When I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March this year, I started looking at conferences and other events happening further along our route for the year. I applied to two or three things, including the first DevOpsDays Oslo, in Norway. A few months later, I received an acceptance email, and began planning a trip in September from Split. This was also my first time using AirBNB, and I was hopeful that it would be a good experience. On all fronts, the trip was enjoyable and a success.
1. Norwegians are really organized.
There aren’t many cities where you can fly into an airport, hop on the train, and walk all around the city center within an hour. Despite being 47km away from the center of Oslo, I was able to hop on the Airport Express train and walk directly to my AirBNB. The apartment was basically an advertisement for Ikea, but it was warm and comfortable. Almost every place I went, the shopkeepers and restaurant servers spoke English. I don’t know if Norway is angling for a positive tourism experience, but Oslo achieved it for me.
2. Norway has a rich European history.
I chose to do some self-guided walking tours along the harbor, I was immediately confronted with the haunting empty chairs of the Holocaust memorial. Further on, I saw a statue of FDR and heard about his famous speech about Norway during World War 2. I had always conceived of Norway as being “up there” and away from the action, when in fact, it was a strategic port for the Germans to control. The Nobel Peace price is also awarded there at the town hall.
3. The country is extremely moral and environmentally thoughtful.
Norway also have a reputation for being liberal and forward thinking. The country has dumped investments in Walmart due to concerns over human rights abuses, encourages alternative energy (98% of electricity in Norway is generated by hydroelectric means), and the fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in Norway is the largest per capita in the world. It’s a founding member of the UN, NATO, and the Council of Europe. They have successfully implemented Universal Healthcare and comprehensive Social Security.
I’d love to go back and visit Scandinavia in the future, and check out Sweden and Denmark too.