This was my first time visiting Norway, so my expectations of Oslo were mostly based on conversations with several people while I was in Stockholm. I was under the impression that Oslo is a very expensive city - wages do reflect the prices of things - and that Oslo is also considered the largest village on earth. What I found out on my own is that Oslo is probably one of the most diverse cities in Scandinavia, and people from all over the world are probably attracted to the city because of the higher wages that are earned. I was surprised at how many people told me before, during, and after my time in Oslo something along the lines of "You should work in Oslo, you will make a lot more money than anywhere else!" But, since I am not that interested in money and instead I would just like to find a place that offers better quality of life, the wages are not a deal breaker in my search for a place to live.
I discovered both positive and negative aspects of Oslo, and I will admit that it seemed the city wasn't as polished as other Scandinavian cities. What I mean by that is there is an abundance of graffiti on building facades and on the public transit trams and trains. It was also noted that public transportation vehicles appeared to be neglected with maintenance and upgrades. This could be based on the fact that all public transit is completely free, meaning the budget isn't there for improvements, and free things tend to receive a more careless mentality by patrons when it comes to littering, vandalism, or just total lack of consideration for the quality and condition of their public transit fleets. I think another negative aspect is that the attraction of higher earnings might bring in people who's highest/only priority is for themselves to obtain money. The general feeling is that there are an abundance of transient residents who are there to only make money and send it back to where they came from. This certainly promotes diversity, but it just seems like it attracts people who have more regard for money than the city.
Moving away from the negatives, there are many positives about the city that I can discuss in detail on the blog. One thing that sets Oslo apart from other cities is the proximity of outdoor elements relative to the city. I was able to take one of the metro trains right into the mountains where I then went on a 6 hour hike through the gorgeous Norwegian forest. It was a very different venue than my typical excursions through the concrete jungle of the cities, and I really enjoyed myself in the quiet and peaceful surroundings of trees, trails, waterfalls, lakes and streams. My hike began at Sognsvann Lake and ascended in elevation to end at Frognerseteren Restaurant.
Did I mention how peaceful the hike was? Well, I would be lying if I said everything went smoothly because I did find myself in some situations that made me second-guess my trail and I had to consider going a different way - I was following a route somebody took during the summer when there is no snow. Here is a good example of one of those moments.
I was not kidding about a metro train taking you to and from these areas and back to the city. The trains scale the mountains with no problem and offer quite a spectacular view during the ride back down to sea level.