Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lovely Norway

What lovely people Norwegians are. Every one of them friendly, polite and cheerful - despite the dreadful crimes that had been committed against them less than two weeks previously. Oslo has a lot of positives. I wish I had more time in the city. I am very certain that I shall return to Norway and spend a good deal longer there.

I arrived quite late at night and took the express train from the airport. I already knew it included a replacement bus service for half of the journey. When I reached the central station, however, it was my understanding that the ticket would include a Metro ride to my final destination, two more stations along the line.

At that point, I discovered that the Metro is also closed at the weekend for some works. A replacement shuttle bus is running, but I wasn't allowed to board it. I was told that my ticket was with the wrong company. So I returned to where there were representatives of the airport express train and explained the situation (this was at about 11:45 pm). The manager there was outraged on my behalf, picked up my bag and went briskly over to talk to the other officials who had turned me away. They had a robust discussion, after which he announced he would put me in a taxi instead.

He wrote out a chit to cover the cost of the taxi ride, and off I went. The relatively short journey by road ended up costing the airport express train 155 Norwegian Krone. I had only paid 170 for my ticket, so they didn't make much money on the fare I bought ! Excellent customer service, however, in the circumstances.

The next day, I took a tour which had been booked in Wellington. It began with a one hour boat cruise, and continued with four hours by bus, visiting the main museums with a guide in traditional costume (although she was German, and only in Norway because of her boyfriend). We also went to the ski-jump which is hundreds of metres up a hill above the city, then to the Vigeland sculpture park. So, many of the highlights of Oslo.

Down by the waterfront, where the tour began, I had also seen the Nobel Peace Center and the City Hall. During a walk earlier in the day I had seen numerous sites where floral tributes had been placed for the victims of Anders Behring Breivik. The main focus of remembrance was at the Domkirke, where a special service was taking place and TV crews were in attendance.

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