EuropeNorwayOslo

Oslo

Oslo Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Norwegian Dew

My friend Noah went on foreign exchange when he was in High School to experience another culture.  Now you would think he would have gone to a Spanish speaking country as he speaks Spanish fluently, but you would be wrong.  Noah is a man of mystery and was looking for more of a challenge.  Instead, he chose Norway as he knew nothing about the language.  He was a little disappointed to find out that practically everyone in Norway speaks English.  Still, he did learn a few useful phrases and a lot about the culture.

 

This year, Noah decided that he wanted to visit his host family again as it had been a few years and they had been asking about him.

Pretty Statue
  Oslo sounded pretty cool and I had never been there before, so I figured why not ask him if I could tag along?  He didn’t have a problem with it and emailed his host family to let them know.  A day later, he got an email from his host family that both of us could stay with them.  Neither of us expected that and felt a little badly as having guests in your house for a week can be cumbersome, I should know as everyone wants to visit you when you live in NYC.  But they assured us it would be fine.  That was great for us as Oslo is the 4th most expensive city in the world at this time. 

 

We figured early September would be a good time as it would still be decent weather and the sun would still be present.  Also, it would be around Labor Day so that would be one less vacation day to use, always a plus in my book.

Norwegian Rose

 

I was stoked and couldn’t wait for August 31st to roll around.  A few days before we left I found out that we would be going through Newark.  Ack!  JFK is a lot closer to us and I avoid Newark at all costs as I don’t like it even if it has cheaper flights.  It is just too much of a pain to get to from where I live.  So, the night before the flight I did some yoga, threw in some push ups and prepared to get all Eye of the Tiger on my suitcase.  You see, to get to Newark from my place in Brooklyn, you have to change trains three times.  If you have been to NYC before, you will understand my plight.  There tons of stairs at every stop of the subway, plus you have to walk to the appropriate platform to your train.

Parliment
  That is a lot of walking and hauling with a 40 pound suitcase.  That is a little under half my size!  I had to get into the zone.

 

So, the morning of the flight I ate a high protein breakfast said goodbye to my friend and cat who was house-sitting and we headed out the door.  It was around 85 degrees that Sunday and as always, pretty humid.  Not the best circumstances, but we were going to Norway, so I had to shut my internal voice up!  Sure, easy to say as I climbed up the final stairs to the Newark Tram.  I think I had lost 5 pounds in the 2.5 hours it took to get there!  Still, I was going to Norway!

 

The flight was pretty uneventful; there wasn’t turbulence like the Dublin trip (I still wake up in a cold sweat from that one)!  My only complaint is that they put computer screens on the back of the seat in front of you.

The Streets of Oslo
  Now, I love playing the games as I enjoy kicking people’s butts; ask Noah, I kicked his three times in chess!  But people don’t understand the joy of touch screens.   You don’t need to pound them, remember folks, there is a head resting in front of that screen, if you hit it too hard, the person in front of you can feel it.  I should know, the person behind me was hitting his the whole time and kicking his feet into the back of my seat the whole night.  You gotta love over night flights and people who don’t understand the magic of keeping their feet off of the back of seats.  It is safe to say I did not sleep all that well.  Though, something to note, the Norwegian people are very quiet on planes.  I think that was the quietest flight I have ever been on.  It was very scary.  I am not kidding, nobody was even whispering!

 

It turned out that I was the big winner between Noah and myself as I got 20 minutes of sleep while he didn’t get any.

Taking a Rest
  Between the chess and sleeping matches, Noah was having a bad night.  We were pretty excited once the plane landed, but we were both wary of the crash that we would soon have after the adrenaline wore off.  I remember what happened in Ireland; I don’t do well with jet lag at ALL!

 

After getting through customs and retrieving our luggage we were greeted by Noah’s host father.  I liked him immediately.  I have to say I was impressed that he did indeed speak perfect English.  I asked if he had learned it in school, he said no, that he had learned it from watching TV.  That is pretty impressive, because I have been watching Korean dramas for about 2 years, and I still can’t understand most of it.  Thanks, English subs!!!

 

Something random that I noticed as soon as I got out of the airport and into the parking lot; the air is fresh and clean.

Viking Ship Head
  It is light, crisp, refreshing and very noticeable.  Now, maybe it wouldn’t be noticeable to someone outside of NYC, but for me this was as a huge discovery and one that was a bit distressing.  What was happening to my lungs in NYC?  I was afraid to find out the truth and flipped my mind.

 

Also, the temperature was a lot cooler than I expected.  I had left 85 degree weather at home and was now looking frantically for a sweater as it was in the 50’s.  So much for the theory that we would be hitting an Indian Summer in Norway. 

 

Our host father dropped us at the apartment so we could clean up and unpack a little. It was a great apartment with a view facing downtown Oslo.

Steps at Holmenkollen
  The best part was that we were only 15 minutes from the heart of Oslo which is nothing compared to my daily commute into Manhattan daily.  He showed us our room, we freshened up and then we were off.  He wanted to show us Holmenkollen as it is hard to get to from the subway.  The roads leading up to Holmenkollen were very windy which is not great for me as I get car sick and was running on no sleep.  But in the end, I didn’t toss my cookies which was a happy achievement.

 

For those who don’t know, Holmenkollen is the world’s second oldest ski jump and the arena has been hosting competitions since 1892, top that!  Noah and I decided to check the place out.  There are many, many steps that lead down to the area where the audience sits and where they put on concerts.  It was fun climbing down but I stopped before I got to close to the murky water.

Ramp at Holmenkollen
  It was all fun and games until I realized I had to climb back up!  The steps are very high and there are a lot if them.  I am pretty short so it is safe to say my legs were burning by the time I got back to the top.  I knew I would be hating life in the morning, but at least my legs weren’t feeling the 8 hour flight any longer…

 

We also went into the Holmenkollen Museum so that we could go to the top of the ski jump.  The museum was modest size, but packed with information.  I learned that traveling to South pole is not for wusses and nobody does it better than the Norwegians.  Seriously, the Brits tried to be the first people to get there, but were dismayed to see the Norwegians beat them to it.  After that disappointment, they froze to death on their way back.  That is a double slap in the face.

The View From Holmenkollen
  To the Norwegians it was just another winter day.  I would see this ability to deal with cold later on in my trip; I haven’t seen anything like it before! 

 

Also, within the museum are two huge taxidermy animals; a moose and a bear.  They were horrifying!  I am not into taxidermy and find it utterly creepy!  I had to chuckle at the moose as it had a poop pile in the fake cotton snow next to its bum.  Nice detail!

 

The time had come to climb to the top of Holmenkollen, at first it seemed like a good idea as I heard the view was great!  It turned out not to be a great idea after I stepped off of the elevator and had to climb the remaining flights of stairs to the top.  My legs were still feeling the burn from my earlier climb to the bottom of the arena.

Digging Vigel Park, Obviously!
  Feel the burn!  I have to say the pain disappeared after I saw the incredible view.  Everywhere you looked you could see trees and water.  I had just gotten to Norway, but I knew I was in for a visual treat. 

 

After, Holmenkollen we stopped into a restaurant quickly to grab a quick lunch as we were all hungry.  That is when I made my first encounter with the Kroner and the prices in Oslo.  A cup of regular coffee was over $3.00 dollars.  Yes, 3.00!  The small sandwich I ordered was about $9.00 and I mean it was small!  Well, you have to eat, so I paid the 12.00 and enjoyed the meal and the view.

 

We thought our host father would be leaving us at this time so he could go to work as it was Monday.

Vigeland Gate
  Nope, it turned out he had taken the whole day off to show us around.  This guy was the best, but we couldn’t help but feel badly as we weren’t expecting it at all.  He responded by taking us to Vigeland Park because he had heard I had wanted to go there.  How cool was this guy?  He dropped us at the front gate and drove off to run a few errands and would meet us at the other end of the park.

 

I was so excited to be finally seeing Vigeland Park; I had heard about it from a few people and had done my research.  I have to say Sinnataggen was high on my list of things to do and he happened to be in Vigeland Park.  Sinnataggem translates to Angry Child, but I prefer to call him Angry Baby.

Sinnataggen!
  Angry Baby has been defaced and even stolen a few times in the past few decades.  Poor Sinnataggen!  No wonder he is so angry, I would be too if I had buckets of paint poured on my head.

 

Also, when in Vigeland Park you have to take a photo with the Monolith.  The Monolith is the main focal point in the park.  The Monolith is surrounded by many statues that depict different stages of a person’s life and the Monolith stands in the center bringing the whole image together in a grand finale of sorts.

 

Well, the grand finale came to a screeching halt as I spotted a huge object wrapped in tarp and surrounded by scaffolding.  Apparently, the statues of Vigeland Park get a thorough cleaning once every eight years.

It Looked Better in the Brochure...
  Well, on my visit, the Monolith just happened to be getting the treatment and was completely covered up.  Hmm, not the happiest photo op!  I won’t lie; it was a little bit of a downer!  This was the main visual of the park and it was a plastic mess!  Noah mentioned he had a photo from when he lived in Norway if I wanted it back home, but it just isn’t the same.  It is kind of like going to France to see the Eiffel Tower and it is closed for a month.  Okay, maybe it isn’t that bad, but it stung a bit. 

 

My disappointment was short lived as I spied many other statues in the picturesque park.  I had to remember, there were many other statues and Sinnataggen wouldn’t let me down and you know what?  He didn’t!  Though, he was a lot smaller in person; but I have heard the same thing about Tom Cruise.

Cool Vigeland Statue

 

After about an hour and a half we headed back to the apartment as our host mother would be cooking us dinner.  The meal was great!  I am a big fan of fish as are the Norwegians, so it worked out well!  I have found that the Norwegians are really big into ice cream as dessert, as well, what a coincidence, I am too!  So, after a full belly, and a few hours of conversation with the host family, Noah and I turned it, we had been up for about 36 hours and were running on empty.

 

The next morning, I had no idea what time zone I was in!  My head was swimming!  All I know was it was early in Oslo and I got about 7 hours of sleep, but something was just off.  It didn’t matter, I had to shake it off as we had a full day ahead of us as we would be purchasing the Oslo pass and needed to hit several things to make it worth the price worth while.

Statues at Vigeland
  So, I know I needed to visit my old friend, caffeine. 

 

Noah and I grabbed a piece of fruit and headed towards the subway.  It took us a few minutes to understand what ticket we should buy as the instructions were in Norwegian, but we finally got our tickets and just in time as the subway appeared as soon as we hit the bottom steps.  The subway in Oslo is open and very clean unlike the NYC subway.  Usually in NYC you have to check around your seat as they are dirty and you can sit in nasty things!  In fact I have seen somethings I hope never to see again, not so in Oslo; just a bright clean inviting experience.  Thanks, Oslo!

 

My first view of downtown Oslo was that it wasn’t as crazy as other city centers which made it easy to maneuver.

Uh, No...
  I also soon realized that this was a biking city.  I have never seen so many people on bikes.  It is a good thing though as you get your exercise while helping out the environment.  I wonder how people deal with this in winter though.  I would think your butt would freeze to the seat in about 5 minutes after leaving the house. 

 

Besides not being crowded, there downtown was very clean, though you would see graffiti here and there.  I don’t understand the whole graffiti thing.  Let me deface my city with a tag nobody understands or cares to understand.  Why?  I hate seeing that it is becoming more common in Europe, still, Oslo was still cleaner than NYC would ever be.

 

After we found the tourist information building, we bought our tickets and headed out to out first stop the Munch Museum.

Munch - The Sick Child
  I have to say I didn’t know a lot about Munch except for his most famous piece The Scream or Skrik as it is known in Norway.  The Munch Museum is a throwback to the 1970’s.  The building is a little outdated, but apparently they are building a new one.  There have been some arguments over the new space because the Munch estate wants every painting done by Munch put into the new space, even the ones in the National Gallery.  The National Gallery is not thrilled as they feel it brings in people and it may hurt their tourism.  Hopefully, it gets resolved soon and everyone gets a little chunk of the Munch, I know I would like one.  Apparently, so do other people as the painting keep getting stolen!

 

I have to say after seeing the museum; I have a new appreciation for Munch.

Skrik
  Munch used a lot of the same themes and revisited many of his same pieces over and over which I found interesting.  A lot of his themes verged on the dark side, dealing with death, sickness and loneliness, but the different variations were interesting. 

 

After the Munch Museum, we decided it was time to the Nobel Peace Prize Center which was relatively new as it opened in 2005.  I didn’t quite know what to expect from the Center as I would think it would be a difficult topic to cover.

 

The first room after you enter the center is a rotating exhibit.  During the time we were in Oslo, the exhibit was about poverty in four major areas of the world.

Nobel Peace Center
  The exhibit was created by Jonas Bendiksen a photographer and was brought to life through his photographs.  Four different 10x10 rooms were constructed there the people whose stories were being told were displayed on the walls as the individuals spoke about their lives in poverty.  The four regions were Kibera, Africa, Caracas, Venezuela, Jakarta, Indonesia and Mumbai, India.

 

This exhibit is very powerful.  The 16 different stories are sad, shocking and at times infuriating.  These interviews are not easy to listen to; listening to these people’s daily struggle to survive was unreal.  It isn’t about gaining more material items, or fancy clothing or the latest gadget.  It is about trying to find clean water, food and shelter.

Norwegian Troll, I Would meet Many on My Trip
  One woman in Indonesian talks about her living space being a bench near the markets of the neighborhood where she was raised.  There she is bringing up her son and during the day she leaves her son with various stall owners as she tries to make money to feed him.  You get the point, these stories are brutal.  It is nearly impossible to not walk away from this exhibit with a new appreciation for your life.  Life is such a lottery.  Anyone of us could have been born into these circumstances.

 

To get through all the rooms and stories will take over an hour, but it is so worth it.  I really recommend watching all of the videos and really listening to the stories closely.  This was one of the most powerful and touching exhibits I have ever seen.  This alone was worth the admission.

 

The rest of the center is located on the second floor of the museum.

The Pier for the Ferry
   I have to be honest with you, without the exhibit downstairs, I don’t know if this would be worth the $15.00 it was to get in.  There really isn’t all that much to see or do within the center.   There is a wall with the history of the Nobel Peace prize, but I found it to be confusing and poorly executed.

 

There were two things that stood out on this floor and that was the magic book in the children’s room and the room with the Nobel Peace Prize winners.  The room with the winners was really cool actually and the only room I really spent time in.  All of the winners’ pictures are displayed on screens.  The screens are surrounded by colorful lights and ethereal sounds.  When you stand in front of one the displays, the screen of the person you are interested in learning more about changes and the history of the individual comes onto the screen, when you step away, their photo comes back.  Very clever and very well done!

 

Pretty much after that room, there wasn’t anything else that really caught our attention.

Hanging with the Locals
  So, we decided that it was time to hit the Norwegian Folk Museum (Norsk Folkenmuseum).  The Folk Museum is basically a set up of an old Norwegian village.

 

Too get to the Folk Museum you have to take a bus which takes forever or brave the ferry.  The ferry in the long run is the quickest way as it is right by the Nobel Peace Center.  I hate deep water, I really do.  I also get seasick, I really do!  The idea of getting onto a ferry freaked me out!  But Noah told me I would be fine.

The Stave
  I had been on the Staten Island Ferry a few times and it wasn’t so bad.  This was true, it was very big and after a while it seems as if you were riding a big subway.  I could do this.  My confidence left me as I spied a small dingy pulling up.  Okay, maybe a dingy is a little bit of an exaggeration, but this was the smallest ferry I had ever seen.  Doesn’t Oslo have a rush hour? 

 

Noah told me it would be fine.  I doubted him, but the bus would take forever and we were meeting our host family for dinner that night and didn’t have much time.  So, I stepped onto the dingy and we were on our way.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The water looked choppy, but didn’t toss us around too much.

The Stave
  Still, I couldn’t wait to get off and ran to the front as soon as land was discovered.

 

Be prepared for a small hike as the museum is a distance away and mostly uphill.  When we got to the gate we were surprised to see that the place was rather empty.  It was an overcast day and there had been sprinkles here and there, but it wasn’t bad weather.  Also, we were at the end of tourist season.  I didn’t mind, I kind of enjoyed it being empty, it made it a little more authentic.

 

The Folk museum is a great idea.  The set up is pretty realistic except for a modern garbage can here or there.  There were even farm animals and people dressed up as villagers.  The first place we went into was a house where there was a women tending to a fire.

Noah in teh Folk Museum
  Noah wanted to know more about the history and asked if she spoke English in Norwegian.  She said of course.  Her English was spot on, in fact she didn’t sound Norwegian at all.  She confirmed this as she was from Minnesota.  It was a little odd walking through a Norwegian village only to meet one of the locals who happened to be American.  She had lived in Norway for 20 years, so I figured she had earned a spot to work there and she was a complete sweetheart, so I let it slide.

 

The highlight of the museum is the Stave (church).  It was pretty cool actually and apparently there is an exact replica in South Dakota in the Black Hills.  Our American friend from the small house we had just left filled us in.

Chilling in the Folk Museum
  It really was very beautiful and the woodwork was amazing.  There we met a few “villagers” and again found them to be very friendly and accommodating.  They had no problem having their photos taken; they are probably used to it.  They even gave us genuine smiles, which surprised me.  Working at a place like that is sort of like being in a zoo and you would think they would be tired of the whole tourist thing by now.  Maybe they were new or maybe they are just less jaded then I would be.  I have done things like this in theatre.  Some I am not proud of; mostly children’s theatre and there are photos that defiantly come back to haunt you.  I have to say, I loved these people!

 

For me the Folk Museum was a success.  I would definitely recommend it if you are in Oslo.

I Love the Grassy Roffs!
  The houses are pretty cool and I especially enjoyed the grass growing on the roofs of the houses, it never got old.  That and I am a sucker for animals which they had plenty of.  I especially liked the pigs, though they were tired and warm that day and were burrowed deep in the mud.

 

After the Folk Museum, we got onto the bus to spend the rest of the evening with our host family.  An interesting side note, the people in Norway are very interested in Americans and our view on our politics.  Every country I have visited has been this way and the people tend to like to ask a lot of questions.  It may have been magnified in Norway as we were staying with a Norwegian family.  It is always fascinating to me just how much other countries know about America.

Piggy!
  They were having a field day with our elections and knew more about our political system then most Americans do (sad). Originally, they had wanted us to speak at a local high school so that the students could ask questions about the US.  I almost wished it had happened as it would have been nice to clarify certain things and show that stereotypes do not represent a complete country. 

 

In all my travels, I have never been seen as an American, I usually am asked if I am British, Irish or Canadian.  When I tell them I am American the response is either they are surprised as I don’t seem “American” or that it is good thing that I am seen as British.  I don’t agree, no offense to the Brits.  I am very proud to be American and am in no way ashamed of my nationality, though I am not happy with the things that are happening in the US at this time.

Houses at Dawn
  I see a great country that is at a pivotal point in its history.  We need to reevaluate many things that are happening within this country and strive to change them.  Though there is so much wrong within the US right now, there is so much that is right as well; we just need to find a healthy balance.  I could write a lot more about this, but this is a travel site.  Another point, if I don’t seem like an American I guarantee there are others who also pass as Non-Americans who are.  If you are looking for the stereotypes of any culture you will find them. 

 

Anyway, sorry for the tangent, but it was a huge part of the trip and I actually enjoyed these conversations as I learned more about the Norwegians and I hope they learned more about us as well.

 

The next day Noah and I actually headed to Bergen as we wanted to see more of Norway.

Palace
  Let me just say, Bergen is a fantastic place and a beautiful train ride.  Some of my best photos came from Bergen.  If you are in Norway for a week or so, I would strongly recommend this as a side trip.

 

Little FYI, I will be putting Bergen into a separate Blog as I hate attaching Blogs together.  Why, I really don’t know.  I did it for the Ireland road trip, and to this day it still bugs me.  I think I may need a little help…  Here it be: --->   http://www.travbuddy.

com/travel-blogs/42451/Beautiful-Bergen-Norway-Bergen-1

 

Anyway, after our trip to Bergen, we were pretty tired and decided to sleep in the next day before venturing out into Oslo again.  We had been getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night and though the jetlag had disappeared, it wasn’t enough!

 

The next day, we decided to walk around Oslo and see whatever struck as interesting.  I am a big fan of walking around the streets of a city to get a feel for it.  While heading in the direction of the Palace, we were walking through a park with a fountain when we were accosted by a bunch of people handing out hot dogs.  Yep, that’s right, hot dogs.  Now I have been handed many things on the street, but hot dogs?  How weird is that?  It isn’t like gum or candy which you can keep around in your purse or bag.

US Embassy
  These were hot dogs; they have a limited shelf life.  At least they were healthy dogs, though!

 

After debating about what to do with our new booty, we decided to check out the palace.  It isn’t really anything extraordinary, so we took a few shots and were on our way.  We soon ran into the National Gallery and decided to check it out.  It is a smaller museum than I expected and they don’t let you take photos inside.  Very odd!  The cool thing was there is a donation area and there is money from different countries there.  Neat!

 

The rest of the day was a hodgepodge of places.  We were meeting our host sister for dinner and clubbing so we had limited time and decided to see Vigeland park again.

Vigeland Park
  Yeah, I had been there before, but I didn’t care.  It was my favorite place in Oslo and I wanted to go back.  We decided to walk as it didn’t seem that far on the map from the US Embassy.  Why had we stopped at the US Embassy?  I don’t know, I wasn’t missing home and I felt safe in Oslo, maybe it was sick curiosity, but we were there.  PS, the building is an eyesore, it really is, so you can skip it, though I do recommend the walk to Vigeland Park from the Embassy row, it is long, but beautiful.

 

Vigeland Park was just as wonderful the second time and it was nice to see that the locals were using it as well.  There was a wedding and a birthday party going on at the same time along with a soccer game.

Imitation
  It was a busy night! 

 

After Vigeland Park, we headed over to our host sisters apartment for dinner.  She had wanted us to meet a couple of her friends.  The dinner was a very tasty Mexican fish dish.  After dinner, we headed over to a favorite hot spot of theirs, which was a dance club.  I don’t really remember the name as we were both still tired from our trip to Bergen and I am not great at remembering Norwegian.

 

Just a note, this Norwegian club was pretty much like any other club except smaller and the drinks were EXPENSIVE!  Liquor is highly taxed in Norway and kind of kills a night out dancing, especially when you need a little liquid courage to get out there and groove.

My Favorite Place in Oslo
  It also was odd to hear mostly 80’s and 90’s American music being blared from the speakers, I was hoping for a more local flavor.  The club was really lit up too much which is odd.  I am used to dark clubs.  I think they make most clubs dark on purpose to help people with their beer goggle conquests. 

 

Anyway, the place was very popular as it was very crowded even though it had a cover charge.  I can’t complain about that though, Noah and I and our local friends got in for free because the two of us were American and the guy up front loved NYC and hoped to live there one day.  Score!  Sadly, we couldn’t’ stay out too long as there was only one bus back to our apartment and we didn’t want to spend $50-$60 on a cab, Oslo, was expensive and we were going through cash fast!

 

The next day, would be our final day as we would be leaving early on Sunday morning.

Air Dry Duck!
Saturday mostly consisted of the both of us shopping for souvenirs for family, friends and ourselves.  Originally, I was told I should get a sweater as it was what Norway was about, but after seeing them, I realized they were not really my style.  No offense to Norway, but they seemed bulky and I am not into bulky clothing though I am sure they are very warm.  In the end, I had to pass.  But I did get some traditional Norwegian pendant necklaces and a few pewter goblets for my family.  The cheapest and best place that I found for these types of souvenirs was the Oslo Sweater Shop.  The prices are the lowest I found, the selection is nice and the owner is great.

 

Noah ended up getting a sweater as he loved his old one, but went with a less bulky more sporty style.  It looked really good on him.

Soccer!
  Why don’t they make anything like that for women?  They were killing me!

 

After the Old Sweater Shop, we decided to check out the main shopping area.  It turned out this area of Oslo was crazy on Saturday.  Finally some life!  There were a lot of guys wandering around with Viking hats on their head.  This could mean only one thing, soccer!  The bars were filled and the crowds were rowdy.  Very strange, as most of the time the streets of Oslo had been quiet, but soccer brings out the rowdy in everyone I guess. 

 

As we winded in and out of the crowds, we spotted many street performers, musicians and people trying to sell their wares.

Outside City Hall
  As we continued on, we passed a familiar site that we will see in NYC every so often.  On the street, we saw a table with books and a sign that said Stress Test.  Noah and I looked at each other; we knew what this was immediately.  They have scientologists in Norway!  How crazy was that!  I am sure they are everywhere, but I have never seen them on my travels before.  We had to document it and snapped a quick photo before scampering off.  Anyway, we were relaxed; we didn’t need a stress test.

 

Noah had suggested that we stop off at the City Hall.  Our host father had mentioned that if we were art lovers we would love the murals there.  City Hall is free after September 1st and tourist season ends around that time because the temperature dips.

Vigeland Fountain

 

If you go to Oslo, you will want to stop here.  Its two stories and you are free to explore both floors, though random rooms may be locked at certain times.  Most of the walls are covered with painted murals with various historical events being depicted on them.  Some of these rooms are just amazing!  We stayed here for over an hour and it was completely worth it.  The art work is just beautiful.

 

After our visit to City Hall, it was time to hit the grocery store before we headed to meet our host family for the last time for an early dinner.  We wanted to spend most of the day with them as they had done so much for us and had been so generous.  Why the grocery store you may ask?  I like to bring home goods from other countries.

Inside City Hall
  I was especially ready to buy some cool items as it was decided there was no way I could take the hot dogs with me as the US may frown upon foreign wieners entering our country.  That and I don’t think they would have held up well on an 8 hour flight! 

 

The grocery store was pretty tiny, but I was happy to see they had a nice selection of candy.  I always buy chocolate in Europe as the chocolate there is sweeter and creamier than in the US.  Once you have European chocolate, you will be swayed for life.  As I continued down the snack aisle, I was surprised and very excited to see they had Paprika chips!  For years I had heard of paprika chips but they had been as elusive as Bigfoot, but now, they were a reality!  This was a huge discovery and one I would enjoy for days to come.  They are really quite mild and very tasty!

 

That night, the family got together and we had our final dinner.

Mural in City Hall
  The food in Norway had been great as they eat a lot of fish.  The final night, the family decided to mix it up and decided to have a stew over rice.  I have to say, I am not big into stew and was a little concerned as I scooped up a portion and poured it over rice.  I didn’t know what it was at first, though it reminded me of beef.  A little side note, I only eat fish and chicken, but I did not want to insult anyone.

 

I have to be honest; it wasn’t something I would go out of my way to eat again.  As I tried to eat the full dish, I tried not to question what I was eating as I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish my meal.  Noah and his host father were having a conversation in Norwegian.  I couldn’t understand most of it, but then, I heard the name Rudolph uttered.  Yep, that gave it away.

Rain Proof Puppy!
  I was eating one of Santa’s little helpers.  I have to be honest, that made it worse than it already was.  Though the last dinner wasn’t the greatest success for me, I was glad I got to try something new.  Staying with our host family in a Norway had made the trip extra special as I feel as if I was submerged in the culture and not just a spectator.  By then end, I was even starting to pick up pieces of the language which I never expected.  I feel so lucky to have experienced Norway the way I did.

 

When I first went to Norway, I had no idea what to expect as I really didn’t know all that much about the culture.  After visiting, I have a new appreciation and would like to visit another Scandinavian country or possibly go further North into Norway.

Very Handy
Though, I can’t promise that.  Once it dips below 50, this lightweight is a big party-pooper.  Sometimes sacrifices have to be made, just don’t count on me eating reindeer anytime soon, again.

goezi says:
Another winner Binky! Love it :)
So, did the lucky diner get Rudolf's red nose as they might with the wishbone from a chicken???
Posted on: Oct 02, 2008
tvillingmarit says:
Great blog _binky_ . I`m so sorry you didn`t see Monolitten, it`s great, but Sinnataggen is great to. About biking in the winter, we have winter weels. Oslo use to have better weather in the start of September, but if you want an Indian Summer you must visit Trondheim, sorry to say but we had great weather all September. I just have to say once more; GREAT BLOG. I`ll recomend it to people asking me about Oslo.
Posted on: Sep 30, 2008
binky says:
Yeah, I am about 100 to 105 lbs, so, yeah, I am a dink and a half. But I pack a punch, so it all works out!

Glad you liked it!
Posted on: Sep 30, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Norwegian Dew
Norwegian Dew
Pretty Statue
Pretty Statue
Norwegian Rose
Norwegian Rose
Parliment
Parliment
The Streets of Oslo
The Streets of Oslo
Taking a Rest
Taking a Rest
Viking Ship Head
Viking Ship Head
Steps at Holmenkollen
Steps at Holmenkollen
Ramp at Holmenkollen
Ramp at Holmenkollen
The View From Holmenkollen
The View From Holmenkollen
Digging Vigel Park, Obviously!
Digging Vigel Park, Obviously!
Vigeland Gate
Vigeland Gate
Sinnataggen!
Sinnataggen!
It Looked Better in the Brochure...
It Looked Better in the Brochure...
Cool Vigeland Statue
Cool Vigeland Statue
Statues at Vigeland
Statues at Vigeland
Uh, No...
Uh, No...
Munch - The Sick Child
Munch - The Sick Child
Skrik
Skrik
Nobel Peace Center
Nobel Peace Center
Norwegian Troll, I Would meet Many…
Norwegian Troll, I Would meet Man…
The Pier for the Ferry
The Pier for the Ferry
Hanging with the Locals
Hanging with the Locals
The Stave
The Stave
The Stave
The Stave
Noah in teh Folk Museum
Noah in teh Folk Museum
Chilling in the Folk Museum
Chilling in the Folk Museum
I Love the Grassy Roffs!
I Love the Grassy Roffs!
Piggy!
Piggy!
Houses at Dawn
Houses at Dawn
Palace
Palace
Hot Dogs!!!
Hot Dogs!!!
US Embassy
US Embassy
Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park
Imitation
Imitation
My Favorite Place in Oslo
My Favorite Place in Oslo
Air Dry Duck!
Air Dry Duck!
Soccer!
Soccer!
Outside City Hall
Outside City Hall
Vigeland Fountain
Vigeland Fountain
Inside City Hall
Inside City Hall
Mural in City Hall
Mural in City Hall
Rain Proof Puppy!
Rain Proof Puppy!
Very Handy
Very Handy
Uh, Anger Issues?
Uh, Anger Issues?
Palace Guard
Palace Guard
Sponsored Links
Oslo
photo by: sarahsan