Norway: Weekend Escape to charming Oslo
Long time no travel, so quickly, return tickets from Riga to Oslo in pockets, Couchsurfing arranged and here we are heading to the capital of Norway! People say it’s smart to start to explore the country with Oslo otherwise it might seem that there is nothing left to see because there are no fjords whatsoever. The thought matches my plans.
We arrived on late Thursday evening and were surprised by salsa party on our way to the place we stayed. Danced everyone, the old, the young, advanced and beginners. My friend suggested to see Aker Brygge area, a popular meeting place for shopping, dining, and entertainment, so I was quite happy to find out that our host Erhan lives there. Cozy flat with terrace offering a nice view to port which welcomes loads of cruise ships and little yachts. If sunny day and feeling super lazy, catch sun and count bouts which pass by. Chocolate machine to me was the best item in the resting area. I discovered Chocachino, a mixture of milk, coffee and chocolate. I have a huge sweet tooth which I like to take care of so I was an often guest of this drink maker.
Newly married couple chose the bay with yachts to complement their wedding photos. Wise, it’s a lovely view. Loads of people from Oslo have a boat regardless the challenges they face. Owners need to transport their vehicle to special garages up to the hill during winters as the waters freeze. Couple of locals I spoke with admitted that having a bout doesn’t justify the expenses as they take it out just once or twice a year. The city itself is diverse, with it’s medieval side, for example Akershus Castle built in 13th century. Thriving business area with Opera house close by. Art Nouveau buildings which made me feel like being at my hometown Riga.
I was well prepared to not expect fjords however the area is still worth a hike. It took us about 15 km one way to get from the place we stayed to Frognerseteren, a small neighborhood where Oslo and it’s surrounding islands can be seen from. I found out that the tiny city is a starting point for hiking and skiing, so if more determined could reach better views for sure. Grass on the wooden house roofs looked lovely to me.
Back in the city we decided to visit Dutch painter Van Gogh and Norwegian Munch exhibition which disappointed me in its smallness. Some important pieces were missing for example Starry Night. Of course Madonna and Starry Night Over the Rhone was amazing to be face to face with. I was surprised to see how simply crayons were used in the Scream. It’s a pity I couldn’t take pictures of the pictures. We also visited Fram Museum and it was worth every bite of it. Have so much to say so will leave it for the next story.
After leaving Fram museum we crashed another party, so much different than the first one. It was devoted to Vietnamese immigrants who escaped the war in Vietnam and arrived to Norway about 30 years ago. Now about 22 000 people call the country home. Women looked amazing in their national garb.
It was bizarre to see little babies and next to them skeletons portrayed on the fountain in Frogner park. I like the sculptor’s idea, though, that after death comes new life. Overall the visit left no impression on me. It felt the same with Time Square in New York. Sometimes knowing that place is one of the top destinations builds unnecessary expectations.
Learning something new every day. Shakespeare was wonderful with words, with math appears not so much. Enjoyed Oslo but fjords still tempt me so flight to Bergen is already booked.