Last week I was in Kristiansand for a few days. It’s a small town on the southernmost tip of Norway. It has sandy beaches (Christian’s sand, got it?:) and it’s a popular summer destination for people in the region. The beginning of January, temperatures around freezing and (too) long nights didn’t really seem inviting, but that’s one more reason to come back during summer months.
The first thing you notice when you come to Norway is that it’s expensive; it’s probably one of the most expensive places to live in. On the other hand, with their earnings, going anywhere else is like going on a shopping spree. Ordering a small pizza in an average fast food restaurant will cost you NOK 140 which is about 140 kunas or 19 euros. A great way to stay slim.
Norwegians are, by their own words, pretty closed and not very social (unless there’s alcohol involved), entitled to big salaries and many benefits, and generally relaxed and not in a hurry. One of the things supporting that lifestyle is the fact their future is secured for the next 50 years. They have huge reserves of oil and other natural resource. They didn’t feel the global recession at all and it’s all roses to them. But the oil won’t last forever so I’m hoping they are investing that intelligently (this must sound ironic coming from a guy from a country that’s one foot in the grave).
Kristiansand has major shipbuilding and repair facilities that support Norway’s oil industry so a big part of the town is an industrial harbor. Docks, cranes, containers and a railway are a contrast to the old historical center, sandy beaches and summer houses.
Scandinavians are known for their love of nature, so a park, a lake or even a bigger forest is never too far. It’s a great way to take a walk and lose yourself in your thoughts.