Quick Guide to Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway: Heading North in the Winter? Why Not!
A slight change of plans had me visiting the Hungarian Consulate and leaving from Los Angeles instead of Boulder. My first stop–Oslo, Norway. The initial and dominant thought on my mind was the frigid weather. My first encounter, while included the bitter temperatures, was the amazingly clean and modern Oslo International Airport and the efficient Airport Express Train. The scenery was breathtaking, with white capped houses and barns repeating in my view of the countryside as the train sped toward Oslo. Upon my arrival to the Central Station in a quick 20 minutes, I was greeted with small shops leading to the large entrance and cobble stoned area out into my first night in Oslo. I headed toward the Royal Palace, as it is a straight path A new kind of cold was upon me with the humidity higher than I am used to in Colorado. I took frequent coffee breaks as I tore through my itinerary by the next day.
The Oslo Opera House is a feat in modern simplicity. It glass silhouette sits a top of a slight hill where children were sledding down toward the base where the land flattens to the edge of the water. Inside, a mix of wood, cement, and white wall continues the beauty of the modern scene outside. I zigzagged across the city, walking, and periodically rode both the metro and buses to different areas.. While walking, the city landscape vacillated between the old world european charm in the center, and the modern architecture of the newer neighborhoods.
In Eastern Oslo, I visited the Botanisk Hage or the Botanic Gardens and stopped in the indoor areas which housed tropical plants, as well as got a deserved warming break in their cafe. I reached a cobblestone neighborhood on a hill housing small cottages and many fanciful colors in the Gamle neighborhood. The houses are painted vibrant colors that would inspire artists to congregate while the river runs through the houses and business with vibrant graffiti painted on the sides.
Walking toward the center away from the older part, Vigeland Park, appears with 200 impressive sculptures in a park-like setting. On the way I stopped at Tim Wendelboe, a wonderful modern chic coffee shop well worth the time. As I traveled West, the neighborhoods grew nicer, with large yards and majestic homes.
Across town on the Bygdoy peninsula is the Fram Museum. I bought a bus pass at each stop, but in hindsight should have purchased a day pass. The museum is built around the actual ship and interactive art displays give you a sense of what it would have been like on the ship. Touring through the cabin spaces within the actual boat was a bit surreal and very cramped. There is an interesting short film about the history of the vessel shown in a small theatre every 30 min.