A plane, a train, a tram, and four buses later, Kelsee and I had finally arrived in Oslo, Norway! With a 30 euro round trip plane ticket, we couldn’t resist the temptation to buy it and fly to Scandinavia for the weekend. Did the cheap flight made the sixteen hour journey worth it? By the time we were on our last bus, we definitely didn’t think it was. But after experiencing the amazing country of Norway, I would absolutely make the sixteen hour trek again—in a heartbeat!
We arrived to the snowy city of Oslo at 10 P.M. hungry, tired, and smelling rather musty. So it was such a nice surprise to walk into the apartment we rented and discover it was fit for a princess (or two)!! The bed was draped with a beautiful canopy and the bed was stacked with fuzzy blankets, which was perfect considering the -20 degree weather we had just endured. But the best part about the apartment was that the bathroom had heated tile flooring!
The next morning Kelsee and I awoke when the sun rose, which was at 9 A.M. We bundled up in our winter clothes and headed out to the city for a day of exploration. Our first stop was the famous Oslo Opera House at the Fjord. It was absolutely beautiful. The Opera House has a unique design that allows visitors to walk up the side of the wall to the roof—which provides the best view of the Fjord.
The Oslofjord connects the North Sea and Kattegat Sea, which eventually leads to the Baltic Sea. It was also an important location of WWII as the German ships were sunk in the narrows, which prevented Norway from being overtaken by the Nazi’s. Today it is a calm body of water that provides serenity to onlookers, and in the summer, becomes a 22 degree Celcius hot bath for tourists and locals.
Our next stop was the Akesherus Fortress, which was the first developed part of land in Oslo. The fortress is right by the Fjord and still has a moat and draw-bridge! Once inside the fortress we explored the castle, small town, and prison that were built within the walls. We were even lucky enough to see the changing of the guards!
Even though our walk from the Opera house to the Fortress had been less than a mile, we were absolutely freezing at this point. So we warmed up in a local Norwegian Café called Kaffistova, figuring that a local place would be cheaper. We were wrong. My meal of Salmon, veggies, and three potato balls cost 169 Kronos; that is nearly 30 euros! People aren’t kidding when they say Scandinavia is expensive!
In hopes of being adventurous, Kelsee, a vegetarian, tried to choose something different.
“What are reindeer cakes?” she sweetly asked.
The cashier raised her eyebrows and chuckled.
“You know what reindeer is right? The animal…”
Kelsee was horrified and so was I. Vegetarian or not, there was no way we would ever consider eating Santa’s furry friend.
After lunch we wandered over to the Royal Palace. It looked especially magical with the newly fallen white snow. From the top of the stairs we witnessed the coolest view of downtown Oslo.
By this time it was 4 P.M., and almost completely dark.
We hopped on Tram 12, which took us straight to the famous Vigeland Sculpture Park.
It was absolutely freezing outside, so I was surprised to see so many locals out running through the park with their dogs. The only light was a line of orange in the sky, which made the sculptures and river glow. In the distance was an outdoor hockey arena, where the cheers of passionate fans could be heard. It was at this moment that I knew I was in love with Oslo.
Kelsee and I ended our day at Wayne’s coffee for a cappuccino and chocolate cake. (We heard it’s what all the locals do around that time on day.)
With all of our touristy sightseeing out of the way, Kelsee and I awoke the next morning ready for a day of local adventure!
Our first stop of the day was Sognsvann Lake. All we had to do was hop on the T-bahn line 6 and go to the very last stop. While walking to the metro we were in complete awe of the number of passengers with their ski’s and winter sports gear. We were distracted so much that we forgot to buy a new metro ticket (as there are no gates/machines to out your tickets in.)
Two stops later about ten guards got on our metro and started demanding to see tickets. We were terrified. Kelsee and I quickly hopped off to go buy a new metro card but guards were blocking all the exits as well.
I was certain that we were going to be arrested when we were taken to a mall room. Luckily, that was not the case. Instead, we had to pay a 730 Krono fine (you don’t want to know what that converts too…). So much for our cheap weekend budget! But since there was nothing we could do about it, we let out a quick cry and continued our journey to Sognsvann.
By the final stop Kelsee and I were the only people on the metro without skis in hand. As soon as we exited, we walked into a winter wonderland. Everyone around us started strapping on their skis and headed for the cross-country skiing trails. It was so lovely to see families experiencing the breathtaking trails together.
Kelsee and I opted for a leisurely walk around the lake instead, often stopping for a photo shoot. We had to get the perfect 730 krono Instagram pic!
After our lake adventure and a quick break for lunch, we headed to T-bahn line 1 for our second outdoor adventure of the day: tobogganing!
The ride to Frognerseteren felt like a leisurely ride at an amusement park—the perfect snowcapped trees and the adorable Norwegian homes that we saw didn’t even look real. By the time we reached the top of the mountain the metro was full of people with sleds, toboggans, skis, and snowboards.
When we got off at our stop we went down a small hill to the Frognerseteren restaurant. Right across from it was a shop where we could rent toboggans and helmets for 120 kronos.
The next three hours were spent sliding down the Korketrekkeren tracks, which is a 200km 1952 Olympic Games bobsled track with an elevation drop of 255 meters. The course took us about twenty minutes (taking into consideration that we fell off about every couple of minutes).
Most people stop at Midstuen T-bahn stop, wait for the next metro, and ride it back to the top of the mountain for another run down the course.
We started right after sunset and ended up being the last people on the course. At that point the mountain was completely silent, except for our occasional screams. This was some of the most fun I have ever had, and a trip to Oslo is not complete without trying it at least once.
We ended the night snuggled under blankets, watching romantic comedies, with hot cocoa in hand. (and secretly dreading the 16 hour journey back the next day.)
I can’t wait to return to Norway one summer to experience the midnight sun : )