Well, the headline pretty much sums up this leg of our journey. After flying out of Schipohl Airport in Amsterdam and landing in Oslo, Norway, Sarah and I were immediately shocked by the horrendously high prices — $8 USD tall Americano at Starbucks? But…why?
We had prepared ourselves for the unpreventable blow to our wallets due to crazy high prices, but we we didn’t expect all of the extra fees we would have to pay. We had to take a train from the airport to Oslo’s central train station ($25 USD for adults, $12 for students if you remember your student ID!) and then from the train station take another street car to our hostel. We decided to forgo the second train and go by foot.
As we wandered through the streets, looking for our hostel, I took in the sights around me. Pained as I was by the high prices, I will admit Oslo is a beautiful city. The buildings stood tall and dark, and something about the architecture screamed power. The wide streets accommodated hoards of pedestrians, cars, buses and trains, but somehow the chaos seemed orderly, purposeful. Though the city is located right on the coast, there was no beachy vibe, rather an industrial, highly urbanized one. It was a place of productivity. And the people were tall, good-looking and surprisingly diverse in appearance.
After a few wrong turns and a lot of “Didn’t we already pass this?” we spotted Anker Hostel. Again we were taken aback by the expenses. We had to pay for our linens (about $7 USD each) and were told kitchen supplies were to be rented from the front desk with a deposit of 100 NOK (or $15 USD) for three hours.
Welcome to Norway.
We were pleasantly surprised by our room, however. We had an incredibly spacious private room with a private bath, a large wardrobe, a coffee table with two chairs, and big bright, windows. But the best part was the full kitchen, equipped with stove, sink and mini-fridge, and a dining room table. We squealed with delight at the sight. With these amenities, we could avoid high prices at restaurants and cook our own meals – which is exactly what we did.
After settling in, we headed out to figure out the transportation system and find a grocery store. We struggled with both – from discerning which tickets maximized our budget to time ratio, to finding a grocery store that was open past 6 p.m. (weird), but we finally succeeded in both.
We made a healthy dinner of chicken and salad that night with our rented utensils from the hostel and headed to early. So far, Oslo was beautiful, but it seriously was a pain in my wallet.