Snow anyone?

Oslo Travel Blog

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Alogn with my buddy Al we set off from London Stansted on our short weekend break away to Oslo, Norway.  We decided on Norway as I hadn't been to Scandanavia and wanted a taster.  We managed to get our flights with Ryanair for £12 each return, including all charges which was a bargain.  The flight was reliable as usual with Ryanair (I've generally never had a problem with them) and also as usual, Al was fast asleep on the plane before we had even taken off! I'm not the best sleeper on planes, so I made do with the newspapers and my iPod.  Surprisingly, Oslo is only two and half hours from Stansted, so even with the hour's time difference, we touched down just after 9am local time.

On the train journey from Sandefjord

We flew into the slightly-out-of-town Sandefjord/Torp airport, which was smart and clean. From there we had two options to get to Oslo - the direct bus (135 NOK/£14) or the train (NOK 215/£23).  We decided on the train on this occasion and I love travelling by train and we thought the journey might be more scenic.  A shuttle bus takes you from Torp airport to the nearby train station which is about 5 minutes away.  The shuttles connect with the Ryanair flights, so we were on the 9.41 train.  It was a good choice I think as the scenic ride which hugged the fjord coastline for much of the journey was great - bright sunshine and snow as far as the eye could see.  2 hours later and we arrived at Oslo Central Station, which we guessed would be the best place to start to try and find our hotel.

The view down the main street to the Royal Palace
  I was uncharacteristically unprepared by not knowing the location of our hotel in the city.  Al took great pleasure in pointing this out, although I did reply with 'so what the hell did you organise for this trip'....his reposte was short and sweet.  In hindsight, we could've got off at the Nationaltheater station one stop earlier, which was only 5 minutes walk from our hotel.

We were staying at the Best Western West hotel on Skovveien road, one of the least expensive we could find beforehand.  see my review later in the blog (it was a decent choice).  We made our way to the hotel from the train station desperately trying to stay on our feet - it had bee snowing in the weeks beforehand and now the compacted snow had been frozen.

  The Oslo city authorities do a good job at keeping the main streets clear of snow and ice, but there are still patches around, which led to the first bet of the holiday - whoever was the first to fall on their arse would be purchasing a round of beers.  The hotel was about 15 minutes walk from the city's main pedestrian area, so not too far to walk.  I always try and walk if at all possible as you get your bearings in new places much quicker that way.

After checking in, we headed straight out to explore.  We walked the main city centre streets and down to the port areas. I can imagine in the summer, the port side would be fantastic as there are lots of cool bars and restaurants which would be great for people watching - always a great activity! Unfortunately for us, most of the ferries and cruises weren't running as it's winter - I really wanted to do a fjord cruise, but I'll have to come back in the summer I guess.

We carried on strolling round, Al particularly pleased with his recent thick jacket purchase which he delighted in pointing out left him 'toasty'! A strange activity we saw whilst walking round - big articulated lorries with lifts, used for clearing snow and ice from the top of buildings....massive snow balls falling from the roofs! It actually seems to be a big problem as there are warning everywhere about falling ice.

I have to say that I didn't find there was all that much to do in Oslo from a sightseeing point of view.  I think it would be better in summer, but it's quite quiet in winter and it only really leaves you museums to wander round.  The Albert Nobel Peace Centre is worth a visit though - depicting the Nobel Prize winners and stories behind them, as well as special displays from photographers etc. A good way to wile away a cold afternoon!

Oslo is also unbelievably expensive - I'd read about it before I went, but that still doesn't quite prepare you for it when you get there! Everything was at least double the price of the UK, sometimes more.  Even  a McDonalds meal was 80 NOK (£8.50!!).  So if you have a hotel with breakfast included, make the most of it like we did!!

melzie_t says:
Hi, this may sound naive, but do you know if you have to prebook either the train or bus from the airport to Oslo? Just trying to plan my weekend away to Oslo in October and not wanting to get stranded at the airport!!! Would be great if you could let me know! Thanks!
Posted on: Sep 20, 2009
sarahsan says:
Hi Phil! Hope you will come back in the summer. It is a completely different city then. A lot more to do. As for the price level, most things are unfortunately more expensive than in other European countries. At least there is one exception: I came back from London today. One ride on the tube was £4, in Oslo it is only £2,5!
Posted on: Aug 01, 2009
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photo by: sarahsan