Oslo, Norway

Oslo has a similar vibe to Reykjavik – alive with Viking blood, perhaps. At any rate, it seems a lot grittier (it’s much older, at least in terms of its development), and there are many more immigrants, which made it easy to find good samosas and some decent places to pick up groceries. Nonetheless, all the blonde hair and piercing blue eyes is tough to get past. There are, of course, similar looking people in North America, but not so many, and the colour of the eyes here doesn’t seem to suffer from the same turbidity as those in the US. The cold must preserve the shocking blue colour.

While Iceland was expensive, Oslo blows it away. For a small coffee and a dinner roll, it costs about $4 and drinking is extraordinarily pricey with the least costly pint at the pub running about $12. On the up side, the city is larger, so there is more to see, and the flat mates are more varied with many being itinerant worker from all over Europe, here looking for work - with all the oil Norway has, the economy is hot, just like Alberta’s.

The greatest thing about Oslo – as with most places I’ve been – is the people that I’ve met. In my room was a couple from Malaysia. They’d come to Oslo by bus from Sweden, where they’d spent a few days compliments of a cheap fair on Malaysian Airlines. On their way out the door, they introduced me to a really terrific French woman named Cristelle, whom I spoke with late (late, late) into the evening and then accompanied to the bus station. During our conversation, we discovered that we are actually connected via Fred Thomas, who I met at Peter’s wedding last fall. The serendipity continues.