Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Generally, the center of a big city isn’t the prettiest part –it’s often dominated by concrete and practical architecture – so it’s refreshing to find that the center of Oslo is gorgeous. As we go towards the edge of town, however, the picture becomes even more pleasant and livable, and in some places pretty close to perfection. The Norwegian countryside is indescribably lovely, with real domestic palaces standing in the middle of nowhere, or right at the top of a mountain, or on an island. It occurred to me that if you spent a night in one, you might find it difficult to leave again the next morning. I don’t agree that the houses are angular or plain – they’re, but that’s precisely their charm. I liked them, at any rate.

-----------------
“Myth: Norway is the most expensive country. Fact: If you look at the absolute price then yes, Norway would be in the top five, but if you compare average earnings and costs, countries like Hungary and Poland work out much more expensive for their inhabitants than Norway. That’s the truth. It’s hard to imagine many places in the world where working as a waiter for a couple of days a week could pay the bills, but in Norway, it can.

Myth: The Norwegians are born skiers. Fact: Well, this is almost true. There are many active fathers who ski along, towing their baby sleigh along behind them, up and down the snow-covered ski-trails that radiate from the city.

Myth: They’re only doing so well because of their oil money. Fact: It isn’t quite that simple. In fact, there are plenty of countries – Russia, for example – which produce more oil, yet aren’t welfare states, and indeed have leaders who wouldn’t dream of using that wealth to improve the lives of all the country’s citizens. In any case, much of the wealth generated from oil revenue actually goes into a national savings trust called the Oil Fund, which acts as a reserve for when the oil runs out.

Myth: The Norwegians live on fish. Fact: They eat fish, but not a huge amount. More than Central Europeans, of course, but not as much as some people imagine. What’s more, one of the most popular and common dishes in Norway (though not necessarily as a family meal) is polse & lumpe, which is actually just Norway-style hot dogs, cooked on a grill and served with onion, crab, mayonnaise, and maybe some fries.


Myth: The Norwegians all have elfin features and blonde hair. Fact: There are plenty of blonde Norwegians, but those with brown hair (or indeed any skin tone) would hardly stand out in today’s Norway.

Myth: The Norwegians are very polite. Fact: It depends on what language you use. If someone is ordering a coffee, they’ll often say “kaffe” in Norwegian, while if they were speaking English, they’d say something like “I would like a coffee, please.” The Norwegian language is used in a surprisingly simplified way in this regard – direct and with no expressions of politeness. I am slowly getting used to this brusque manner of communication and learning not to take it as a sign of impoliteness.



Practicals

Transport

The Norwegian authorities regularly monitor compliance with speed limits, parking rules, and tolls on the roads. Speeding in Norway can be punished by imprisonment!

When driving into Oslo and some larger cities, you must pay a toll. The authorities automatically register the entry (based on the license plate number). Foreign-registered vehicles are no exception, of course.  

Drivers should know that the Norwegian traffic rules ensure increased protection for cyclists and pedestrians, and the latter move around, assuming that cars respect this legal preference indeed.  

As a general rule, winter tires are mandatory for all vehicle wheels from November 15 to March 31.

-------------------------------

“On Norwegian roads, you can drive at a maximum of 80 km/h, motorways are minimal even around the capital, there are plenty of 60-70km/h signs and automatic traffic lights, no-overtaking sections are taken very seriously, and there is often a fence between the two lanes. So don’t expect to tear along Norwegian roads. And if you have to factor in ferry-crossings and steep climbs, then your average speed will probably not get above 50km/h.
Inhabited settlements are rare, but at least gas stations are frequent enough. These, however, are often fully automatic (you pay with a credit card).
There is an automatic toll collection system on the roads (Autopass) the cost of which you pay after your trip. Signs indicate how much you have been charged for a given section. They also collect it from a rented car (Though how do they charge foreign cars?)
There are also many ferries, which are frequent, large, and considered part of the road network. These can also transport trucks and motorhomes.
The only thing more numerous than the ferries is the tunnels. These can be very long, including one famous example which runs for 25km.
The traffic is mild, and everyone is terribly patient and polite
Gasoline costs 15-16 NOK /l (diesel is cheaper).
So don’t expect anyone to move fast. (2015) "

----------------------


“Transport in big cities is generally good, but it’s worth finding out in advance which company runs the most services in a given city (Stavanger - Colombo, Bergen - Skyss, Oslo - Ruter), and it can also be useful to download the application of the given company to your phone in advance, as the ticket is often cheaper through it than from the driver. It’s even useful to know that you can buy a sightseeing card in Bergen and Oslo, which provides free public transport, among other things (the Bergen card, for example, is valid for the whole county, which can also be practical).
Long-distance transport, however, is a tougher proposition. Several independent bus companies are competing with each other, so the system is complicated, and there are no timetables posted at bus stops outside the cities, making the situation even more interesting. Fortunately, the signal strength is excellent almost everywhere, so if you start with enough mobile data, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. You can find out about long-distance train tickets online (NSB), but what you should know is that prices can change over time, i.e. the system does not show fixed price, though I generally had good luck in this regard. Either way, bus and train connections between cities are not very regular, so if you miss your departure, you might have to wait many hours, or even a whole day, until the next bus or train leaves
A car can be an obvious solution, but in many places, you have to take a ferry, or possibly cross a toll bridge, not to mention the horrendously expensive parking. Still, this can be much more comfortable and convenient, and can prove particularly useful given the long distances.” (2019)






Norway - Trondheim - bike lift - the only in the world - k.k. photo

Food

x

Norway - reindeer-moose-beef hotdog-hamburger - v.j.

Public safety

Pickpocketing is becoming more common, especially in crowded places (e.g., the airport-city high-speed train). The crime rate in some neighborhoods of Oslo is much higher than in other parts of the country.

Norway - police

Others

1. When hiking, be sure to have a mobile phone and navigation system (GPS) with you. Due to the country's geographical features (low population density, extensive uninhabited areas), mobile network coverage is incomplete. We recommend that you inform someone in advance about your planned route and the timing of your return.

Background

Norway - national flag

Destination in brief

Norway in brief
 
Norway is one of the Scandinavian countries located in northern Europe. It shares a vast peninsula with Sweden. Its other two neighbors are Finland and Russia (both to the northeast).
 
Norway’s name in Norwegian is Norge.
 
Size: 385,203 km² (148,728 mi²) – Longest distances: 1,752 kilometers (1,089 miles) from northeast to southwest
 
Capital city: Oslo (580,000 inhabitants in the Oslo metropolitan area)  - 25% immigrant population
 
Population: 5,4 million (2020) - Immigrants accounts for about 15% of the total population (2019) – Most immigrants are from Poland, Pakistan, Somalia, Lithuania, and, more recently, refugees from Syria.
 
Language: Norwegian – a North Germanic language. Norwegian and Danish are the most similar among the Scandinavian languages.
 
Religion: 70% Evangelical Lutheran (Church of Norway), 3,7% Muslim - according to some surveys, a slight majority of ethnic Norwegians do not believe in God. About 17% of the population declare themselves as “highly religious”.
 
Norway is a kingdom, a constitutional monarchy – the king is formally the head of state but his duties are mainly representative and ceremonial.
 
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
 
Average net monthly salary: around 3,100 USD (2020)
 
Norway is the world’s second most expensive country to live in (Switzerland is the first). At the same time, according some surveys, Norwegians are among the happiest people in the world.
 
The noun “troll” (someone who starts arguments or upsets people by posting off-topic or extraneous messages in online discussions) comes from the old Norwegian (Norse) word "troll", meaning giant or demon.
 
Most frequent surname: Hansen
 
Strangely enough, Norway is not a member of the European Union, but is part of the Schengen Area (so there is no passport control at the border with Sweden and Finland).
 
Optimal timing for a tourist visit: May-September
 
Main tourist attractions:
 
Norway is known throughout the world for its jagged mountains and stunning fjords.
 
Bergen (Bryggen), Sognefjord, Geirangerfjod, Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), Lofoten Islands, Viking Ships Museum in Oslo, The Arctic MMuseums of Tromsø's, Bergensbanen (train ride from Oslo to Bergen), The Flam Railway route (Flåmsbana)
 
In Norway, you get a harsher penalty for speeding than for getting caught with drugs. Norway is the only European country where it is routine to go to jail for speeding. 150km/h (93 mph) on a highway can land you in jail for 18 days.

According to the Norwegian Penal Code, selling sexual services is legal. However, it is illegal for Norwegian citizens/people living in Norway to buy sexual services, whether in Norway or abroad. Buying sexual services is punishable with a fine (up to an equivalent of 3000 USD) and up to one year in prison. But the sex trade flourishes on the Internet and smartphones and now takes place hidden from the view of authorities.

Geography

,, Most of Norway consists of rock. A lot of inhabited mountains, but no forests, only rock."

Climate

It's dark and wet all autumn. Only May to August have reasonably good weather.

--------------------

With respect to the seasons, we can divide the year into the dark cold and the light cold periods. According to the Norwegians, this is the white winter and the green winter. They aren’t far off the mark. Winters are dark. Really dark. Imagine getting up in the dark in the morning, with nothing but your electric light to dress by. You support your eyelids with chopsticks so that you don’t doze off on your way to work as your brain is still asleep. You get to your workplace, say hello to your favorite celestial constellation from the window, and still have to wait two-and-a-half hours for the sun's rays to brighten the sky. It’s even worse further north, where the sun doesn’t even come up for months, and then for the sake of the joke, you stay up there until summer when you can read your favorite Jo Nesbö crime novel all night in the bright daylight.

Getting back to the winter: if your work hours have ended and it’s after three in the afternoon, you’ll head home in the dark. Meanwhile, you can catch up with blizzards, avalanches, and hail, and if you don’t hit a deer on your way home, you’re sure to squish a few lemmings and squirrels on the single-lane, often unswept roads. You come out the winner, at least, as they leave only tiny traces on your car’s paintwork. Although you won’t see it in the dark anyway, and by June you will have forgotten how it happened. Even though you fall asleep at five in the afternoon because your brain already feels like it’s time to go to bed and it’s hard to control your hormones with willpower alone, you’ll always be tired and depressed. You can sleep for 14 hours, but even then, you won’t really wake up for six months. There are a good number of people over the age of 90-100 in Norway, so I'm sure you can somehow survive the winter season. Read on for some secret tips and tricks!"


-----------------------------------

“If you travel to Norway, the weather is a very important factor, as no one likes discovering a new country in the rain. I was terribly lucky with this, as only two of the 18 days were rainy. Some days were merely tolerable, but for the most part, it was pleasant, almost warm.
However, it’s worth knowing that sunshine can be replaced by rain in a matter of minutes, and vice versa. The wind blows almost constantly, so the feeling of heat is much lower than what the thermometer shows. If you go on a hike or climb a mountain, the temperature drops drastically as you go uphill – I saw snow at an altitude of 1000 meters in August, so I recommend that you set off with more warm clothes than you think are necessary. Even if the weather is nice, you have to wait until 11 o'clock for the air to really warm up, and unfortunately, it starts to get cool around four in the afternoon. No surprises there – it's a northern country. And last but not least: waterproof gear is a must since without it a longer hike can easily become a nightmare.” (2019)

Nowadays

, Norway doesn’t have other resources than oil. The state institutions are overstaffed and waste a lot of money. The government is sitting on a large fund created from oil profits. But this is all promised away in pensions.
There is an imbalance in the size of generations. The number of pensioners will grow a lot, while too few young people will work and pay taxes.
Many immigrants are unable to get a job and end up on permanent welfare. Norway imports poverty.
The income from oil has dropped, and the oil won’t last forever." (2018)

-----------------------

"Norway has a strong degree of urban cultural and ethnic diversity, and you aren’t even noticed as a foreigner unless you're visiting villages. There, people often ask how they can be of assistance, and if they can help you, they’re happy to do it. They're a good-natured bunch, in other words. They smile a lot too, though at first a wary expression and slightly rigid standoffishness can suggest reserve. But that's only until you get to know them, maybe drink a first round of beer with them (they brew strong stuff in Norway, take care!) and everyone starts slapping each other on the back. They’re funny, cheerful people in general, through young people do tend to go through a ‘Jackass’ phase."

___________________

"A Norwegian couple was sitting next to us at breakfast. They wanted to know what we thought of Norway. We said we really liked it. Among other things, for its openness and tolerance in the way strangers are received. Somewhat confused, they replied that perhaps the tolerance was too great. They also love diversity and do their bit to support it. But they think that anyone who wants to live in the country should not ostentatiously cling to their old traditions, but should instead adapt to the culture here. Muslim women, if they are receiving social care here, and are already partaking in all the “advantages” of living in this society, should not wear a divisive headscarf, but instead, wear normal clothes. Sometimes they behave like they are in the majority here and tolerate that Norwegians and other Europeans also live here.

We later understood their eruption because walking through the city streets made us feel like we were walking in an Arab country. Everywhere were Arabic or Muslim women with many children in tow. Seeing black and especially Far Eastern features was almost refreshing since they also live here in abundance. What was even more confusing was the plethora of beggars. Which I think is a beggar mafia. Apparently, Roma Romanians appear in front of you everywhere, pushing their paper cups in front of your nose, almost demanding money. Several also gave. Young and old alike. Based on their appearance, I don’t think these Roma were brought here to beg. That sort doesn’t travel the world.” (2017)
________________________

"I would not have thought that Norway could be free from corruption, but the degree of scrupulousness in public life, and public opinion on the matter, are really a big deal.

The default attitude in Norway is trust, no matter how strange it may sound in the light of (current) public conditions elsewhere. This is because Norwegians trust the country's leaders to govern honestly, transparently, and with the best interests of the country in mind.

All this does not mean that Norwegians should not complain to politicians, but it is much more about political ideas and preferences than it is about suspicions of fraud or corruption.

There is the oil industry, for example, from which the country has huge revenues. It would be easy to say ‘of course, it’s easy for them’, which on the one hand is obviously true, but on the other hand, we could also take a look at oil-rich Venezuela where, instead of reserving and cleverly investing the proceeds, it was largely spent on one-off measures.

This is understandable in some ways since they started from a much worse economic situation than the Norwegians, but if you could build a bridge from the difference in outcomes between the two countries, it would be wide enough to span the Atlantic Ocean.

And one of the main reasons for the wise use of oil money is the Norwegian public service, which is so free of corruption that even more seriously, there is not even a suspicion of “sharp practice” even though the sums involved are huge.” (2017)



People

“In Norway, the people are incredibly kind and helpful. Whoever I spoke to on the street, in the store, or anywhere else, was always friendly, responded patiently, and tried to help as much as possible. Almost everyone speaks English, which was especially helpful to me, given that I don’t speak a word of Norwegian.

I would also like to mention that everyone here pays a lot of attention to their surroundings, thanks to which everything from villages to big cities is terribly clean, I have not seen discarded rubbish or graffiti on the walls of houses anywhere. Everything is collected selectively, and every store has a bottle bank for discarded glass (even “disposable” plastic bottles have a deposit fee). On a related note, I would even mention that I have never seen so many electric cars in my life as I have been here in the last two weeks. This is already a serious fashion, you might say a tradition here. These vehicles are so quiet that I once got honked at because I was wandering through the middle of a parking lot and didn’t hear an electric car behind me that wanted to pass. But after a few days, I got used to these silent machines.” (2019)

Norway - Norwegian girls belike in bad mood - y.m. photo

Attractions

Stavanger

Population (in 2020): 121,600

It is the 3rd most populated city in Norway. It is also called the “oil capital of Norway.” Despite the importance of the oil industry, Stavanger doesn’t look like an industrial city. The old town is cute with a few hundred old wooden houses.
Stavanger is the most beautiful in summer.


Stavanger - v.g.

Stavanger - a.a. photo

Stavanger - Cathedral (Stavanger domkirke) - Norway's oldest cathedral, 1000 years old - h.r. photo

Stavanger - Old Town (Gamle) - d.c. photo

Stavanger - v.a. photo

Stavanger - k.o. photo

Lysefjord - Preikestolen - Kjeragbolten

Stavanger - view of Lysefjord from the Preikestolen - t.a. photo

Stavanger - Lysefjord pictured against the sun - r.f. photo

Stavanger - Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) - f.g. photo

Stavanger - Kjeragbolten - c.c. photo

Norway - hiking to the Kjeragbolten - k.k. photo

Related posts

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.