As I have in-laws in Oslo, and it’s school half-term, I decided to leave the cold, damp, grey skies of the U.K. for the cold, damp, grey skies of Oslo for a long weekend.
Here’s everything you need to know:
- Oslo’s a very good-looking city, not too high-rise, well-kept, well-planned, with pretty environs that look like Narnia.
- No wonder the Vikings were such good sea-farers; Norwegians seem impervious to scurvy – at least, I never saw anyone eating anything that looked like it might contain Vitamin C. My wife has been there half a dozen times, and has seen no evidence that citrus fruit is actually available in Norway. Although she did observe three people sharing one banana.
- It’s an extraordinarily expensive place; a beer is about £5 a pint; a decent but unexciting meal in a restaurant cost £50 a person.
- Norwegian women have the most spectacular breasts in Europe. However, as they’re so tall and statuesque, they’re more aesthetically fascinating than sexy. (The word they refers to the women, not just the breasts. Obviously.)
- Norwegian people have no sense of personal space, and barge past you without apology, even when there’s no crowd. It don’t think it’s rudeness, but they’re culturally unconcerned with keeping that buffer around them. Which is odd: you’d assume that in a country the size of the moon but has the national headcount of a Staffordshire village that everyone want lots of personal space.
- Everything works properly in Norway. The trains are clean, punctual and fast. You can pay for everything by credit card.
- Don’t believe any nonsense about Norwegians being environmentally conscious. They heat their homes and offices like saunas. So, when you walk into a building from the cold, instead of just taking off your coat and gloves, everyone spends about 45 minutes removing earmuffs, gloves, boots, scarves, vests, undervests, seal-fur underwear, heated pants, goggles etc. I calculate that, on average, Norway loses 38% of the working day to dressing and undressing. That’s probably why everything’s so expensive; it takes so much longer to produce.
- I was expecting Scandinavian people to be grumpy and terse – a bit like Germans with less bodymass and bonus fjords. Instead, everyone I met had an easy, relaxed sense of humour with a ready, infectious laugh.
Oslo rocks. Sell your house, and you could go for a week.