The secret is apartment blocks. Nicely done apartment blocks. Houses are further out from the centre of the city and they look more expensive (I didn’t actually look at house prices).
Order is expected and treasured by the looks of things. There are rules for everything and you don’t want to throw people of. Buses/trains/ferries don’t wait for you. It’s more like a slow down and people scramble on board, while the bus is practically still moving. I saw one Dad literally throw his child off the bus so he could get the stroller out before the doors closed. Bus drivers are ruthless.
We threw off our neighbours by having a window open!. She told us “Oh you’re Air BnB, you wouldn’t know, but that window stays closed, you can’t use it.” She was nice in her stern manner.
The people of Oslo (Osloians?) love their roofs. Every roof (and balcony) seemed to be occupied by people gathering and enjoying the weather. In fact, all green space seemed to have people just hanging out or having a picnic. The hot weather is rare in Oslo, according to our host, so that probably explains it.
The airport too gets special mention. I’ts so clean and easy to navigate, orderly and the people who work there were very efficient. Alpha said it was the best one she had been too. Lennox was happy about the airport too because he got sushi (we had to use up our Krone).
Loved the NOK (Krone), I really loved not having to deal with cents. Yes there were coins, but it was all rounded up to a ‘dollar’ (well krone). It meant you didn’t have to worry about cobbling together 150 krone* out of a thousand coins.
Someone ate the Norwegian kids
There weren’t many kids around. Granted, the kids were in school, but during the day you saw teens and pre-schoolers, but the 5-12yr olds were no where to be seen. Even the free Ambulance/Fire Engine day thingy didn’t bring out that age range. Plenty of younger kids though.
We were staying in a part of the city that was home to the mid 20’s set, but we rode the bus a lot and you just didn’t see kids. So Norwegians must eat their 7-year olds, there’s no other explanation.
Yes it was very strange indeed. I didn’t get tired like I normally would and I woke up earlier. Which all sounds good, until you’re exhausted all day. To be fair there was a big chunk of jet lag in there too. (As I write this in Latvia, the sun set about 10:45 pm. Still really late but a little better than in Norway, it’s almost full dark now at 11:15pm).
It was hard for me to get to sleep and stay a sleep so the kids and I used sleep masks to try and help. Well actually, Lennox used his sleep mask as a budgie smuggler/Borat special and a parachute for Knuffle Bunny.
So that’s the wrap up of Oslo. It was a short few days, but it’s way too expensive to stay there too long. I did really enjoy the neat and tidiness, but it was weird that a capital city was so quiet. Hardly any sirens, no car racing, loud motorbikes, fights or drunken outbursts etc. There was a bit of singing on Saturday night, but that’ as loud as it got. So our noisy kids at 3am really stood out. No doubt, the neighbours weren’t impressed.
Next time I need to talk about food…
* 150 kroner was our bus fare downtown. Yip that’s $26NZ or $18 US. It was about a 5-10 minute ride. That’s why we stayed only a few days!