Monday, October 6, 2008

One day in Oslo

Our Scandinavia trip was so action packed that we only had one day in Oslo, Norway. Our origional hope was to somehow make it all the way out to Bergen and Flåm but in the end, that plan was logistically impossible. I hope to get there one day because we found a village that was described with slogas like, Visit a town of 100 people and 500 goats, famous for goat cheese! Oh, Bergen, I really do hope to meet you one day. 

We took an overnight train from Stockholm to Oslo and arrived early in the morning. Unfortunately, I had been terribly sick a few days prior (a little too much Midsummer fun, perhaps?) and by the time we arrived in Oslo, I just wanted to collapse. And I did, literally, on the train. Since we only had one day in Oslo, Desi and I decided to split directions and check out different things. First on my list was a doctor's office! I circumnavigated the train station a handful of times before finally finding a pharmacist who directed me to a private doctor, who directed me to a free clinic... where I was turned down for not being Norwegian (seriously!). Eventually, I spoke to a nurse who directed me to the emergency room, and I reluctantly gave in, terrified to accrue an enormous bill as would be the case back home. 

Finally, I arrived at the E.R. slightly delirious after what seamed like the longest walk of my life. I took number and sat down to wait. Fortunately, there were only about six or seven people in front of me and the wait wasn't long The doctors ran a few blood tests prescription for some antibiotics...for strep throat. Gross. The whole ordeal only took about an hour and a half but here's the crazy part...

A visit to the emergency room and medicine cost only about $40! "Relieved" doesn't even begin to describe the feeling of a broke, traveling 20something who was expecting a bill 100x that fee! Oddly enough, the receptionist even apologized for me having to pay at all (if only she knew!) Can you believe everything would have been free if I had been a Norwegian citizen? I completely understand why socialized medicine doesn't work in America, why are you too unorganized to sort our affordable healthcare? The Norwegians have a great thing going on.

Having survived my first medical emergency abroad, I picked up a coffee and forced myself to  trek around Oslo. Given the circumstances, I can't exactly say Oslo was my favorite spot on our trip. Hopefully next time I have more time and energy to explore! In the mean time, here are a few snaps...

The harbor in Oslo where I caught a tour of the archipelago.

Norwegian islands with adorable summer homes hidden on them! Taking a boat tour was a fun, relaxing (and windy) way to explore the archipelago!

A lovely day on the peninsula where the I toured the Folk Museum and Viking Ships Museum..

Wandering the open-air Folk Museum was a great way to explore the traditional old-fashioned Norwegian way of life! Especially on a sunny day!

How cool are these Viking ships!? They are huge, too!

Swedish Midsummer + Flower crowns

I went back to Sweden a few weeks ago just for a quick trip with my Mother and it was so nice to be back. 

I shouldthe rest of my Scandinavia trip since
that was the whole point of creating this blog...

This video should be a sufficient explanation of how we get down on midsummer...
How lovely to have our very own accordion player!


After visiting Stockholm, we headed out to the countryside for a few days of partying experiencing Swedish culture. Our group was 20+ international travelers who met up on Couchsurfing. Pretty cool!

We did lots of traditional things like, taking too many shots, eating roasted potatoes to soothe our hangovers, dancing around Maypoles. We also enjoyed in a traditional midsummer parade and of course, made our very own lovely midsummer crowns! It was quite a celebration indeed. You can find more posts about our trip to Sweden here.

...and put them to good use!

Playing a fun game of kubb...

Our lovely midsummer evening was complete with Swedish flag and of course, a Volvo!

Our international midsummer feast!