Oslo, Norway

On a recent visit to Oslo, I found a vibrant city of interesting contradictions and surprises. For instance, it's a mistake to think of it as a homogenous city of blond, blue-eyed Nordics. Immigrants make up almost a quarter of its 540,000 population. The once-seedy area of Grunerlokka is being revitalized with ethnic markets and cafes. When I was there, about 100 Afghan refugees seeking asylum had pitched tents outside Oslo Cathedral, staging a hunger strike to protest deportation.<br>
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It's the capital of a socially progressive constitutional monarchy, and its people are devoted to its royal family, which is pretty progressive itself. In 2001, Crown Prince Haakon, heir to the throne, married Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby, a single mother with a son born out of wedlock.<br>
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-- Beverly Beyette<br>
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Read more: <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2006/nov/26/travel/tr-oslo26">Oslo is Norway's grand prize of a cosmopolitan city</a><br>
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<i>Pictured: A view along Karl Johans Gate.</i>
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( Beverly Beyette )

On a recent visit to Oslo, I found a vibrant city of interesting contradictions and surprises. For instance, it's a mistake to think of it as a homogenous city of blond, blue-eyed Nordics. Immigrants make up almost a quarter of its 540,000 population. The once-seedy area of Grunerlokka is being revitalized with ethnic markets and cafes. When I was there, about 100 Afghan refugees seeking asylum had pitched tents outside Oslo Cathedral, staging a hunger strike to protest deportation.

It's the capital of a socially progressive constitutional monarchy, and its people are devoted to its royal family, which is pretty progressive itself. In 2001, Crown Prince Haakon, heir to the throne, married Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby, a single mother with a son born out of wedlock.

-- Beverly Beyette

Read more: Oslo is Norway's grand prize of a cosmopolitan city

Pictured: A view along Karl Johans Gate.

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