The first thing I notice after arriving into Oslo in January is that it is getting dark at 3:30. Cold nights and short days are the norm in this Scandinavian Capitol city.
Not to be deterred I threw on some extra clothes and ventured out to do some urban trekking . I went down to have a look at the harbors scenic views and noticed most of the tour boats and other vessels looked hunkered down for the winter. Located across from the docks is the Nobel Peace Center. A beautiful building and well worth the time to visit inside. We all know the Nobel Peace Prize, time to know what it means.
I headed towards the central area of the city and one only has to have their eyes open to realize that Norway has also become an immigration destination. Not as diverse as it southern counterparts but Oslo definitely has become more multicultural than the blonde and blued stereotype. Though if you are a guy/gal seeking this, you will find what you are looking for. Despite the fact that half of my family is from Norway, I can’t speak anything beyond basic greetings, but like most large European cities you can get away with English, that’s assuming you ARE polite.
The architectural make up of the city seems to be a mix of old and new with an emphasis on the new. Not that you will not find historical architecture on foot, you will. Comfortable warm shoes will reward you if you are out looking for architecture.
Norway is probably not famous for its cuisine but you should try a dish that has reindeer as its main course ( sorry Rudolph ) far better than lutefisk , which by the way is not nearly as common as you may have thought. Baked goods are another story . Bakeries and coffee shops are filled with breads , pastries and other confectionary delights made fresh daily . Get out of the comfort zone and order something that looks sweet and that you can’t pronounce.
After dinner I made my way to a pub for a pint of Norway’s finest. Quick conversion….. $13 for a pint?! Oslo is an expensive city and the beer is no exception, though I think I was in a more upscale bar than I may be used too. Carpeting in a bar? Yes, onto a more low brow and risqué establishment please.
If you are here for shopping, clothing shops from chic, casual, traditional and everything in between line the storefronts along the sidewalks . Here though, I actually see some souvenirs that you would want to purchase , not the made in a Chinese factory crap you find in so many other modern cities. There are also several malls located in the central area, but who wants to be in a mall? Although its a good spot to walk thru if you need to warm up.
There is so much to see in Oslo and I failed to make it Frogner Park which is filled with naked statues. But alas, my 48 hour stop on my way north was too short and I saw as much as I could. Now I’m heading for the mountains.