Alongside my Resolutions updates, I will be starting a Travel Diary. This is so I can have a record of the places I’ve been too and get all mushy and appreciative . But should you happen to be visiting any of the places I recall, I’ll spare some handy tips.
If it’s your first time visiting Norway and you want an injection of Norwegian culture, my initial temptation is to recommend Bergen instead (see: 48 hours in Bergen) but whilst collecting memories for this blog post I realised that either city is a safe bet. If museums, art galleries or nightlife are your thing then admittedly Oslo is the way to go. If you’re more of a visual traveller then the centre, with its many brand stores and built up architecture, may appear disappointingly indiscernible from other countries whilst Bergen remains excitingly distinctive. Thankfully an easily readable bus map can help you discover more of Norway’s capital.
How I got there:
Seeing as I have not yet mastered the art of teleportation or accumulated a flock of dragons, Norwegian Air is a reliably comfortable airline for even a nervous flier like me.
Where I stayed:
I shared a room in a youth hostel with my best friend which was super cheap, but it was a little noisy and we were sent in the wrong direction up about three flights of stairs with all our luggage when we first arrived. We moaned for about a minute and then went to get chips.
What I did:
Museums: You’re spoilt for choice but I’d really recommend stepping back in time at the Norwegian Folk Museum. Outside of the modernised Oslo centre, here is a seemingly authentic experience of Norway; you stumble upon buildings from different periods of history as you walk the grounds and marvel at their designs as you come face to face with other ways of life. Next, step back even further and set sail at the Viking Ship Museum. I’ve always been fascinated by Vikings so unless I could have literally dressed up in costume and have had a real life Viking wipe blood on my face and sacrifice me to Odin, I was always going to be disenchanted by a Real Life museum – this is literally just a building filled with old boats right? But truly you’d have to be seriously cynical to remain untouched when visiting their final destination. Finally, if you’re travelling with anyone easily bored the Fram Polar Ship Museum surely cannot disappoint. Not only is the journey that the Norwegians took on their Polar Exhibition truly compelling, but you can explore the ship itself, interact with history and enjoy the ‘Northern Lights’ which are projected on to the roof of the museum every twenty minutes. An unexpected favourite.
Art Galleries: You know that famous Scream painting? You can go and look at that famous Scream painting at the National Gallery. We were informed that all art is Really Important by an equally important tourist after she overheard us quietly contemplating how the people in neighbouring paintings might interact with one another. (As someone who wishes to work within the arts sector I believe this woman is correct, but I also don’t agree with mocking young people who are trying-and-failing to be cultured when you don’t know their background.) Also there were a lot of paintings of naked prepubescent boys. One of them was in the brochure so I took it home and hid it under my boyfriend’s pillow.
Around Oslo: I loved Vigelandsparken. This is the world’s largest sculpture park by a single artist and honestly? Gustav Vigeland’s work really moved me. The emotions in the sculptures, human bodies startlingly realistic in their frozen movement, revealed painfully relatable truths.
Highs: The museums. There’s plenty to do if you’re, you know, Cultured.
Lows: Norway is as expensive as everyone says it is. Be prepared and incorporate that into your planning before you go. Also if you’re educated about art, some dumb tourist might ruin the galleries for you.
Tip for vegetarians: DON’T forget to check online before you go. We had to go back to the youth hostel more than once to use the wifi as the average restaurant will have nothing for you. DO enjoy the many Asian restaurants on offer.
Finishing off my blog with these two beautiful photographs of Me As A Tourist. My friend pointed out that I look like Dwight from ‘The Office’ in photograph number 1 so, that’s nice.