In Scandinavia the hotel’s breakfast is extremely good. Generous, diversified and delicious is something to look forward for. Beside everything that was offered I was able for the first time to have a really great machine made cappuccino. I did not believe that something like this exits, at least not in the US.
We considered taking a tram to go in the city center but because we did not have any Swedish money we decided to drive into the city to Heden Parking recommended by the hotel’s receptionist. The parking can paid by credit card and no matter that the parking machines in Heden were supposed to take American Express they somehow could not read any credit card so I was stuck on keep trying. Meanwhile my hopeless tries were noticed by some Swedes around and a lady decided that she wants to pay for my 4 hours of parking, about $3-4, and all my thanks and prays of giving her in exchange US$ were refused. She said: “You are a tourist and we like tourists”. I was wondering when something like that happened last time in France, for example….. Goteborg’s center is not large and can be managed in several hours. The old part of the city is around a square located right on the shore of the canals and the harbor that is spectacular especially on a sunny day like the one we had. Unfortunately we did not have time to visit any museum, the Haselblat one being my number ONE priority. After a tour in the old town, a stop at a women beach volleyball match on a court in front of the opera and a walk in the harbor we were able to get on top of the harbor’s red building to get a view of the entire city and after a short stop at the mall to eat we headed back to the car and to a 3 hour drive to Oslo. But after we drove for about one hour we got on a single lane road and we realized that the three Scandinavian capitals are not connected by finished highways.
Luckily the highway hiatus was not so long and we crossed at one point the border with NORWAY that has also a toll, not being clear that is for the bridge we crossed or for the border, 24SK. But all the highways are free….. In Oslo we reached easily the hotel, that we reserved several days before by sort of accident. Because I could not cancel it I was stuck with it and it was not a great choice. At the time I thought that the price being high I should be safe but I missed a big point: This reservation was done in Norway, the most expensive country in Europe. A budget hotel in Norway that has three bed is close or slightly over $200…..And this was just the beginning of experiencing the high cost of living in this country.We parked ourselves at the Budget Inn 2 blocks away from the Central Station and we parked the car on the street, after 18:00 pm being free. However during the day any public parking is about $10/hour if you don’t take the deal of NK240 for the day. Trying to change some money I ended in the railway station where all the offices were closed but they had ATM. I got to one of these and expecting to work in the regular way I entered all the requested info and I asked to get $1000 in local currency. The menu was very confusing having all sorts of currencies except NK so I chose US$ and ….this is what I got, 20 crisp $50 bills. What the heck I would do now because no machine was offering NK? Cursing I got out of the train station looking for a bank but nothing was open. The exchange rate was about $1=NOR 6.62 but, as we were able to find out the following day, if you exchange money at the Forex with the low rate they offer plus their commission it may come close to $1=NK5!!!!!! Aker Drygge is the heart of the nightlife in Oslo. Built on a shipyard area in the 1980 is a modern stretch of apartments buildings on the shore aligned also with a beautiful promenade, bars and restaurants. The music is pumped from the lava bar where youngsters lay down on pillows sipping over priced drinks, Norwegian style. All over you can enjoy the fantastic sense of Scandinavian design and architecture, with ergonomic benches and small water canals and fountains that wind through the passage. Small pedestrian bridges over larger canals lit in the night and a statue of Sri Chimnoy with a flame mirroring the flames of the disco bars. We walked the promenade and enjoyed its scent of summer; you can tell that these people enjoy being out in the summer after so many hours of darkness and cold. They enjoy it so much that even in drizzle they drive their convertibles with the top off. All people from Scandinavia exult this enjoyment like no others. We watched the end of the World Cup game between Uruguay and Ghana that put in the semifinals after so many years the Diego Forlan’s team. The atmosphere was very pleasant and the late light made us stay till around 12pm when finally it looked darker. On my way back to the hotel looking for parking rates for the next day I have to fend off an African prostitute that abound in the downtown. At the hotel I noticed to my utmost surprise that the European AC adapter was missing and I did not have a spare to charge my batteries. After we spent some time investigating it turned out that it was left in Goteborg. It was no big deal except that we could not use any other adapter except that one, the outlets in hotel being grounded and needing a special adapter .After all sorts of tries I found a solution to a unique outlet in the reception area that could take an adapter I had and I left the camera over night there hoping to find it, and I did.