Monday, 23 May 2016

Norway Part One - Oslo

So since I've last written on here, I've managed to get myself a job straight out of uni and I'm already at the point in my career where a three and a half week holiday is well deserved. I've been at my job for a whole year as of June 30th! It's crazy how fast time starts to fly as your work and life routine just gets going.

Tom and I have started our first trip back to England in nearly three years with a five day trip to Norway with his parents. To be entirely honest, I was a bit lazy and did very little research about Norway, except enough to figure out that we were doing a Norway In A Nutshell tour.

We got to Oslo and I had low expectations - I think I expected it to be a pretty city but kind of boring. I think I thought something similar of Norway as a whole. I knew nothing much about the country except that I was there at the wrong time of the year for the Northern Lights and that it was renown for being particularly expensive.

Boy, was I wrong about the boring part.

I quickly fell in love with Oslo. I especially fell in love with the Norwegian's attitude towards being close to nature and having cabins in the woods to go to.

A video for me to watch later about friluftsliv.
'Friluftsliv' is an ancient Nordic philosophy of outdoor life.)

We did loads of asking around Oslo, our hotel (Hotel Bristol) was a lot more central than we realised and were only about a ten minute walk from most things. On our whole day in Oslo, we decided to go to museums in the morning and then a bike tour in the afternoon. 

It was a wonderful day. Tom and I visited the Viking Ship museum with his parents, and I'm glad we got there when we did - as we were leaving, four tourist busses turned up and the museum absolutely filled up.. It's only a tiny museum with four rooms!

We split from Tom's parents and we decided to go to the Norwegian Holocaust museum, which was really interesting. Neither of us realised that Norway was involved in the second world war, but we learned all about how Norway became occupied by the Germans during the early 40s, and how Norway managed to sneak loads of their Jewish community out through Sweden. 
Even though the museum was all in Norwegian, it wasn't a worry at all as we were given Samsung tablets with English translations of most of the displays.

That was actually something I was really impressed with - the fact that all Norwegians seemed to speak English, and speak it really well. We didn't have any language barriers anywhere.
Yet another moment in my life that I feel really ignorant for not speaking anything more than English :(

We then headed back into the main city of Oslo - the museums are across the Oslo fjord and you get a boat over to them - and headed to our bike tour.

The bike tour was great. Three hours of riding around, learning all about Oslo and how it came to be, Norwegian political views and what they expect of their public spaces, and my favourite part of the tour was the sculpture park - which I'd have known nothing about and probably wouldn't have gone to if not for the bike tour.

We also found a gym at our hotel, which was wonderful, but my favourite part of the hotel was definitely the ice machines on every level. Every time that we went back to our room, I got myself another tub of ice! Woo hoo!!

We had a really wonderful time in Oslo (and it luckily wasn't tainted by our 3am fire alarm at the hotel, caused by a nightclub next door!), but the next day it was time to head to Flam :)