Seeing Ed and Ski on the Way to Oslo.
Have I been traveling too much? Is it all starting to blur? Maybe. While I was chatting with that couple in the Hamburg bahnhof — I mentioned item in the previous post — the wife asked me where I was coming from … and I couldn’t remember! Oh, I did finally, of course, but only after a blank look and some stammering. I’m doing a lot of train travel on this trip — I can’t remember exactly, but I think the total will be a total of 29 separate trains by the time I get home — but a lot of those are with one or two connections to make one segment happen. Still …
Also, I must report that I’m having trouble with my camera, or maybe it’s the laptop, or even both. Quite mysteriously, I’m suddenly not able to download photos from the camera into the iPhoto file on the laptop. I’m hoping to figure it all out, but until I do, it’ll be text only unless I can find photos that are accurate representations on the internet.
On the ride up to Oslo from Copenhagen, I was surprised to see that there was nary a sign of anyone official when we left Denmark and crossed into Sweden, or again when we entered Norway. No cops, no immigration people, no customs officials … not even with a perfunctory wave-’em-through. In fact, there was no way of telling when we crossed those borders.
Plenty of room on both trains until we got to about four stops from Oslo. At that point, big crowds boarded and got off at each of the last few stops … one of which was the town of Ed — yep, spelled E, D — and another was simply Ski. The rest were long and mostly unpronounceable for someone unfamiliar with words containing “o”s with slashes through them … like this Øne.
Also, after England and France, where the pound and the euro are each worth more than the dollar, it’s weird coming to Scandinavia where the reverse is the case. Here in Norway, for instance, you get about six krona for every dollar and it takes a while to get used to that. I happily picked up the tab tonight when my two Norwegian friends joined me for dinner, but it was startling to see a tab with a total of 1,650 anythings. (In kronas, that’s 275 U.S. dollars and I must say that it was an excellent dinner for three, including wine, at the Thon Hotel Opera’s restaurant.)
One reason for the high prices is a hefty government tax on just about everything that pays for a lot of the benefits Norwegians get … like not a lot of guns and tanks and planes and virtually free health care for everyone. In the U.S., of course, we’re OK with ten percent of our fellow citizens having no health insurance. Well, some of us are.