It was an adventure getting to my hotel. I already mentioned that my flight was rebooked and delayed, and fun…I was rebooked again because there was something wrong with the plane I was originally rebooked to. So it wasn’t just me, everyone was rebooked to another flight. We ended up taking off around 9:10…landed around 10:15ish…at this point I’m pretty tired…I shouldn’t complain, but damn I not only am I tired but I’m sick as well; no shock here, the places I’ve been to in the last month with the change in temperature it isn’t surprising.
When you get to the Oslo airport it is pretty easy to get to the baggage area…what was a bit confusing was, “how the hell do I get to Oslo center?” Maybe this isn’t confusing to everyone, but there are three, no four different ways to get to the center:
- Train (Flytorget)
- Train (NBS)
Oslo is pretty expensive and I DO NOT take taxi’s unless my company is paying for it and even then I’m pretty wary about taking them unless I know that the charge isn’t ridiculous.
The part that threw me off is the TWO train companies that take you to downtown Oslo. Why are there two? And why is the price difference between the two so high? Flytorget is 280 kr (~$32.00) and NBS is 93 kr (~$10.80)…so..? I’m not sure why Flytorget is almost 3 times more expensive…it doesn’t take longer for NBS to get there, it is still around 25-30 minutes…they both stop twice…so…yeah, not sure. What am I saying? Take NBS.
Let’s get on with my first day…
- So what do I mean by my post title? You wouldn’t believe how many tourists didn’t know to push the button to get on or off the subways, buses, trains, or trams…I’m telling you this out of love…I saw two women with a group of three guys and the women got stuck on the tram as it left…they couldn’t figure out how to get the door open and the three guys were off the train and kept gesturing that the women needed to push the button. So what happened? The tram left. The women never got off. And the guys had to follow the tram to the next stop… -_-
- Maybe you’re like, “Natalie, what’s the difference between the train, tram, and subway?” Maybe you aren’t wondering that, but I’ll tell you anyway…subways are trains that run underground, trains run on outdoor tracks (think amtrak), and trams run above ground through the city usually on electricity.
- Public transit tickets…remember I said Oslo is expensive? This doesn’t change for the transit tickets. For a single ticket (one transfer) is 33 kr (~$3.80), but much like Budapest and Göteborg there is no gate stopping you from going on. I’m not promoting you don’t pay because someone who is a transit officer COULD stop you and ask for proof of payment…I just never saw a transit officer, that’s all I’m saying. A24-hourr transit pass for 1 zone costs 90 kr (~$10)…so…anyway…did I mention it’s expensive? NYC is has a cheaper subway system…you get a 7-day pass, unlimited rides, in NY for $32
- Oslo day pass…that being said, do this. Especially if you want to visit a lot of museums or different exhibitions. The Oslo day pass covers a lot of those as part of the ticket price. It costs 395 kr (~$46) for a 24-hour day pass. You can also purchase a 48-hour and 72-hour one, but I was only going to be there for the weekend. I would also add, if you are already familiar with Oslo or are not looking to go to museums and are only looking to do free things, I would definitely get the 24-hour day pass. The best part of the Oslo day pass is that it covers trams, bus, and subway as well.
- Oslo has many parks to bike, walk, and run in, which makes the city life really lovely
- Tipping in Oslo…in most European cities you don’t tip, but in Oslo, it is different…you tip if you found the service to be good about 10-15% of the bill…I didn’t tip every time, but I did when I really enjoyed the service
- More on transit…Tram, subways, and buses lack handrails…that sounds weird, but if there is no place to sit you end up crowding the exits as that is where the poles are
- The Swedish and Norwegian language are very similar so it was easy enough to recognize a lot of signs…don’t get me wrong it’s in English as well, but if you’re in a rush it’s nice to not need to read the second line
- From the airport to Oslo City center…as I said above, pick NBS…or the bus, I’m not sure how much the bus costs, but I think it may take a bit longer and I would imagine cheaper.
- Oslo is expensive…yeah…I know I already said that
My first stop when I woke up was to get to the Visitor Center in Oslo Central Station…it opens at 9:00 AM. When you get there, grab a number, there are two places to do this, by the entrance attached to Oslo Central station and another near the door where you exit to the city. Even though I was there at 9:10 AM I was number 18 out of number 4…haha…yeah, it ended up moving pretty quickly though. I was helped around 9:24 AM…and purchased my Oslo day pass, which was pretty quick, and it was about 1-minute ordeal.
W.B. Samson Bakeri & Konditori is where I wandered into and they have the most amazing chai and croissant…and whatever the hell that cake thing is that reminds me of the cake I had in Budapest. They made the chai from scratch (Yes…now I must make chai tea from scratch)…and it was…so…delicious! I have never had such an amazing chai…and I’m sure it tastes different every time because she didn’t measure anything! Next stop…
Viking ship museum (100 kr…~$11.65)
Watch me tally up the cost of the museums I went to…
This was an interesting museum…it has three Viking ships that were used for burial:
- Oseberg – was a ship found in the Oseberg burial mound with two deceased women on board along with 14 horses, an ox, and 3 dogs -_-…ok, I know it’s now and not then, but it still makes me sad…and of course many other valuable grave goods, such as sleighs, textiles, buckets, bed, essentially things that Vikings believed people would need in the afterlife. Excavation of the bones suggests that the women, or at least one of them, was wealthy and the other may have been a sacrifice. It is not clear how they died. This ship is believed to be older than 800 AD
- Gokstad is a 9th-century ship found in the Gokstad burial mound with the remains of a man found on a bed. It is not clear who it is, but he had two smaller boats, a couple of tents, sledge, and riding equipment, so I can only assume this man was important.
- Tune is the least well-preserved ship and was found in fragments in its burial mound. The remains of this ship was a man and three horses. There’s even less on this ship as the excavation site was plundered after it was found.
Unfortunately, any values that may have been found on these boats were plundered long ago. They do show a video in the room that has the Tune ship that seems to entrance people…which means I had free reign of the museum >_<
I spent about 30 minutes in here.
Norwegian Folk Museum (130 kr…~$15.35)
The Norwegian Folk Museum is a large open air museum that is meant to show you what the lives and homes look like from the middle ages to the 20th century. It is fun, you can go into some of the houses and read the history of the different homes and who used to live there. They modeled them after real ones from various towns around Norway.
I got there around 11ish, right when it opened, so not many people were there. I’m sure if you come in the summer this place is more alive, but since I came so early there weren’t too many customers or too many “townspeople”…again, I’m sure it’s swinging in the summer with townspeople wandering around in traditional attire in their appropriate areas and doing…townspeopley things…
I would advise you carry some cash as there are some townspeople that will make traditional food in the traditional way and it will cost around 30 kr (YEAH…OVER $~3.00) to try some.
Also…I like to start things to the left…but…don’t do that here -_-…start to the right. I ended up in the “new town” versus the old…which I guess can be fun if you’re interested in going backward in time.
I spent about 45 minutes here…and I’m a pretty slow walker. I’m sure during peak season someone would spend 1.5-2 hours here.
Vigeland Museum (80 kr…~$9.32)
As you can see…my Oslo day pass is practically giving me money. I haven’t tallied the buses, trams, and subway lines I’ve been taking to get to these places.
The Vigeland Museum is a museum dedicated to the famous Norwegian sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. He is prized for his creativity and productivity…and damn he was productive, he made SO many sculptures! I took many pictures (all can be found on my Instagram), but here is a small sample of what I took.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this museum, and I only went in because it was “free”…but I’m glad I did. The sculptures were amazing and it was fun to read about the pieces. In each room, there is a handout in Norwegian and English so you can read about the major pieces and why Gustav created them.
Vigeland park (free)
Ready to see a three in one? Go right across the street from the museum over to Vigelandsparken and see the Monolitten and Frogner Park. This park (no shocker) is a sculpture park of none other than Gustav Vigeland. This park is huge…and gorgeous…and if I lived here I’d come here for picnics.
I walked around for a bit, took some photos, then decided…it’s time to eat!
There are no words. You have to come here. This place is all about the charcuterie board…it was like a dream come true! Everything was absolutely divine…I labeled what everything was beneath the pictures. This place is pricey, I spent ~$60 for this lunch.
I toured the grounds of the Royal palace…the palace itself is not open until summer, but walking around the grounds is fun. It’s just another example of how Norway has many lovely parks. I’ve noticed it’s a common theme around Europe…I wish the States was more like this. I know the States has parks, but they are not usually accessible in the cities.
Nobel Peace Center (130 kr…~$15.17)
This place…is amazing. You should absolutely go here. You will learn a lot about who has received the Nobel Peach Prize over the years and the history of Alfred Nobel…now he was a fascinating individual. The first floor is a special exhibit, that, I’m guessing rotates monthly? This time around it was about people who were displaced from their homes in Syria.
The first part of the second floor will give you background on the prior year recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The next part of the floor is a magical room with a ton of tablets where each tablet has an image of the winner. If you touch it, it will tell you why the individual was given the award. The last part of the second floor has an amazing interactive book. I’ve never seen anything like this. You touch it to move the story along, you touch the pages and new words fly in…and this book is about the history and life of Alfred Nobel.
Last stop before I go and rest…
Akershus Fortress (or Castle) is a pretty important building as it was built to protect Norway. It has gone through many sieges and still remains! It is used by the military, but it is also used for events and to host foreign dignitaries. The time I was there a wedding was going to take place so they did shut down the castle part a bit earlier than normal so I wasn’t able to get inside, but I did walk around the fortress. It is high on a hill and has a great view of the water (better to spot attacks). I didn’t stick around for too long as I was pretty exhausted at this point. There is also a lot going on in the city this weekend…there was a marathon, a rock festival, a dance competition, etc…so I’m sure there was an abnormal amount of people in Oslo the weekend I was there.