Saturday, May 1, 2010

Meet Oslo!

I have always loved discovering new cities. It's a bit like meeting a new friend, in a way. Going from the airport in a taxi, first moments and first impressions: the city is giving you her elevator pitch. And then comes the time to get to know her better.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no connection can be made. It is just lost in translation. Other cities you meet, you are not quite sure you will be able to be friends at first. They are shy, these cities, and with their tougher skin they are a bit hard to get to know. They keep the best buried deeper. But for those who look for it and work a bit harder at it, they soon become the most wonderful of cities.

And then there is the cities you look at and right away you know you are going to be great friends. You can feel their pulse, their contagious energy, and it just electrifies you. You can just let them guide you through streets and hidden wonders. You get yourself lost with them because you trust them to just be good to you. Soon you find yourself sharing secrets in small coffee shops as if you knew each other for years.

This week I made a new friend, her name is Oslo. From the very beginning, she was very sweet to me, welcoming me with open Fjords and her smiling blue sky. Right away I knew that we would enjoy each other's company.

Surrounded by beautiful mountains, she reminded me a lot of two old friends I miss dearly, mister Tucson and miss Seattle. Because of that, Oslo felt familiar to me right away - that, and the fact that she somewhat resembles her cousin from the south, Copenhagen.

While Troels spent most of his days at the advertising conference, Olivia and I had a lot of time to walk around the city. Her small pedestrian streets that somehow all seem to be leading to the royal palace. Her inspiring statue park, Vigeland. We have a lot in common, Oslo and me. She loves art. And apparently she also likes statue PDA as much as me :)

And guess what Oslo also likes? H&M stores! H&M is to Oslo what Starbucks is to Seattle. I am pretty sure I saw one of the Swedish stores every other block....oh my oh my! However, I have to admit that I was quite happy to find these stores though given the price of things in Norway. Oslo is not a cheap city, oh no. It has good taste and will make you pay for it. So many interior decoration stores that had my heart go boom boom, boom boom. But helas, my wallet had to stay in my bag. It is ok, I still got a brain's worth of ideas out of them. Thank you, Oslo, for reminding me of my teenage years, when my allowance only allowed me to buy a magazine here and there - you reminded me of these good old times. Or when Troels and I realized the price of beers at the bar: 100NK, or about $20. about sneaking in a one or two beer cans in our bag instead and heading to the park like we used to during college?

Obviously, Norway doesn't need tourism to be well off.

Also inspiring where these stores displaying traditional Norwegian outfits. I don't think I have seen a country that still has so much pride in its traditional clothes and sells it in regular stores. I even found some for kids. If Tinymus was big enough, I could have totally dressed her up Norwegian style...she will probably thank me when she is bigger though for not doing it!

I think Olivia also enjoyed her new friend - lucky little girl that she is. She was all smiles and cuteness the entire week- well that is...most of the time, like all babies :) It amazes me to see her becoming more and more in tune with the world that surrounds her.

Thank you Oslo for the lovely time this week. Who knows, maybe we will see each other soon again?

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