On your marks: Oslo!

New in Oslo? You will need a few tips to find your marks. The following wil help you:

  • find your way around
  • stay out of trouble

Find your way around

Oslo is pretty small and people mostly walk or cycle anywhere, sometimes even without a fixed destination; they call it “å gå på tur” and it means to walk just for fun.

Public transportation consists of:

  • Bus: the green ones go to the outskirts, the red ones stay within the city center.
  • Tram: To me is the most practical if you live in the city center and it’s quicker than the bus, especially for short distances. They go from east to west  and there are some that circle around down-town Oslo.
  • Boat: for going to the islands for tourism or because you live there. If you live in Nesøya or Nesoden, it’s much better to commute by boat because using your car willbe a nightmare. With the boat you arrive to Akker Brygge. You go to the right and you get to Nationalteatre where you can take the tram, the metro or the bus almost anywhere.
  • Train: if you live “very far away”. This means “Lillestrøm” (north-east) or “asker” (south-west).

STAY OUT OF TROUBLE

  1. Make sure you buy your ticket before you get on the bus/tram: it’s waaaay cheaper (metro: you can’t buy tickets inside)
  2. When you take the metro, you HAVE to stamp your ticket before you get in. You won’t be able to do it inside.
  3. If you get caught without a valid ticket, the fine is huge (something around 900NOK last time I checked…)
  4. Most people don’t know you are supposed to let others out before you get in. When inside, they don’t remove their back-packs even if it’s rush hour and don’t be surprised if they exit through the entrance door. You will be pushed and sometimes steped on, but don’t take it personally. They are simply not aware of the fact that there are more and more people in the city and there is not as much space as before. They are gradually adopting good manners.

Everything about traffic and transportation (routes, schedules, tickets, prices at www.trafikanten.no/en).

Neighbourhoods

I always wondered how people got around here without having established “neighbourhoods”. Yes, they have “bydel” or “city parts” (sounds like a car) but in one “city part” there are several areas that you need to know about. Also, where does the city stop and where to the outskirts beggin? Well, what I’ve come to understand is that the city is so small, that what people call the “outskirts” is really not as far away as it sounds. There is something called “sone 1” which in practice means that any ticket you buy outside that area will be more expensive, so let’s assume anything beyond “Sone 1” is the outskirts.

Heres a quick intro of the neighbourhoods I know best in “Sone 1”:

  • Majorstua, Frogner, Sant Hanshaugen/Bislett: these are the posh and expensive. Frogner is also where most of the french community lives. (“Frogs”/”Frogner”… I wonder if there s a relation?).
  • Grünnerlokka: grunge, popular. Thorvald Meyers gate is the main street, full of bars and restaurants and interesting small boutiques that sell 2nd hand stuff. At Sannergata you will find “Rignes park” which has a few stores but most importantly a very nice movie theatre. Close-by there is a “Baker Hansen” bakery that is open on Sundays.
  • Grønnland: also known for being the “immigrant” area. If you are looking for exotic food ingredients, good deals and spicy restaurants: this is the place to be.
  • Vikka: akkerbryge area, the harbour. That’s where the nobel peace prize center is, it’s very touristic. There is a shopping mall and mostly offices but it’s my favourtie place to go when the weather is nice, because you can see the Oslo Fjiord. You can also walk from there to the castle park called “Slottsparken”.

STAY OUT OF TROUBLE

  1. You can BBQ in any park of Oslo, unless it’s specified otherwise.
  2. You can’t play in the king’s park “Slottsparken”. I was advised not to do it by a gard -from the national gard!- last summer when playing with my friends, the children I used to babysit.

These are my “basics”. Some of these things I had to learn the hard way. I hope I’ve made it easier for you. I can only talk about Oslo since this is where I live. Does anyone outthere have some tips about other cities?

www.expatsnorway.com

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