Expanding into Eastern Europe

Oslo Travel Blog

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Last weekend I went to Poland, just because I could. The expedition party consisted of "team Australia" (me, Hannah & Georgie) and "the French boys" (Matthieu, Charles & Clement). Matthieu was our group leader because he'd spent a year in Poland on exchange. Even though Poland is only an hour's flight away, getting there takes a considerable amount of time because of course we choose to fly with the cheap airlines which leave from Torp, an airport we hate because it's a 2hr bus ride away.

So after extensive travel in Norway we were able to get on our pink & purple "Wizz Air" plane along with a bottle of duty-free Polish vodka (yes, I know we hadn't left Norway yet, but we were acclimatising!) I'd heard Wizz Air was a bit dodgy so I'd updated my will beforehand (who am I kidding, I have nothing to leave anyone anyway!) and the rollercoasteresque first 15mins or so did nothing to reassure us. But everyone on the plane was drinking (hardcore Polish people) so no one was really worried, and we landed ok in the end (to hearty applause from the passengers)

We'd flown into Warsaw (note, nothing in Poland is pronounced like you think. It's easiest to write something down and show it to a Polish person than to try to talk to them!) and arrived after midnight. The problem with having boys organise things is that they come up with plans like "we don't need a hostel - we're leaving on the early train anyway so let's stay up all night" So that's why we were walking around Warsaw in the wee hours on a Friday morning. Luckily they had 24hr Maccas (I never thought I'd be grateful for McDonalds) and we also bumped into some friendly Polish people and went to a bar with them. I'd been quite sick leading up to the trip, so by this time I was exhausted and took the job of coat-minder on the couch! Unfortunately I couldn't sleep cos the bouncer kept threatening to chuck me out. But we got a bit of sleep on the 4hr train trip from Warsaw to Poznan.

We stayed 3 nights in Poznan at a little hostel that was nice and homey but also had just opened so was still in the middle of renovations. We couldn't go into our room straight away so had to try and stay awake instead. Luckily Poland is cheap (!!!) and we were able to spend lots of time going out for coffees and for dinner - the highlight of the trip for us, I think. So fueled with caffeine we explored Poznan a little bit - it has a lovely town square with interesting buildings and a famous baroque church (St Stanislaw, built 1651-1701). Then the girls solidered on and had a look at the shops (I wanted a cheap winter coat but no luck) before crashing in bed from about 3-6pm.

Our weird sleep cycles meant that we also ate at strange times, but we had a lovely late dinner at a cute restaurant Matthieu knew (the "Werandah"!) We had steak!!! and beer!!! and dessert!!! It was so nice to be able to afford to eat out - we haven't been out once in Oslo. In fact, this place was so good that the girls went back again on Saturday night!

On Saturday it was a lovely sunny day to walk around and explore. I was up early so went out by myself at first, then Georgie and I had a long walk - firstly to the nice areas in the city (the university, the opera house, the square, the cathedral), then we ended up in a bit of a dodgy industrial area climbing over fences to cross old railway bridges! We met up with the others for a late lunch at a traditional Polish place. Think cheap, filling, "practical" food! I tried the traditional Polish dumplings "pierogi" which were pretty good. On Saturday night after dinner we met up with the boys at a pub where they were watching France lose the rugby. Needless to say, spirits weren't so high after that. We just went out for 1 drink then headed back. (I had a vodka lemon lime which was served to me straight! I had to ask for Sprite!)

We had a daytrip on Sunday to Wroclaw ("Vorswav" or something - see what I mean?) but didn't get there until after 2pm so we really just had a bit of a walk around and had a coffee and icecream (I was walking and eating my icecream while wearing gloves!) Wroclaw was nice. Had a square similar to Poznan's and a nice river and parks. The train back to Poznan was packed full and didn't get back until late, so we were walking around in the freezing cold at 11pm on a Sunday trying to find somewhere for dinner! Then we were up really early (5.15am) to get a train back to Warsaw to get a flight to Torp to get a bus to Oslo... It ended up being over 14hrs of travel on Monday!

So that was Poland. If you are still reading this, Oslo is going ok. Still expensive! It was Hannah's birthday at the start of the month so we had a cake and a night out at the Amatoren quiz night! (Amatoren is the pub at Sogn) I've finished paediatrics now and will start gynaecology in a week. It's getting colder but no snow yet! I had another Norwegian experience on Thursday - one of the faculty members had all the international med students around to her apartment for dinner and I tried reindeer for the first time. She has a gorgeous place and there was heaps of nice food so a good night was had by all. Oh yeah, and there's Giardia and Cryptosporidium in Oslo's water so we have to boil everything for at least 3 mins!

by the way, for photos see:
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photo by: sarahsan