Oslo, Norway

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Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway - Holmenkollen Ski Jump, Oslo
Oslo, Norway - Harbour, Oslo
Oslo, Norway - Vigeland Park, Oslo
Oslo, Norway - Stave Church, 1300s, Oslo

Oslo, Norway Reviews

jrplyhn jrplyhn
4 reviews
Sep 11, 2007
“When I was young, the capital of Norway was not called Oslo. It was called Christiania. But somewhere along the line, the Norwegians decided to do away with that pretty name and call it Oslo instead.” (Roald Dahl, Boy 1984)

Oslo is the largest city in Norway with its approximately 550,000 inhabitants. And, just for the record: it’s pronounced: Oschlooh. The Norwegians also refers the city to Tigerstaden (City of tigers), it was the Norwegian writer: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson who, back in the good old days, came up with the expression and nowadays this name has almost an official status.

Oslo has a green appearance with its parks and plenty of open areas. On a warm summer evening I would suggest that you get a disposable grill, whatever you prefer to eat (sausages are always a winner), and join the crowd in one of the parks. The Torshov Park is very nice with a good view of the city and the Oslofjord. But, and there is a but, whatever you do: don’t leave any burn marks on the grass, and throw the grill in one of the special designed garbage bins marked: Disposable grills ONLY. And…if you’re enjoying a beer, don’t let it out of your sight, because the infamous “flaskesnapperne” (best translated as the bottle thieves) will snatch it before you can say: Carlsberg.

The million-dollar question is: What to do in Oslo. Well, I’ve mentioned picnic in a park. If I were you I also would have paid the Medieval Town of Oslo a visit. Here you can see the ruins of St. Hallvard Church (approx. 1130) and St. Olav Monastery (approx. 1239) and other medieval buildings. Why not join in on one of the guided tours? From the Medieval Town it’s only a short walk to Grønland, which is the main immigrant area in Oslo. It’s packed with small family run restaurants, shops and markets. And let me tell you a secret, this is the best place in Oslo to get your “five a day.” After a little brows around at Grønland continue your walk along Akerselva. Akerselva is the river that flows through Oslo, its about 8 km long and goes from Grønland to Maridalsvannet. It is a great way to walk through Oslo, and along the river there are heaps of stuff to see.

If you choose to visit Oslo in May, be sure to be there on the 17th, that’s the Norwegian Constitution day and it’s well worth experiencing. I dear say that you haven’t experienced anything like it. Start of watching the children’s parade at Karl Johan Street. It is truly amazing: 10 000 children waving their flag and marching band eventually to be greeted by the King and Queen from the balcony of the Royal Palace. After the parade head down to Aker Brygge, the seafront beneath the town hall, for a light (and fairly expensive) lunch, and then make you way up to Kuba Park at Grunerløkka for an outdoors concert organised by SOS Racism. If a concert isn’t what you fancy, why not join it at the dance on the square outside the City Hall. It starts at 18.14 (this because the Norwegian Constitution was signed at the 17th May 1814).

You might not be a huge football fan, but still, if you’re in Oslo in August you should head up to Ekeberg to experience Norway Cup. “The Cup” is the world biggest football tournament with teams from all over the globe. Ekeberg also offers a great view over Oslo and the fjord with all its islands. It was here Edvard Munch got the inspiration for his famous painting: The Scream, which by the way recently was returned to the Munch Museum at Tøyen.

Every other fall the National Theatre in Oslo arranges The Ibsen Festival with Ibsen productions from all over the world are invite to perform. It might not be on the year you decide to come, but that is no excuse to get a little bit of Ibsen. The Ibsen Museum is only a short walk from the Royal Palace and Karl Johan Street and is well worth a visit. It contains two major parts: a guided tour through his apartment and an exhibition about his life and work. They guided tours are in English, German, French and Norwegian.

December is the month for the Nobel Peace Price award. The 10th of December is the award ceremony, and the day after is the Peace Price concert with a range of national and international artists.

Oslo will never be a Paris or a London. Oslo is this relatively small, sometimes warm, and sometimes very cold city in the land of the midnight sun. With its parks, statues, beautiful buildings, museums, cafés and islands all surrounded by hills and forest it doesn’t have to be a London or a Paris to attract visitors.
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hdichter hdichter
24 reviews
Jun 27, 2007
Last year a British friend and I found cheap airfare to Oslo from Germany, so we went for a long weekend (Fri-Mon). There was no passport control in Cologne when we left..... and NONE when we arrived in Oslo. For real. We just walked right out. A bit strange, with the two of us from the US and UK. We checked into our hostel/hotel (it's both), and it was really nice, especially compared to some of the other places with sketchy reviews online. (Next time you're in Oslo, stay at the Perminalen.) We decided to walk around the city Friday and get a sense of things, and see a few buildings before embarking on all of our museums and whatnot Saturday. We saw the central church, Parliament, National theater, palace, city hall, harbor, and castle/fortress. The Royal Palace has guards -- kind of like Buckingham, but in sillier hats, and they are allowed to talk to people and do stuff. Still, you can walk the grounds around the palace, so again, less security than you'd normally expect at a Royal Palace. No sightings of Crown Prince Hakaan, though. After seeing the basic sites, we realized that the fortress was a block from our hotel. So convenient! Though when we walked back to our hotel, about 7 guys in fatigues walked in there, too. Apparently the Perminalen is owned by the army, or something along those lines, so some of them stay there in case anything happens in the city, they are centrally located. Slightly odd, but hey -- if it means it's a nicer hostel than anywhere else, that's fine with me.

Anna and I did just about everything in Oslo in two days. I won't go into too many details, but we hit:

--Homefront Museum -- the Norwegians as a whole resisted the German occupation during WWII

--Akershus Slott & Festning -- really old palace/fortress on cliff over Oslo Harbor

--Viking Ship Museum -- which had three viking ships from burial sites and lots of the goodies that were buried with the Vikings to be used in the afterlife

--Folks Museum -- lots of old wooden buildings from all over the country, including a really cool wooden stave church

--Ibsen Museum -- we didn't get to see his apartments, as the tour was full, but the exhibit was pretty interesting

--Nobel Peace Museum -- All of the Nobel Prizes are awarded in Sweden, except the Peace Prize, which is awarded in Norway. The museum is really interactive and has a lot of information, as well as temporary exhibits.

--National Gallery -- saw Edvard Munch's Scream and Madonna -- the originals. Not surprising that paintings have been stolen, as several windows in the museum were open. (I'm sure that does wonders for the conservation of paintings, too.) It's also kinda funny that the security people have to count the paintings in each room and log them in a binder every so often. Security could be...... tighter, to say the least. It's also not that large.... at least, when one of the two floors is closed.

--Holmenkollen -- the world's most famous ski jump, also used during the 1952 Olympic Games. So cool! I have a new found respect for ski jumpers. First off, they take an elevator up most of the way to the top, but then they have to go up the last 114 steps. With their skis. and the steps are steep. Back at the base of the jump, we did the ski jump and downhill simulator. Basically, it's like a ride where you sit down and the car moves, and on the screen you see what the athlete sees. The ski jump was awesome. The downhill in the simulator was the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics course -- they get up to 130 km/hr.

--Munch Museum -- this place has more security than the airport. slightly disappointing since the place has thousands of his drawings and paintings..... and not too many of them were on display.

--Gamle Aker Kirke -- Oslo's oldest building, from 1080. surprisingly, doesn't look as old as you'd expect!

--Vigeland Park -- has nearly 200 sculptures from Gustav Vigeland. Really cool.

The interesting thing about Oslo is.... while it's not above the Arctic Circle, it's really light. almost the whole day. We were sitting around, drinking before we went out (everyone tells you to do that since it's *so* expensive. Really.... NY and London seem like a cheap night out after Oslo). You know how when it gets dark out you think ok, it's time to get ready to leave? Well, when it's 11:30 and it's still light out..... it really throws off your sense of what time to go out. Saturday night we left around midnight, so when we got to the club at 12:30 it was dark out. and when we left the club just after 3 am.... it was light again!

If you ever have the chance to go to Oslo..... GO!! It was so much fun. Just be prepared not to do the exchange rate. Though rather quickly we thought, oh, 32 Kr for three cookies is a good deal. And then you realize that's about 3 quid for three cookies..... or just over $5 US. so they were probably the most expensive cookies I've ever bought, and from a 7-11, too. but they were yummy! Norwegian cuisine is a bit odd.... unless you want seafood or random animals such as elk or reindeer, the Norwegians eat fast food. a lot of it. I think there are more fast food places in Oslo than I've ever seen in the US. But the seafood is fresh and quite tasty! Just don't look at your credit card bill after the trip......
Vigeland Park, Oslo
Holmenkollen Ski Jump, Oslo
Stave Church, 1300s, Oslo
Harbour, Oslo

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