June 16th, 2011
This is a museum, the real off license is closed
Imagine a country where supermarkets do not sell wine and spirits and the only off licence chain is owned by the state. What’s more the offy closes at 3pm on Saturdays and doesn’t open at all on public holidays. No, of course that country is not Scotland but would the Scottish Government be bold enough to nationalise drink?
And does the high price of booze stop people binge drinking? After only four days in Oslo I am in no position to pass an opinion. But first impressions can turn tourists into pundits. We saw some similarities with Scotland (it rained heavily, the word for child is ‘barn’ ) and lots of differences (no litter in the streets, few fast food outlets, no young folk spewing the night away in the city centre).
when we got there the offy was closed
I came away with great curiosity about the Norwegian way of life. It looks comfortable (some blogs talk about boredom) yet there is clearly a maverick streak in the national psyche. Salt water flows in the veins.Those Vikings were an interesting bunch (three days of heavy rain ensured we spent a lot of time in museums). They plundered their way across the northern hemisphere but built excellent boats, houses and made fine things to go in them, which both worked well and looked good. Even the peacemakers of our own time – Nansen and Thor Heyerdhal – had a peculiarly muscular way of making peace.
Now tourists are tamed by prices that make the eyes water. On a cold wet night Ray and I drowned our sorrows in two beers that cost the NKr equivalent of £16. Sixteen quid for two pints of lager! It’s not just the booze, anything you buy costs two or three times what it would in the UK. But most people probably earn at least twice as much. A quick Google implies that the average monthly salary is 38,400 Norwegian kroners or £4,363 Sterlin – roughly £52,356 per year (in Britain the annual mean salary is £22,000)
There’s obviously much more than meets the eye in a country where taxes, welfare and living standards are also higher than ours. But first impressions could persuade you that there is some merit in keeping booze off the supermarket shelves – now that would be a big fight for the Scottish government.
And Oslo has trams too (look and learn Edinburgh)
Entry Filed under: Happy Birthday