Taking the weather into consideration and to overcome the boredom hovering in the Helsinki skies, I decided to take a bus trip to the west all the way to Oslo and then down through the northern part of the continent.
I travel light, so as usual I packed just one change of clothes, a towel, a few toiletries and my camera and head out of Helsinki to Stockholm, from where I was supposed to take the bus to Oslo and then an array of buses to head all the way back to Tallinn.
Apart from the aforementioned items I also took my mackintosh with me just in case. But the morning, when I set foot on Viking land the sun decided to avenge me for my hatred of heat. In the day the temperatures went as high as 28 and believe me the sun in the north is extraordinarily killing. You can imagine that by 8 in the morning it was as hot and unbearable as noon in the tropics or sub-tropics.
But the sun did not deter me. I went all the places, which were on my itinerary. I went to the Vigeland Park so early thjuat it was near deserted. But that was good, bec ause I could take a lot of photos, which I will share with you very soon.
I had planned to stay for one night and a friend of mine had referred me to a good friend of his. My host was a very nice man and coincidentally this just one night’s stay offered me an opportunity to meet many other very nice people. It was jso good to know that the world still has many sober thinking people left. But that was in the evening.
In the day I faced a number of very unexpected problems. The first and most painful problem was of course a very cliche sounding costliness shock. I knew that Norway was expensive, just like the whole of Scandinavia, but if I felt shocked looking at the cost of things, after living for more than a couple of years in Finland, you can imagine the level of costliness.
As the simplest example I will tell you that a pack of Marlboro costs a little more than 6 euros in Helsinki, but in Oslo the same pack costs 140 NOK (roughly over 14€). And believe me those cigarettes are as harmful for health as the 6 euro pack. To further make you understand my point the same pack of Marlboro costs 55 SEK in Sweden (roughly 50 NOK).
Well I quickly overcame my shock and re-thought my budget. It helped me a lot in surviving for two days. Please do not think that everything else was smooth. For example the free wifi at the railway station works at snail speed. If you could send a few e-mails quickly, you might be lucky. The upload and download speeds were both unbearably slow. There is no internet access in the downtown area as for example in Helsinki.
On top of that Norwegians do not like to install electrical sockets at random. Probably electricity is so expensive that the state of Norway cannot even afford to provide free telephone charging facility in any of the public places. At the railway station, if you want to charge your phone you have to go to the only Internet cafe on the second floor and pay for charging your phone (20 NOK). This was very critical for me because I have an iPhone, which charges longer than it discharges.
Putting aside all the unpleasant moments, I can tell you that any length of time spent in Oslo is worth every NOK that you could spend. The people are open and forthcoming. The female population does not suffer from the short shin syndrome and smiles are common.
The Vigeland Park, the Viking Boat Museum, the Oslo Opera House and a multitude of other museums are worth visiting. If you are a cautious tourist, you might like to stay on the Karl Johans Gate and venture out just a few blocks right or left of the said street, because a little right or left and you will find yourself in local territory, with lots of racial variety.
Anyway having as much fun as possible for two days and going to the maximum number of places, I took my next bus out of Oslo to Malmö. I will not list all the places that I visited, because I did it at a non-human pace. But for normal human beings going to 2-3 places in a day is very practical if you plan your day to visit places of interest in one area. For example you can visit the Viking Boat Museum and the Fram Museum in one day and similarly you can check the map and group places of interest into per day chunks.
And by the way do not think that you will all be so lucky always to come to Oslo and never put on a light jacket or Macintosh in summer. So whenever planning your trip to Norway, take that apparently unnecessary jacket with you and warn a friend that you might need some extra cash suddenly.
See you all in Malmö very soon!