• gautami2007

OSLO~ The City whose motto is “United and Constant”

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Day 1-I had a short stay of three days in Oslo(The capital of, and largest city in, Norway) on my way back to India from my Euro trip. On reaching the airport I took the Flytoget direct train to Oslo(S) central train station from the airport. .The high speed train departs directly from the airport and arrives at the Oslo central station and costs NOK 196(approx INR 1695). The journey takes approximately 20 minutes. I had to book the ticket at a ticket vending machine as I couldn’t see any manned counter anywhere.

Upon reaching Oslo central, I decided to walk to my Hostel. This was a sound decision(to me) as I had just that one backpack. But even though it was only 5pm, it was already quite dark. I had heard that some of the neighborhoods around the train station could be quite tricky. And as luck would have it, I misread the downloaded map and ended up in a neighborhood that looked quite rough. I quickly aligned myself without looking as if I was lost or new and quickly walked away as far as I could from that area and soon I was in a part of town where I felt safe. The exact distance between my hostel and the train station was only 2.3 kms, but after misreading my map, I had to walk over 4kms to reach my hostel(I had stayed at Anker Apartment in a 30 bed female dorm!!!!).The cost for 3 nights was 230 NOK(approximately INR 2000). But soon I had reached my hostel and checked in and was shown to my dorm, which was pretty full. It was nearly full and I settled in a top bunk. Soon enough I got around to know quiet a few people who were making plans for visiting some art museums the next day. They invited me to come along, but I politely declined saying let me first see the main sights of Oslo as I had very limited time there. I preferred my solo journey. And also, art museums were not really my thing.

My 30 bed female dorm in Anker Apartment in Oslo.

Soon I felt the pangs of hunger hit me. Now that I thought back, I hadn’t had anything since a big, fat sandwich at the airport that morning. So I looked for places nearby where I could have dinner. I asked the girls where they ate and they said they ate at the hostel kitchen. I was in mood for no hostel food. So, I put on my jacket and a pair of warm socks and my shoes and headed out. I had barely walked 150 meters from my hostel, when I stumbled upon Lio’s Cafe Bar. It was empty apart from Lio and his friend(I presumed). I ordered Grillet Kylling and Prosciutto & Mozzarella Panini. Lio seemed confused. I sensed some hesitation and asked him if there was some problem and he asked if I was waiting for someone. I said no. I didn’t understand. It was only when he bought the food that I realized why he was hesitating. The quantity of food was massive!!!! But they underestimated me. I was famished and I finished nearly 90% of my food and I asked for my bill. When Lio came around he asked me where I was from. I replied “India”. The food cost around 350NOK(approximately 3000!!!!). One night’s food cost me nearly twice of my entire stay!!!! Norway is expensive!!!!

After eating all that food, I decided to stroll around for a bit. So, I did a circuit around the neighbourhood and walked around. The streets were deserted. I had no idea why. It seemed so quiet and eerie. Having walked around for nearly a couple of hours, I went back to my hostel and soon fell asleep. I needed to sleep so that I could discover Oslo on my own pace the next day.

Deserted street at 8pm in Oslo.

Day 2The next day I woke up really early, had a hot shower while it was still empty of chattering ladies and got ready and left the dorm before any one had woken up!!! It was quite chilly, but the cold air felt good. It made me feel awake. My first destination of the day was Akershus Fortress. The city was still waking up. I smelt coffee and ducked inside a small cafe and had a warm cup of coffee and then proceeded to the fortress. When I arrived at the fortress, it was barely 8 AM. What struck me was the view of the Ocean. It was AMAZING!!!! It was simply stunning! The Akhershus Fortress is a medieval castle in the Norwegian capital Oslo that was built to protect and provide a royal residence for the city. The castle has also been used as a military base, a prison and is currently the temporary office of the Prime minister of Norway. It was built sometime in the 1290s. Whew! That makes the castle nearly 900 years old!!! That’s a long long time! Although still a military area, the Akershus Fortress is open to the public between 6:00 and 21:00 daily. As well as the castle, the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum can also be visited. The Norwegian Ministry of Defence and the country’s Defence Staff Norway share a joint modern headquarters in the eastern part of the fortress. His Majesty the King’s Guard is responsible for guarding the fortress, with stationary guard posts during open hours and mobile patrols at night.

The Fortress


The Fortress


Entrance to The Fortress


Sculpture in front of The Fortress


View from The Fortress

After wandering around the fortress for what felt like hours, I left the fortress to proceed to the main city square. One of the interesting things about Oslo is that the streets have lots of sculptures, which makes it very pleasant to watch while walking. Also, the weather was just perfect. Cold, But not too cold. Perfect weather for going sightseeing by walking across town! It was about time that I could see people on the streets. I A lot of the shops were open and I saw lots of figurines of what seemed liked witches. I was fascinated. So, I ducked into one of the shops and asked the girl working there about those figurines. Turned out the Norwegians believed in magic and sorcery too much it seems! Those figurines were that of “troblins”. Their favorite activity is stirring up trouble amongst humans!!! The tiny troblins are frequently shown causing problems on Christmas Eve. Stories have them breaking into empty human houses and throwing parties there!!! Sounds like naughty teenagers, no?!!! It was fascinating! And I bought several troblins as souvenirs and gifts. Can you imagine a more unique gift? I loved my tiny troblins!

Mischief causing Troblins!!!!

After the little shopping spree, I walked back to the Norwegian Parliament. Now, I can’t say I was surprised, as by then I had seen this in other Scandinavian countries as well, there was an utter lack of security around the Parliament. Like I could walk by and touch the Parliament. Imagine doing that in India!!! That’s why I keep saying, Indians should learn from these countries how Parliament ought to be. Even though I had seen it multiple times before, I still couldn’t shake the awe of seeing a Parliament from such close quarters.

The Norwegian Parliament

After seeing the Parliament, I ducked into a quaint little cafe for some more coffee. I had walked for over 8 miles already and needed some caffeine. The latte was amazing and the sandwich was delicious. After refilling myself, I decided to walk to the Opera House which was less than a mile away from the Cafe. The building looked amazing, so I decided to check it out. The Oslo Opera House is the home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway. The roof of the building angles to ground level, creating a large plaza so that you can walk up and enjoy panoramic views of the entire city!!! It was drizzling slightly when I reached the Opera House. Thankfully, I had my trench coat. Soon it stopped. It was October and it was normal weather. I was prepared for this weather as it meant less tourists and more freedom and peace to explore. The building looked ever more majestic in person.

The Opera


The Opera


The Opera


Myself in front of The Opera

After the Opera house, I walked backed to to the Oslo central station when it started to rain heavily. I ducked into a nearby mall. Luckily the mall had free wifi. So, I made a quick watsapp call home to let my parents know I was not dead yet(just kidding!) and that I was perfectly fine. Luckily the rain cleared up soon and I was on my way to the Kampen area of town, famous for its wooden houses. Now, I love watching those quaint houses. And it was the just perfect. I spent a couple of hours just wandering around this part of the town, just walking along random streets and watching the wooden houses. Some looked like they had just come out of fairy tale!!! It was enchanting.

Sculptures peppered across town


Sculptures peppered across town


Sculptures peppered across town


Sculptures peppered across town


Sculptures peppered across town


Sculptures peppered across town

I hadn’t realized that by then it was late afternoon. I was reluctant to leave that part of the town so soon, but I had to. It was a long walk from where I was to the central part of town. I was tired of walking all over the Oslo. Soon the sun began setting. It was October and the days were getting shorter and shorter. It had started to drizzle lightly. Christmas was round the corner. I saw an H&M and though of buying something as Christmas gifts for my cousins. So, for the next hour I sifted through the half price section and bought some lovely pieces of clothes for myself and the fam. It was fun! By the time I walked out laden with bags, It was dark already but thankfully the rain had stopped.

I started walking back to my hostel and on the way I found this quaintest little pub, serving only Norwegian fare and I decided to check it out!!! I wanted some culinary adventure!!! I noticed it was full of mostly old men and women. The lady at the counter was also elderly. She asked If I wanted a drink in Norwegian. I said “I do no speak Nowegian” and she switched to English. I said no to drinks, but ordered something random on the menu because it was all greek to me!!!while I waited for the food, the lady at the counter talked to me. She asked where I was from and on hearing the answer she replied India was always on her bucket list and she would like to travel there some day. She also told me that her pub was very very old. One of the oldest in Oslo. I was like, “Wow!” Soon the food came out. What came out was some huge portions of reindeer meat, with some boiled peas and carrots and a huge blob of mashed potato dunked in gravy of some kind. I asked for adventure and it was adventure that I got!!! I finished my food. Oh my god, I’m some kind of hungry ghoul, you must be thinking, isn’t it? But the food was delicious and filling. I had always wanted to try reindeer meat and I finally did!!! Yay! And it only cost 120 NOK(approximately INR 1000).

After having all that food I walked back to my apartment(a long walk, laden with all the stuff I had bought), changed into my night clothes, hung out with the girls and told them all about my day. They were amazed with how much I had walked and all the places I had seen. They said they would check them out the next day. Then, I proceeded to pack the things I had bought into my backpack as the next day was going to be my last and I was not going to leave any packing for my last night and then proceeded to my upper bunk and fell asleep almost immediately.

Day 3– The next day I woke up earlier than everyone again, showered and was out before any one had woken up. I walked straight to the shoreline and stood there gazing out into the open sea for about an hour. Nearby was the Nobel Peace Center Museum. If anyone was into the museum kind of thing can check out this place. It opens at 11am and is a showcase for the Nobel Peace Prize and the ideals it represents. The Center is also an arena where culture and politics merge to promote involvement, debate and reflection around topics such as war, peace and conflict resolution.

Nobel Peace Price Center

I had come to see the Oslo City Hall where they give out the Nobel Prize on 10th December every year. It was still early, so I decided to have a cup of coffee and grab a sandwich at one of the cafes in front of the city hall. While waiting I asked for the wifi to see if I had any messages and to catch up with my friends. The owner of the cafe asked me the same question which I was tired of answering honestly by then. On hearing I was from India he introduced himself as a devotee of Krishna and said he had spent a lot of time at Iskcon, Mayapur in India and that they were hosting a ceremony and talk show on the same topic the next day and gave me a flyer and invited me to come. I said I was sorry and that I was leaving Norway the next day and I wouldn’t be able to make it. He seemed genuinely sad to hear that. Soon I got my coffee and sandwich and I ate both at leisure while watching the city awaken. After paying, I left to visit the Oslo Town Hall or Oslo rådhus, which is entirely free. I looked in awe at the place where they hand out the Nobel Prizes every year. The place was Huge. Soon a group with a guide came in and I stood in the back and heard about the history that the guide told the group. The town hall houses the city council, the city’s administration and various other municipal organisations. The building as it stands today was constructed between 1931 and 1950, with an interruption during the Second World War. It was designed by architects Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson. The building is located in the city center, in the northern part of the Pipervika neighbourhood, and it faces Oslofjord. I entered the place where the city council was housed. It was fenced off. But you could enter and see the place where the council sat. Oslo City Hall is built of red brick and has two towers, one 63 meters tall and other 66 meters tall. Looking at it from outside, you couldn’t tell the difference though.

Outside view of The Town Hall


Outside view of The Town Hall


The place where the council sits


The Hall where the Nobel Prize is given


The Hall where the Nobel Prize is given


The Hall where the Nobel Prize is given

After the Town hall, I headed straight to the Royal House near the Norwegian parliament. It was less than a half a mile away, you just needed to cross the Oslo central train train via an overhead bridge. The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of the French-born King Charles III John of Norway, who reigned as king of Norway and Sweden. The palace is the official residence of the current Norwegian monarch while the Crown Prince resides at Skaugum in Asker west of Oslo. Its a huge building, can’t say grand, because, it’s a big, plain, yellow coloured building actually. I’ve seen grander royal palaces than the one in Oslo. But huge it was and the grounds were even bigger. The Royal Palace contains its own chapel, consecrated in 1844. The Church of Norway is responsible for the religious services taking place there. Some part of it is open to the public dueing the summers from late June to middle of august. Since I was there in October, It was closed to the public, so I had to settle for seeing from the outside only.

The Royal Palace

After that, since there was not much left to do, I explored the lanes and bylanes of central Oslo for 2-3 hours. It was beautiful, the sidewalks peppered with multi coloured autumnal leaves. I ducked into local shops which looked interesting and bought a couple of curios. The sidewalks were really beautiful, peppered with beautiful sculptures everywhere. Visited the National Theatre. It is one of Norway‘s largest and most prominent venues for performance of dramatic arts. It was designed by architect Henrik Bull. Since, it was was last evening in Oslo, I didnt really wanted to go back to my dorm early. So, I sauntered about town. Ducking into small cafes sometimes and having a small cuppa or two and just watching people going about their lives. When the sun was about to set, I again went by the seashore to see the large expanse of ocean. It was mesmerizing, to say the least. Somehow, the view had me captivated and had me coming back again and again. Soon, too soon, it was time to go back to my hostel as it was already dark by then and I had a long walk back.

On the way back I picked up some pastry and sandwich to have in back at the dorm as I was too sad to enjoy dinner outside. After reaching my dorm, I packed everything, checked all my documents and then sat down with the girls and talked about my day, shared the pastries, someone had some wine that was passed around, sang and danced a bit, all in all a jolly good night and a perfect evening to end a journey to a perfectly beautiful city full of lovely people.

#norway #oslo

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