Oslo

Interesting facts

Teslas – people love them here. I totally get it – they are nice inside, quiet, look cool. But actually, the reason why it’s worth the money is that they are highly subsidized… by that I mean that apparently it is free to drive them around the city (regular cars have to pay a tax), free to park them in special spots in the city, and to charge them, it costs nothing too… so basically you have a Tesla = free. (except maybe insurance, but I don’t know how that works here).
Public transport – One of the best I’ve seen in Europe. Besides Toulouse at least. Things run on time, there are many routes in the small city. Also the basic fare includes ferry rides to the islands, bus, tram, metro, etc.
Money – Even the bus takes cards. I didn’t have to use cash at all but have you seen their krons? They have holes in the middle!
Diversity – Oslo is very diverse. There are Asians, Indians, Tourists, Middle Easterners, Tourists, Americans, Europeans from other countries, and did I mention Tourists?
English – Pretty much everyone speaks it, except maybe the gypsies, but even they know how to say please, which is more than I can say for the French :D.
Bikes and Dogs – These things are equivalent to children when paying for metro tickets during rush hour. Bikes are free outside of rush hour.
Sports – Everyone here runs, swims, bikes, or something else. They are really active at least in the summer.
Jetlag – This has nothing to do with Oslo, but after a week, I still have to take naps. It really sucks. Maybe I should start going to bed earlier than 1am. Oh but wait.. it’s vacation right? Sleep when you’re dead?

July 15

Wake up at 5am. It is early, but the sun has been up for 2 hours now. My couchsurfing host is awesome and wakes up with me, makes tea and helps me with my bag to get to the metro station 1 minute before it comes. Perfect timing. I get to the train station in good time, and the train leaves exactly on time. These Norwegians are “a l’heure”!

Bruxelles to Frankfurt

In the span of 1 day, I spent 2 euros on toilets; good thing I didn’t give change to some homeless beforehand, because I had a total of 7 euros in change. Just at the train station I got asked by 3 homeless. After a while I got annoyed and found a restaurant where I bought a tea, then hung out writing essays for job applications. After about 5 hours, I met my cousin outside the train station, whose every second word was a juron: he almost got driven over by all the insane Belgian drivers.
Once he picked me up, we were on our way through Germany, to Austria, Hungary, and finally Transylvannia. First stop: Frankfurt (besides the 5 other short ones between Bruxelles and Frankfurt to clean off the windshield because the fluid was frozen). It was -10C outside, with 20 cm snow on the ground from the night before. We met a friend who showed us a hostel, then her and I walked around the center part of town. We went into a mall, where the shops were closed, but the area around was open. The architecture of this building was amazing. The architect used triangle shaped glass panes to construct a mathematically sound three-dimensional saddle tunneling into a cylinder which descended through the middle of the mall. All of this was topped by the longest escalator existing in a mall. Along the river Main at night was similar to Budapest, except the buildings are a little farther away from the river banks. Despite the frigid temperatures, there were mice everywhere scampering around in the snow. These little creatures half the size of my fist scaled two flights of stairs faster than I could have run up them. Maybe they did it for exercice so they didn’t freeze to death? I have never seen this many mice in one place at once.
We stayed the night in Frankfurt Hostel, 60 euros for 3 of us (wagered down by my cousin from 69 euros) in a private room with bathroom. Not a bad deal. Also included a breakfast (which we almost missed). Breakfast was from 7 to 10, we woke up at 9:45, ran out the door pulling on clothes halfway down the stairs, hopping from one foot to the other while shoving our feet into our shoes. When we got downstairs, we were amazed by the quality of breakfast. I was half expecting some stale muesli and bagels with cream cheese. However, we were greeted by the line-up of coffee, tea, freshly baked bread with cream cheese, salami, ham, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, nutella, fresh plum yoghurt. Piling as much onto multiple plates as we could before they cleaned it up, we had a delightful breakfast overlooking downtown Frankfurt, around the corner from the train station.

Le but de mon voyage, c’est…

To learn to speak french better. Yes.. which is what I thought is what would happen when i went out to farms to help, and these random people in the country side, but it turns out most of these people are friggin BRITISH. Ok, so I have nothing against british people, except for a couple of them who decide to be really cool and send me off in 4 hrs notice.. but enough about that. Anyways, I may learn to speak french better if I just stay in a hostel.
Yesterday 3 new guys joined us in the room des Musiciens (just a theme… it’s not like we have a grand piano in there or anything), they are here for a week, and doing some sort of carpentry school, then three weeks doing work with a company to build specifically log cabins. They were really cool, only one of them could speak English, so it was really interesting trying to talk with the other ones, but I somehow “uhh”-ed and ahh-ed my way through the conversation, circumscribing as much as I could.
Interestingly, we did somehow manage to get our way through some conversation about Radio Frequencies, and also some disorder of the heart which one of them had… it was quite a good feeling.