When I threw a blind vote out on Facebook last month to choose my next city destination to visit, I was rather pleased when the majority went with choice A, Oslo.
I’d heard it was expensive there but I was eager to visit Scandinavia, the land of the leggy blonde, stunning countryside and the odd viking atrocity.
Having got back from my whirlwind trip on Sunday night, I’ve just about recovered from the shock at just how pricey it is enough to give a little insight into the things I saw there.
Firstly, I flew Norwegian Air for the first time and I have to say it is one of the best airlines I’ve been with to date. The flight is short from the UK but is made even more comfortable by the Recaro leather seats and whilst a bit slow, the free WiFi on board is a welcome bonus.
Oslo itself is a twenty minute journey from the airport on the ticketless but super efficient Airport Express.
I was staying at the Comfort Hotel Xpress, located a five minute walk from the central hub of Karl Johans Gate. I’d read mixed reviews prior to booking the hotel but my decision originally came down to price. It was significantly cheaper than other centrally located hotels but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The rooms were adequately sized, it had a gym and also an awesome rooftop seating area where you could take in the city over a chilled cider at night (which I did).
As I was only in Oslo for a few days, I didn’t really get to see everything I wanted to, that and the fact it cost almost £9 a pint, so I opted to ‘sightsee on the cheap.’
First up was Akershus Fortress. I’ve always had a fascination with military history and every European city I’ve been to has seen me visit at least one site of this nature. Akershus Fortress is located a short walk from Karl Johans Gate, is free to get in and offers beautiful views of the harbour (see featured image).
Also free to get in is the world’s largest sculpture park created by a single artist – Vigeland Park. This huge park contains more than 200 sculptures made from bronze, granite and iron, which were all created by Gustav Vigeland. It was a cloudy day when I visited, which made for some really cool dramatic photos (I’m a photo geek) but it’s also really popular with tourists therefore photobombs are almost unavoidable, unless you’re the first person there!
Being the home of the vikings, I was keen to visit the Viking Ship museum, which I eventually found after a bloody long walk across Oslo. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised that it costed almost £20 to get in, so I opted for a cheeky photo of the first ship I saw then got out of there, taking a free (at least I think it was free) water bus back across to the centre.
The main hub of the city Karl Johan’s Gate is something to be experienced even if you don’t visit the plethora of shops, cafe’s and bars that line it. The huge pedestrian street links the central train station and the Royal Palace and on the weekend amongst the horde of beggars, you can find a vast array of interesting characters if people watching is your thing..!
I’d love to write about the buzzing nightlife in Oslo, but truth be told a) I can’t drink like I used to and b) It was so expensive I’m not sure I could have afforded it. One thing I did though, which was not my idea but that of a lovely lady friend that flew out to meet me was visiting the Ice Bar in the centre.
I’d seen them before but I’d never visited one and after a £16 entry fee with a “free” drink included, I found myself donning a rather striking poncho and drinking fake champagne out of an ice glass whilst posing on/in various ice sculptures. I wouldn’t make a habit of going to a bar like this in the future although if you’ve never been to one before, it is a pretty cool experience. Oh and a shout out to the guy who hooked us with an extra free drink (I hope you don’t get into trouble…)!
Overall, I really liked Oslo as a city and will definitely go back when I’ve won the lottery or snared a rich divorcee
Till then, Skol!