Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Norway impressions

This month has just flown by. I feel awkward posting this so long after my return, but it really does warrant a posting on its own.

I went to Norway not long after the tragic attacks carried out by Anders Breivik, a 32 year old disillusioned Norwegian "right-winger." The attacks and resulting death toll dominated the media, with many outlets alluding to it as "Europe's 9/11." I'm not quite sure what I was expecting to see in Norway, but I can say I was expecting to see heightened security, tension levels, and nerves among the Norwegians themselves.

Instead what I found was the total opposite. I have to say, that out of the many Europeans that I have met throughout my life, the Norwegians rank right up there as some of the nicest people you can meet. Everyone was ready to greet you with a smile wherever you went, and despite my complete lack of any Norwegian everyone was more than willing to lend a hand.

My sister and I spent quite a while in one supermarket giggling ourselves silly as we tried to decipher different flavours of crisps. With our best Swedish chef imitations we were trying to accentuate and stress various syllables to see if we could will our minds into understanding. "Friske Urter" came up with all sorts of possible definitions, until we finally decided it must be fresh butter. (we were wrong, it's actually fresh herbs :p) I'm sure that we left one or two Norwegians walking away shaking their heads thinking "bloody tourists!!"

Another striking thing about Norway is how green everything is. I felt like I'd been uprooted from the desert and planted into the middle of a Sound of Music set. My oooohs and aaahhs with how green it was also set me aside as evident TOURIST. So nice to fill that role every once in a while :).

Yes, I flew this bad boy
Perhaps one of the coolest things I have done recently was fly in my Dad's Cesna plane, even managing to grab the controls myself. Apparently my attention span cannot handle trying to avoid a rain cloud and maintain level with the horizon at the same time. As I encroached upon Gardermoen airspace I reluctantly admitted defeat when it came to actually flying the plane. But still an amazing experience, and allowed me to get some fantastic shots of Oslo from the air. Being used to Cairo, I was astounded to find out that Oslo has a population of 600,000. Compare that to the 18 million population of Cairo!

Anyhow, overall impressions is that Norway is definitely a country I would recommend visiting (however watch your pocket book, one loaf of bread I saw on sale cost 20 Norwegian Krone - or 20 LE (just under 4 US $). We were very lucky and had glorious weather the whole time, minus one cracking thunderstorm which I wouldn't say no to, I certainly miss the rain living here. Norwegians are exceptionally friendly, everyone has something nice to say, and everything felt so fresh and clean! Oh, and for all the American's who think that your country leads the way in coffee consumption, you've got nothing on the Norwegians!!!

Here are some of the pictures I was able to grab of the gorgeous countryside and city of Oslo. Enjoy!



The Royal Palace in Oslo 

Oslo is surrounded by fresh water and sea water

The rain cloud that I admitted defeat to! 

My sister the co-pilot :D

So much colour!

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