21 October 2010

Os/Lo Costs/Hi

I've just returned from my marvelous mid-semester trip and I'm feeling spiritually rejuvenated but physically exhausted. The Norsome Foursome, comprising of NC, Lau, KD and myself just completed a week-long trip to Norway.

Last Thursday, after KD missed her flight to Oslo, NC and I were left with each other for a couple days in Oslo. Lau was to meet us a couple days later as she had an unavoidable class excursion.

We had been warned about how excessively expensive Norway was before our trip, so we paid Norwegian Airlines an extra €8 to bring a suitcase with us. We filled the suitcase up with plenty of food; canned tuna, Belgian sweets, mixed nuts, instant pasta, potato crisps and waffles. Think of your favourite unhealthy food - it was probably in our suitcase.

While we went to Norway with the intention of spending money frugally, we noticed within minutes of arriving in Oslo that it was just impossible. A simple meal (eg. a hot dog, or a Big Mac) in Oslo will set you back at least 80 Norwegian Krones (ie. €10 or AUD14). That is fine if you are a millionaire like Paris Hilton, but not so fine if you are a student who hates Paris Hilton, like me.

Even the hostels, which were already the most expensive I've ever had to pay, required an extra payment just for using their bedsheets. So, after checking into a hostel, NC and I decided to escape the expensive city and caught a fairy to visit Gressholmen, an islet in Oslofjord (pictured). It was a deserted island - the only structures we saw were a cafe that was closed until May 2011, an outdoor toilet and a shed. The landscapes were beautiful (but nothing compared to the fjords we saw in western Norway later in the trip) with cliffs made of several rock layers that resembled the skin of a zebra.

The next day was eventful with KD finally arriving in Oslo and Yannis and Alex (also on exchange at CPH) running into us at our hostel. We visited the Nobel Peace Center by the harbour; one of the most interesting museums I have ever been to. As some of you may know, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo each year (whilst the other Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm). I was particularly pleased to learn of the Nobel Committee's recent announcement that Liu Xiaobo would be the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. I had learnt about him and several other Chinese-imprisoned ideological and peaceful political dissidents through my human rights course at Hong Kong University. The museum was extremely high-tech and interactive (pictured) and made it fun for kids and adults alike to learn about the achievements of past recipients. The nomination process for the award is quite complex, secretive, and at times controversial. In fact, Adolf Hitler was once nominated for the award (although this was later retracted), and winners such as Lê Ðức Thọ have declined to accept the award on political grounds.

Another notable site we visited in Oslo was the Opera House (pictured); one of the great modern architectural triumphs (at least, I think it should be considered one!).

 We also visited the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art which was home to a very interesting and fun exhibition by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto. Here, I felt like a child again playing with my pals in a big ball pit and a number of other unusual enclosures (pictured).

Next stop // Next blog // Bergen and the west coast fjords of Norway!


hsw said...

I got the URL to your blog off the University of Copenhagen website. I am going to study at UCopenhagen next semester (I am a student studying biology in the USA), and I have a few questions, if you wouldn't mind helping me out! It might be easiest to shoot me an email, I think you should see my email in this post.

First, how many opportunities have you had to travel around and see the rest of Europe? If you haven't traveled around a lot, would you have had the time too? Similarly, did you do the study tour in Russia?

Second, what housing are you doing while you are there? How did you find it?

Finally, what was your experience with registering for classes?

Thanks so much!!! I'd super appreciate a reply,

Justin Courageo said...

heyaaaa hannah! i cant seem to find your email address anyway i'm afraid. lemme know and i'll be more than happy to answer your questions :)

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