North of Norway – Exploring Oslo

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With only a few days in Oslo and several sights I wanted to see, I put together an accelerated itinerary to cover as much ground as I could.  Costs are astronomical in Osloso I was looking for activities that wouldn’t break the bank.

  1. Introduction and trip planning
  2. Lufthansa First Class Dulles to Munich
  3. Lufthansa Munich First Class Lounge
  4. Lufthansa Business Class Munich to Oslo
  5. SAS Economy Class Oslo to Longyearbyen
  6. Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitsbergen
  7. Exploring Longyearbyen
  8. Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo
  9. Exploring Oslo
  10. Park Inn By Radisson Oslo Airport
  11. Lufthansa 747-8i Frankfurt to Dulles
  12. Park Hyatt Washington DC

After my initial hour spent gazing from the Radisson Blu over the Oslofjord, I headed straight for the Oslo Opera House which is a short 15 minute walk from the hotel.

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The Oslo Opera House is quickly becoming a modern architectural icon and it is easy to see why.  What makes the Opera House so unique is the ability for visitors to walk on the roof. Norway does not have a lot of the same building codes as US or the rest of Europe so they are able to do some interesting things architecturally. As an example, you’ll notice there are no handrails or much for side walls on this structure.

I grabbed a baguette and a novelty Urge (The inspiration for the failed Surge product launched my Coke a few years back in the US) from the train station en route to the landmark and enjoyed my lunch with a view.

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After a relaxing lunch, I headed over to the Oslo City Hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is handed out each year.  I was surprised to have the hall pretty much to myself on this lovely summer day.  It was neat to think of how many brilliant minds have walked through these halls.

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Not terribly far from the Oslo City Hall were the ferries leaving for various points on the Oslofjord. There are no shortage of amazing museums in Oslo so I had to be selective and opted to check out the Viking Ship Museum which required a ferry ride. I hopped on the Bygdø ferry for the purpose of getting out on the water and to pay a quick visit to the Viking Ship Museum.

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The crown jewels at the Viking Ship Museum are two Viking ships in incredibly good shape for something that was built of wood around 800 AD.  It was quite interesting to read about Viking history and I chuckled a bit reading about their presence in North America long before the days on Columbus. The Museum was pretty compact so I was able to make it through in about an hour.

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The next day I spent some time in the city center.  I walked down Karl Johan gate where the Royal Palace is located as well as the fancy Oslo shopping and restaurants.  This area was very nice but I didn’t find it distinctively different than the fancy shopping streets in other European capitals. As I walked down this street, I ran into KISS as they were leaving their hotel. CIMG3913

I looked online at the Oslo National Museum of Art and found that admission is free on Sundays so I paid a quick visit to Edward Munch’s ‘The Scream’.  Unfortunately photography was prohibited but it is always exciting to see a world famous painting for free.

On the whole, my favorite aspect of Oslo was the quality and abundance of green space throughout the city.  The most fascinating of the parks I visited was Frogner Park including the Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement.  The park features the life’s work of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland.  Despite being a popular tourist attraction, the park is large enough that I was able to find my own plot of green space and enjoy the park in peace.

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The bottom line

It was hard to find anything wrong with Oslo.  The city is green, the streets are clean, crime is nearly non-existent, and most importantly the Oslovians are friendly and seem genuinely happy to live there. The cost and weather are a bit of a turnoff for most though with that comes a silver lining.  Even in the summer, the crowds at the tourist attractions were sparse and overall the city just felt like a great place to call home. Most of the activities I selected were free or came at a modest price so that helped keep my personal expenses down.  I highly recommend a visit to Oslo if you are in a position to navigate the high costs.


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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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  1. You can get to the Viking Ship Museum by bus , tram or taxi too. A beautiful city , i will definitely go back!!!

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