2011.08.08 - Starting new
On August 1st I started my new job with Fred Olsen. This meant that we had to move to Oslo for a time, so Paula, Peo and I packed our suitcases and jumped on a plane once again. Let's just say that it wasn't our best flying experience! One rather confused and not-so-friendly lady at the check-in counter managed to sent off one of our suitcases without tag and charge us too much for Peo. Of course we could not get a refund in Olso when we discovered the mistake and on top of that, our suitcase did not make it to Oslo with us, regardless of the (again - not-so-friendly) assurances of the SAS staff. Aaarghhh ...... !! Europe could learn a thing or two about service from the Asians. At least the Danes could; the Norwegians were much friendlier.
Arriving at the hotel we were in for another surprise. Having called ahead we had been led to believe that we would be living in a 40-45 m2 room/apartment in an apartment hotel. Instead we were given a small, musty smoking room way down in the basement. No way ! Luckily a little inquiry at the front desk went a long way and we were moved to a (very) small apartment on the top floor. It was still rather small and would have suited one person more than our mini-family, but at least it had a big balcony where we could enjoy the nice weather we were blessed with our first week. Balcony and all, the rooms still smelled of smoke and we would wake up with a small headache in the morning, so we soon started looking around for another solution. I was given free hands by my boss to look for an apartment in the same price category as the hotel, so we could sidestep the private market and look into the serviced apartments market. These are of course much more expensive than the privately rented apartments, but much easier to find for short periods and fully furnished. We were booked for a viewing of a private apartment but it was rented out to other side one hour before we were supposed to see it. It's a hot market here in August when the students come to town, although I cannot understand that we should be in competition for the same apartments. Would students have USD4000/month for rental? We only looked at two apartments. One in a new and very "in" area of town and next a smaller and more expensive apartment in an area which Paula wouldn't even consider living in! So that is how we ended up on Tjuvholmen at the end of the famous Aker brygge.
We had 3 hours to spend before we could check in to the hotel, so we let Peo stretch her legs in Slottsparken.
She went straight for the nearest tree - I think she needed back cover for all the dogs!
The view from the hotel room was OK
The terrace and the neighborhood also - we were basically next door neighbors to the Royal family
The problem was inside the room. Small and smokey.
It was much too small and worn for an extended stay (more than a few days)
The Royal Palace as neighbors
This is our new neighborhood. Aker Brygge to the right and our apartment on the left
There are loads of interesting architecture around Bryggen, which used to be an old shipyard.
The Nobel Peace Center is closeby
Peo chilling in our new apartment
Now we can both sit down at the same time !
And we can cook and eat other things than hard boiled eggs!
Bedroom alone is bigger than the hotel room. Apartment is about 50m2 in total
We even have a balcony..... although much smaller than at the hotel
My new work place is smack in the centre of Oslo and leaves me with a nice 15-20min walk along the quayside restaurants two times a day. It's great in the morning but a little less so in the afternoon when I have to fight my way through the crowds. But at least there is always some street musician there to take the top off my anti-social mood! Work has started a bit slow as many colleagues were still on vacation the first week. The yard in Korea was also on vacations but this week things are picking up. It will not be long before I will be complaining about too much work.
So far we have been busy exploring the city and haven't seen much of our friends here. We did however meet up with Annveig and Øyvind last friday as they were on their way back to Korea. We have been planning to meet up in Korea for a long time (they live in Busan - we lived in Ulsan), but the plans were always cancelled last minute. Now that we finally got to see them and the kids we could really see how big the kids had gotten.
Iselin, Paula, Eiril and Øyvind at Peppes Pizza
Iselin was pretty happy with the umbrella
Olso - well, it's a changed city after the Utøya massacre and the bombing; which both took place one week before we arrived. There are flowers left all over the city; a bunch of flowers forming a heart at the ferry terminal outside the city Hall, on cast iron window grids, outside Stortinget (the Parliament) but mainly outside the Cathedral where the sea of flowers was/is really overwhelming. Overwhelming is also "ground zero". This bomb was huge and it is really amazing that not more people were hurt. Yes - I know that a lot of people were hurt but the size of the destruction is unreal. Windows are broken several hundreds of metres away - even on the "back side" of the blast - and the nearby buildings were razed. Not collapsed but everything not made of bricks was destroyed. What a disturbed man ...
Many of the people living in Oslo were on vacation at the time of the blast and the shooting, so people are still gathering around the Cathedral with flowers and candles. It is quite a blow to a peaceful nation like Norway.
You can find flowers many places in town. You can even see small "alters" outside homes who have lost one of their inhabitants
Flowers outside Stortinget
The Premier minister and the Royal family have gained lots of popularity by their way of dealing with the tragedy
FThe sea of flowers outside the Cathedral - a short distance from ground zero
This sea of flowers has now been moved and resized to fit on the park and walkway - here it has overflown the road outside the Cathedral.
Lighting candles inside the cathedral
Paula in the yard of the Cathedral - a small oasis in the centre of Olso
Ground zero has been blocked for access but the building dressed in white is the Worker's Party's main office. The top floor is the only one to have bullet proof windows and thus have survived the blast.
On the other side of the building it can be seen how many windows have been broken by the blast - all now barricaded with plywood.
One of the city clocks seemed to have been damaged by the blast also.
Poor Peo was a little confused last week. A damsel in distress, one could say. She did not like the hotel one bit and I don't think she liked the distraction we offered her (i.e. the trips to the nearby park - incidentally the Kings Park). She was happy when we got to the new apartment where she immediately felt at home. But when we had to take her to the vet for her post-travel worm treatment (Norway is I believe the only country in the world which requires this), her glass was full. For the first time ever she refused to enter her transportation box. She had had it!!! One must remember that she returned to Sweden only 7 weeks ago - poor thing. The good thing is that she has really taken to our new place.
Peo and me on our way home from the vet
We had to go by Trikk'en
Quite a number of people actually drive these electric cars - believe it or not!
In front of the national Theatre