We had a lovely visit is Kristiansand today – we did a walking tour of the city, about 5 miles. Our guide shared lots of information. Here’s some of it:
- There are 5 million people living in Norway, and 5 million Norwegians living in the US!
- Minimum wage here is the equivalent of $20/hour US
- One of the foods Norwegians like a lot is pizza, it costs about $30 US for a pizza and $10-$12 for a beer, which sounds like a lot but when you consider their salaries it isn’t so much
- The average tax rate is 37.5% and the rate goes up as your income goes up, millionaires pay about 50% but they get a lot for their tax money
- Health care is free, including all hospitals, doctors and dentists, etc. So is education except for college which sad to say….costs all of $300/year. All transportation, bus, etc is free
- Their unemployment rate is about 3 1/2% and in Sweden it is about 30%, so a lot of Swedes come to Norway to work
The town is Norway’s 5th largest city and this is where Norwegians like to come on vacation. The town center fits within one square kilometer, making it easy to walk around. It is on the south coast and stays temperate pretty much all year, but what bothers residents the most isn’t the weather, it is the dark. The main shopping street is closed to traffic and is heated so there is never a worry about snow there. Also, our guide, John, said that when the young people get drunk, they can sleep it off on the warm street! There is only one liquor store for each city, it is controlled by the government. Salaries are pretty even, the person who cleans the street makes just a little less than a doctor. So it is a socialist society.
There is a tax on cars, so whatever you pay for a car, you pay the equivalent in tax. So the Tesla costs $100,000. Right now is a good time to buy an electric car, which have the license EL. This is because there is no tax on them, this will change next year and the Tesla will cost $200,000. EL license plated cars also park for free.
We visited a church during an organ concert, enjoyed the charming buildings and many flowers and walked through the fish market which is really for locals, not for tourists like the one in Bergen.