On Monday 26 April 2010 I just happened to be in the city of Oslo in Norway. I had travelled by train from Tonsberg, a charming town on the east coast of Norway, to Norway’s capital city which was a scenic 1.5 hour journey. The train journey from Tonsberg to Oslo goes northwards up the Oslo Fjord. You go past lovely scenery as well as seeing the back gardens of many Norwegian houses and that is very interesting in itself. Norwegian houses seem to be pretty big. Mostly made of wood and painted in bright colours they have huge gardens and many have barns or other outhouses.
It appears that many Norwegians like to store old things in their back gardens as I saw quite a few gardens with rusty old cars in them. Many gardens also have boats in them. Most Norwegians live on the coast where the waters are sheltered so many people own boats.When our train arrived we got off at the National Theatre stop in the centre of Oslo and emerged out of the modern train station into a grey and overcast Oslo city centre. Very close to the train station in Oslo is the main road where many of the best shops and restaurants are located. The road is called Karl Johans Gate and northwards up the hill you can see the Royal Palace.
On the day we arrived Karl Johans Gate was lined with Norwegian soldiers dressed in their finest ceremonial uniforms. It made for a magnificent spectacle. Just as we stood by to see what was going on we remembered that the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev was on a state visit to Oslo. On the agenda for discussion was the disputed border between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea.It was good timing on our part, as we hadn’t been standing long, as we saw a cavelcade of cars coming towards us and as the cars passing I saw the Russian President waving to me from his vehicle.
Later on in the day we walked up towards the Royal Palace in Oslo and again our timing was perfect as the Russian President was just leaving after his meeting and I managed to catch his departure on my mobile phone video camera. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie as there must have been a convoy of at least 20 cars and several of them contained security men hanging out of car doors even whilst the cars were moving.
Here is the video I took of the Russian President leaving the Royal Palace in Oslo on 26 April 2010[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlcAdpdvNgs&w=500&h=405]
I am just back from 4 nights in Norway. I flew out on a Ryanair flight to Torp just after flights started up again after the volcanic ash fiasco. I asked one of the cabin crew what they had been doing whilst flights had been grounded and he said “nothing”. He said all cabin crew just stayed at home and they were not paid during that time.
Torp airport is about 120km south of Oslo. It takes about 2 hours on the bus to get to Oslo or you can catch the train as well. I was staying in a lovely place called Tonsberg which is about 1.5 hours south of Oslo by train. Tonsberg is a charming town on the waterfront with plenty of cafes and restaurants.Be warned though, as Norway is very expensive compared to the UK.
I went into a bar one evening and bought a pint and a half of lager. I pulled out a 100 Kroner note from my pocket, which is about £11 and the barman who spoke very good English saw the note and laughed. He said “this is Norway” ! And then he said the cost was 121 Kroner which is about £13. I told him that in England I would normally pay about £4 for that.
Another night we went for a pizza. We bought 2 pizzas and 2 soft drinks and the cost was 334 Kroner which is about £35. Not too much over the top but still quite expensive. Another night we went for a meal in a great restaurant by the waterfront in Tonsberg. 2 main meals, 2 deserts and 2 lagers cost 800 Kroner, including a tip which is about £90. If you are a family and you go on holiday to Norway for 2 weeks then be prepared to spend a lot of money !
The train journey from Tonsberg to Oslo takes 1.5 hours and costs 20 Kroner which is about £22. It is a beautiful train journey as it takes you along the coast and up the side of the Oslo fjord. everything in Norway is pretty picture of impressive landscapes and colourful houses.
The standard of living in Norway is very high and it is nice to see quiet roads and a clean environment.I would recommend taking a holiday to Norway. Even a short break to Oslo will give you a flavour of what Norway has to offer. The food quality is excellent if expensive and if you love the outdoor life then Norway is a must visit destination.
CALL GLOBAL HOLIDAYS ON 0845 299 4450 FOR DETAILS OF HOLIDAYS TO NORWAYWhilst we were in Oslo we were lucky enough to be there on the day that the Russian President was on a state visit to Norway and this was the scene on Karl Johans Gate which leads to the Palace in Oslo.This is a photogragh I took from the historic Akershus Castle. The Akershus houses the Norway Resistance Museum. You can see Oslo harbour and Oslo City Hall. Whilst the City Hall may look like an ugly building it’s not ! It is a magnificent building and well worth a visit. One of my photos below shows what it’s like inside.At the top of Karl Johans Gate in Oslo you will see the Norwegian Kings Palace. It is possible to walk right up to the front door and even peer inside the palace windows !I took this photogragh of the inside of the manificent City Hall in Oslo. It is a very grand building where many state occassions take place.This photo is of Oslo Harbour on a dull day in April 2010. You can see a tall ship in the harbour.
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