Saturday, June 6, 2009

5 June

Goodbye, Norway!

It's been a great twenty days. While it is still fresh in my mind...

9 Great Things About Norway:

1. Stupendous geography, rich in vast mountain ranges, spectacular fjords, numerous waterfalls, and huge forests
2. Friendly, well-educated people
3. 100% powered by renewable energy (hydro power!)
4. Good train system, excellent bus system
5. You have to pay for bags at the grocery store (encourages using your own)
6. Great hostels! I was most impressed with the breakfasts.
7. Good traditional cuisine (great seafood!) a nice mix of international foods
8. Free water at most restaurants (!!!)
9. Universal healthcare and welfare (Norway is essentially a socialist country with a very high standard of living)


5 Somewhat-less-than-Awesome Things About Norway:

1. Food costs 3-4 times as much than in the USA (The standard combos at McDonald's range from $13-$17)
2. Alcohol costs about 3 times as much as in the USA and wine/liquor can only be purchased at special government-run stores with limited hours (Cheapest pint of beer I found was $9)
3. Unique currency, not a member of the E.U. (But they are a member of NATO)
4. Smoking is really, really cool and is very popular among all the cool people here
5. Economy is currently anchored by oil exports (meh)

Today was a super-long day of travel. I left at 8:20 AM and arrived in Uppsala, Sweden at 7 PM.

There was a great sunset last night. Like, really incredible.

And it turns out that today was graduation day for schools all over Sweden. And during my layover in Ă–stersund I saw between 30 and 50 dump trucks which had been converted into party wagons full of drunken co-eds blaring party music and drinking champagne.

It was madness. A completely inappropriate introduction to the country, but enjoyable all the same.

Tomorrow is Sweden's national day, so Caitlin and I are going into Stockholm, which is only a 40 minute train ride from here. Time has been tight here, but I'll do my best to keep up with posts.

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