1. The Opera House
Built in 2008, the Opera House of Oslo arises from the water of Oslo Fjord, mainly made of stone, wood and metal. This is becoming one distinctive landmark for the city and the whole precinct is being developed. No need to introduce the Sydney Opera House which, too stands out on the water and is best shot from a boat on the harbour.
2. Coffee culture
According to the most recent Euromonitor study, Norway ranks #2 in terms of coffee consumption per capita. Although Australia only ranks #28 in that same study, I know for a fact that Sydney is a coffee connoisseur city. Every morning you could see the number of people holding cups on their way to work and cafes are always packed, offering an extensive coffee menu even catering to the youngest. I missed those babycinos which I haven’t found in any other country yet! I made some at home for the boys, with marshmallow and all, but it’s just not the same.
But here, in Oslo, I can find soy moccas, not just at Starbucks. There are many local charming (koselig) places and successful chains like Kaffebreneriet, Expresso House, Hansen Baker etc…. My favourite mocca is from åpent Bakeri near the French school: creamy, smooth, not too sweet, not too bitter. Yum. As I was writing this I discovered a great blog about Nordic Coffee Culture.
And the picture below is a life changing freddo coffee from Tim Wendelboe, multi award roaster based in hipster Gruneløkka precinct in Oslo who hired a barista from …Melbourne!
The texture of this drink was so amazing that I could enjoy it colds and with no sugar!
3. Worklife balance
The leitmotiv here in Oslo to attract international talent is: “where else in the world can you have a great interesting career with a big job and still leave at 5pm to spend more time with your family?” (and then log back later from home if needs be). I went to a networking even on that topic and one guy at the back shouted “Australia?”. Agreed.
This is just fantastic when you are in your thirties and your children are still little, cute and love to have you around. We might move somewhere else when the children become blasé teenagers who don’t want to see us that much around?
4. The great outdoors
The first phrase you learn at Norwegian class is: “jeg går på tur”, meaning “I’m going for a walk ( in the beautiful nature that is surrounding me)”. And that’s what people do on the week-end: they all take the local train for 30 minutes and go for a walk along a lake, in the bush, up a hill etc… Just like Sydneysiders: what do they do on week-ends? Bronte to Bondi walk, stroll along the beach, picnic in Palm Beach…Whereas Parisians go to visit friends or invite friends over for dinner, get away from Paris or have their weekly meals with their parents or in laws on the week end. Right?
And in winter it looks like it’s going to be skiing, cross country skiing and going out and get a bit of sun if possible.
In fact, touch wood, I’ve noticed my children haven’t been that sick since they started school here despite cold temperatures. Looks like it’s because they are highly encouraged to play outdoors. They rug up, wear waterproof allover suits to make sure they are warm and enjoy the experience. But they don’t stay indoors where most of the viruses spread. Or perhaps it’s simply that they grow older and their immune system gets stronger… who knows?
5. No worries attitude
What I hear about the Norwegian workplace is that the atmosphere is quite relax. There is little stress, most things can wait until tomorrow or even later and the only people who stay at work past 5pm are… expats! I haven’t experienced that myself yet but I can feel people are pretty calm and composed in Oslo and it seems like a lot of my friends’ French husbands are annoyed at how things constantly need to be pushed and followed up.
And at 3pm on Friday where is everyone? At the hytte, their holiday cabin by the sea, a like, in the country side or in the mountain. No worries, we’re going på tur.