My friend Tony had flown out to Oslo to spend a couple days in the city with me as he hadn’t been to Norway before either. He’s a bit of an early riser so we had an alarm set for 7:30 in the morning. It should have felt like 1:30am New York time to me but thanks to my time spent relaxing at the Yotel in Heathrow my body clock wasn’t struggling too much. I find it’s always better just to get up and get on with it in these kind of situations anyway.
It was a bit drizzly outside but after the freezing temperatures of New York it actually felt quite warm. We wrapped up and ventured out to Karl Johans gate which is the main street in Oslo. Despite it being after 9am by the time we left there were hardly any places open apart from small coffee shops. Having not had anything to eat (except a Norwegian chocolate bar) for dinner I was in need of something a bit more substantial so we backtracked and headed to the station where we found Bella Bambina offering an all you can eat buffet breakfast.
It wasn’t cheap (nowhere is in Oslo) but there was a lovely selection of foods including smoked salmon, caviar and delicious fresh bread as well as hot foods like scrambled eggs and crispy bacon. It was a great way to start the day.
The weather still wasn’t great so we went back to the hotel for a short while until it cleared up and I had a quick nap. I definitely needed it and I was feeling much better for having taken one.
Our first stop was the Oslo Opera House. A fairly new construction in the city only having been completed in 2007. The chosen design has a sloping roof that reaches ground level allowing visitors to walk up to the top and enjoy some of the most stunning views of the city.
This was the number one thing that people recommended we do when I’d asked for suggestions and I definitely recommend it. Even better, it’s completely free! We even popped inside to take a peek at the building but sadly the tours of the facility are only run on Sundays.
The one thing that both of us were eager to see was Viegland Park. Viegland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland, with over 200 sculptures scattered throughout.
While a lot of the sculptures were amazingly detailed and incredibly beautiful some of them were also really creepy especially the ones of babies.
There was even this little hidden waterfall under the bridge which was lovely.
The whole park looked really nice with all the crisp white snow around. I think it would be even nicer in the summertime.
We stopped in by the small coffee shop near the entrance to the park and had a hot chocolate to warm up before heading off for more adventuring!
The Royal Palace was only one stop away on the metro so we headed there next. To be honest I was a bit underwhelmed as it’s not the most interesting building structurally.
It was an incredibly busy area and I was surprised how close to the palace you could actually get, there were some strategically placed beady eyed guards keeping an eye on everything though.
We continued walking towards the station and were surprised to realise that we were back at Karl Johans gate! We had no idea how close were staying to the tourist areas!
The buildings in this area are fascinating, much more so than the palace, and are very bright and colourful. There are also some very interesting statues like these floating around so it’s well worth exploring.
This is also the home of the Stortinget; the Oslo parliament building, which is really impressive and well worth a look. We timed it perfectly with some beautiful blue skies and glorious light hitting the building.
Heading towards the harbour to see the sunset we stumbled across Christiana torv, a small square famous for its fountain and the large hand sculpture pointing to the location King Christian IV apparently proposed the town be rebuilt upon after a devastating fire.
I’d read about this prior to visiting and was surprised how small the sculpture actually is in real life. In some pictures I’ve seen it looks positively huge!
Finally we hit the harbour which isn’t as nice an area as I was expecting but does give some lovely views of the fjords.
By this point we’d been walking for most of the day, I was pretty cold and ready for a rest and some food. I warmed up on the bathroom floor in the hotel before we went out for a tex-mex dinner but I’ll tell you all about that in tomorrow’s post!
*Some of these pictures were pinched (with permission) from my friend Tony, thanks dude!