Browsing Tag

Oslo

Around the world travel, Backpacking, Norway, Oslo

On the Road Again: First Stop Oslo

After seven months at home, I am itching to see the world again, but it’s a mad dash to get everything ready to go, especially when I’m leaving for an indefinite amount of time. I leave for the Atlanta airport feeling like I’ve forgotten something important. But at this point, all I need is my passport! I fly to Boston, grab a beer, switch off my phone service and begin the disconnection. I board the flight from Boston to Amsterdam, and when America is two hours behind me, I feel like I begin to settle in for the flight.

Less than a month ago, I was scheduled to head back to Nantucket to work a Summer season, but when everything unraveled at the eleventh hour, I took it as a sign. Here was my second chance to make the decision as to what I was going to do with the Summer. A European Summer adventure was calling my name.

Norway is a country that has been creeping up on my travel radar for quite some time now, and Summer seems to be the suitable time to visit, so the next 8 days will have me traveling through Oslo, Bergen, Alesund and Stavanger (with many small villages and fjordlands in between).

Norway’s Parliament building

First stop Oslo:
After almost 24 hours of travel, I finally arrive in Oslo. I venture to the city center by train and catch a bus to Mathallen. I need to track down Dimitri, a friend of a friend who has offered to put me up for a couple of nights while I’m in Oslo. Dimitri owns a couple of bars in the trendy area of Mathallen (Smelteverket and Dansens Hus Kafe- the first is home to the longest bar in Scandinavia). I find Dimitri, who gives me keys to his apartment and walking directions. I arrive knackered, wanting to sleep, but feeling like I should set out and see Oslo. I decide on a power nap, and after a quick shower, it’s already 6pm, but what I don’t realize is that I have almost six hours of sunlight left today- plenty of time to explore.

Oslo’s waterfront sculptures, near Aker brygge.

I venture out to see Oslo. I take a bus back to the city center and begin walking northwest towards the Royal Palace, passing Parliament, and the National Theatre. The streets are lined with tourists and locals alike, but the pace of this place makes me feel like I’m in a large village as opposed to a capital city.  I walk over to Aker Brygge a waterfront entertainment area, filled with shops, bars and restaurants, Everyone is outside enjoying an end of day beer. Time check: 8:30- and there’s no sign of a sunset anytime soon.

Holmenkollen Ski Jump

From Aker Brygge I loop back to the city center taking my time to get back to Grunnerlokka, where I’m staying. I get back to Dimitri’s apartment, and he and his wife Ingvild ask if I’m up for a drive to the Holmenkollen ski jump. It’s 10:30 p.m. but it doesn’t look, or feel like it, so we hop into Ingvild’s car. The ski jump is perched on a hill above Oslo, and I’m afforded views of the city below. In the distance are the many small harbor islands that surround Oslo and provide city residents with a Summer escape.

We drive back through the city, making a stop at Vigelandsparken sculpture park and garden. It’s 11:30pm now, but a few stragglers are left cleaning up after their evening picnics and barbecues. I can already tell that the Norwegians milk every minute of sunlight in the Summertime, and they highly value their parks and green space.

Ingvild, Dimitri and I roam around the empty sculpture park, taking in the oddly beautiful sculptures of Gustav Vigeland. I know I need to return in daylight for a better look.

We arrive back at the apartment close to midnight. Ingvild and Dimitri have to work tomorrow and I need to will myself to sleep. But I’m looking out the window at 12:30a.m. and the sun is just setting. I retrieve an eye mask from my backpack and realize that if there’s any hope of sleep in Norway over the next week, I’m going to be needing this!