A couple weeks ago Richard suggested we go away for his birthday and we decided to take a trip to the Norwegian capital of Oslo. I haven’t been this far north and all I knew was that it was an expensive place to visit.
Turns out it is more or less on a level par with London and in fact Luxembourg was more expensive. This detracts from the place though and to talk money is vulgar – Oslo certainly is not.
A city of 600,000 residents and you can certainly feel it. The whole place was immensely quiet.
There were no sirens, no raucous behaviour and no visible police presence. To the rest of us a tax of 60% sounds very high but it obviously works for the Norwegians.
We arrived Friday night and got to the hotel at 11 pm. It was all very swish and very clean but the main point to note was that it was still light.
As Oslo is so far north, during the summer it has the phenomenon of the Midnight Sun which means it never actually gets dark. The weather was very hot and sunny (much more than I expected) which meant for very long light days.
We explored the roof top of the National Opera House, took an idyllic boat ride down the Oslo Fjord, browsed the redeveloped harbour side, marvelled at the royal palace (which is a direct copy of Buckingham Palace) and browsed the shops all in one day.
Saturday evening was lovely. We celebrated Richards birthday at a wonderful restaurant along the harbour before taking a stroll along the coast, enjoying ice cream and soaking in the view. I think we were both surprised when some blonde Norse hunk stripped off and jumped into the sea for a swim. I was even more surprised when I realised we were sat on the pontoon near some showers and he came over and proceeded to rinse himself down! Turns out this is a bit of a habit for the Norwegians who eat early then make the most of the long evenings by swimming or larking around on boats etc.
In fact all of the Nordic men were very fit – either slim and tall or built and shaped very well. The women were very pretty too (I did notice!).
Around midnight there was a thunderstorm (it had been brewing most of the day) which helped to clear the air a bit. Unusually for a storm so late at night, it was still fairly light out.
On Sunday we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the hotel before walking the centre of Oslo before heading back to the harbour and up to the Medieval Tower which used to protect the city (now dwarfed by the massive cruise liners that dock alongside).
Our departure for the airport came far to soon. Richard asked me at breakfast why I looked sad and it was simply because I didn’t want to leave.
I fell into the Nordic rhythm very quickly and loved our time there.
I usually race around planning routes and shooting as many photos as I can to prove we had visited. Not this time. I took plenty of shots but enjoyed more time to chill out and it was very quickly into the cruise that I completely chilled out (and nearly fell asleep on board).
I cannot recommend Oslo highly enough it is such a lovely, beautiful city (very similar to Canada and Vancouver in many respects). If you ever get the chance to visit you should.
To see my collection of photos pop over to Flickr. Hei!