Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Ice Queen Oslo

It's been so long since I haven't posted anything in my blog. Luckily, or unfortunately, the reason was not that there is nothing to post but I'm too busy (and kind of lazy) to do it. Finally I sat on my own with some pictures and decided to share my experience and impressions of the best trip I had in the past year in the most beautiful country I've been - Norway!

Center of Oslo
 I've always wanted to visit this amazing place and I guess I was waiting for the perfect moment to appear. It was in a December evening when I opened my email and a friend of mine has sent me only this sentence: "What about few days in Norway in January?" Without any hesitation I accepted. As we both have friends there it was not difficult to take this decision. So, the preparation started and we soon were at the airport impatient to start the journey.
We arrived late in the evening at the Oslo Airport  Gardemoen and her friends were waiting for us. Soon we were at there house in Mysen, 60 km far from Oslo. The next 2 days were dedicated to the Norwegian Capital.

What we saw in Oslo:

Vigeland's Park -  It's an unique sculpture park with more than 200 sculptures made by bronze and granite . The great sculptor Gustav Vigeland  has made human figures from their childhood to their old age in different poses and scenes of their lives.
It's not only that I visited in January, but it was dark and I'm so sorry I cannot offer you what should be seen in the park. In Oslo, in the winter it gets dark early at 4:00 pm, so please, have it on mind if you visit the country at this time. And one tip - if there is snow, climb the central stairs, where the snow is cleaned, not the side ones. I was so surprised to see how my friends were walking so fast and the other 2 of us were like creeping from the left side. It's really simple and close to the mind but I'm not very logical every time.

The Royal Palace - The Palace is a symbol of the Norwegian history. It was made as a residence for King Carl Johan in 1849 but it was not finished util his death. The Royal Palace is owned by the state and there live the royal family which actually has no real political power in the country, only a representative. The current monarch is Harald V. It is open for 2 months for visitors in the summer and the price for a guided tour is 95 NOK (13 EUR) so we could enjoy it only from outside (still very good).

The Oslo Opera House - It is one of the newest opera houses in the World, built in 2007. Its construction costed  40 million EUR!!! It has more than 1000 rooms and the main hall has almost 1400 seats. To be honest I liked the building but  it didn't impressed me much. When I heard about the money it took I understood why the locals are so proud of this building - they just have to!

Karl Johans gate - This is the main street in Oslo, connecting the Central Oslo Station (famous as Oslo S) and The Royal Palace. Except the shops and the nice architechture buildings, the street includes many of Oslo's tourist attractions - The Royal Palace, Stortinget (The Norwegian Parliament), The National Theater, The Old University Buildings, Park Spikersuppa  which serves as a skating rink in winter.

The Parliament
Oslo Cathedral - The main Cathedral, called Our Savior's Church was built in the late 15th century. It was originally located 1.5 km from the present building. After the big fire was built on its present site in 1697.

Holmenkollen (an island of the hill) is a famous hill above Oslo, where there are trails for ski jumping and many other winter-sport activities. Each year at the ski festival this trail is teeming with people. It has also nice view to the city unless it's foggy. There is a restaurant on the top of the hill and even if you don't feel like entering you may just have a stop and enjoy Oslo from above.

The biggest trail
The foggy view
Of course, there is more to see in Oslo like Viking Ship Museum, Folk Museum, Fortress Akershus, and many others but I left something for next time.

When it was already dark and cold outside we visited one of the shopping malls in Oslo (Oslo City Mall) and took a walk around. It was like in every Mall - luxury shops and cafes, nothing special but warm. It was a real fun as we entered in a man's clothing store buying some clothes for our host ...the retails tried to offer their best but always one of us disagreed for something.
It's close to the railway station and it has a warm connection (a tunnel over the street) between them. It's also very close to the Opera House and you may see its lights in the evening, it's beautiful.

One of the evenings we celebrated our host birthday at a restaurant by the harbour. The pedestrian zone is called Akker Brygge and is famous with its restaurants and cafes. I bet it's really pleasant to have a walk during the sunny summer but at -13 degrees with strong wind along the fjord we were in a hurry to get into the restaurant. It was a Steak House - Jensens Biffhuss, offering delicious food but nothing typical Norwegian. I was really amazed by the prices, actually not exactly in this restaurant but in general in the country. A meal for 5 with a bottle of wine, few beers and 3 starters costed about 450-500 EUR!
I was also surprised by the fact that the waitress didn't know Norwegian but only English (she was from Czech Republic) so I found out for real that in Norway they accept English almost as an official 2-d language and to work there it's not necessary to know the local language as everybody speaks English.
Anyway, we ended the night in one bar with beers where we had lots of fun! Maybe here's the right moment to thank again to Steve for the lovely time we spent in Oslo.

Delicious steak
And after this long night I had to wake up at 5 am and take the train to the amazing Flam valley that would be my next story ( I'll try to make it really soon). But this is the hard life of the traveler - experience a lot in a short time.

No comments:

Post a Comment