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A Flavour of Norway

sunny 16 °C

Considering the size of Norway, its capital is so small it is barely a speck on the globe, yet, as we discovered, it packs quite a punch for tourists. Even the weather was on our side as we walked its spotlessly clean streets and well kept parks and gardens. Despite its northerly latitude, Oslo's gardens are still blooming with roses, dahlias and cosmos. However, knowing that it can get bloomin' cold here in winter, we questioned the Norwegian's obsession with nakedness...
This statue is outside the Nobel Peace Centre at the harbour, but almost every statue in the city appears in a state of undress. More than 300 nudes by Norwegian artist Vigeland line the avenues of Frogner park...
There were no nudes in front of the royal palace – in fact, there was no one in front of the palace when we visited apart from a lonely guardsman at the front door...
Although the royal standard suggested that King Harald V was in residence, we walked right up to the palace – no gates; no walls; no security barriers of any kind. Oslo seems to be a very safe and peaceful city today despite the horrendous massacre on July 22, 2011 when right-wing extremist, Anders Behring Brevik, killed 77 people with bombs and guns.

Oslo is a very modern city because the old wooden city was destroyed by fire in 1624. The new city, called Christiania, was built in brick and stone around the harbour fortress and renamed Oslo in 1924...
Oslo has carefully preserved its past in numerous museums and, by relocating some of its older houses, together with buildings from other parts of the country, to an outdoor Folk Museum on the Bygdoy peninsula. This farmhouse is more than 300 year old...
... whereas this 'stave church' dates back some 800 years to the height of the Viking era...
Stave churches, built entirely of wood and supported by massive log pillars known as stavs, were once common throughout Scandinavia, but few survive today. The decorated timber interior of this church is most impressive...
We also visited the Nobel Peace Museum and in the Henrik Ibsen museum we saw the apartment where he wrote many of his plays in later life...
And then we went to the National Gallery to see the original version of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch...
This priceless painting has been stolen twice and recovered, and a later version by Munch was sold in London for $120 US million in 2012.

Norway has been a delight in all respects except one – how on earth can anyone afford to live here?
So what does it cost? A lunchtime bowl of carrot soup with two slices of baguette in Eidsfjorden cost us $30 Cdn. each. You can expect to pay $30-$40 for breakfast, $10-$15 for a cappucino, $30-$60 for a light lunch of soup and sandwich, and a 2 course dinner without drinks costs a minimum of $70.
Day trips on the fjords including bus/train transfer cost $300 per person per day – plus a further $40 for a short taxi ride to the bus station in the rain. (Taximetres have $20 on the clock before you start).
And the hotel prices? Well, you get what you pay for, but start at $200 Cdn a night.
However, we have not seen or spent a single krone or ore here. Norway is rapidly becoming a cashless society so our credit cards have taken a hammering. After 9 days here we are officially museum'd out and bankrupt. We have had a most memorable time in Norway and are now on our way to Sweden where where our ship awaits on the docks in Stockholm.

Posted by Hawkson 11:30 Archived in Norway

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Norway sounds wonderful and very different from other places you have been to. It was too bad the cost of living was so high. Unfortunately I think Sweden and Denmark will be more of the same. Wait until you rent a car and have to fill it with gas.

by Keith and Helen

Loved the stave church, not hearing about the cost of living. Maybe that is why the statues are naked, could not afford the clothing. Silly I know. Looks like a beautiful city.

by sue fitzwilson

Really stunning interesting architecture. Love the old church.

by Janet

Perhaps you will be able to join the bread lines in Sweden. Still cringing at those Norwegian costs. Sharp contrast to the bargains you've enjoyed in other parts of the world.

by R and B

Great shot of the stave church. For the price of that cappuccino, I could get a cup of the civet coffee elsewhere.

by Tom

Hold onto your wallet Tom - the last time we saw civet coffee on the menu was in Chengdu, China, and it cost $62 a cup!
So nice to hear from Miranda who we first met cruising on the Yangtze. Looking forward to seeing her again.

by Hawkson

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