There is something of a tradition in the eastern part of Norway to travel to Sweden on occasion to buy stuff, especially alcohol and tobacco, where it is generally much cheaper. From Oslo, it takes around 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way to get to a town in Sweden where you can get your shopping done. I was invited to go with some people on Saturday, and it was amazing just how many people were out there getting their shopping done. Obviously there are some limitations – on alcohol and tobacco at least, there are limits on how much you can bring back into Norway without having to pay customs – it’s around 2 liters of wine, 1 liter of spirits, and some amount of beer – I think 2 liters, but I’m not sure.
This trip is called a “Harrytur”, or at least it has been for the past few years – since around 2002 when a politician named Lars Sponheim said the practice was “Harry”. “Harry” is a derogatory term that has been around since the beginning of the 20th century and suggests that something is low-class or in bad taste. Still, the Harrytur is popular, especially when 100 Swedish Kroners are only worth around 80 Norwegian Kroners.
Of course, as an American, I looked at this as a road trip, another great tradition!