Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oslo, Norway

 The archipelago in all of the cities we went to were just gorgeous... especially from above!

 The opera was so cool! So different. I couldn't stop taking pictures of it. If only there were no people!

And now for the excitement!
 May 17: Norwegian National Day... a BIG day there. And of course, Euro-style, so everything is                        closed!

                                              Random parades in the streets ALL DAY.

 And now for the awesome outfits. Let's begin with Oma and Opa at the train station...

 Above: this is what I thought all Norwegians would look like. Tall, skinny, blonde, and in this awesome get-up. On National Day, the stereotypical Norwegians came out of hiding (I think they all came in town for the celebration). But the day before, we did not see ONE stereotypical Norwegian.... more of a mish mash of cultures. Not what we expected at all, but considering it's a big city, makes sense.

 The little girls in their dirndl-like dresses were TOOOO cute! This one especially, spinning around, oblivious to the thousands of people around her!

 These overalls were hideous. Hideous! We couldn't figure them out. Why most people were dressed up (if they didn't have the outfit, they all wore suit and ties - yes, THAT dressed up), but some were in these ridiculous overalls.
Turns out, these are the kids that are going to graduate high-school this year. They get the overalls and then decorate them... So at least there was a REASON for them!

Alrighty, guess I'm now starting at the beginning. For our Scandinavian/Baltic adventure, we flew into Oslo, Norway from Frankfurt Hahn via RyanAir. It was our VERY LAST (hopefully ever) RyanAir flight. HALLELUJAH. These flights are never normal, never uneventuful. There is always some sort of drama, annoyance, whatever. We are just DONE with them! I thought it was partially zee Germans fault for not understanding the concept of a line, but really, it happens everywhere, every flight RyanAir. Anyways, flew into Oslo and trained to the city center. We stayed right by the train station, which is usually a sketchy area in most Euro-cities, but not really the case in Oslo... Ok well one side was sketchy, but only one! And we avoided it, so no biggie, except one day when we walked through on accident... And yes, the trash of Oslo hang out there. Wow. But the hotel was nice. The Radisson Blu. We stayed in lots of Radisson Blus this trip... not sure WHY, but that's how it happened.

We only had one night, 2 days -ish in Oslo. The first day we walked around and saw the sights. We knew that the following day was National Day so everything would be closed and there would be a lot of stuff going on.. There's nothing too crazy to see in Oslo. But the opera is AWESOME. Super weird, different architecture.. and it's almost been turned into an outdoor playground. People hang all around it, take picnics, let their kids run around it, it's crazy! But rightfully so. It was a cool place to hang out.

After seeing the sights, walking around, having coffee, our usual, it was time for dinner. We KNEW all of Norway was ridiculously expensive. So we decided ahead of time that we would not get a fancy meal there. We had 7 more nights to eat nicer meals, Scandinavian meals, so we went with something low key so we would not have to eat our own extremities the rest of the week. A was craving Asian so we went to this Thai place we saw. Off the beaten path. No one there. Sure. This looks good. We each ordered a beer and a meal. Nothing crazy, right?! Well, first I should interject and say originally, we were planning on NOT knowing the conversion right Norwegian to Euro. We thought we'd just wing it. We didn't want to worry about it the whole time. Well, we wimped out and looked it up.... after dinner. We read that a 'nice' meal would cost 'x' amount of money and this Thai place was a lot less expensive than that, so whatever. Turns out our 2 meals and 2 beers cost 130 Euros!!! AHHH! That's over $150. 130 Euros. It deserves to be said again. For freaking Thai. Holy scheisse. So we paid the bill before converting it and thought, well,  it was waaaay less than what we read it would cost for dinner. So we converted it. 130 euros. Turns out, the 'nice' meal they were talking about evened out to abou 350 euros. GEEEZZZZZ. Thank goodness we decided to go with Thai and not a typical Norwegian seafood meal. Seriously. I could NOT EVEN BELIEVE it!! Seeing as we just spent waaay to much money on not an incredible meal, we went back to the hotel to lay in bed and read our books. I could not wrap my head around spending anymore money.

So the next day is May 17, Norwegian National Day. We only knew about this because one of our Swedish friends, Lars, told us. He said it would be crazy... a big party. Well, it was Norwegian National Day. And there were parades. And people were dressed up... and I mean DRESSED UP. Suit and ties if they weren't in their patriotic dirndl/leiderhosen equivalent. Not us of course. We stuck out like sore thumbs. Oh well. Anyways, the parades and such started early in the morning. We only hung around til 1 (we had a train to Gothenburg, Sweden to catch), but it wasn't as crazy and Lars made it out to be. Maybe it was because it was still early, but we didn't see one single person with a beer in their hand. Oktoberfest that early is already CRAZYYY. Maybe it's just because beer is so expensive in Norway they can't afford it? I don't know, but either way, not nearly as nuts as Oktoberfest. It did make for some awesome people watching though! I have never taken so many pictures of people in my life. And as you can tell, I'm not very good at it. Guess I need some practice. So anyways, we walked around and people watched all morning and hopped on a train to Gothenburg. Considering we spent an arm and a leg on a just ok dinner, we skipped lunch! I will say, as a side note, the train station was SOOOOO nice and this held true for every single train station we've been to in Scandinavia. Super fancy, super nice, and the trains too. Free wifi, coffee machines in every car, etc etc.

Gothenburg, Sweden, was our next stop. One night there before Copenhagen. Perhaps tomorrow!

No comments:

Post a Comment