I spent a couple of days in Oslo, Norway, last week and I must say I really enjoyed it. There’s something about the Norwegian people and the Norwegian way of life that I really like. It’s hard for me to exactly put my finger on what gives me the feeling of enjoying Oslo, but I’m going to give it a try.
First, at the airport, the immigration staff are courteous and polite. That doesn’t always happen and it’s nice. Then I go to catch the airport train to the city and I’m amazed how everyone on the platform seems to be calm and respectful. I find the same experience when I go to Oslo central station to catch a local train as, in general, everyone is calm and respectful. People actually stand back to allow others off the train first, and then they board in a polite way. Maybe I was just lucky with timing, but I did find it a noticeable pleasure.
Next thing that really stood out to me was the condition of the trains. The seats are padded well and comfortable and very clean! The trains I catch in the UK aren’t so comfortable and definitely not so clean. It’s pretty clear that people in Oslo tend not to put their feet on the seats. It appears they have a lot of respect for other people and for shared possessions. These Oslo trains are certainly light years away from the RER B trains around Paris which are at the opposite end of the cleanliness and comfort spectrum.
Walking around the streets and going to a restaurant, there’s a real vibe in Oslo that suggests that all people are accepted and respected. You’re given space and consideration. I feel that if I had a problem, there would be somebody quickly at hand to help. It’s just that sort of city, that sort of culture, and it feels very nice. I find it delightful to have been there enjoying Oslo.
PS. I’m very aware that we have to reduce flying to minimise our pollution (see my other blog https://use10percentless.com), so I feel a little bad flying to Oslo. I’m trying to minimise the amount I fly, but it’s necessary sometimes. Ok, it’s never really necessary, but depending on where you have to go, other travel options can be very impractical. If everyone limited flying to just those times when it’s very impractical to travel by other means (or just not travel) that would be a good start.