Everything we heard about Oslo and Norway was “Its the most expensive place,” “a burger will cost you $40,” “getting from the airport will cost you more than your plane ticket,” and so on and so on. It definitely got us thinking (and a little unnerved about what to expect) so we were prepared for blow your socks off expensive, although I’m not sure if you can actually “prepare” for that! We had an open stay in Oslo as we had not booked the next leg of our trip yet, so we told each other that if it’s too expensive then we can just leave (searching on Skyscanner showed us that there were flights for under $30 from Oslo to counties all over Europe, so we weren’t too worried about it).
We arrived around 11pm and was instructed by our Couchsurfing host to take the NSB train vs. the express train because it was half the cost. Any way of saving money is right up our alley! Well, we didn’t realize that after getting off the plane, grabbing our bag, and finding the exit, we had taken about 35-45 minutes, so when we bought our NSB tickets from the kiosk for around $20 total, we were surprised to find that the last NSB train had already left. We were forced to buy the Express train tickets, which were $40 total, and since the NSB trains weren’t running, the office was closed, and that meant we couldn’t get a refund. Of course. The perfect way to come to an expensive city is to accidentally spend an extra $20-$40 dollars before you even leave the airport!
We reached city center well after midnight, so our first impression of the city is a bit skewed. It of course was pretty empty, we were surrounded by tall-ish buildings. I didn’t really form an opinion, but I was also a little cranky, probably from the train ticket debacle, but we made our way to our host’s place that was about 10 minutes walking from the central station (very convenient!).
We were greeted by our hosts and another surfer who were drinking and hanging out, so we of course joined (I had to break the news that I would only like water as I was 20 weeks pregnant) and proceeded to stay up chatting with them until 6 in the morning!!!!
I can’t remember the last time we stayed up until 6 o’clock in the morning. It has probably been years. But it was so easy with this group. That is why we love Couchsurfing and we will be writing a post about our amazing Couchsurfing experiences in Oslo later because we met so many amazing people.
And that was our first impression of Oslo because after staying up until 6, we slept until around 3pm and by the time we showered and were out ready to explore, it was dark. So our first impression was mostly about the awesome and welcoming Norwegian people, but it made us sure we wanted to stay a long while here.
Note: We came to find out that a burger was not $40, either was a pizza from Pizza Hut as we had also heard (we did not in fact order any pizza from Pizza Hut, but their advertising revealed their prices). We came to find that prices were not astronomical, although sometimes a bit high, but compared to Los Angeles it didn’t overwhelm us ever.