Roaming in Oslo, Norway: Exploring the City

Well, I’m finally out of quarantine and can go about the city as I wish. Interestingly, because of the strict measures in place the last year and half, things seem relatively normal here. I haven’t seen anyone wearing a mask, but the majority of the population is vaccinated at this point.

The first day out of quarantine wasn’t a whole lot different than the previous days. I did get to meet a friend in person for the first time and I ate a yummy appetizer in a restaurant.

It was refreshing to get out and walk around the city and take in all of the sights. I was surprised at how easy it is to get close to the palace where the king and queen live. It seems to be a big attraction. While I was walking by, they were doing the changing of the guards, which was pretty cool to watch.

I finally got the chance to check out some stores and get a few items that I didn’t pack to bring with me. I picked up an extra blanket, slippers, and a hair straightener.

Prices Compared to the U.S.

A lot of people warned me that things here would be more expensive. So far, I am finding the prices to be fairly comparable to most of the places I lived in the U.S. Food and drink prices at restaurants are about the same, but tipping is not required in Norway. I even had one server try to give me the tip back saying that it’s not customary and they make a living wage, unlike the U.S.

My grocery bill was not much different than I would expect to pay at home. You can search for good deals and sales. Just like in the U.S., there are certain times and days when stores run promotions or deals on items.

The coolest app that I learned about a couple of days ago is called Too Good To Go. It looks like some of the big cities in the U.S. are starting to use it as well.

Essentially, you pay a discount price, typically a few dollars, for a surprise bag from a store or cafe. The pick-up window is between 10 and 15 minutes before the store closes. It helps reduce waste so they don’t have to throw as much away. For $10, I have enough sandwiches and baked goods for my breakfasts and lunches this week. One cafe gave a salad, hummus wrap, and arugula sandwich in the surprise bag.

Travel in Oslo

For around $100, I purchased a monthly pass to travel around the city using rail, metro, buses, and ferries. That is fairly comparable to a pass in NYC, which is $127 for the month.

Interestingly, there are no stations preventing entry onto the metro platforms. It is super easy to just walk right on from any stop. I tried to scan my phone on the train the first time I got on, but nothing was happening. I asked someone and apparently, it is all done on the honor system. So basically anyone can ride public transportation. They do random checks with hefty fines to prevent people from taking advantage of the system.

The monthly pass even allowed access to the ferries. So yesterday, I decided to take a ferry ride to the different fjords.

I start officially working this week, so I will be sure to make more Productivity posts. This will be important as I transition from a vacation/self-care mode back into organization and travel.

Preparing for an International Move: What I’m Doing Now

*Note: I will update this post with advice I’m receiving!

Wow, it’s finally happening. I’m moving to Norway in less than a month. Even though I’ve been waiting for the official approval, I thought I would have more time to prepare. So now, it’s time to buckle down and think through my list of to-do items. I think I’m going to start with a brain dump of all the things I can think of and then prioritize what has to happen first.

As I think through my list, I know that I need to get my car cleaned and ready to store temporarily. I have to get a 2 piece luggage set that is durable for international travel. Here is the set I’m thinking of buying:

In the time of covid, I don’t just have to worry about residency permits and passports, but also proof of vaccination and any quarantine requirements. I’m waiting to hear from the agency on some guidance about what to expect once I arrive.

As I’m sitting here thinking, this is what I’ve come up with to do so far:

  1. Buy flights and look into luggage costs
  2. Buy luggage set
  3. Clean out car and set up park insurance
  4. Decide whether to cancel expensive U.S. health insurance plan while I’m gone (benefit of going to a country with universal healthcare)
  5. Make a list of all essential items to pack
  6. Make a list of items I’d like to pack if there is space
  7. Purchase bulk of anything that would be easier to get here like contacts, medicines, toiletries that are cheaper here
  8. Look into international purchases – set up banking there and autopay for bills here

I am sure there is so much more that I’m not thinking of at the moment. Thankfully, the organization provided an arrival guide to help upon entry to the country. I just want to make sure I tie up my loose ends here as best as I can.

While I have been waiting to leave for 14 months, life has continued to happen around me and I’ve thankfully had time to reflect and spend with family.

Any advice is appreciated and I’ll be sure to share any helpful travel tips I learn along the way!

Advice for International Travel

Collapsible water bottle – travels well and takes up less space in your luggage

Undercover travel bra pouch to keep important IDs and cash

Travel pouches to help with packing

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