After a good nights sleep we are greeted with a lovely breakfast that our host has laid out for us. We have yet to be introduced to Gaby and her partner Ole, hopefully we will meet up with them tonight.
We are armed with a map and a plan, well a loose plan and I managed to lose the map within a few minutes of walking towards the town center.
It does not take us long to walk to Karl Johans Gate the main shopping street in Oslo.
We find ourselves at what we think must be the Royal Palace, but since someone lost the map we can’t be sure…We make our way down to the waterfront as if we know were we’re going and enjoy the view. This area is all new or revitalized, there are new condos that have a place to park your boat instead of your car. They really are taking this no car thing to a whole new level
There is one thing that is making me not want to go inside the shops and that is the view. No, not the vista, but every single male that walks by us is jaw dropping gorgeous. They are all fit and dressed beautifully. The shoes; I just love the shoes! No one is wearing pajama pants or camo trousers. This place is a utopia of perfectness and I can’t seem to find a flaw. After an exhausting session of people watching we decide on a spot for lunch, mostly because the restaurant offers beautiful seafood and the outdoor viewing station means we can sit and admire the passing view.
This is when it happened, my bubble has burst, the flaw. Damn, it was going so well. The horrid smell while we are eating is cigarette smoke. You can smoke in the outdoor section of the restaurants. Yuck! I hate smoke with my shrimp! Oh well, at least no one is wearing pajama pants!
Time for a little culture, so we head over to Astrup Fearnley museum . Modern art is a favourite of mine and this museum has some amazing works. There are quite a few Damien Hirst pieces which include God Alone Knows and Cancer. Sharon and I both really like the Anselm Kiefer works.
They are very powerful and make you think.The rest of our day is spent walking and talking. We happen by the Nobel Peace Center and then go on to the City Hall. This is an amazing building and quickly becomes our go to landmark, as you can see it’s twin towers from many locations.
Really the whole city is like an outdoor museum. There are sculptures everywhere. The buildings are like iced cakes with intricate icing around the windows and doors. There really are no tourists around, there is just us and we blend in well, because I lost the map. The Autumn weather is perfect! There are still flowers in the gardens and Heather has replaced the summer annuals in the planters. It is time to search out a restaurant so we head back to our neighbourhood. After checking out what was on offer we decide on Schroders. Sharon would like to eat at a restaurant that serves Reindeer. She doesn’t need to eat the Reindeer, it just needs to be on the menu. This spot checks the box. We think we have chosen wisely as it is busy with locals and the size of the portions are large. The menu is what we think of as Norwegian comfort food. I decide on the wienerschnitzel and Sharon has the steamed trout.
As I admire the decor which is very homey I notice some framed newspaper chippings. They are written of course in Norwegian except for the name Harry Hole. Turns out that this is the fictional eating spot of a very popular crime novel, starring Harry Hole, by Jo Nesbo. We head back to the flat hoping to meet up with our hosts and we do. Gaby and Ole are wonderful and the perfect couple to have a coffee and a chat with. They are our gateway to Oslo. Gaby works in the travel industry and Ole has a Art Gallery in the south called Soli Brug. They are able to answer all our questions and give us loads of advise for our day out tomorrow.
We are off to Norway! There are a few hiccups along the way, but it is never a good story without hiccups. I am travelling Icelandair for the 4th time in 3 years. I have to keep reminding myself that cheap flights do come at a cost.
So when Sharon texts me to say there had been yet another change in our flights I am not surprised. Her flight from Vancouver would not be stopping in Edmonton, we would go to Iceland on separate planes. So far we were still on the same flight to Oslo, fingers crossed.
We did finally find each other at the boarding gate in Iceland and all was good. It is hardly a girls road trip if the girls never meet up. We had one more flight to Oslo from Iceland and yet again we would not be seated together. I however sat with a lovely Icelandic gentleman, like most Scandinavian people he spoke many languages and inquired which languages I spoke. UGH! I hate having to admit that I just speak English. British English or American he inquires? Canadian. We chatted about many things and I mentioned that we were taking the train to Bergen in a few days. He wondered if I had heard about the rail strike. Noooooo I had not. Oh yes it is rotating everyday different trains you just never know which one, he informs me. Great! Well, I hope we don't have to walk from the airport into town. When we arrive in Norway our train is running and with great efficiency we are whisked off to Oslo. ( Note to self: find out about rail strike). My first impression of Oslo is the temperature is perfect. Yes it is late October and it is +10c but to me that is perfect. It is also very quiet. Oslo is a small city (pop 618,683) and you sense that right away. It is not noisy or smelly is just seems calm. There is a plan in Oslo to ban cars in the city center by 2019, you can tell they are moving towards this as the air is much cleaner in this city then any other I have ever been to.I have walking directions to our flat but we both decide that a taxi would be the best choice.
Neither of us really wants to walk the wrong way dragging our luggage. Tipping is not required in Norway according to my sources, but it is a very quick trip and we don't mind tipping. As long as it is not a insult I don't see the harm. We have instructions on were to find the key to our flat. We both have a giggle when we find it, as Norway is obviously very trusting and built on the honour system. I like that
After a quick shower we head out to explore. The first thing on our list is something to eat. I can't quite remember when I last ate so before I chew off my own arm we need a restaurant. Our flat is located in a lovely residential area and there are a few spots to choose from, we decide on Smalhans.
We are not disappointed, the veggie burger is divine and so is the restaurant. We managed to get in on the lunch menu but as we are leaving the dinner menu is being served and we both think we will need to come back here again. After our amazing lunch/dinner we head out to see our neighbourhood and it is lovely.
Everything is so clean and spotless. People are heading home from work on their bikes, walking or on the bus. There are very few cars so the calmness prevails. Our waiter had advised us to head to St. Hanshaugen
park and walk to the top of the hill, so we would be able to see the city. It is lovely and we see tomorrows destination" the waterfront".