A look back at OsloBG exploring Oslo and Norway

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #1Oslo Blog Gathering; A guided adventure in Oslo, the capital of Norway, to explore the city with our history, culture and traditions – 19th to 21st of August 2010 – was a thrill of a lifetime! A dream came true for me and good blog and social media friends from all over the world. The idea – after many requests in comments and mails – was to give everyone in Blogosphere a chance to come and see some of the attractions presented on this blog over the years. It was a perfect match to one of my sayings: “Blogging Connecting People” and a proof of what networking is all about: “A Givers Gain”.
To me this gathering was an ultimate outcome of sharing from Oslo and Norway. Today I want you to join me and take a look back and reminisce over the amazing time we had.

Oslo Blog Gathering Planning Kickoff #1Thanks to First Hotel Millennium we had a centrally located hub to meet up each day before our adventures. We thought we might be relaxing there in the evening but every single day things took off and we dragged ourselves in to the hotel totally exhausted and often quite late ; -) Never a dull moment and no time to waste at OsloBG!
The hotel manager and staff met with us several times throughout the planning process and helped us with setting up, tourist information, and an area to meet up and plan our daily adventures. Every time I pass by First Hotel Millennium now I think of our OsloBG and what a wonderful time we had.

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #3VisitOSLO was an important associate and a key contributor in making OsloBG a success. When I first talked with their Convention Manager – with my head full of ideas of a detailed program – she served me The Columbic Egg; “We give every participant The Oslo Pass, so they all can reach and enter the sights they want” – for free!
VisitOSLO is the leading organization in profiling and positioning the Oslo region as a tourist destination. They are dedicated to contributing towards the development of commerce and culture in the region. So when you are in or plan to go to Oslo; always check their website for all you want to know about the city:

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #5The Grand Opening was at Oslo City Hall with a reception from the Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang. Even his own birthday didn’t keep him from greeting these excited bloggers and providing us with an exceptional guided tour of the City Hall. Even in places I had never seen before!! All of OsloBG’s guests had a little gift from their homeland for the Mayor’s birthday and to thank him for receiving us on this special occasion. After the reception many of us went for dinner at Aker Brygge and had a chance to be better acquainted over good food and wine.

OsloBG Vigeland Sculpture Park #2The first day as you may recall we had a guided tour around the highlights of Oslo. Oslo Guideservice provided excellent transportation and information on some of the most interesting sites in the area like Vigeland Sculpture Park and Holmenkollen ski jump.
The guides took us through Vigeland Sculpture Park and gave us an insight into Vigelands work and vision in designing every detail of this beautiful green area of Oslo. Although the weather didn’t cooperate as well at Holmenkollen ski jump, the best part was thankfully inside and many made it to the top for the ultimate view.

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #9On the 20th the group was divided into activities of choice. My group had a guided tour of Oslo Opera House, a trip round the main street of Karl Johan, and watched the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. Meanwhile Tor’s group had a day on Bygdøy island exploring the museums and beaches there. In the evening we had dinner at a small but charming restaurant on Bygdøy Island with a fantastic view of Oslo fjord.

The final day of our program again included the groups dividing up and exploring as far away as Drøbak! Ending the day with a champagne reception in the medieval park, and a roaring night on the town at The Dubliner!! That and plenty more photos – even a movie from the Mayor’s reception – is included in this cavalcade of a movie I made from these three days, enjoy:

OsloBG at Medieval Park #3I want to give a special thanks to all the participants. One thing we really felt after you all went home, when we looked back we felt so certain that Oslo Blog Gathering would have been different if even one of you didn’t come. One of the best things about OsloBG was the people and how everyone added a little something special to the group. In short it wouldn’t have been the same without you!
Click to see The participants and their adventures posts!

We hope one day to meet everyone again, and who knows maybe there will be another OsloBG in the future?

Blogging connecting people to a mini OsloBG

OsloBG2010 at RennyBASocial Media like Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn etc connecting people and brought 30 participants from all over the world to the Oslo Blog Gathering in August 2010. A lot more would have loved to join us and some promised to come later to explore and have a taste of Oslo and Norway; our culture, history, traditions and habits. Two of them have taken our word for it – Blog friends are always welcome to meet up with us in Oslo – Ginnie and Astrid from the Netherlands arrives tonight! We are all very excited: My wife and me as well as Tor and his wife Anna!

In Soul – Ginnie’s blog:
In Soul - GinnieI met Ginnie in Blogsphere almost 6 years ago. Actually it was through ExpatTravels -From Switzerland to Canada, one of my very first blog friend. I know they have met some years ago in Canada when Ginnie still lived in her homeland; Georgia, US. Now it’s our turn and we can always hope that our next visitors in Oslo will be ET, her husband and new born baby : -)
I’m happy I met Ginnie of course, but sorry it was just a couple of months after she had have a short cruise landing in Oslo. Already when we blog met, she promised to come back to visit us and tonight, tonight it’ll happens!

What to explore for 4 days in Oslo?
There are plenty of options of course and we have had some mail exchange about our suggestions and their interests. One of theirs are the Mini Cruise on the Oslo Fjord:
Mini Cruise Oslo Fjord in Norway #4 Mini Cruise Oslo Fjord in Norway #12
Left: The Town Hall – Right: Fram & the Maritime Museum at Bygdøy island.

I had planned to tell about all the other options, but now it’s time to go to Oslo Central Station to pick them up from the Airport Express train : -)

OsloBG Winter Reunion at Dubliner Folk Pub in Norway

OsloBG2010 at RennyBALike rings in the water, The Oslo Blog Gathering has connected people and left its traces in the form of friendship. OsloBG took place in August 2010 where friends in the Blogsphere from all over the world could meet each other in person and experience some of the local attractions, explore the city and learn about Norway’s history, culture and traditions. From the official guest list you may click to read some the posts from their adventure and experience!

The OsloBG girls night out:
OsloBG Reunion at Dubliner in Norway #7 Some of the participants from August 2010 were expats – moving from their homelands to live with their loved ones in Norway – and people with similar experiences often stick together. Like last Saturday, Karen arranged a girly girls party at The Dubliner Irish Folk Pub in Oslo to catch up as well as share good memories from last summer. My wife DianeCA was one of them and I gave her a ride to the pub at 2PM. As you can see from the pic, I dropped in just to say hello and get my hugs and a photo, but then I returned home to play with my gadgets toys while the girls had girl talk in the bar: -)

The Girls let the Boys in:
At 7PM I got a text message from my wife: “They are letting the guys in!” I would say that was on offer no one could refuse, so I took a quick shower, grabbed a taxi and was there in 30 minutes. I guess no one would blame me – maybe rather envy me (pics are worth more a thousand word – click to bigify & enjoy):
OsloBG Reunion at Dubliner in Norway #8 OsloBG Reunion at Dubliner in Norway #9
Left: Tressa, Karen & Sara – Right: Diane, Corrine, me & Karla
These are pics borrowed from Tressa, you should hop over to her blog and read about these adventures from her perspective!

Lots of talking, fun, meeting new people and doing some crazy things – describes the evening with the girls in a nut shell. Since I often shot pics of them, they also took some revenge:
OsloBG Reunion at Dubliner in Norway #5 OsloBG Reunion at Dubliner in Norway #6
After a Guinness that size, I needed a cigar (no smoking inside, so I went in the snowy back yard ; -)

The JIGs Concert:
Every weekend the Dubliner offers a live concert this time it was Mick, Kevin and David in the group called JIG:
OsloBG Reunion at Dubliner in Norway #4
We loved their performance and like Tressa said (read her post!): I am pretty sure the Dubliner would have to be my favourite bar in Norway. It was SO nice to have people speaking English all night, & the Norwegians who were there… were all interested in where we were from & even better.. speaking ENGLISH.. yahoo…
I hope she still feels that way after watching the vid I mixed up after shooting some more pics and a couple film sequences with my Nokia N8 Mobile phone:

I am so happy to see that many of our guests have become friends with each other and keep in touch after OsloBG is long over. It shows how much we have in common and that blogging really is connecting people – every day!

OsloBG at Oscarsborg Fortress and Oslo Medieval Park

The Oslo Blog Gathering exploring Norway and our capital’s architecture, culture, traditions and history – was a thrill and an adventure for about 30 Social Media active participants from all over the world. Some had been to blog meetings before, while other had only met friends in Blogsphere so far. One thing is for sure this blog gathering developed some real friendships which will last for a lifetime. So it’s a bit sad to sum it up and tell about the last day, however it also created new magical moments to remember in the future and I gladly share them with you.

The grand historic Oscarsborg Fortress:
OsloBG2010 at RennyBAMy wife DianeCA. invited those who wanted to join her for a trip to Oscarsborg Fortress. It stands on Kaholmene in the Drøbak Strait and has been there for more than 350 years. Build as a Coastal fortress in the years 1643-1644, its name was given by royal resolution on August 23, 1855 after a visit by the Swedish/Norwegian King Oscar 1.

Oscarsborg is best known for the sinking of the German battleship “Blücher” on the 9th of April 1940, WW2, and one can still get a whiff of the creosote (lignite tar) from the battleship. So the Fortress was military territory until 2003, but then made a publicly available resort island. We can tell you that many local families enjoy taking the boat out to the island fortress and having an enjoyable afternoon on the scenic grounds and visiting the charming seaside café.

Champagne on historical ground:
The Medieval Park in the Old City of Oslo (called Bjørvika) is the largest contiguous area of preserved ruins from the Middle Ages. It was here that the urbanization of Oslo started around the year 1000. In the 1300s there were six churches, three monasteries, royal residence and the bishop’s residence in this small urban society.

Surrounding the ruins is now a park and the old coastal line is recreated as it was in the middle ages by the creation of a water table to provide parkland quality and character. Before the grand finale in the evening, TorAa suggested this place as the perfect surroundings for popping the cork and toasting a successful gathering:
OsloBG at Medieval Park #1

Through Exhibitions and Events the park already communicates experiences, stimulating activities and even more: provides knowledge about Oslo City’s origins, and the role of Oslo as the capital and the Norwegian Middle Ages. The most famous yearly event is The Øya Music Festival, so we where in the right place to have a party:
OsloBG at Medieval Park #2 OsloBG at Medieval Park #13

The grand finale celebration:
Three hectic days (and nights) were coming to an to end but we weren’t ready to give up without a fight, or rather a party. My wife DianeCA and I were exhausted, but we still had a jolly good time with the whole gang at Dubliner Folk Pub. It was a mixed feeling of sadness for having to say farewell, but also the loud buzzing and talking about all the excitement we had experienced. Nobody wanted to go home and all had a lot more they wished to see and do. I was thinking: All in all, many good reasons to come back:
OsloBG Grand Final at Dubliner #1

Lawrence aka BeaverBush came up with the party idea and made the reservations for us at the pub. He was so nice and gave me a bottle of very nice champagne on behalf of all the participants. I was happy, thankful and proud of course that all went so well. It was hard to make a small thank you speech – very emotional for me:
OsloBG Grand Final at Dubliner #2 OsloBG Grand Final at Dubliner #3

Celebrating the Mayor’s birthday in the City Hall:
I have decided to end the report from OsloBG with the most Magic Moment of all: the opening ceremony as the reception by the Mayor in Oslo City Hall. Being aware of that the Mayor had his birthday that very day, I’d asked the participants to bring a small gift from their homeland to give to him. My wife had my Nokia X6 mobile phone, to capture the moment:

My wife DianeCA and I have worked hard on planning OsloBG for over one year and now that our mission is accomplished and my dream has come true, I want to thank everyone again who participated. We made the plan and invited the guests, but it was really each and every OsloBG participant who made the event what it was. Everyone played a key roll and it would not have been the same without them!
So far, all their posts about OsloBG is collected at the gatherings guest list. I will soon make a post to present all of them – so stay tuned!

OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern Island in the Fjord

Oslo offers a pulsing city life, but the fjord with its islands as well as the mountains and deep woods are also right on your doorstep. Exploring the environment in this compact capital of Norway was the aim of the Oslo Blog Gathering’s participants. Since VisitOslo gave everyone the Oslo Pass, we had the use of free public transportation, including the boats to the islands in the Oslo Fjord. One evening we took a ferry to one of the local islands for dinner. It was Mrs. Trøen, the Sales Manager of our HUB, the First Millennium Hotel, who came up with this splendid idea and reserved a large table for us. As always, I gladly share these magic moments with you, starting from the harbour at the City Hall, passing Akershus Fortress:
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #1

Five minutes later we had left the urban city life and were enjoying the nature (click pics to bigify & enjoy):
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #2 OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #3

The ferry is relatively small and in just 15 minutes takes you to Bygdøy Island with lots of historical museums:
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #4
Closer and closer to the Fram Museum:
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #5 OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #6
Fram = the boat Roald Amundsen used at his Polar Expeditions (the first to the South Pole in 1912)

Five minutes walk from there and you take Norway’s shortest ferry trip to the island where we were dining:
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #7
Max 11 passengers and one minute drive.

The restaurant at little Herbern Island:
This small “hide out” is a hidden gem and a peaceful and idyllic island which should be on every Oslo visitors wish list. People started to come out here when the restaurant first opened in 1929, and it has been known as a small and precious pearl in the Oslo gastronomy scene since then, beautifully situated on a natural beach it is open yearly from May – October.
It could be taken for a private Scandinavian summer home on the outside, however inside the restaurant has seats for 65 guests and 130 outside on the terrace with a fantastic seaside view. The restaurant’s interior is bright, with big windows, white table cloths, wooden chairs and a beautiful parquet floor. I’m sorry I didn’t take any pics from the outside, but here are some from the restaurant late in the evening:
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #13 OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #14
Fantastic sceneries through the panoramic windows.

I have pics from our gastronomic adventures as well so join the Oslo Blog Gathering gang from all over the world and let me share the menu:
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #8 OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #9

I guess it would not surprise you that seafood is their speciality and to me of course; the choice was easy. So first things first; the starter – bon appétit:
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #10
Scampi on a crisp salad with balsamic vinegar dressing
OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #11 OsloBG dining on Lille Herbern in the Fjord #12
Left, the main course: grilled salmon on pureed potatoes – Right, the dessert: cappuccino pannacotta

After the one minute ferry back to Bygdøy Island, we took the bus back to Oslo – a 20 minutes drive and we were back in the city and First Millennium Hotel again.

This was Friday night’s menu and we were all getting to know each other quite well – making friendship for life. According to the OsloBG program, we still had one more day and night of fun and adventures, so stay tuned there is more to come!