WHY the extra friendly greeting for someone who's only been to Oslo for the first time? Well, I'm pretty close to the person who made Norway her second home, and she's my host and travel buddy on this Scandinavian tour.

I said my farewell to Sweden, a country I fell in love with mainly because of its nationals who I refer to as the "perfect beings of the planet", ethereal in beauty. It was time to bid Norway hello.

As Des would say, "Welcome to my home, the most expensive country in the Scandinavia." (Second only to Tokyo, it's said). While in Copenhagen, she told me that the meals we were both having would be an equivalent to one dish in Oslo. I held to my wallet with fear.

It was late at night when we alit the Norwegian carrier at Gardermoen Airport. Oslo's principal airport and the second busiest in the Nordic region, and the scene proved just that, plus more-spotless, modern and efficient.

Just below the terminal is the Flytoget airport express, which runs six times per hour. Like there was no minute to waste, it sped us to the Oslo Central Station 47 kilometers away in 19 minutes. How is that for efficiency and convenience? Impressive.

A few steps away from the central train station was the hotel, home for the limited time in Oslo. It's location is within walking distance to several of the city's attractions.

To prove that point, the pleasant walk on a cool autumn night gave me a glimpse of the Nobel Peace Center building, the City Hall, and the Opera House glowing it its night lights. It was an alluring sight that piqued my interest to explore it at daytime.

We were headed to Aker Brygge, the harbor that was once a shipyard and now turned into a posh high-rise residences, dining and entertainment locale. This area, I believe, is best experienced at night.

My host took me to a fancy restaurant built on the marina. The building wrapped in glass, offered the diners a panoramic view of the glimmering city across the water at night.

Oslo was going to be exciting, I said to my host as I cleaned my plate with the posh restaurant's seafood specialty. It would be a sin to leave anything untouched. Des was right, dining is twice as expensive in Oslo that the other Scandinavian cities.

Over coffee and dessert we mapped out the city tour for the next day. I left it to Des to call the shots. This is her territory after all.

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