I thought that it would be very fitting to start out my posts of Norway talking about the things I learned while I was there. Feel free to add yours to the comment section if you have traveled to this Scandinavian country, I'd love to hear them!
1. America is all over Oslo. (at least where food is concerned) They cannot deny it. First, there are 7-11s everywhere! I was told it's the best place to get coffee. It is considered to be the fast food of Oslo. It resembles our 7-11's here, but nicer. They love their bacon wrapped hot dogs in too. I didn't partake, but theirs did look a lot more appealing than American 7-11 dogs. One of their dogs is called a Hell Dog. "Looks like hell, but tastes like heaven." Yeaaah, not the advertising I want to read before eating my hot dog. Burger kings and McDonalds are also very prevalent. I avoided both but noticed them frequently when I was out exploring. They love the Body Shop. I didn't even realize this place still existed! There was like three in the airport and another five around the Oslo city area. I saw multiple HUGE TGIFridays restaurants which is crazy because they went bankrupt in America. Maybe that's how they stay afloat, pushing American style restaurants in other countries. Norway is pretty Americanized when it comes to food.
2. Things are EXPENSIVE. You can't find beer for less than $15 a pint. Meals are at least $25 at a sit down resturaunt. Delis and kebab places are a bit cheaper. See that picture above? Yeah, that is a lamb stew. I had that along with two Guinness beers for lunch one day and it was $56 American dollars!! PBR type beer over there was around $12 a pint. Good beer started at $15 a pint. If you do find yourself over here, make sure you've saved up some funds because you're likely to drop a significant amount on food alone.
3. Which means NO TIPPING. Everyone in Norway is salaried so they don't need tips. They aren't struggling workers being paid nothing so hey, the one bonus of dropping big bucks on food. You don't have to stress about adding a tip on top of it!
3. Although food and booze is expensive, health care isn't! If you get hurt, it'll cost you $40. If you have pnuemonia it'll be $40 to see a doctor. If you need open heart surgery it will be $40 to fix ya. Not a bad price at all. Norway is a socialist country so that's one of the bonuses.
4. Everyone speaks English. Kind of awesome because they come up to you and start speaking norwegian and then you say I'm sorry, I speak only english. Then they say "Oh no big deal, just tell me. I have no problem with that"
5.The public transportation is AWESOME. I rode around norway by plane, train, bus, tram and ferry. Only once was I asked to see my ticket. I guess they're pretty lax about that stuff here. If you just hop on public transportation, there are no questions asked they just expect that you paid. Honor system to the degree the US would never have.
6. I have never felt so safe. Oslo is a cute little city filled with cobblestone walkways and gorgeous old brick and stone buildings. You almost feel like you're on the set of a movie because it is so different than everyday American surroundings. Oslo's biggest crimes revolve around pick pocketing and ID fraud. Heck, Norway doesn't even feel that their Army needs to be that big. They only have enough people in the Norwegian military so that they can defend their country until back up arrives to help them. When I heard this I couldn't help but laugh. Can you even imagine?!