Hello Norway – a brief encounter with Oslo

For a while I have been meaning to visit another Scandinavian country. The opportunity finally came and I got to attend a conference in Oslo, last week. It was the best thing ever to have the company foot the bill, as, frankly, Oslo is insanely expensive. Most tourists complain about the high cost of justabout everything but you don’t get to appreciate just how scary are the prices until you land there, and then choke up 150 Euro for a taxi ride into town. Needless to say when I eventually returned to the airport I did so by train….

Oslo, from what I could see, is a rather small city populated by some 600000 inhabitants. The weather is usually of Scandinavian quality (i.e., low, grey, clounds, rain, a bit of sunshine, more rain) and the town is kind of industrial looking. Not too pretty, other than the compact city centre, where the Parliament, National Theatre, University and Royal Palace are scattered along the main street. You could walk this from one end to another in approximately 40 minutes.



A bit to one side, by the harbour, one finds the City Hall, an edifice resembling the Lincoln Centre in New York (though proportionally smaller) which is famous the world over for being the setting of the Nobel Peace Prize, which is given out each December in a much publicised ceremony. The conference offered a reception at the Hall, and I have to say, I was quite proud to be walking up the same stairs as some of the world’s greatest humanitarians.

Finally, in a modernist corner of the waterfront somewhat removed from the centre proper one finds the new Opera House: a large Carrara marble monstrosity that took 12 years to build and cost 120 million Euros so that people can walk up and down the slanted structure. Personally, I dislike this type of architecture, but some people like it…judge fir yourselves.