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15th May Oslo

May 29, 2013

15th May. Oslo.
Norway, our last country before flying to UK. Came here to visit our friends Reidar & Ellen and thought a couple of days in Oslo would give us a chance to look around. Arrived by plane at 8am, temperature 8c, wet, and cold. Didn’t realize just how expensive this country is. Two coffees and pastries, $23. Twenty minute train trip to city centre $60. Bread roll, quiche and 2 juices $29. No wonder Reidar & Ellen spend quite a few months each year in Southern Africa.
Might be another hop on hop off day tomorrow.
Been a little dissappointed with how things have turned out since leaving Uzbekistan. Moscow and St Petersburg were interesting and Suomenlinna Island was great. But it’s the lack of communication with the people that really takes most of the enjoyment away I touched on this in an earlier blog but it is more evident since we’ve been in the Scandinavian countries. Maybe we have spent too long in the lesser developed countries but that is where we enjoy ourselves the most. It’s not as though we go out of our way to engage with the people, it just happens. The bloke we sat next to coming back on the ferry yesterday who told us about the ice in the harbour was the first local we have really spoken to since leaving the Uzbek train.

16th May
Much better day today, even had some sun in the afternoon. Can’t visit Oslo without seeing ‘The Scream’, went out to the Munch Museum only to find it closed. They are celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth in June and the museum is being prepared for it. The Akershus Fort is one of the highlights of the city, we spent a pleasant couple of hours walking around, admiring the view up the fjord. The Resistance Museum in the grounds were very interesting. Didn’t know much about Norway’s involvement in the 2nd world war apart from the word Quisling which has been incorporated in the English language. He was a member of the Norwegian Nazi Party and took over leadership when the Germans occupied only for the Nazis to realize he had absolutely no sway with tthe Norwegian people and was quickly deposed.
Funny, of the three Scandinavian north of Denmark, the Finns were on the German side, Sweden was neutral annd Norway sided with the Allies. was the airline we flew from Helsinki with and will use them again today to fly to Haugesund. Quite an eye opener and a sign of what we can expect in the future. Check in booths are common but these printed the baggage labels as well. Put them on, check the weight of your baggage on scales in the middle of the area, adjust weight if over the limit then take them to the luggage conveyor where you scan the label and the weight is checked at the same time. It then scurries off down the conveyor. All without facing even one airline staff. Pass through security, have a coffee which you make yourself before heading to the gate. Someone does check your boarding pass getting on to the plane. Landing in Oslo, another coffee which again you make yourself, catch the express train to the city tickets purchased through machines, in Oslo walk through the front door of the hotel, no reception desk, just a row of scanners and computer screens which you use to check in yourself. Obtain your room card which you use to operate the lift as well as to get in to your room. All this and outside on the street are more beggars and homeless people that I have seen since South Africa. The Brave New World has arrived.

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