First impressions of Oslo have been great. Perhaps it has something to do with delirium from jag lag or the wine? Regardless, adjusting to Oslo has been quick. The first night here I slept 13 hrs. straight through and 11.5 hours for Clay! Wow! Never done that on an overseas trip before. Our AirBnb apartment is just what we had hoped for when we booked it months ago. It is in a great location and has a separate bedroom, kitchen, bathroom (with washing machine), living room/dining room, and a nice entry way. AirBnb rocks!
I am so glad people had warned us about prices in Norway. They were correct! We were prepared for it by planning to spend less by only eating out once a day. Lunch is the cheapest meal (daily specials) so we have made that our main meal of the day. Curious to me is why the grocery store prices in our neighborhood “cheap” grocery stores is about what you find at Whole Foods. We were actually happy about this when you compare it to eating out.
Wine prices didn’t surprise us too much because we were in Sweden last year, and know about state monopoly prices. You can only buy wine at the state stores; however, we found wines we were familiar with, and the prices looked like Whole Food’s wine department prices. Where is Trader Joe’s when you need them?
Beer is the strangest of all. You can buy beer at only 2 types of stores. Beer can be bought at local grocery stores, but only beer with less than 4.5% alcohol. An IPA will run you about $4.00 per beer so consider our surprise to pay $24.00 for a 6 pack of beer. Think we will be drinking wine here.
The state monopoly stores sells beer with alcohol greater than 4.5%. Apparently drinking is a problem here with such long cold winters, so the government is trying to control drinking by only allowing purchase at state stores. Maybe they should switch over to coffee, like the people of Seattle.
Oslo folks are friendly and English widely spoken. Good thing because our Norwegian is almost zero. There is a surprising diversity of people here, and I would assume because of the new immigrants. Lots of ethnic restaurants in our neighborhood and we approve!
One of the things we have observed is – like Stockholm, you see Oslo men everywhere pushing baby carriages. I absolutely love this! Both parents receive time off from work. Parental leave – how civilized.