Oslo marked the first day of our 10 day trip to Scandinavia.
We arrived at the Oslo Lufthavn (Airport) in Gardermoen at around 9:30 AM on May 22nd. After getting done with the immigration, we followed the leads to a help desk where we inquired about day transit pass to Oslo and decided that we might not need it and ended up buying just the train ticket to Oslo. We bought the regular and not the express trains, which we learnt later was twice and expensive and only one stop less. And the Oslo central station was the second stop. Hah!
So we were being typical tourists, taking photos of the station like we hadn’t seen one before. The train ride to the station was pretty, too.
The First Millenium Hotel, which I bought through an express bid on Priceline was about a 10 – 15 minute walk. We weren’t sure if they’d give us the hotel before noon, but they did. The hotel room was tiny. The bathroom had old school tiles. I wasn’t particularly happy with the hotel, because I’d bought it for not so cheap, but agreed, nevertheless. The windows offered no privacy – they opened into a space that was surrounded by other buildings.
We didn’t have much time to complain as we just had that day to roam around in Oslo. So I jumped into the shower and the hubster jumped into the bed. Baby K was asleep already, he was jet lagged.
After getting ready, we started for the city. The hubster was grumpy, as usual. But I’ve learnt to make peace with that. So after his complaining and shouting about how I don’t know anything, out we went, of the hotel. We picked up a map copy and began.
I’d bookmarked the places I wanted to visit on Google Maps but it doesn’t work very well on the iPhone. But I knew the things we wanted to cover. We began with Christiania torv, a square in Rådhusgata in Oslo’s old city centre, Kvadraturen. Supposedly, it houses some of Oslo’s oldest buildings. I’d come here for their popular fountain, with a sculpture of a hand pointing to the ground. Apparently, the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV decided to rebuild the town in this area after a fire in the 17th century. It was a Friday afternoon, and very quiet. Though it looked like it would hustle and bustle over the weekend.
We continued to the Akershus Festning (Fortress), which was pleasantly pretty. The views from there were stunning. Of the boats and the pier. I found the views stunning. Of the endless waters and pretty boats and huge ships. You also had the Aker Brygge Marina views. The hubster found them just about OK. Of course, sun would have done wonders in bringing out the colors, but no complains. At least it wasn’t pouring and we could be out and about with baby K.
We ended up spending quite a bit of time here than I anticipated. Then we continued to the famous Oslo Operahuset. It looked great and and with it’s location and architecture, almost seemed to seamlessly integrate with the waters.
We weren’t planning to stop there for a meal, but A wanted to grab a coffee at that touristy place, so we sat. We ordered what turned out to be a delicious risotto, a salmon appetizer that A ate, and a glass of red wine.
We continued to walk to the Karl Johan’s gate. Explored that area, spent a few minutes around the Spikersuppa, walked by the Nationaltheatret, missed the Stortinget only to catch a look of it later in the evening on one of our tram rides.
While we were walking, we happened to see this pretty cafe and though we weren’t planning to take a coffee or dessert break, we grabbed both from here. The dessert, she said was classic Norwegian.
Next on our walkway turned out to be the Royal Palace. We weren’t particularly blown over by it, but the walk leading up was pretty and purple.
We ended up walking all the way to the Vigeland Sculpture Park. It was a long, but gorgeous walk. I fell in love with the pretty tree-lined streets and colorful houses. They speak about the expensive Scandinavia. This looked like it.
The sculpture park was nice and prettily laid out. I didn’t care so much about the sculptures. But it was so symmetrically laid out.
On the way back, we had to change baby K’s diaper, but the restrooms at the park seemed to be closed. We ended up walking about a kilometer, to a train and tram stop, which had a McDonald’s nearby. We changed him there. Then, after debating on whether it was worth spending NOK 30 per person for a couple of hours of train or tram rides or buying NOK 90 per person day pass – we went with hubster’s choice of NOK 30. In hindsight, and for anyone planning to travel, I’d suggest buy the NOK 90 day pass. Once you walk and walk and walk and you’re tired in the evening, you can do tram and bus rides to see the city, no?
We consciously took the tram to the Ekebergsletta. I’d read about the pretty views from the Ekeberg restaurant, but could not quite locate it without a data plan on the mobile and also because I was not due diligent enough to bookmark it on my map. Much to my husband’s annoyance, I didn’t download any of the cool apps that automatically saved your bookmarked locations.
So we just got off at one of the stops there (only because we wanted to make sure we were on a tram back before that 2 hour limit busted). Walked a few paces to see views that were only OK (not from the restaurant, obviously). We then took the tram and bus back to Aker Brygge where we spent the evening.
The area was pretty and charming. We walked a little and took a few photographs, all in a hustle, because it was almost 8:30 and baby K was sleepy and we hadn’t fed him well.
We had our dinner at Olivia. The place, by the looks of it, impressed me a lot. The food, not. We force fed baby K some cheese and saffron ravioli and bread. He didn’t seem to like that a lot, so we gave him some milk too. This was all on his Graco Travel System. All was OK. Until the point where he was sleepier. And I reclined his stroller. And he threw up! Gosh!
The first day of travel, and this happens. I felt bad. I felt guilty of not knowing better than reclining his seat when he had just eaten.
It seemed a long walk to the hotel. The hubster and I fought over directions. I went to the hotel and cleaned K’s clothes. And jacket. And blanket. It was quite strenuous, doing it by hands, as we couldn’t locate the laundry machines.
By the time I slept, it was well past midnight. And we had to rise early to catch the bus on 23rd morning to Malmo, Sweden. I set up multiple alarms to make sure we didn’t sleep through, with the jet lag and the tiredness.
We packed up all at night, all but what we wanted to wear that morning. Rose bright, changed, checked out and walked a good 20 minutes to the bus station. The Oslo opera house was shining bright under the sun, as we walked past. It looked like a beautiful day.
We got to the bus station in time, bid adieu to Oslo. It was a well spent day. We squeezed in quite a bit, I think, with a baby.
We took some great photos on my HTC One M8 (which I eventually lost in Copenhagen). But worry not, I’ll update the blog with the photos of the days spent at Oslo soon. And soon to follow, the remaining days from the Little Scandinavian Diary!