Today wraps my last day in Oslo, Norway — The last leg of my scandinavian holiday that I’m taking while on sabbatical. Oslo has been great, with loads of museums, great shops and galleries.
After leaving Stockholm which was covered in snow the morning of our flight a click glance at the weather for Oslo suggested similar but I was pleasently surprised to see that the snow never really settles in Oslo, so no issues having to carry my luggage to the hotel throw half a foot of snow.
On the way to the hotel one thing that I hate about Leeds (where I live in the UK) and was really happy with the lack of in Copenhagen and Stockholm, happened — no designated cycle lane on the main pedestrian street so we had to weave in and out of oncoming bikes.
Over the next days I found Oslo to be comparable to Copenhagen with the mix of hussle and bussle from the commuters and laid back vibe of the people on the street. The level of cars on the street was comparable to Copenhagen too but there were certainly less bikes (although given the weather I can’t say I blame them).
It is however a lot more expensive than Copenhagen and more inline with the prices I found in Stockholm but the level of service that you get for your money is way higher.
Much like Stockholm there was an app used to get around on public transport in Oslo which was useful but I feel like London with it’s card-tap as you go approach is better as it doesn’t lock non-phone users out and from a privacy point-of-view I don’t have to worry what data is being sent to providers.
Our first day in Oslo was a little uneventful as we had been up since 4am to get the plane so when we were lucky enough to get a room a couple of hours before check-in started we took the opportunity to have a nap so by the time we awoke we only had time to eat and go back to bed.
We went to Peppe’s Pizza, a chain of pizza restuarants in Norway which had a place near the hotel. The pizza was really good but the “Garlic Bread and Mozarella” which my hungry brain thought would be the kind with lots of stringy cheese on-top turned out to be garlic bread with sliced mozarella and tomato which was disappointing to hungry me.
The first full day we had in Oslo was a Monday so we were able to explore without worrying about crowds. We took a stroll over to Det Kongelige Slott and the sculpture park there and then over to the Natural History Museum where we found out why there was no crowds — most things close on Mondays.
The next day everything was open so we went back to the Natural History Musuem to see the exhibits there and I dragged my girlfriend over to Neseblod records which used to be called Helvete, a key record shop in the Norwegian Black Metal scene.
It was amazing to see a record shop specifically tailoring to metal & punk and it was crammed to the rafters with all matters of merchandise and the basement had a little museum to the old black metal scene.
On the Wednesday it was my girlfriend and I’s 15 year anniversary and we had originally planned a tour of the Fjords to celebrate but that was cancelled due to the operator not receiving a new ship in time (they cancelled this on the day so no idea what they’re turn around time for that new ship was).
We instead settled for a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour that had Vigeland Park on it’s route so we could go there to see the sculptures before jumping on again to see the rest of the tour. Vigeland is full of insane statues human forms, lots of babies beating up grown men and a massive column of bodies in the middle of a platform.
We had a little lay in on Thursday as the constantly sight-seeing and travelling we’d done for the last 18 days finally caught up with us so we hit up the Nobel Peace Price Museum and the National Museum late in the afternoon.
The National Museum is a definite must see, there’s 80+ rooms full of statues, art and artifacts that show the evolution of norwegian and human life over the centuries, you’ll need a couple of hours to really take it all in though.
On the Friday we went to the Folk Museum as we’d seen it from the road as part of the Hop-on Hop-off tour and they had a Stave Church there which I wanted to see. Unfortunately because of the time of year and day of the week there was a lot of things closed (summer time weekends seem to be the best time to visit) but the Stave Church was really impressive.
We then got off the bus back into town at the Deichman library and Opera House (which was a fun trek in the rain) before jumping on another bus over to Neseblod again for me to buy a signed Dark Throne record as a souvenir.
On Saturday we spent nearer to the hotel but we were able to have a walk along the Fjord promenade which had some interesting art.