Published: August 19th 2010August 13th 2010
Not quite Kauai but beautiful in its own way. We spent a sunny afternoon here.
Last weekend Adina and I traveled to Oslo, the capital of Norway, to visit friends and, of course, to experience a new place in this great big world. Adina had lived in Oslo for the past 4 years, so not only did I have an experienced tour guide at my side but we had a friend's apartment to stay at in the city center, friends working the bar at a popular night spot, and a car to get to some otherwise not so easy to get to locations.
Oslo is Norway's largest city but it is hardly a big city with a population of just under 600,000 and few tall buildings on the skyline. It is, however, a very wealthy city with employment opportunities for many. Of the 600,000 living in the city, 25% are immigrants and 80,000 are Swedes. It is common for Swedes to come to Oslo to for the easy employment and high wages in order to save up travel money. But with the higher income in Norway comes exorbitant prices. Ice cream is a good gauge... $10 for a pint of Haagen Daaz. $11 for a beer at the bar. $15 for a meal at McDonalds.
Boardwalk along the water lined with shops and cafes
I find the economics at play here rather interesting.
Unlike my time in Halmstad where I am getting an atypical tourist experience, my time in Oslo was in full blown tourist mode. I was snapping pictures every few minutes for the 2.5 days we were there under perfectly clear sunny skies. You really couldn't ask for better weather... perhaps 75 and sunny with a slight breeze, and perfect weather is less often what you get in Oslo. With no particularly noteworthy stories, I will let the photos do most of the talking again, but the weekend was great and below is a list of the sights we visited in the city. Karl Johans Gate
- A lively pedestrian way of shops that leads to the royal palace. The Royal Palace
- Not impressed at all. It is a very bland building of unimpressive architecture. You would imagine far more for royalty of a rich nation. Maybe the interior makes up for what the exterior lacks. Oslo Opera House
- Just finished being built in 2007, it is a massive opera house that shines brightly with its white Italian marble facade and sits on reclaimed land at
Oslo's brand new opera house completed in 2007
the edge of the Oslofjorden, the bay (fjord) that the city is built beside. Huk
- My personal favorite of the weekend. I was not expecting to go to the beach when I came to Oslo, but with perfect weather and a friend's car, we spent an afternoon at this Norwegian city beach. Cafe Sur
- This cafe/bar/nightclub was where our friends Linn and Linus work. They recently spent one month on Kauai, so it was great to now see them in their world. It's also nice to know the bartender, because not only do you get a big hug hello, but you get served ahead of those waiting and they bring you free beers and cocktails during the night ;) Islands of the Oslofjorden
- Adina and I spent an afternoon exploring one of many islands in the Oslofjorden where people go to sunbathe, swim, fish or spend the summer if you're lucky enough to own a private cottage on one of the islands. Aker Brygge
- The boat harbor in the heart of the city. It is picturesque as boats line the docks, cafes and restaurants are bustling along the boardwalk, and you look
upon the blue water and nearby islands in the fjord. Akershus Fort
- A large medieval castle/fort at the edge of the Oslofjorden built to protect the city. Construction commenced in the 13th century. Vigeland Park
- This is one of the most famous sites in Oslo. A park dedicated to Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. Undoubtedly he is a talented artist, but his statues emanate some perturbing energy, at least for me. Check out the photos and decide for yourself.
In all, it was a very fun weekend in Oslo, but I will add that the city did not resonate with me on any particularly unique frequency. It did not feel old or rich with history. It was not particularly beautiful in my opinion. Of the cities I have explored in my lifetime, it does not rank near the top, but I hear only the best regarding other areas of Norway, and later in my trip I intend to explore the coast further north in the fjord lands.
Once again, three pages of photos. Enjoy.
There are more photos below