Just got back from a weekend in Oslo,which by some accounts is the Most Expensive City in the World. I can pretty much attest to that having spent £12.50 on the World’s Most Expensive Burger Meal, £25.79 on the World’s Most Expensive Round of Two Drinks (Ordinary Bar category) and £7.50 on The World’s Most Expensive Ice Cream (non-Rome section).
The World’s Most Expensive Taxi took us for a 1 mile journey that had us almost having an all-out panic attack as the fare rolled past 250 Norwegian Krone (about £26.00) and carried on ticking at about 50p every half a second while a late night reveller strolled across a zebra crossing in front of us.
On the other hand, we travelled around Oslo using public transport in gay abandon without paying for anything at all. It’s not that we were trying to diddle anyone out of any money; there just didn’t seem to be any way to pay for it.
We got on trains that we couldn’t buy tickets for and boats that welcomed us without asking for any money. We kept expecting to pay on exit, but no-one asked. Maybe they’re subsidised by the taxis.
Oslo itself was nothing like I’d expected. I’d researched Norwegian food so that when we went to restaurants we’d be able to look at the menus and look knowingly at the contents sure in the knowledge that we knew what it all meant.
We looked forward to kjøttkaker and gravalaks and aquavit, but all we got was burgers and curries and Pepsi Max. Which was a bit of a shame.
We saw a cosmopolitan city that had more ethnic diversity than any city I’ve seen apart from London, more beggars than the streets of Hammamet and felt safer that St Ives. A walk through the tree lined boulevards showed us that American tourists had discovered Oslo in their multitudes. And maybe that explains the inevitable glut of pizza and the lack of pickled herring.
We did see some astonishing sites beneath a never-ending rainfall that stayed with us the whole time. The blinding whiteness of the Opera House, Amunsen’s ship, gorgeous leggy Norwegian couples, and gangs of pac-a-mac clad teenagers romping around the streets at midnight in a non-drunk, innocent kind of way that would be inconceivable back home.
We walked the long streets of Oslo til our feet ached and we drank champagne brandy that made our noses tingle. Not a bad way to spend a wet weekend. To quote Bill Pullman, not bad at all.