A maritime weekend in Oslo, pt. 2
After arriving in Oslo last Saturday morning by boat and slightly hungover, we headed right on to the hotel, which was about a 15min walk through the inner city. Luckily, my boyfriend had been in Oslo before and remembered a lot, so that spared my poor hungover the excessive strain of actually having to process a map and directions, something I naturally suck at. The weather was a bit odd, like it couldn’t quite decide whether it should be rainy or sunny, or both at the same time. We arrived at the hotel, right off of Karl Johans gate, at the Esplanades, with the royal palace and the harbor in immediate walking distance. The hotel itself was already very nice, but after the dreadful cabin on the ship seemed like pure heaven! They scored so many points by having our room ready for check-in at 10:30am already, and for upgrading us to a beautiful executive room with a sitting area, a huge, comfy bed, and a massive rain shower. We freshened up and relaxed for about an hour, before heading out to do some exploring.
We strolled back down Karl Johans gate and to the opera house, which is located right at the waterfront. A very fascinating arcitectural structure, and a stark contrast to the otherwise very classic, old-timey Oslo building panorama. We climbed all the way onto the top (not that easy when you’re still not feeling 100%!) and enjoyed a nice view over the city center and up to the ski jumping hill Holmenkollen for about five seconds, before it started to rain, so we decided to head back.
Back up Karl Johans gate (there are probably other streets in Oslo, too…) and then down the Esplanades, all the way towards the royal palace we strolled, as the rain shower luckily ended as quickly as it had appeared. We even got the occasional ray of sunshine! I really love the colorful, whimsical buildings – Oslo must be one of the most universally beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. Helsinki had its charming corners, but in Oslo, you’re hard pressed to find a building that isn’t amazing.
I had been told ahead of the trip that Oslo would be “dead” and there wouldn’t be any people in the streets. I have to disagree – the streets were filled with beautiful Scandinavians on a Saturday shopping trip or enjoying a coffee in one of the cafés along the Esplanades, and of course with tourists snapping picture after picture (including me!). It was a really nice atmosphere, the kind that makes you wish you were one of those young, hip, Oslo people that just promenade up and down the city center.
After a short hike up a hill – in truth, it was more of an elevation, but living in flat Copenhagen for two years has made me soft! – we arrived at the royal palace. I love that it’s in the middle of the city, but still manages to give off that imperial vibe, sitting there on top of the hill surrounded by beautiful gardens.
We strolled through the park and enjoyed the flowers and the sunshine, which had by now broken through the clouds. How cute is that little gazebo? I would like to think the royal family comes down there to drink a cup of tea every once in a while, but that’s probably not what usually happens…
From the gardens, we headed down to the harbor and went to the Nobel Peace Center, which is definitely worth a visit. We also took some time to sit down, rest our tired legs and feet, and enjoy some well-deserved refreshments!
Luckily, the museum and the harbor were very close to our hotel, so we headed back to relax for a bit, before heading out again for some pre-dinner drinks. I’d made plans with Alina, a blogger friend of mine, and her husband, at the roof top terrace at the Grand Hotel (across the street from ours). It was great meeting her in person, as I’ve enjoyed her blog (Life in a Bubble) and her Instagram pictures over the past months, and we had a great time. They’re coming to Copenhagen soon, so hopefully we can return the favor. Here’s a very rare picture of the boyfriend (in the center) – he usually doesn’t let me put his photo on the blog, but made an exception (photo credit is to Alina).
We had lovely drinks (but boy, is Oslo expensive!) and headed on to a small cozy vinyl record store with a bar on the second floor, where we had another glass, before heading to dinner. Again, I thought I really have to get some speakers for my old record player, which is currently only collecting dust in the closet. Records are awesome!
After all of that action, we were just tired as hell, so we made use of the small dinner buffet at the hotel and turned in very early with some TV, so we’d be fresh for Sunday. The rest of the weekend is coming up, so stay tuned!