“Norwegians are always in a rush and have too much money” is how a Canadian born man explained to me why nearly all the flyers traveling to Oslo Central Station were buying the Flytoget express train tickets for 170 NOK ($29.75 USD) rather than NSB local train tickets for 90 NOK ($15.75 USD).
Kiosk for NSB local train ticket 90 NOK on left and Flytoget Express train tickets on right 170 NOK.
The local train left one minute later than the express train and arrived at the Oslo central train station eight minutes later than the express train. Nearly all the train ticket buyers at the airport automated kiosks paid an extra 80 NOK ($14 USD) to get to Oslo ten minutes sooner.
Oslo was the first of four layovers of under 24 hours on the return flights from Berlin to San Francisco using 30,000 miles in American Airlines award tickets that are taking me to Oslo, Helsinki, London and Chicago for overnight stays. I left Berlin Monday afternoon and I will get home to Monterey, California on Friday afternoon.
OSL Gardermoen Airport to Oslo Central Train Station on the local train has one stop and takes 25 minutes. NSB Norwegian State Railway local trains leave about every twenty minutes. The Airport Express train (Flytoget) takes 19 minutes at a cost of $14 more for the ticket. Express trains leave every ten minutes.
Food Rationing for Budget Rationing in Oslo
Oslo has the title for world’s most expensive city in a UBS survey September 2012.
With less than 24 hours and no Norwegian currency in my pockets, I hit the streets of Oslo with a 50 cent chocolate bar from Berlin in my backpack and went to see how the restaurants were pricing food and who was eating where.
Credit and debit cards are accepted all over so charging food to my card was always an option.
Oslo city view from 30th floor of Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo.
The first restaurant I came across was The Mexican Lounge at a place called 3 Brodrs.
Being a Californian I know some great burrito joints for a terrific stomach stuffer for under $6.00.
So what are Norwegians paying for their burritos?
Vegetable burrito = 168 NOK ($29.37).
Beef fajita = 252 NOK ($44.06).
No Norwegian kroner in my pockets was not the impediment. The price of food was my limiting factor. A night without a meal would not due me any harm.
In fact, my plan was to charge a little food to my credit card when I came across a supermarket. Just a snack to get me through the night was all I needed.
Indian restaurants are one of my favorite places to eat.
The lunch menu was still displayed at 9pm at night although the sign states lunch menu available from 12-3pm. Fish curry with rice and plain naan bread for 149 NOK ($26.49).
I found myself by the sea and walking carefully on the ice covered sidewalks.
Nobel Peace Center, Oslo.
January 1993 was the last time I was in Scandinavia at a conference in Stockholm, Sweden for the formation of Education International, the global association of teachers unions. While the Nobel Peace Prize and dinner are held in Oslo, the other Nobel prizes are awarded in Stockholm. In 1993 I attended a dinner at the Stockholm City Hall identical to the Nobel prize ceremonial dinners. That was a long dinner with many courses and more silverware and glasses I have ever seen on a table setting.
The National Theater area of Oslo had several restaurants filled with people dining.
Chinese food is another favorite of mine. There were plenty of eaters in the Chinese restaurant.
Tiger Scampi for 218 NOK ($38.11) looked like a bargain price compared to the 110 NOK ($19.23) at McDonald’s for a double Big Mac. I have a feeling it is actually just a regular Big Mac with two hamburger patties and not actually a double Big Mac with four patties.
National Theater, Oslo.
Then I came across some familiar restaurant brands.
Checked out the beer menu to find 0.5 L beer averaging 75 NOK ($13). Thinking back fondly to free beer a few hours earlier at the British Airways lounge at Tegel Airport Berlin, compliments of American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum status.
Original Budweiser brewed in Czech Republic was my last meal at Tegel Airport BA lounge six hours earlier.
Right by Hard Rock Café was TGI Fridays, a Carlson company restaurant chain.
T.G.I. Friday’s Drink Menu showed almost all drinks at 112 NOK ($19.58) or 124 NOK ($21.68).
Fancy getting drunk?
Grand Hotel Oslo
President Obama stayed at the Grand Hotel for his Nobel Peace Prize visit and dinner in 2009.
Norway’s Parliament building is across the street from Grand Hotel.
Parliament of Norway building, Stortingsbygningen.
After walking around Oslo for a couple of hours I never did come across a supermarket. I decided to head back to the Radisson Blu Plaza hotel.
I could always order a beer and Chicken Caesar Salad 165 NOK ($28.85) or a hamburger 165 NOK from Galway Pub in the lobby of the hotel. Galway Pub was packed.
In my room I came across the snack bag of nuts from the Air Berlin flight to Oslo.
I settled back in my room with water, nuts and a couple more bites of chocolate.
Breakfast, complimentary as part of Business Class hotel upgrade, was only eight hours away.
Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo, first round of breakfast.
Ironically, I discovered the supermarket at the train station entrance adjacent to the Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo. The supermarket was only 100 meters from my hotel. All I needed to have done was ask for a market at the reception desk of the hotel.
But, I enjoyed night walking in Oslo.
I can eat all I want when I get home to California.