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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.