What is your impression of Oslo?

Jun 6th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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What is your impression of Oslo?


Have you been to Oslo and what was your impression of it? There was an interesting article in Dagbladet (one of the largest newspapers in Norway) this weekend. A couple of journalist had gone “under cover” and they pretended to be tourists in Oslo for a weekend. The image they painted of the city was pretty grim and I’m just wondering if many of the tourists are left with the same impression after they have visited. I remember the first time I took my wife Nikki to Oslo. We were picked up by a friend outside Oslo central station and more or less the first thing that met us was a drug addict taking his daily shot of something right in the park near by. He was standing with his pants around his ankles and I assume that he was looking for a vein to place the needle of the syringe. The article in Dagbladet painted a similar picture. When you arrive by boat from Denmark it seems like there are two routes to reach the city centre…through a construction area…or through an area with lots of prostitutes. I guess the problem is that prostitution is not illegal in Norway and hence Oslo has lots of street prostitutes compared to cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen. According to the article there are about 400 street prostitutes from Nigeria on Karl Johan alone. Another problem is the organized begging that occurs in Oslo. From January 1st this year it is no longer illegal to beg on the streets in Norway and after this there seems to have been a huge influx of beggars.

It is a shame because Oslo has some wonderful sights like Vigeland park, the Holmenkollen ski arena, several museums etc etc. What is the impression that you are stuck with after visiting Oslo? Is the article right or is it an exaggeration? Here is a link to the article by the way: http://www.dagbladet.no/magasinet/20...03/467969.html . It is only in Norwegian I’m afraid. I hope that I have not put anyone of when it comes to visiting Oslo by the way.

http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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None of all that would stop me, the "other half' of humanity has to live, too, and in a state that lucked out and became so incredibly rich it's no wonder that the haves and the have-nots are in such stark contrast.

But what does put me off is the fact that Oslo is the most expensive city in the world (as rated by the Economist or some such entity in London) recently, and its also rated very highly by others. It's a nice city, but for the kind of money it costs just to breathe there, it ought to be a heck of a lot nicer before it can hold its own with the rest of the world.

WallyKringen is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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Gard I am hesitant to reply to this cause I would not like to say anything negative about Oslo, especially after you wrote such nice things about my home city, New York! I liked the city very much during the few days I spent there a while ago. Vigeland Park is a fantastic place and the people were warm and welcoming. But you know, now that you mention it, I remember being struck by the many intoxicated persons walking on the streets at night, more than I have ever seen outside Tokyo! Well, you asked for first impressions, right? That out of the way, I adored the little I saw of Norway during a very brief one-week stay and I would like to return someday. I do apologiaze for these comments which are based only on a very brief visit. I would not hesitate to return and explore further.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Jun 6th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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Perhaps I was blind to the negatives, but I've been to Oslo twice and have been impressed by the parks, the people, the museums, and the general atmosphere. I've gotten quite lost in town once when driving in from the west, and I wound up in what was not the most attractive part of town. No mattter, the people who guided me in the right direction were quite friendly. Although it doesn't have the beauty of Stockholm and Copenhagen, it strikes me as an equally efficient place. It is certainly expensive, although a great deal of the expense comes from the cost of food and drink, especially the latter. I don't find the price of hotels too different from other European capitals. I love the fact that it's so easy to get outside of the city into nature. My wife has an even more positive view than I.
Midnightsun is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 02:46 PM
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We especially enjoyed Frogner Park, the Viking boat museum, the Fram, the structures in the outdoor museum. We also loved riding the streetcars. That said, we were amazed how expensive everything was Oslo. That was not the city's fault, of course. But it sure put a damper on our ability to enjoy things. Were people friendly to us, a pair of elderly Americans? Yes, they certainly were.
USNR is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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We spent a very nice week in Oslo, a week in the countryside from Oslo to Tromso via Bergen, Trondheim and Bodo (and the Lofotens)..followed by a week each in Stockholm and Copenhagen and vicinity.
Oslo is a small city in more ways than population,(atmoshphere and "feel" for example) but we found it to be attractive, friendly and "warm"..we stayed at the Gabelshus in the embassy district and loved it...the rates were very favorable at less than $100 and the breakfast buffet was classic. Walking distance most everywhere, and the streetcars and rapid transit for the outlying area like Frogner Park and the Munch Museum (no, Gard, we didn't do the robbery!)
A former business acquaintance of mine runs a string flower shops and he took us around town including the famous ski jump. We took the boat across to Bgdoy and throughly enjoyed the folk village and the museums therein.
I would recommend a visit to Oslo as p-art of a Norwegian trip anytime..the NIN is marvelous, too.
Stu T.
tower is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 10:29 PM
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I read the article in Dagbldet. My first thought: Is this what the tourist experience first ? Possibly in the lower parts of Karl Johan area, yes, but elsewhere, I doubt it. And, this was written by Norwegian journalists, who know what to look for at our dark side. They could as easily have painted a glamourous picture. Have any of you guys been to Amsterdam? Do you have any views on conditions there compared to Oslo? The article is correct, but don't let this stop you from coming here.
rjsol is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 10:36 PM
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When my son and I went to Oslo in 2003, he noticed a man with a bike (wonder if it was his?!) who was holding a syringe in his mouth. I had read there was a drug scene in Oslo. But of course there certainly is in Vancouver also, where I live. Near the Anker Hostel where we stayed (otherwise highly recommended - you can get simple furnished private studio flats with kitchen facilities) there were kids who were young but obviously a bit on the fringe, and also smoking pot. But nothing bad happened to us.

The sea and mountains and Vigeland Park and the area around the major museums are quite beautiful.

And yes, everything is expensive. So we had all our restaurant meals at a Bengali place which was pretty good and the cheapest place we could find.
WillTravel is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 11:23 PM
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We like Oslo !

Thinking about Oslo, the things that I remember are (in this order): Vigeland, the promenade near the sea with all restaurants, Vikings museum, Fram museum, Olympic stadium.

I have no memories about people using drugs, maybe there are, but I did not note them ! We saw a lot of people with drugs or drinking in Amsterdam, Rome, Vancouver, etc in almost all big cities in the world, but I do not remember nothing special about this in Oslo.
We felt very safe there.
valtor is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 11:38 PM
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I have been to Oslo three times and have enjoyed it each time (nothwithstanding the cost), even though the main attraction of Norway to me is the scenery once you move away from the cities.

Every city has it "dark" side including my own (Melbourne). On a round the world trip about a year ago with my family the only city in which we felt uncomfortable at any time was Vancouver. Since Vancouver is rated as one of the world's most livable cities we were surprised but we had wandered away from the usual tourist and main shopping strips and found ourselves amongst a lot of drug addicts and homeless. This isn't to disparage Vancouver - we loved it and I hope to return one day, but as I said, every city has its darker side.
shandy is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 12:17 AM
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Well, I'm glad to hear that people are stuck with a positive memory after visiting Oslo. I was just wondering if the "ordinary tourist" was stuck with the same negative impression that the article comes up with. I have been around too and I know that mot places have a good side and a bad side and most of the time I also come back remembering the good stuff

http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 04:28 AM
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My fondest memory of Oslo was the morning breakfast. The herring in all those sauces was great!!

My negative was the price of a beer.
Budman is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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Hello, We are travelling to Norway with our 3 children, ages 3,8 and 11. We are staying 3 nights in Oslo and we currently have reservations at the Grand. Does anyone have a better suggestion? We would like to stay in a nice, safe area but close to transit, shops, and restaurants. Any other advice is welcome. We are taking the royal fjord tour and ending with 5 nights in Bergen ( we also have 1 night in Flam and 2 in Balestrand). Thanks!
paris5 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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Paris, I would recommend starting a new thread and ask your Oslo questions. You might get some better responses than piggy backing on someone else's thread.
Budman is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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I had a very short visit in Oslo, only 2 days for a wedding, but I loved it. It was 3 years ago, in the spring. I came in to Central Station on my own, walked to my hotel, left very very early in the morning from Central Station as well and never felt uncomfortable.

In addition to the wedding activities, a friend and I walked everywhere we could the day of the wedding and managed to see quite alot, including just wandering through a few neighborhoods.

We managed to get some shopping in as well and I remember feeling I got a few deals on some sweaters.

I was a bit spoiled as to the costs, however, as the bride was an assistant to an executive of the hotel we stayed at. So I think I paid the equivalent of $60 a night for a fantastic room. And, most of the meals were wedding activity related.

Long winded to say that my first impression was wonderful and left me wanting to come back to Norway with my husband one day.
Toucan2 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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I really liked Oslo. I remember it feeling very safe, being pretty like a nicely set table is pretty, and just walking and walking until I could move no more.

When I visited Oslo I was already used to living in Boston and in Alicante, so it just seemed like a tranquil and wonderful place.
laclaire is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Note to Paris5...see my recommendation for the Hotel Gabelshus..would be great for the kids, too..on a quiet residential street in a lovely area...with a street car stop at the corner for easy access to other parts of the city...
Stu T.
tower is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:21 PM
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Wow! Some of these posts make Oslo seem like the crime capital of Europe. As with most capital cities, it attracts some undesirable types. But they are a tiny minority. I have been there 11 times. I have never felt the tiniest bit unsafe. Yes, there are some yukky people. A very few. And only in a very, very few parts of the city. I have personally never seen a prostitue or drug addict in Oslo, though I am sure they exist on the street cited in the article.

Okay, I finally had to read Gard's link the the newspaper article. First, that paper (Dagbladet), while quite popular, is a tad like a...I can't remember what you call those newspapers at the supermarket checkstand with tales of abduction by aliens. Basically, it tells the tale of checking into a pension for backpackers in the middle of Oslo. Have you been to San Francisco, the most popular tourist city in the US, and one of the top in the world? Take a bus and get off with your backpack in Tenderloin district. Then write an article about it. All true, but not an accurate portrayal of San Francisco.

Well, enough of defending Oslo. I do find Oslo one of the least charming of Norwegian cities. Yes, there are some very nice sights for tourists (I agree with previous posts). But it is a relatively unattractive city (by Norwegian standards), largely built at a time when Norway was a poor nation.

The nation's second largest city, Bergen, is far more attractive, and near the fjord county of the west. (Too bad for me...all my relatives are in the east!). The third largest city, Trondheim, is quite nice. And for something in the midrange, don't miss Lillehammer, the site of the Olympics.

I do agree with some of the posts. Norway is quite expensive. But very beautiful. And very safe.
nhulberg is offline  
Jun 24th, 2006, 12:48 AM
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It's a nice city, but for the kind of money it costs just to breathe there, it ought to be a heck of a lot nicer before it can hold its own with the rest of the world.

interesting theory...that the economy of a place is determined by how nice it is for tourists to visit.

if you visit a city that is a particularly nice place for tourists to visit but is very cheap, do you clue the residents in that they should consider raising the cost of living as people would surely be willing to pay more?
walkinaround is offline  
Jun 24th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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<< I remember being struck by the many intoxicated persons walking on the streets at night>>

Were you OK?
bardo1 is offline  

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