After 9 months in the Norwegian capital I have gathered some useful information about Oslo and the Norwegian people that I would like to share with you.
I set the alarm to 05.10 so I have enough time to take a shower and get dressed before my taxi arrives at 05.50. Obviously you should have packed your bag the night before, but since this almost never happens, Monday mornings tend to get rather stressful. Add the regular 20 minutes snooze and you’re in a hurry.
My flight leaves at 7.00. The 06.05 Arlanda Express is the optimal choice, arriving at Arlanda 06.25. If you feel lucky the 06.20 train might get you there just in time, but this is not to recommend. If you choose the latter option you will most likely arrive at a gate that is closed. They will let you in; just remember that a “No” merely is the first step to a “Yes”.
You usually get off the plane at 08.05. If you run like you’ve never been running before you can make it from the gate to the train in 4 minutes. This will ruin your day. 6 minutes is more of a light jog. Flytoget departs every 10 minutes to Oslo S and every 20 minutes if you’re headed for Lysaker (I usually take the 08.10 train). No, the Wi-Fi doesn’t work so don’t even bother.
At the office
This will be your first encounter with the Norwegians. Until you reach the actual office building you’ll notice that you’ve only been served by Swedes.
The Norwegians arrive to the office by bike, kick-bike or electrical car. They seem to spend an awful lot of time and effort on not using oil, which is rather strange considering that every other Norwegian work within the Oil and Gas industry.
Their working hours are very similar to Swedish construction workers. This means lunch at 11 where they enjoy a piece of bread with a slice of brunost. Brunost has a very interesting flavor, unfortunately not in a good way.
They really enjoy not working. When at work they do a good job, but when is that exactly? They work 7,5 hour days and fine you for even thinking about working overtime. This results in empty offices at 3 o’clock. Don’t except any serious business to get done after this hour.
Norwegians are annoyingly happy. And they love Norway. A vacation is best spent in a cabin in the Norwegian mountains. If the only possible way to reach the cabin is by cross-country skiing, preferably for several hours, they consider it a huge plus.
Important: Greit doesn’t mean great. It means ok. Don’t thank people for doing you favors with a greit. I learned this the hard way.
In the evening
Integration to the Norwegian society is best reached through physical activities. Unfortunately I am a man of relaxation so I haven’t experienced this myself, but as an observer of the people wandering the streets of Oslo I can only say that they’re fitter than most. But then again, the probability of these people being Swedes is approaching 1.
Dinner is at five, which is perfect for citizens of the rest of the world. This means restaurants are less crowded during regular dining hours. If you, like me, enjoy a steak and a couple of beers, be sure to extend your credit before visiting Norway, because the prices just make you sad.
With Freedom by David Hasselhoff in my ears I head for Gardemoen. The security can be a mess, but it’s not all bad, all those stressed out people can be very interesting to observe.
You board the plane and realize you got seated next to a random guy who just can’t shut up. That guy is me, sorry about that. You get off the plane as quickly as possible and run to catch the 18.05 Arlanda Express. Obviously, the doors close in your face. 50 minutes later you’re at home in your jammies.
On Monday I’ll be back again.
Restaurants: Mother India (Bislett), Dinner (Stortinget), Delikatessen (Aker Brygge)
Bar: Café Laudromat (Bislett)
Gym: SATS Solli Plass
Don’t forget to bring: Umbrella