Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Travel Diary: Oslo, Norway

Sunday, September 20, 2009, 10:15 am

Well, I have two Saturdays in Scandinavia and one of them just went to waste because I felt too ill to do anything. It's really too bad, although my general lack of energy probably would have prevented me from having much fun anyway. Major jet lag plus some sleepless nights out will take its toll on you, I suppose.

I got up early this morning to get to the airport from the Copenhagen train station. Well, did so with flying colors. I half expected it to be quite difficult given my previous experiences with European train travel in Romania and Moldova. I should have known better. Just as I started to get nervous about missing my train stop, a calm voice over the intercom told me when it would be... in English!

When I arrived at the airport, I found that my flight was actually an hour later than I originally thought. So, now I've been here for a couple of hours just waiting to fly to Oslo. Only spending one night in Oslo before heading off to Bergen.


Have just landed in Oslo. Exchanged my money only to spend about $18 on a pizza, breadsticks and 7-Up at the airport restaurant. This will likely be the most expensive leg of my trip; and likely the most unhealthy given food options in my price range.


Well, everyone has said that Oslo has little to offer. My first impression was quite the same to be honest. But I gave this town some more time and upon walking around with no agenda, I am taken aback by it's charm.

It's a quiet Sunday and almost all the shops are closed, but my peaceful stroll along Aker Brygge has changed my opinion of this seaside town. In fact, this section of town specifically reminds me of Seattle. It's cold and it's wet, but the occasional ray of sunshine peeks through the drifting clouds. The light waves lap up against the wooden piers and columns. The islands of green in the distance with the ferries that shuttle back and forth to them; the new condos above shops and restaurants clearly reserved for the city's elite - could Oslo be the Seattle of Europe?


A man puffs on his pipe while taking a picture of himself on his iPhone. A couple kisses at the pier's end in front of the setting sun - he's short and she's, well, Norwegian. A young man navigates his bike across the narrow beams of wood that separate land and sea all while carrying a cup of coffee in one hand. Out in the sea, a Swedish sailboat starts to dock on the pier, a young blond man giving orders in a foreign tongue to seahands who understand and start pulling at sails and grinding winches. Arm in arm with a long-haired beauty, a man whistles while he walks. He whistles while he walks. Sisters are giggling with each other, shopping bags in both hands. And then a church bell rings in the distance. No joke. Doesn't it always?

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