Norway!

NORWAY! It’s all covered in trees! It’s verdant! It’s Nordic! I like it already and I haven’t even gotten off the plane yet!
The airport is straight out of an IKEA catalogue. Hardwood floors, Scandinavian furniture, lots of black, white, and natural wood, and paper lamps. Oh, and lots of random, unlabeled art!
This train is glorious. I reeeeally wish that America had trains like Europe has trains. It’s fast and clean and quiet and amazing and has free WiFi, naturally. The countryside is idyllic. There are rolling meadows and farms and perfect red barns and trees and it’s soooo pretty!
UPDATE I found some graffiti; this must be the ‘slum’. Also this whole having-a-headcold-and-sniffling-a-lot is working wonders for keeping an empty seat beside me…
I am in Europe, and I only have a backpack. Therefore… I AM BACKPACKING IN EUROPE! I’ve just clipped my compass to my purse strap and I’m setting myself loose in downtown Oslo. Here we go!!
Handy tip: Oslo is not flat. Also the streets are, unsurprisingly, not straight. This is GREAT for wandering around and discovering things (I found a bunch of neat buildings! And a cemetery with a cafe!), it’s not so helpful when you’re navigating with a compass and no map. East, east, east OH dead end. Ok, north, now east, east, good, oh wait, it’s curving, now I’m going south. Shit. Ok, east, east, and GIANT RAVINE! Shit.
Ah, that marvelous moment in a foreign city when out of the blue you recognize a thing. “Ah! I’ve been here before! I know where I am (sort of)!” See the photo? I’ve now been to that park… TWICE!
One of the things I love most about traveling is how it makes you notice all the little everyday things that we take for granted. I just got on the tram (after failing to note the difference between a bus and a tram, then failing to find a stop for either, then unsuccessfully trying to walk to Vigeland park instead, then giving up and walking back). As soon as I got on I realized that it was missing any visible buttons or cords, and so I had absolutely no idea how I should request a stop. It only made stops when requested, I was able to verify that after a couple stops went by, but for all my surreptitious glances I couldn’t figure out what the other passengers were doing to make it stop. I wound up just sitting back and hoping that my stop would be popular enough for others to request it, and luckily it was, but it’s definitely one of those little things that I take for granted…. How do you make a bus stop? Other than asking the driver directly, of course, which yeah, you COULD…

 

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