Oslo - Things to do

Here it is, the long awaited (ahem!) first post about my recent trip to Oslo. Scandinavia on the whole is easily one of my very favourite regions to visit. There is something about everywhere I’ve been over there that’s very ‘me’. Every time I’m there I exclaim loudly ‘OH GOD I COULD JUST LIVE HERE’ about 13 times a day, approximately.

Norway was no exception. My little pal and I had four days to escape from what was a drizzly England (let’s not talk about how poorly I’ve coped in the recent heat), to race around Oslo and take in as much of the city as we could. As always, we managed to go beyond the norm and experienced the weird and wonderful. As not to crash your computers with hundreds of photos I’ve spilt our trip into the things we did, what we ate (a startlingly large post!) and a special little post on what I’ll call our ‘photo shoot’ in the Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park.

Firstly, we stayed in a beautiful Air Bnb owned by a lovely lady called Trude; her flat was just what we needed and a bargain at £15 between the two of us for three nights. She even has heated floors in her bathroom. The flat was located in the 'cool' Grønløkke area of town - super cool with foodie places to eat and drink, independent shops and really fit people everywhere; you could barely walk down the street for all the swooning.

Now, to the activities, I’d recommend buying an Oslo Pass if you visit. We pretty much planned our outings around it and it will save you so much money; it isn’t a lie that Oslo is mortifyingly expensive! We got the 48-hour pass for around £40 but it covered all our transport and access to basically every museum. If you’re time savvy like we were, you get a lot of bang for your buck, especially considering that without it museum entry is just over £8.

On museums, we visited the Nobel Peace Centre which is obviously a must visit given the city’s historical link with the Nobel Peace Prize. The exhibition changes yearly dependent on that year’s winner but it also has new installations on past winners from across the decades – a truly humbling experience. Another must if you’re in Oslo is the Edvard Munch Museum, we went solely because we knew The Scream was back in town but the exhibition turned out to be wonderful. It was on both Munch and Von Gogh, their links and artistic influences which if you’re into art was terribly interesting! On the more ‘avant-garde’ museums you simply must go to both The Museum of International Children’s Art’ and ‘Popsenteret Populærmusikkens’ – the museum of pop music. Both particular highlights for me. Crazy, fun and heart warming, both museums literally do what they say on the tin. We had too much fun at the museum of pop music; recording a song, playing dress up for our ‘album cover’ and all sorts of other nonsense! Now, all of those places were included in the Oslo Pass and they were just the tip of the iceberg – I said it was worth it. Once place I should tell you NOT to go is the Museum of Magic... you may have read that and thought 'errrr yeah Kate, no brainer we're not weird' but I really wanted to go! If you scroll down the pictures and look for the blue-ish building that looks half empty, that's it. Luckily it wasn't open when we arrived but on some later research it transpires that the museum is literally a man's flat. A man doing magic in his flat.

I can’t write this post without mentioning why we went – to see George Ezra… mad I know but who doesn’t love a gig on top of a holiday! I mention it because if you get a chance, definitely try and catch a show at Rockefeller Music Hall – European music venues seem to me to be more purposefully built meaning you get a better show all in all.

In terms of other outdoor pursuits, use your Oslo Pass for all it’s worth and get the ferry over to one of the island in Oslofjord; we made a flying visit to Hovedøya which would be perfect for long picnics lounging in the long, sunny days (the sun pretty much didn’t go down whilst we were visiting). You can also take your trunks and go wild swimming in the cold, fresh water on the far side of the island – a little cool for us, but the locals loved it. Make sure to walk to Fredensborgveien and Damstredet to look at the beautiful traditional houses up there; all wooden and brightly painted they bring a vibrancy to the sometimes samey, grey streets in the centre of town. The Opera House is also worth a visit, if only to trek up to the top and look over the water breathless and dizzy. The last place you have to go for a slow morning walk is Botaniske Hage – the botanical gardens. We happened upon them by accident whilst mooching to a museum but they really were quite something. Beautiful wild gardens accompanied by the gentle hum of bees in air made for a perfect Sunday morning.

A long one I know, but next up get ready to drool over what will likely be too many photos of my dinner.
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