Historical, cultural, architectural and even culinary adventures are easy to find in Oslo, the capital of Norway. It’s small and compact; perfect for a short visit and easy to combine both urban and natural experiences. Located at the head of the Oslo Fjord, surrounded by forested hills most everything is available within a distance of 30 minutes with public transportation.
I had a chance to prove that this week when I had a globetrotter visiting from Singapore. He had found my post: Catch of the day – Fish Market in Oslo and commented:
“Thanks for your informative post (I realise I’m replying 2 years later) – I’ll be visiting Oslo next week, flying in from sunny Singapore, and I’m keen to see the ‘daily catch’ coming into shore. I have always wanted to visit and I hope it is not too cold, but pleasant. I’m really looking forward to visiting your lovely country with its fresh seafood!” You may also read his planning from the trip by clicking here!
I took his word for it and asked him to contact me to give me a chance to a guided tour. He came by the express train from the airport (25 minute trip) and I met him at the central station where we walked through the heart of Oslo: Karl Johan – the Pedestrian Street. Here is a glance at our adventures:
The New Oslo Opera House:
Opened in 2008, it’s the largest single cultural-political initiative in contemporary Norway and the only Opera House in the world where you can walk on the roof. Those who haven’t, read my earlier posts for further details: Recreational Culture for the People and New Oslo Opera House in Norway.
Karl Johan in a nut shell:
Walking from the central station and the opera house, it takes you 30 minutes to reach the Royal Palace on the opposite end of Karl Johan. Among other things you’ll pass Oslo Cathedral, The parliament, Grand Hotel, The National Theatre and the Old University – houses and architectures from the 16th, 17th and 18th century – all with significant impact on the Norwegian history:
The National Theatre – opened in 1899.
Knowing Karl Johan by heart, it’s always easy to navigate in Oslo. Most everything else in the central city is reachable by foot in 30 minutes. So if you get lost: Just ask for Karl Johan (most Norwegian speaks English and even German or French) and you’re back on track again.
We ended the evening with a culinary feast, trying some Norwegian cuisine at Oslo Old City Hall (build in 1641):
Notice the old interior in The Old City Hall.
Left, starter: smoked trout – Right: main course: roasted reindeer.
The Singaporean globetrotter on his own:
The day after, he walked to the harbour (5 min. from Karl Johan) and bought shrimp at the fish market. Peeling and eating the newly caught, fresh boiled shrimp was the best breakfast he had ever had, he told me :-)
From the harbour he took the ferry on the Oslo Fjord to Bygdøy Island and explored the Maritime as well as the Viking Ships and the Folk Museum.
Vigeland Sculpture Park:
In the afternoon I took him to Vigeland Park (15 min. by tram from Karl Johan). The unique sculpture park – the largest made by one single artist in the world – is Gustav Vigeland‘s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron:
At the sculpture of The Angry Boy (see my blogs header!)
Left: overview from the Monolith – Right: my favourite sculpture.
Holmenkollen – At the top of Oslo:
40 min. by metro and tram – about 500 meters above sea level. There up in the mountain and into the forest, you’ll find the famous ski jump and a nice restaurant with a panoramic view of Oslo City and the Fjord:
Passing by a stand, Mr. Singaporian the Globetrotter even got the chance to try the most Norwegian: “Pølse i lompe” (sausage of boiled all-pork wiener in potato tortilla):
Norway’s modest center – Aker Brygge
You’ll find this former shipyard area in Oslo harbour, right next to the City Hall and across from Akerhus Fortress (5 min. walk from Karl Johan). Today it’s Norway’s financial center, with lots of shops, restaurants, bars and pubs available. We ended up at D/S Louise:
My wife DianeCA joined us for dinner in the evening.
Left, starter: Wine steamed blue mussels, julienne vegetables and cream – Right: main course: Roasted monk-fish.
The third day, he walked around all by himself as he now is well acquainted with Oslo. One of the highlights he reported was at a fish delicatessen where he saw newly caught cod, mackerel, salmon, catfish, monk-fish etc. – and even got a taste of herrings. He brought home some smoked Norwegian Salmon.
Like I’ve said before: Who is next for a round trip in Oslo with me? As a network evangelist: I’m always up for more. If I manage to organize a Blog Gathering in August next year: Would you like to come?