Friday, August 23, 2013

Always Something Happening in Karl Johans Gate

One thing I like about Karl Johans Gate is that there is always something happening. Here someone drawing your portrait, there a musician and over there a living statue. Some are good, others aren't and you may like or dislike these people. I used to dislike it (as I felt I was begged for money all the time when walking this street) but my mindset has changed a bit and now, I am always curious to know who will be there and what he will do.

Last photo I took was of an original living statue

The person was not particularly skilled for the "job" (was moving too much I believe) but the costume was original and nicely made. Looked real at distance. I wrote more about it here.

Today, there was a "spray painter", you know the kind who use aerosol and so on to create stunning images. I am always curious to see what the result will be.

Anyway, if you intend to spend some time in Oslo, I think that Karl Joahns gate is worth a visit. I cannot promise you there will be something interesting but you never know what will happen there!

Ice Cream at Aker Brygge

Aker Brygge is a nice place to go to when the weather is sunny and warm. I really like walking next to the sea (today, some people were even bathing in it) and when I go there, I like to stop at Parad'is.

The name is of course playing with the words: "paradis" means "paradise" and "is" means "ice cream". Some kind of Parad'ice.

The ice creams there are Italian, the staff speaks Italian, and the shop is perfectly situated in Aker Brygge, next to Wendy's coffee, towards the end of the dock (towards the Astrup Fearnley museum). I can hear people around me say "let's go for an ice cream". They know this place too.

I didn't dare take pictures inside the shop but here is the ice cream I went for today:

The taste was called Konsert ("concert") and had white chocolate, black cherry, nuts and chocolate bits. A real taste of paradise.

For info, their green apple and lemon flavors are less sweet than generally and a bit more acid. I like it this way (tastes more "authentic") but you may dislike it if you are used to very sweet ice creams.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Joe and the Juice

Joe and the Juice is a nice place to have a drink. Originated from Denmark, you can find Joe and the Juice cafes in many countries including US, UK, ... In Oslo, there are now several of them: one near the Stortinget station, one next to the"Steen & Strøm" shopping mall in Nedre Slottsgate.

What is the concept of this place? Mainly juices from freshly squeezed fruits and original sandwiches. A particular effort has been given to the name of the drinks (Prince of Green, Hangover Heaven, ...) and the sandwiches, though simple, are pretty good.

2 Drinks from Joe and the Juice

Sandwiches are thin so it is hard to do them justice in a photo

About the price: I am not sure whether the prices are the same everywhere but at Steen & Strøm, the juice costs 55 or 65 (small or big) and the sandwich is at 75. Not too bad for the area.

To conclude, if you don't know Joe and the Juice and are visiting Oslo, consider having a drink there!

New Starbucks in Oslo

Ok, this is a quite old news now but I still wanted to say two words about it. In the past, the only Stabuck's coffeehouse in Oslo (and in Norway if I am not mistaken) was at Oslo airport. You can find a way to go there for less money here by the way.

But recently, Starbucks has opened a new cafe in the center of Oslo, inside Oslo City. Here is a photo I took when it was under construction.

Starbucks under construction, own photo

This is of course a good news as people can enjoy Starbucks coffee without having to the airport. In case you wonder what Oslo City is: it is a shopping center next to the Oslo S train station. It is not that big but has 4 or 5 floors.

That's it, it was just a small post I had in mind for a long time but that I had given up because I kind of missed the opening. Just changed my mind and decided to write about it anyway.

PS: For coffee fans, this is a nice coffee mug for you. Stays cool even if you pour hot coffee in it, the drink stays warm, etc...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paying Less Tax in Norway: 2 Tips for Foreigners

If you are a foreigner living in Norway, you may miss some opportunity to pay less taxes. Here are two of them:

1) 10% Standard Deduction

This may be a misleading name but it is a way to pay less tax anyway. During the first 2 years you live in Norway, you may be entitled, as a foreigner, to a so-called "10% Standard Deduction". This does not mean you pay 10% less taxes but that the gross income you are taxed on is reduced by 10% (you have to pay tax on a lesser income, therefore paying less tax).

This is not done automatically and you have to claim it. When you get your tax paper (with your income, how much tax you have to pay, whether you paid too much or too little tax, etc...), you have the possibility to either accept it (and not do anything) or ask for some corrections. If you want to pay less tax, use the second option. Enter in the corresponding paragraph (ask for help if you have some doubt) that you are a foreigner who has lived in Norway for less than 2 years and the tax to be paid will be recalculated.

For more information:


The name may seem mysterious to you if you don't speak Norwegian but it is actually quite straight-forward. It means to save money ("sparing") to get a property ("bolig"). But what is that and what does this have to do with tax?

This is a bank account you should get if you are 33 year old or less. It is basically a way for Norway to motivate young people to spare money for a future property. When people are 25 for example, they don't imagine how expensive properties are and may not even think of getting one. To help them think about it, the authorities have decided to reduce taxes to people having a BSU account in a bank.

What you need to do? Go to your bank and ask for some more information. They know for sure what a BSU is and it will probably not be any problem for them to open a BSU account for you. What will it change? You will be able to pay less tax. The more money you put in this account the less tax you will pay. The limit is 20 000 NOK per year and it is recommended to reach this limit every year (best return on investment).


These were the 2 things I knew of to reduce tax, and I was lucky to have people tell me about them when I arrived here, so I thought I had to share them on the internet for everyone to benefit from them.