Finding a place to live proved harder than we thought, mainly because of our job situation. "Oh great so you're both engineers? Oh and you're both working?.. No? Ah.. right. Bye." So after two and a half months living here with no fixed address, we were lucky enough to get an apartment through friends of Marte and Amund—the guys we stayed with in Oslo when we first arrived.
The place is great. It's about a 25 minute walk from the centre of Oslo, and about 5 minutes on a city bike! It's on a quiet area and right next to Rodeløkka kolonihagen—the community gardens. They are a bunch of tiny houses with big green gardens. Think: "golf is to minigolf as city is to kolonihage". People live there in the summer months but get locked out during winter. Our apartment is also right next to my language school. Literally it's across the road. Handy. There is also a product design company just down the road about 100m but they haven't got back to me yet so I'm not holding out hope in that area. Otherwise I would have the work/study/sleep triangle down to a record minimum area.
We've settled in pretty well to the place. There are still a few things to do, like build our custom floor to ceiling shelf in the loungeroom (Rani's CADing that up today), but apart from that we really felt at home after only a couple of days. It is also an apartment that, for the most part, is entirely free of IKEA, which is fantastic. Everyone here is so eager to get new kitchens and lounge suites to go with their new flat screen that there is often very cheap or free older furniture available. In our case we found a table and some chairs in a skip. You can really clean up in a town like Oslo when you have no shame climbing through dumpsters in public.
Last week we also went to Øyafestivalen which is a big four day festival down in the old part of town. It's actually in a park that is filled with ruins of the original settlement of Oslo. They also had a system at the festival where you get money back for returning the empty beer cups/pizza boxes/beer trays etc. It's such a great scheme - the seller just charges an extra 1 or 5 kroner (20c to $1AUD) on the price of the food/drink and if you don't return it to the recycling tent you lose it but it you do, you get it back. So there were a bunch of 12 year old kids and unemployed adults that were just walking around picking up cups. The result was that the whole 4 days there was NO rubbish at all. It was really clean. I thought that was great. And, as a child under 12 (with free entry) you could really do well. Last year some kid got 3000kr tax free doing this over the duration of the festival.
There was also music at the festival. Highlights were Wilco, Bon Iver, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, Beirut and Madness were pretty good too..