Ask Mr. Nerd: Oslo, Norway

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Ask Mr. Nerd: Oslo, Norway

Travel dates: May 23-25 and June 4-5 2015

1. What were your initial impressions of Norway?

There are lots of trees. Norway is pretty much all pine trees with a few areas carved out for cities. The air is incredibly clean—it's hard to explain, but there's a clarity outdoors that I haven't found in the States.

I also thought Norwegians were very quiet and tend to keep to themselves; it seems like they avoid most interactions and enjoy being left alone.

2. Did you have a favorite experience there? Tell me about it.

The beer festival we attended in Drammen (almost 40 minutes away from Oslo) was one of my favorite memories from the trip. I found that Norwegians love to drink ... and when they do, they become VERY friendly and talkative. Also, the people at the festival were in touch with their Viking roots. The meats, the booze, the singing and shouting. It was a great experience.

(Note from Mrs. Nerd: I loved this experience, too, but it was also a teaching moment for us. Going from quiet Norwegians to a loud, exciting beer festival really challenged our perceptions of the culture. You can read about the beer festival here!)

3. Is there a place you visited that you deeply enjoyed?

I enjoyed visiting the Royal Palace in Oslo, complete with its royal gardens (which is a must visit in my opinion). The flowers are quite beautiful—and, best of all, it's quiet and not crowded. I also loved the museums, which are packed with works by famous artists. As an artist myself, seeing paintings by Van Gogh and sculptures by Auguste Rodin was quite an incredible and special moment for me.

 
 

4. What's one thing you learned that most people don't know about Norway?

This may just be a States thing (why we found it surprising), but unlike here, pedestrians don't stop at crosswalks in Norway. They walk right across, and the cars have to stop for them. It was a strange experience to cross the road, look over, and see a line of cars backed up in the middle of a morning commute. At least no one seemed upset by it. You could never do that in Minneapolis.

 
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5. We know you're a food guy. What did you think of the food there?

I hate to say it, but I thought the food in Norway was incredibly overpriced. A pizza that you could get in a gas station in the States for under $6 cost $20 there and tasted about the same. Needless to say, we didn't eat out much.

However, the traditional food we tasted in Norway (often cooked by my cousins, who we stayed with) was fantastic. Highly recommended!

(Note from Mrs. Nerd: When we dined out in Norway, we tried to find local cafeterias. They were the least expensive places to eat and had pretty good food! Definitely not what you'd think a cafeteria would have. If you go and follow in our foodsteps, make sure you try the reindeer meatballs!)

6. Is there something you wish we'd done or experienced that we didn't get to this time?

I wish we could've seen the fjords. We were quite a distance away from them, and taking a tour would've cost $200-300 dollars each. So we decided not to. But otherwise, that's really the only thing we didn't do that I can think of.

7. Have any tips for first time Norway travelers?

I highly recommend travelers stay with friends or relatives while you're visiting, since it's fairly expensive there otherwise. If you're hungry, buy food at the supermarket and make your own meals. It's cheaper.