Moving to Norway and the adventure begins in Oslo (a two parter) on a miserable day. First impressions were a bit rubbish as we arrived at our hotel to find they were on strike and we needed to rebook somewhere – thanks for the heads up! Fortunately we found an Airbnb which turned out to be amazing and the guy was a total life saver. Yes it wasted a few hours and caused a headache but c’est la vie and onwards/upwards! So what’s Norway all about? Vikings yup, beautiful landscapes and fjords yup and then from galavanting around I’d have to add friendly people, brown cheese (it’s a delicious thing) and reindeers. We did a mini adventure starting in Oslo and then took the train through the wilderness to some small villages and eventually Bergen on the west. But alas I’m getting ahead of myself – presenting Oslo part one!
Oslo is the capital and therefore has a lot going on. On first impressions I was surprised with the diversity of people (yes I was being stereotypical and expecting blonde everywhere). It has all kinds of shops, restaurants, design, art, sport etc. just like any big bad city. A great example of this is Vigeland Park which combines nature and the most elaborate collection of sculptures you’ll ever see. The park features a collection of work from the life of artist Gustav Vigeland and it’s huge. The majority are people in unusual positions and poses which make for great photo opportunities and shits and giggles.
Next something pretty cool to check out just outside of the park is the Vigeland Museum. Inside you can see sketches, drawings and also moulds from all the sculptures in the park. It’s really fascinating getting to see the progress that leads to those final pieces and seeing the mini models right up to life-sized ones. One of my favourites is the Angry Boy (pictured below), he just looks so frustrated and pissed haha. He popped up throughout our trip quite a lot as people like to graffiti him around the city (maybe he’s the emblem?).
Sticking with art (and facial emotion) you have to go see possibly the most famous Norwegian expat aka The Scream. Edvard Munch’s creation is at the National Gallery along with the Madonna and others. It is a small but lovely gallery, perfect for an hour or two avoiding the rain or getting out of the sun. He’s a very popular guy though so do expect a crowd around him (unless you go ten minutes before closing like we did).
Just a hop, skip and jump from there you can check out the Royal Palace. It has one of the best entryways as you walk up the red/pink gravel to the front of the building for ten or so minutes, it is a long’un. The Palace itself isn’t the most grand or stunning but pretty subdued and understated. I do love the colours though, this mix of pastel yellow and green is pretty unusual. I’m not sure if you can do tours or not as we just stuck to ‘window shopping’ but the guards around the area have very bizarre hats so look out for them!
Last thing to throw in here as I’m not sure what post to really put it in is the Holmenkollbakken Ski Jump. It’s a little tram ride out of the city but you do get to go past some great neighbourhoods and get a feel for ‘real-world Oslo’. The Ski Jump (do I need to capitalise both of those?) is pretty famous and has hosted several major winter sport events including the Olympics. In terms of visiting you go through a mini-museum which gets across the history through dioramas to then skis and history of the jump and athletes. You get to take a lift to the very top where the jumpers would normally launch from. Needless to say it’s very high and at an extremely sharp angle. My butt was tingling a little bit but the view is a’ok with me!
Thought I’d end on a foodie recommendation which is right by the gallery and it’s called Elias. Norway is expensive and this place was pretty reasonable and had a nice Scandi atmosphere. As mentioned above reindeer is a big thing here and I didn’t mean the fluffy, lively animal – the meat. Below is reindeer stew with potatoes and lingonberry sauce. It was scrumptious and yes I felt bad about eating reindeer but sometimes in life you have to embrace the devil. Oslo part two featuring a ton of museums will come in a few days.