When we were planning this trip Oslo had a question mark next to it because we had been there before and we were trying to stay out of the big cities… but then, after a bit of conversation about what we saw the last time we were in Oslo, we started doubting ourselves because we couldn’t remember anything about it.
I get a lot of my memories from the blogs that I wrote during previous trips – and in that blog – there’s no mention of Oslo…. and if it’s not in the blog, did it really happen?
We were convinced that we hadn’t been to Oslo, and so we changed our itinerary to include 3 days there at the end of the journey.
It wasn’t until we were doing a bit of reading up on Norway and in particular, Oslo and more specifically Vigeland Park – which is full of sculptures that we realised that we had indeed been to that park, and therefore we’d been to Oslo – ergo – we’d been to Norway!
This then sparked some more memories of museums and viking ships and winter olympic sites…..yep – we DID come to Oslo.
Oh well, each time you return to a place you’ve been before, you just do something different.
We started the day at a cafe called Joe the Juice which is a place that we read about and have seen all over Norway, but hadn’t had the chance to try it out. It was a pretty cool place and had Abercrombie models working there…. one in particular was wearing jeans that were WAY too small for him – possibly borrowed from a friend…. and he also had some spectacular hair that was necessary to flick, which is probably why his head was on a constant lean and his lips were pursed – ala Zoolander….. anyway, it was a cool little place.
Me Jenny loves a good flower market/florist and it seems everywhere we’ve seen blomsters in Norway they are just beautiful – way lovelier than we get at home, so there was a bit of perusing done there.
Each day at the royal palace they have the Changing of the Guard, so that was where we headed next. It was supposed to be a day with a few scattered showers today, but it appears that our friend, Mr Hemsworth has been a little busy with something else and today the rain started and did not stop – in fact, it’s still raining now.
Last time we were in London we watch the changing of the guard there but the two experiences just didn’t compare. In London we were 4 people deep held back by the large golden gate that surrounds the front of the palace. In Oslo, a very small crowd gathered to watch the pomp and ceremony which is a little bit like the one at Bucks….
The guards themselves are different to the ones in London too – these ones turn their heads and look around and speak. If you venture too close to the palace front door, they will march over to you and ask you to step back. They do carry loaded rifles with bayonets, so best to stay back.
It was quite simple – the new guards marched out from a side gate and then did some formation stuff and then lined up at the other end of the square. They stood there for what seemed like forever and we’ll never know what happened after that because it was too cold and like I said – raining, so we high tailed it. That sound you can hear on the video sounds like it could be the marching…. but it’s not – it’s the rain on my umbrella.
This chap here was very gung ho and into his role and good on him. He marched and stood to attention so hard that he had a slight uniform mishap where one leg of his trousers was wedged in his buttocks, making it a little shorter than the other and then the short leg got caught in his boot…. he knew what was happening, but couldn’t do anything about it. You could feel his discomfort.
It was decided that we would get out of the rain and jump on the Hop On/Hop Off bus… Now I know what you’re all thinking…. ‘after Reykjavik, why would you get on another HOHO bus again?’ Well, I will admit that thought did cross my mind, but we scoped out the map and deemed it worth jumping onboard – that and the thought of walking through Oslo in the pouring rain didn’t seem appealing.
So jump on we did!
It looked mostly like this…. and as we drove around – especially at the more touristy places, more and more memories of having been here before came back to us.
Oslo, like a lot of cities seems to be going through a surge of new buildings/renovating old buildings/street maintainance and general digging up of things, so there is a lot of fencing and scaffolding and road blocks.
One place I would have liked to ‘hop off’ and have a look at was the Nobel Peace Prize Centre – but it had half the building covered in scaffolding, the road was blocked off and the rest of the building was fenced off – it wasn’t meant to be. Did you know that Adolf Hilter was once nominated for the Peace Prize? His nomination was quickly recindered in the same year – and rightly so! Today we learned that they don’t publish the nominees until 50 years after the prize is given.
This drive around town was actually quite good and if you’re ever in Oslo – I’d recommend it.
After our circuit was done, we hopped off, found a place for lunch where the waiter asked if we were Australian and then kept saying “G’day” and “Hooroo” and giggling.
I read in another blog that purchasing alcohol here in Norway has a few restrictions. Whilst you can buy beer and cider in grocery stores, anything over 4.7% must be purchased from Vinmonopolet – literally the Wine Monopoly – which is a government owned retailer and the only place allowed to sell alcohol over 4.75%.
All alcohol can only be purchased before 8pm on weekdays and before 6pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays and some public holidays but the Wine Monopoly shops close at 6pm during the week and at 3pm on Saturdays – I know, right – can you believe it?
So – with this information, we found ourselves a Monopoly store before closing time and purchased ourselves a bottle of wine – a little bit of inside information goes a long way, then we bought some cheese and biccies and got back to the comfort of our hotel….. poured the wine and……. relax.