Thursday, 13 December 2012

In Oslo...

Lone figure in the snow. Shot taken from my hotel.
In many ways, December is probably the best month to visit Oslo because it's cold and there's plenty of snow on the ground. In fact, it's minus 12 degrees here and there's a light dusting of snow everywhere.

I flew in here yesterday on a Norwegian Air flight from Gatwick, which was very, very smooth and took just under 90 minutes. I'm staying at the Anker Hotel in the centre of town and it's very good. There's no restaurant, which is a bit of a bind, although it means I have to go out (in the cold) to find something to eat.

I wandered around for a bit, being careful of my footing. The worst thing about Dr. Martens shoes is that they have slippery soles. I managed not to fall over and eventually found a nice Italian trattoria just across from the hotel where I enjoyed a glass of Cabernet Sauvigon with some Italian ham and a very pleasant and colourful risotto.

The restaurant was crowded and, as always when I travel on business, I was the only one dining alone with just a copy of Chavs by Owen Jones to keep me company. Although, having said that, the light was poor so I resorted to simply enjoying the ambience of the place.

I'm really sad, but I love this photograph.

I write this from the ground floor of the hotel where the WiFi (which is free) seems to get a better reception than when I'm in the room. Outside now it's cold and white and there's not many people around.

Somebody told me that the temperature was up on yesterday's minus 12. Today I think it's hovering around minus 3 or 4 and believe me, you can tell the difference. It was snowing this morning when I went out to buy razors and toothpaste.

Two paragraphs back, the one starting 'I write this from the ground floor...' it was the morning of the 13th December. Now, two paragraphs later on, it's 1750hrs in the evening and I'm back in the same place I was sitting earlier, listening to Amy Winehouse, which is on the sound system, and drinking a glass of Frydenlund, a Norwegian beer. Alright, lager. My work is now done and I'm taking it easy, checking emails, writing emails, that sort of thing.

You might be wondering about the shot of the toothpaste. It's like this: when I was in Qatar the other week I didn't have any toothpaste so the hotel gave me the small tube of Colgate. I've never seen a tube of toothpaste so small. I mean, I've heard of Tinie Tempah, but never Tiny Toothpaste, but there it is in all it's glory. Zendium is a Norwegian toothpaste brand, by the way. I know, I'm sad. Very sad.

The hotel's not bad at all, although, as I mentioned earlier, no restaurant. I am beginning to wonder whether the Anker Hotel has a letter missing somewhere.
Room 520 in all its glory. Nice hotel, despite no restaurant, but it does have a bar.

I like Norway. I like all the Scandinavian countries. The people are laid back. I was going to say 'cool' but that would be an understatement with snow on the ground and temperatures below zero. What is refreshing is the way the Norwegians deal with the poor weather. They get on with it. The trains and the buses continue to run, the workmen in the streets continue drilling. Life goes on and doesn't come to a standstill.

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