Many who had been to Norway before would talk about skipping Oslo when visiting Norway. For they say that the country’s beauty lies in its landscapes, fjords, and wilderness. I cannot dispute the beauty part after visiting Lofoten Islands, Bergen, Stavanger, and Preikestolen. But to skip Oslo is one thing I will not do. I don’t really understand travel advice as such anyway since everybody has different travel preferences and expectation. Shouldn’t we be open-minded when traveling? I prefer to see it for myself than to base on someone else’s opinion and that’s exactly what I did.
I took a Norwegian Air flight from Tallinn to meet Wifey in Oslo, which was her second solo flight from Singapore. Then it was an easy ride from the airport to city center via Flytoget Express Train.
Karl Johans Gate and Oslo Cathedral
Karl Johans Gate is the main street in Oslo which leads from the Central Station (Oslo Sentralstasjon, or simply Oslo S) to the Royal Palace (Slottet). The lengthy stretch passes through its shopping district and many well-known landmarks like Oslo Cathedral (Oslo Domikrike), Parliament of Norway (Stortinget) and National Theatre (Nationaltheatret).
Oslo Cathedral is primarily used for weddings and funerals by Norwegian Royal Family and Government. The nicely decorated ceiling is impressive and there’s no entrance fee to it.
The Red heart sculpture, however, is to commemorate the victims of the terror attacks back in 2011. RIP.
Parliament of Norway and National Theatre
Parliament of Norway is a short walk from Oslo Cathedral. The interior of this yellow-bricked government building can be visited via a free guided tour. The 1-hour tour is held on weekdays during Summer but only Saturdays during Spring and Autumn. It’s not possible to book in advance hence I gave it a miss.
There is this nice-looking fountain next to National Theatre.
Oslo City Hall
The exterior design of Oslo City Hall (Oslo Radhus) may look a little uninspiring. But this dull colored building located at the harbourfront is the venue for Nobel Peace Prize Award ceremony every December! Doubt I will ever make it on the invite list, but I still get to check out its interior. That’s because Oslo City Hall is open to the public for free, how nice!
The interior space is huge and nicely decorated. I personally like the interior far more than its exterior. The bright and colorful wall murals are really beautiful.
Frogner Park and Vigeland Sculptures
There is an abundance of green spaces for a capital city inhabited by around 600,000 people. Ok, this maybe boon or bane depending on which side of the fence one belongs to. All that spaces can be all emptiness and dull for some. But for me who’s living in a small and cramped-up city, this is a nice change. And the seriously huge Frogner Park (Frognerparken) in Oslo has over 100 acres of space. How big is that? Well, a typical soccer field pitch is around 2 acres in comparison and it’s free to enter. I took Tram No.12 and alighted at Vigelandsparken as the park is slightly further from the city center.
Researchers point out that green spaces can help to improve one’s mood. Perhaps that’s why being here kind of temporarily numbed the fact that the expenses are disastrous to my wallet LOL.
There are over 200 sculptures within the park designed by artist Gustav Vigeland. I don’t remember seeing any sculptures with clothing but all their expressions look really vivid.
The Angry Boy (Sinnataggen) is the most famous among the hundreds of sculptures. His golden hand is the result of ‘touchy’ visitors and actually causing damage to the bronze.
It’s rather foggy that afternoon but it did not take any shine off the Monolith tower, which is the centerpiece.
Dinner at Fyret Mat & Drikke
This Norwegian restaurant looks more like one gastropub with a nautical theme. But I like the atmosphere here although it’s a little small and crampy on the inside. Dining out is expensive in Norway hence it always feels good to find places serving food that match up the price. The meals we had were nice and delicious.
STAY: Comfort Hotel Grand Central
Comfort Hotel Grand Central is situated inside of Oslo Central Station. Its awesome location is within walking distance to almost everything. I like the trendy yet laidback lobby area which makes me feel comfortable right from the start. Room size is decent and the funky decors really stand out when comparing to other hotels. The bed and bathroom are excellent too. Another good thing to mention is the delicious breakfast spread runs till 11 in the morning. The stay here in Comfort Hotel Grand Central is comfort indeed!