Saturday, May 16, 2009

16 May

Hello everyone.  I have landed safely and successfully made my way to the Haraldsheim Hostel in Oslo, 4 km from the city center.  It’s my first day in Scandinavia (and Norway) and I have already learned several new things:

1.            I do not speak Norwegian.

I just returned from the grocery store, where I bought two pizzas and a bar of chocolate, which rang up for 75.90 NOK – roughly 12 dollars.  Fortunately everything was well labeled and I was able to see my total on the cashier’s display, thus avoiding a total communication failure.  I had a delightful conversation with the young woman working the register.

TORY - smiling, dumbfounded:  Uhhhhh…

CASHIER – smiling:  Birkelsojidorf sikfj suudkj rweoiru.  Sodudk skojd ox?

TORY – still smiling, handing over the money:  Um.

CASHIER – accepting money, puzzled at lack of response: Sodudk skojd ox?

TORY – clearly distressed:  Yes.

CASHIER – frowning:  Tslkjdoiook durpfk.  Dfjek uyoot.

TORY – apologetic, dismayed at unintentional breach of etiquette:  Danke.  (Oops!)

Aside from my most recent experience buying groceries, everyone I have met in Oslo has spoken impeccable English, in many cases with no discernable accent.  I have my handy dandy Norwegian phrase book, but I haven’t needed it yet.  I guess at the store I was too embarrassed to break into English.  I’m eating one of those pizzas right now – Jarlsberg cheese, ham, and mushrooms.  Delicious.

2.            Norwegians are realllly friendly.

I landed in Norway with no train reservations, no bus tickets, no map, and no friends.  I was quite pleased with how easy it was to get all of those things taken care of in almost no time at all.  Not only does everyone here speak English – they are also really friendly!  I have been to a lot of places where I felt like I was part of some sort of invasion.  Certainly not the case here… I have now paid for all of my accommodations, transit needs, and admission fees for the next four days.  I pulled out 3000 NOK this morning after I landed, and half of it is gone as a result. I have experience working with the Euro, the Pound, and the Swiss Franc, all of which are comparable to the dollar in spending power.  So, finding out that a bottle of water is 18 NOK is taking some time to get used to.

3.            I love me some Jarlsberg.

Well, I am going to take a few more bites of this pizza and then it’s time to tram back down to the city center for some exploring.  It’s almost 2 pm Norway time, which means I’ve been awake for 21 hours now.  I haven’t crashed yet, but I know it’s coming.  My goal is to make it to 5 pm.

A few pictures from day one:

The Haraldsheim Hostel, 4 km from the city center

View from the rear of Haraldsheim


  1. yay good job tory! glad you are safe, hooray!

  2. that is sooooooooooo groovy. I am so excited for you, this is ve ry interesting. I can hear your voice in my head when I read what you have written and I like what you are telling us all about, I want to go to Norway. even more. can i come visit? (hahaha) love you

  3. that last comment was from Lydia, I used moms account I guess. ok that was Lydia, and this is me too, I am Lydia and I love you

  4. ohh this is zoe love you :]
    nice blogggg