As mentioned in a previous post, having never been to Norway organising a road trip there was a bit of a guessing game. As Oslo is the capital and Ryanair did fairly cheap flights there it seemed like the perfect place to start. As I was 21 on the second day of the trip and you can’t get a rental car until that age we decided to stay there for two nights, then get the car on the third day. It meant we didn’t have to pay for the car for as long and we got a good chance to explore Norway’s capital city.
We left early on the first day, flying in to Oslo Moss. From there, we got a bus to the train station and a train from there into the city centre, before walking to our apartment.
Our ability to speak Norwegian is pretty much the same as a baby’s. In fact, probably worse. So I was a bit worried as to how we were going to manage to get ourselves around, feed ourselves, etc. I shouldn’t have. Norwegians (in my experience) are the loveliest, most friendly people… that speak perfect English.
From what I can remember, it took us about 20 minutes to get from the airport, to the train station: there is a free bus from the airport that goes from right outside the airport terminal. We then used a self service machine at the train station and got straight onto a train. I don’t remember how much the train was exactly, I think about 10 pounds. (My friends may tell you otherwise.) The train was spotless, air conditioned and quick. On the train we happened to meet a Norwegian man that used to drive a tourist bus, so he gave us some tips about driving in Norway and the best places to go in Oslo and around the country. I told him our itinerary and he said it sounded good to him, so we were off to a good start.
We stayed in the Grünerløkka district of Oslo in the ‘Chateau Apartments.’ They were an exceptionally reasonable price, so we didn’t expect much.
You know what? We should have. They were HUGE. We allocated one whole room as a party room. Mostly because there was nothing in it but wooden floors and a chandelier… There were four of us, and there were two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living room/kitchen bigger than my house.
On our first day, we had a wander to the Opera house and the Fort. It was quite a walk, especially as it was surprisingly hot, but it was worth it. The opera house was ridiculously cool. We didn’t go inside, but you can walk over the whole thing. One tip – if it’s sunny, bring sunglasses. This may seem obvious, but because it’s a bright white building, walking anywhere near it is blinding. The Fort isn’t very big, in fact at first we weren’t sure we were at the Fort. But it’s free to walk around, has lovely views and very interesting guards. Well, uniform. Unlike in Britain, where they stay deadly still and don’t move from their post, they liked to have a bit of a wander, which I enjoyed.
We walked through a lot of Oslo on our journey to places that day and realised that it really isn’t that big. We didn’t get a single taxi the whole time we were there. On our way back from the Fort we went to a supermarket (Rema 1000) which we fell in love with. I’m not sure why, but we really did take a lot of enjoyment out of food shopping. I think I expected their supermarkets to be filled with Fish and Moose (stereotypical, I know) but instead it was pretty much the same as England. They aren’t big on biscuits, but then again, most countries aren’t as big as the Brits are when it comes to biscuits. Other than that, we found pretty much everything we wanted, and more. Including Japp bars, which are like a cross between Mars and Milky Way bars, and are just the best. Also, their alcohol really wasn’t expensive in supermarkets as we were told it would be. Maybe England is just a lot more expensive than people think, or maybe I’m terrible at exchange rates.
As it was the night before my 21st and we were picking up the car the day after my birthday, we’d decided to go out that night. Gay pride was on in Oslo, so we did consider going to a big event for that, but settled on going to the place we’d researched before coming called the London Pub. We liked the idea of a London themed place (yes, we were feeling adventurous) and because we’d heard so much about how expensive all the clubs were, but heard there was a happy hour here it made sense. To be honest, it wasn’t good. I would have much rather spent more money and gone to a bigger club. But it was… Odd. I think because it’s a gay pub and club, we assumed there would be a fun atmosphere like the ones in England, but I think because European Gay Pride was on, and there were events for that, most of the locals went there instead of to the London Pub. There was Karaoke on downstairs and then music upstairs, but it was pretty empty, so most of us didn’t stay long.
To me, Norway is a lot like England only nicer, bigger and cleaner. Ok yes, it is more expensive, but I’d been warned so much I thought I was going to have to live on scraps. I’d say it’s maybe 10 percent more expensive in general? That’s a guess though – we travelled as a four and had a self catering apartment, so in Oslo we only had one meal out and otherwise bought food together, then cooked it at the apartment.
So… Yeh. That was Day One in Oslo. I shall continue with Day Two another time as I’m sure you’re bored enough already.