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Published: June 24th 2017
Oslo is not a pretty city. Perhaps the Norwegians think that because they have a pretty countryside the buildings don't need to be. They seem to believe in being plain and functional. There are a few older buildings but even with some decoration they are still a bit Spartan. The only thing not plain is the unintelligible language- thank heaven they all speak English! Our hotel is the Clarion Connection Bastion which is a short walk from the opera house. It is similar to a Premier Inn in the UK so there is no shampoo etc but a dispenser on the wall in the shower and over the basin. Our room 507, is quite small with a view of a wall, a fridge but no water. This you have to buy from downstairs. However the tap water is so cold it is fine. There is no tea or coffee making but in reception there are machines to which you can help yourselves. The buffet breakfast is pretty standard and the people are as friendly as Norwegians can be. They don't chat but answer your questions as briefly as possible so when you go to the tourist office go armed with all
your questions. The city map in the hotel is useless and the one from the tourist office not much better so if you can arrive with a decent map beforehand so much the better as it is not the easiest of cities to navigate even though it should be. Our first foray was to Vigelund Park. The best way to get here is by tram as the stop is right outside the entrance to the park. Buy a ticket beforehand. We bought the 24 hour one for 45 kroner each for seniors- better value than the Oslo Pass at 450K unless your are there several days and go into all the museums. The Park is lined with weird nude sculptures all by Vigelund. Lots of stern faced male nudes throwing babies our women into weird positions- difficult to describe so has to be seen. It doesn't take too long to walk from one end of the park to the other. Unfortunately it started raining so we took refuge at the café under one of the umbrellas outside. We shared a prawn sandwich for lunch which was sufficient for two.
In the evening we walked to an area on the
waterfront called Aker Brygge. This is full of bars and restaurants. We didn't fancy Italian or French or fast food or whale meat though ,so none of the restaurants appealed. We did stop for a glass of wine in Louise' bar which has an open fire and comfortable seats inside. It may be mid summer but all the restaurants have outdoor heaters going or baskets full of blankets to keep people warm! They also eat quite early in the evening. We had passed a nice restaurant on the way so we walked back to it and ended up having a fabulous dinner at the Gamle Raadhus. It is not cheap but nowhere is so you may as well enjoy what you have. The surroundings are really nice - old wood and tapestry chairs - an amuse bouche and home made bread to start. I had the asparagus and Stefan had smoked halibut to start followed by hake for me and pork loin for Stefan plus one bottle of rose wine. It was all cooked to perfection. The waiters were lovely- one was Italian and the other South Korean. There is also a nice bar next door with outside couches where
we finished off the evening.
The following day we took the Metro to the Munch museum. Take the east going metro to Tayen- it is only 2 stops. I had been there many years ago but the pictures we saw were not the same. The Scream has been moved to the National Gallery and I presume the other large famous pictures must be there too. They are building a new Munch museum on the waterfront but it wont be ready for some time. There is a nice café attached.
Back on the metro to the centre we then caught a 34 bus to Mollergaien where there is a new brick built development of shops, market, bars and restaurants. We ate lunch outside as the sun was shining at Vulkanfisk. I had mussels and frites and Stefan had prawns and salad all of which we shared. Could have shared one course really. Caught the bus back to the centre and walked down to the Opera house, which is the only stunning building in the city. I suppose it does look like an ice berg dipping down to the waters edge. You can walk up the slopes of the "ice
berg" all round the outside but beware it is uneven with odd steps and many trip hazards. After this we had intended to walk to the National Gallery but got half way and gave up so stopped for a drink.
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