Monday, 25 August 2014

Visiting Oslo - Norway

I'm back everyone! If you didn't see my countdown on Twitter, (Yes, I'm that person) I have spent this weekend, swanning around Oslo with t'other half. I honestly had zero idea what to expect from the capital city of Norway so it really was a pleasant surprise. 

The view from our hotel room
We flew from Helsinki on Friday lunchtime. Just a hop and a skip away, or an hour and a half flight to be more precise. Oslo was the perfect choice for a short getaway. 

We stayed in the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, slap bang in the centre of the city. It was the perfect location for exploring Oslo and was in touching distance of Oslo central station which operate an express train to and from the airport, which means you can avoid hunting down a taxi, and also save yourself a small fortune in fares. It's worth noting that Oslo is not cheap by any means. The express train from the airport to the central station takes approximately 20 minutes and will set you back around 33 Euros each return. A taxi will cost you infinitely more; around 70 Euros each way. Ouch. (Norway use the Norwegian Krone and not the Euro, which I only discovered the night before we flew - Typical) 

That being said, Oslo is such a beautiful city and one that is definitely worth a visit. On Friday evening we arrived at the hotel and decided to have dinner and drinks at the amazing 34 Skybar and Restaurant. It's located on the 34th floor, (Funnily enough) of the Radisson hotel and offers panoramic views of the city. We had a table by the window for our dinner and it was absolutely stunning. I will be writing a full review of the Radisson in a later post so I will spare you the minute details; but the food and the drinks were delicious. 



On Saturday, we headed out to explore the city. After fretting about the forecast for rain all week, we were over the moon that the weather was glorious; albeit despite a teeny amount of drizzle in the early evening. I was a bit disappointed that I had packed, 'rain appropriate' clothing however, and left my sandals at home. Damn you weather app! 



Three trolls


The architecture in Oslo is incredible. There are so many interesting buildings and details; it was impossible to photograph them all. I literally had my camera glued to my hand throughout the day as there was so much to see and take in. We stopped off for lunch at a great little pub called The Scotsman. Having a Scottish fiance means it was pretty much a done deal as soon as we walked past. It had a relaxed atmosphere and the food was delicious. Real pub grub; but with a bit more oomph!




Of course, no trip anywhere is complete without hitting the local shops. Oslo definitely delivers in this department. You're not going to spot many of your typical UK high street shops here, no Topshop or River Island; however you do have the likes of Zara and Mango, plus a H&M on just about every street you come across. Beauty lovers take note because in Oslo you will find more beauty counters than grains of sand on a beach. Okay, maybe not quite, but you are literally spoilt for choice here and you can guarantee that if one shop doesn't have what you're looking for, one of the other twenty-bazillion will! Top marks Oslo. 

After a spot of retail therapy, we decided to wander some more and grab a few beers in one of the summer terraces. 





The strangest street performers
One thing I didn't expect about Oslo was the sheer number of people that were out and about in the city. I don't know whether it's the time of year, the nice weather, the fact that it was a Saturday afternoon or a combination of all of these factors; but the streets were so busy. It did become a bit of an annoyance for me as many people had seemed to have left their manners at home and just pushed past you or alternatively decided to stand in a public doorway and have a chat with their friends. Arghh.. It didn't deter us too much but if you're not a lover of crowds, you may want to avoid peak visiting times.

 It's also worth noting that there are a significant number of homeless people in Olso. You will find people begging on many of the streets and we also witnessed a number of people rummaging through bins for food. I was quite surprised as I assumed Oslo would be very similar to Helsinki and I have never seen anything like this on the streets there.

Karl Johansgate is the main street in Oslo and it is lined with shops and places to eat. It is completely pedestrianised and offers spectacular views of the Royal Palace at the far end. We spent a great deal of the day walking along the boulevard and taking in the many sights. It's a must see if you're ever planning a visit to the capital. 




The Royal Palace is enormous and sits ever so grandly at the top of a 'hill' as such, looking down on the streets below. I say a hill but it feels like a very slight slope - technically still a hill, I'm sure, but it really doesn't feel like it warrants such a name. You can walk around the palace and explore the pristine gardens. One of the guards very kindly let me take his picture. I'm sure he was trying hard not to laugh at how touristy we were. 

 
The view from the Palace, down Karl Johansgate
After a full day's exploring, we decided to head back to the hotel and order room service before having a nap. Definitely showing signs of getting old. We planned to hit a few cocktail bars in town, but considering how much our legs were aching from a day's walking, teamed with the fact that we had a relatively early flight the next day; we decided to head back to the Skybar in the hotel and drink them clean out of champagne and Jack Daniels. No judging, right? 

As is the custom when taking any flight, Scott and I made good use of the duty free! I have to admit that I made a small purchase at both ends, the first being a Dior lipstick before we left Finland which was half the usual price of the stores in my town and the second being a Smashbox waterproof kohl liner leaving Oslo which was a complete necessity as my current liner is giving me a major headache. Crumbling, snapping, you name it! I haven't photographed the liner yet but watch out for reviews of both in the near future.


Scott treated himself to a huge bottle of Havana rum and an equally huge bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon. Each to their own. We also picked up the world's biggest box of After Eights, just because... 

We have already discussed our next visit to Oslo and neither of us can wait to get back and explore more of what Norway has to offer. I think next time we would also like to travel further afield and discover some of the beautiful Norwegian fjords. Until next time Oslo...  


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10 comments

  1. Aw, this looks like the perfect getaway! I'd love to visit Oslo, I'm so pleased you had a great time! :)

    Style Sunrise☀

    :)
    x

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    1. Thank you. If you ever get the chance to visit, you really should! It's such a great city xxx

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  2. Looks like you had a great trip and crammed so much in! I always hear that Norway in general is a pretty expensive place to visit.

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    1. Thanks, it was loads of fun! Norway is definitely more expensive than the likes of the UK. xx

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  3. Oslo looks beautiful and it sounds like you had a great break!! My boyfriend is very keen to visit Norway so I'm sure we will be there at some point Gisforgingers xx

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    1. Thank you. We had so much fun! You should definitely try to get there at some point if you can xx

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  4. Looks like a gorgeous place!

    http://www.thetouristoflife.com

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    1. It is.. Thank you for commenting Yvonne xx

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  5. Absolutely a beautiful place to visit :) Hope you had so muchhh fun theree, Kristy!

    xoxo
    www.colorsinmybubble.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you very much. We had such a great weekend xxx

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