The One With The Oslo Stopover

Yes, I promise, I’ll totally get back to doing the Svalbard post and telling you what else happened up there. But first, Oslo. Consider this your literary stopover on the way to my Svalbard post, okay? It might even surprise you by being vaguely interesting. I doubt it, but like any compulsory stopover, you’re here now, just go with it.

Right, so, digs. Didn’t want to fork out too much cash, but this being Oslo, everything is pretty pricey – Oslo is not the place to travel to on a shoestring. Personally I’ve left the Scandinavian countries on my travel list until I had a few Kroner to rub together and if you want to have much fun, you should too. Until then, spend a few hours in IKEA instead and thank me later.

Hotels are expensive here so it took a bit of searching to find something I was happy with. Don’t feel bad for me, I enjoy researching a trip almost as much as I enjoy taking it. I’d work as a travel agent if it paid me well enough to enjoy the places I would get subsidised flights to. Anyway, after a bit of searching I spotted a gem right by the central station (Sentralstasjon in the local lingo). Comfort Hotel Grand Central will let you get your head down here in a cosy little double room for under a hundred quid a night in peak season.

Come out of the station, hook a left and you’ll see the oversized pink pot plants. That’s the entrance.

Inside is a pretty funky little hotel lobby where you can relax, get online and help yourself to tea and coffee. For free!

There is even a gym upstairs for those so inclined to do such things on holiday.

Like I said, rooms are pretty cosy (and they do that very European thing with the single doonas/duvets which I appreciate) but they have some funky wall decor. Well played, Comfort Hotel.

Anyway, bags dumped in the room, it was time to head out and see what this Norwegian capital had to offer. I’d not bothered to bring a guidebook this time instead opting to swipe a city map from a car rental place on my way through the airport. Plus, better than that, I had contacts and I happened to let one know I’d be in town. She was only too happy to give us a whistlestop tour. You can call her Indiana because she’s a bit of an explorer – she’s been to Antarctica AND Svalbard, plus everywhere in-between. She might just be my travel hero.

Anyway, this is her. After we filled our faces on pulled pork, which Norway seemingly has a fascination with lately, we begged her to show us what Norway is really like. She thought for a second and promptly herded us to the nearest tram for which we paid for by credit card because frankly everyone pays for everything, even the smallest amount, with plastic.

This being a public holiday, we were able to see a lot of Norwegians out and about, enjoying an unusually sunny and warm day. It almost makes you forget that you are at a latitude more northerly than Scotland. In fact, you’re about on par with the Shetlands.

So, what’s Oslo all about then? Sculptures for one thing. Vigelandsparken has a huge collection of them by (surprise!) Gustav Vigeland. Remember how I said that I don’t visit museums much because I never remember much of what I read/hear. Well, I like Vigelandsparken, also called Frogner Park.

It has weird baby tantrum sculptures.

And even weirder kicking baby sculptures. What’s not to love about that?

How about a 14 metre high phallic sculpture? Top trumps.

Like I said, it was a public holiday and it was warm, so locals were out and about, stripping down in public places to catch the 22 degrees of sunshine. Norwegians aren’t that dissimilar to Brits in that regard. Above 18 and it’s definitely summer.

They seem a little more wholesome though. Not only are they super clean and pick up after themselves, but they play charming games with sticks of wood. This is Kubb. There are some rules about chucking the little sticks and knocking other little sticks over, but I can’t remember them exactly (what did I say about not remembering detail?). Follow the link for the rules.

Barbecueing or ‘grilling’ is very popular. Like the Brits, Norwegians don’t invest in actual barbecues though. And why would they – the number of opportunities to use one is low. But rest assured, when the sun shines, the disposable version floods the parks, and true to their clean and tidy nature, Norwegians dispose of the ‘Grillboks’ in special bins.

After a nice stroll through the park we headed to the harbour where we found more youths hanging out being responsible and charming.

Oh you crazy, reckless raft-building kiddies.

All this culture was pretty thirsty work. Indiana had a list as long as her drinking arm to keep us going all night, which would be pretty easy to do this far north given it feels like mid afternoon when it’s already 9pm.

First stop was Den Gamle Major, that served a tasty fruit beer. Indiana had a whole bunch of places for us to hit before we left town, so we only stayed for a drink at each. Next stop was Oslo MicroBrewery (above).

The Husband was pretty pleased with the offering here (I wasn’t, other than fruit/lambic style, I’m not a beer drinker), but like I said, we had to make it quick.

This place was pretty decent – selection was as large as their prices, but best of all were the toilets. You know I judge a place on its toilets. Behold…

It’s a double dumper! This is for real. Apparently girls like to go to the toilet together in Oslo. In my experience, that’s always meant hanging about the wash basins, touching up make up and gossiping about whoever is still patiently waiting at the bar/table. Not in Oslo, apparently.

We did also visit Amundsen Brewery too. By which time it was getting late.

See? Late. Like half past ten kind of late. Slottsparken in relative mid-summer darkness.

Careful at night. You could fall off your bike and make a mess. I have no idea what it says. I just took the picture because it had fart in it. Yes, I’m about six.

We had to stay out even later to check that the sun does indeed go down. This is the very lively but safe and respectable Oslo town sometime around midnight I think.

And that was Oslo. Scenery like a Norsca advertisement, people as wild as a soft waffle and just as sweet.

And yes, all photos were taken on my iPhone. I don’t work for Apple and I’ve included links to the places I visited because I had a good time there and I want you to as well.

4 thoughts on “The One With The Oslo Stopover”

  1. Those midsummer bright nights are something else and no massive booze session I see it all looks very civil.

    Those barby tins reminds me of when I was in Scotland they were using them on the beach in my group, this bloke was slaving over them. They love them, from memory the meat tasted of metho or a kind of mossy candle tinge.

    1. Yes, we are nearly at the business end of the bright nights (21 June). Love it. Still light until 11 in Cheshire.

      The disposable barbie are hilarious. People actually invite you around ‘for a BBQ’ and pull these out. Indeed. Spot on with the taste.

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