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Winter in the north...

Oslo Travel Blog

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As I haven't travelled anywhere in a while, there haven't been any blog updates, but I thought I should take the time to tell you about winter in Norway so far.

Cold.
Although it's apparently not "really" cold here yet, it is still cold enough that you need to rug up in coat, scarf, gloves and hat every time you go outside - even if it is just to a friend's place or the shop 5 mins away. Thermals are a wonderful invention - especially tights underneath your jeans! All these layers mean that extra time needs to be allocated for getting changed when going to the hospital or even trying on clothes when shopping!

Dark.
Ok, so as I write this, there is actually some rare sunshine out in Oslo, but for the most part, Norway is dark. Currently it doesn't get light until after 9am, and the sun sets by about 3pm (and if it's cloudy weather, it's not that light in between!) This actually makes it really hard to get to sleep at night (we think our bodies are becoming immune towards the dark). And it also feels like tea time at about 4pm, so lots more eating seems to be done...

Slippery.
Unfortunately, although we have had some snow in Oslo, there has never been more than about 5cm. This means that the beautiful, pristine, white snow that occasionally covers the ground in the morning is soon trampled into dirty, icy slush. Even when there is no slush, there is often ice on the ground which makes it quite hazardous to walk around! (So we also now have to allow more time to walk anywhere) Nevertheless, there is still something magical about snow, and I feel childishly happy when I can crunch through the snow on the way to the hospital, or stand amongst falling snowflakes. Here's hoping that January brings some more substantial snowfalls.

Christmassy.
There has been a very Christmassy atmosphere in Oslo since the start of the month - although unfortunately the Christmas tree lighting events and outdoor markets on the 1st were somewhat hampered by the constant rain that day. The fact that it gets dark so early means that the Christmas lights in the city centre look great, and there seem to be Christmas trees at every open square - and even a huge one outside the hospital. The ice rinks are also opening up, and I went skating with some people from church one Sunday afternoon which was fun - my first time skating outdoors! We have also enjoyed trying all the Norwegian Christmas fare including gløgg (mulled wine with raisins & almonds), pepperkaker (gingersnaps) & smulteringer (fresh doughnuts - great to have warm on a cold day). There is also risgrøt - a special Christmas rice puddingy thing, but not very exciting! I have also been able to enjoy more international Christmas fare, with some friends organising little Christmas parties. So I have been able to have some English pudding & mince pies as well as Austrian gluwein & apple cake. My church also had a typically English Christmas market back in November, which was very cute!

Busy.
Even though I've only been in Oslo for the past month, I have had plenty to keep me busy. I have almost finished my gynaecology & obstetrics rotations at the hospital which I have really enjoyed. In fact, I was at the hospital all last weekend delivering babies (although I think I overdid it a bit because now I'm in bed with a cold!) Exams are also looming, so I have been trying to study lots as well. I kept going with Norwegian until part way through November, having decided not to sit the exam as it would have been too much time studying Norwegian instead of medicine (a decision I'm glad I made). But it was fun learning a bit of Norwegian, and the classes were a good way to meet people too. With the extra time I've found from stopping Norwegian, I've been going to the gym a bit more and have also joined the choir at church - mainly for the Carols service coming up this weekend, but also to sing on Sunday mornings as well. Then of course there have been the usual parties and gatherings - including some farewell parties for people who have finished their time in Norway.

So that pretty much sums up what I've been doing for the past while. There's not that much time left here now - I have a busy weekend coming up with a friend from Australia visiting (from London) & the Carols Service, then next week we have our class Julebord (Christmas party) on Wednesday, then on Thursday morning I fly to Germany with Hannah & Georgie. We'll stay a few nights there with some friends (who we met here in Oslo), then on the 23rd we fly to England to stay with my relatives for Christmas. Hannah & Georgie come back to Oslo on the 26th, but I'll stay in England until the 4th. That should be a nice time of relaxing and catching up with friends & rellies, although I have to study as well. Then once I get back, I have 1 last study week and then exams! Then we have our last parties and farewells, and I leave on the 19th January. I'll have a bit less than a week of travel before I fly out of London on the 25th to arrive home on Australia Day - where I'm sure I'll pass out from the change in temperature!

Hope you are all well and not too busy in the lead up to Christmas. Will write again soon. xx

AstridSynnove says:
(get dark properly..)
Posted on: Dec 12, 2007
AstridSynnove says:
Yea its dark in the winter, but in the summer its really light! doesnt get dark probably in May/JUne!
And u need to go other places then Oslo, cos everywhere else is BEAUTIFUL. Trust me :P
Posted on: Dec 12, 2007
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