Norway in November is cold. And snowy. But so totally worth it for a sneaky just shy of 48hr trip to Oslo.
I knew absolutely nothing about Oslo before going, other than to expect that it was going to be super expensive. And I’ll be honest, it wasn’t cheap, but I definitely found Copenhagen was more expensive- which is maybe saying something? Or I just live a more expensive life in London that I anticipated? Definitely a plausible answer.
We stayed at the Anker Hostel, and our private room for 4 had kindly been upgraded to a private room for 8, so we had alllllllllllll the space. Conveniently, the room had a little kitchenette, which was great when we couldn’t be bothered to rush out. To be fair, we probably saved quite a bit of cash here.
Our first day (Saturday) started with us attempting to find a free walking tour……. And then somehow not being able to fine them. Oslo Free Tours- please be more specific about your meeting points because it’s v v confusing. Turns out I didn’t need to demolish my spinach and cheese pastry and awful americano. But anyway, onwards and upwards. We took matters into our own hands, and armed with Google maps, we set off.
We went from the Central Station by the tiger statue, all the way to the river, via the Opera House. You can climb up to the roof of the opera house, which was a cool experience and definitely worth the heart stopping moments on nearly slipping and falling down on our ass on the ice and snow. From the Opera House, we meandered our way down to Akershus Fortress. I’ll be honest, I was a tad underwhelmed, but you win some, you loose some with these tourist landmarks. Lunch, ironically, took place at a cosy little pub called The Dubliner. Partially due to proximity, partially due to price- either way, it was a great cheeseburger and it was nice to just sit inside, relax and defrost. The afternoon took us wondering around the main shopping street, going past United Bakeries to warm up with some hot chocolate and then seeing X, along with many many photos.
After popping into a supermarket to pick up snacks, frozen pizza for a late dinner and breakfast, we went back to the hostel and relaxed and got warm. Yes, London has been cold and we’re all on some level used to the cold- the cold in Oslo was something completely and utterly different.
And to think it gets even colder!!
None of us were the biggest drinkers, but we wanted to explore what the options were, so we ended up going out for a drink at Himkok- one of the top 50 bars in the world. I’ll be honest, my Strawberry Basil was absolutely delicious, and I want another one while writing this one, but bars like Himkok annoy me. Their actual bar area is way too small, and I’m sorry, but no one is too good to stock Diet Coke or Pepsi. I understand that their whole premise is that they’re a distillery x bar, but still. Just saying.
Our second and last day, Sunday, started slowly, with us packing and eating breakfast in to the dulcet tones of Andre Greher and Andy Samberg (we had Brooklyn 99 on in the background- my choice).
The night before, we’d stumbled across the Jewish museum by total fluke, and the girls wanted to check it out. Going to Jewish Museums in Europe for me is not one of my favourite things- I think they’re incredibly interesting but I’ve been to Poland and the camps twice. I don’t always want to relive and be absorbed in the gut wrenching heart break of reading about all these people who’ve lost their lives. That being said, the museum is tiny and they’d done it incredibly well.
Given us coffee addicts hadn’t had our fix yet (shocking, I know) we ended up at My Ugly Baby- a coffee shop and bakery. And I’ll be honest, this was probably one of the best coffee’s I’d had outside of Melbourne. And the apple fritter was out of this world. Regardless of craving caffeine, this break was needed after the Jewish museum so that we could decompress for a little bit.
Continuing our cultural exploration, we went to the Nobel Peace Centre, which is absolutely incredible and 100% worth going to. They had this amazing exhibit on climate change and how little actions have the power to become big actions and impact the world. I was absolutely blown away by the exhibit and am going back home to London with renewed purpose- but my thoughts on plastic and the environment can wait another day. Given who the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winners were, there was a whole exhibit on sexual violence as a weapon of war, and it was truly eye opening. Overall, if you’re in Oslo and don’t have much time, I implore you to take the time to visit the Nobel Peace Centre- it’s amazing.
On our loop back to the hostel to pick up our bags, we went past Vippa; this epic converted warehouse that’s now a food hall. What I love about these Scandi countries is their commitment to the environment and the world. Here, almost all stalls use locally sourced produce, and all food is composted. There’s no plastic takeaway boxes or cutlery- it’s all proper ceramic or metal. I had the most delicious pesto and sun dried tomato pasta there- that they serve after tossing the pasta through a cheese wheel! Dreams!
Then soon enough, it was time to start heading back to the airport! We’d gotten return tickets on the Airport fast train (around 320NK) so that helped to eliminate any anxiety or planning about how to get back to the airport. It’s quick and easy and the trains actually leave on time (shout out TFL- up your game). I’m sure that Oslo, if done differently, can be stupidly expensive. But I didn’t actually find it to be that bad. Maybe we got lucky, maybe we were smart? Who knows. Regardless, Norway is a very cool country that I’d love to return to and to be able to truly explore.