Well i made it here to Oslo, my 22nd and last unique country. I will be flying to London on the 14th for a quick stopover before coming back to the USA. Saw the news yesterday and not exactly the best time to be flying from Heathrow back to the USA. Hopefully in a week things will have calmed down, or else I guess I will have to get on the plane basically butt nekkid to avoid extra security screening, especially with all the stamps in my passport from this trip. So far Oslo has been lovely, strange to think this city only have 550,000 people, less than Riga, but i am sure more people know where Oslo is than Riga..
As for the title of this post, within 2hrs of arrival last night, I saw more black people in Oslo than I honestly did in all of the last 4 weeks in Eastern Europe. I counted at least 8 folks from the guy at the airport cleaning the toilets, to folks walking on the street. I think combined in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania I might have seen a total of 8 folks. I guess the high standard of living draws peeps to Norway. And a high standard of living is needed as this is an expensive city. In fact its ranked this year as the Most Expensive City in the world, and I can attest to this fact after only 12 hours here. Dont believe the stuff about Moscow being the most expensive city, that survey was based on a business traveler and what sort of per diem he gets from his company. For a backpacker or other traveler dont come to Oslo unless you have a nice trust fund. thankfully my friend who I am staying with has a lovely apartment in center olso with a great kitchen that I will be using ALOT over the next few days. Also she has connections and managed to get free tickets for this big music festival on Saturday, some of the performers include Beck, so hopefully will get to see that and I belive that Nikkas husband, Justin Stanley is playing guitar with Becks band, so that should be nice to see..
Prices, ok this is no joke, the bank machine the smallest amount you can take out is 200Kr, and at 6 to the dollar, that is like 33 bucks. I am in the downtown tourist area for sure, but should a Greek Salad cost 20bucks.. should an omlette cost 15bucks, even subway seems high at 8bucks for a footlong sandwich. This is total sticker shock, fruit at the open market is expensive.. I have had my first beer in Norway last night at the apartment, but going out to buy one, I am sure its going to be the most expensive beer of the trip, probably clocking in around 8 to 10 bucks.. coming from Bratislava where I had a beer for 66 cents, this is the total other end of the spectrum. This is going to make England seem damn cheap. But the city is lovely and very walkable with lots of parks, green space, flowers. I have been snapping away pictures filing up the last of my memory card... Ok actually at a place with 30 minutes of free internet use, so let me make the most of it, as at the cafe it would have been 30 Kr, or about 5bucks for half an hour... Bring your wallet to Oslo for sure..