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Category: Oslo 2020

Manjas 2019 Christmas Gift to me: A weekend away in Oslo

Ye old houses on Fjord Isles

We awoke to the sound of…. Well, to no sound at all, we had a great flat 😁

View from the room

View from the room

We quickly got ready, packed all our gear, and grabbed some food at the bakery on the way to the port. We decided to make use of our last morning by taking a boat tour into the Fjord, by simply taking the ferry which did a round-trip for about an hour. We arrived at the port a bit early and had our breakfast on a bench overlooking the harbour, a bit cold but somehow magical.

Breakfast view from our bench in the harbour

Breakfast view from our bench in the harbour

Next stop was the ticket machine, which decided to be a bit difficult: You could only purchase one ticket on the same credit card…  I assume this is to prevent accidental multi-purchases…. sigh…  luckily Manja had her card handy too and we managed to get a ticket each.  We boarded the ferry and headed straight for the top deck, where we remained for about half the trip. On the way back I couldn’t really feel my toes anymore because of the cold, so we decided to warm up inside. Not long after we go there, a crew member came by and asked if we would mind participating in an emergency drill. Well, sure! So when the test-alarm went off we headed to the front of the ferry and got to put on some pretty cool life-jackets. It amused me to realise that I struggled to put the thing on properly, needing the help of the crew!😅
Luckily we did not have to dive into the freezing water, and just had to wait outside until the captain gave an all-clear. We remained on the ferry just long enough to heat up again before arriving at the Oslo Harbour once more.

We walked back to our station, purchased a standard ticket and caught the train back to the Oslo airport. You can take the express here, but it’s only about 5 minutes faster but €10 per person more expensive….  Feeling savvy we boarded the standard train and saved some money 🧐

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Going through security was super modern: Each terminal had a 90degree area supervised by a guard. This area had two levels: One where a computer placed a tray each time one was removed, and directly above one where you could place two trays next to each other and place all your things into. This means that, rather than waiting in line for each person to drop their gear off, one at a time, each counter was sorting out 5 people in the same moment. The trays were moving through the scanners at a steady rate. On the other side of the metal detectors the trays were automatically separated into “All clear” and “need human to check something”. The all-clear queue had all our gear in it, so we pulled our trays off the conveyer belt and took our stuff. Our trays were placed back into a small stack, which was appropriately labeled “Please feed me” in several languages. I would have LOVED to take a photo, but this was not allowed. None the less, I was super impressed with the efficiency of the place, especially compared to Dubai or, even worse, Tegel airport.

Our flight back was totally uneventful. Back in Berlin we got out and saw just how bad Tegel security checks were: The line was about 100 meters past the last official queuing point. Totally insane! We cut through the madness against a flow of people wanting to get into the airport, and eventually got onto the second bus which arrived, because the first was over-full. Even though the first bus was over-full, at least 3 more people squeezed on. Welcome back to Berlin! 😂

We got a seat with no problems, by waiting for the next bus… for 5 minutes.

Once back home we had to drop by a neighbours who was kind enough to accept our deliveries of 2 shelves for the storage unit. We picked them up, transported them by using my bike as a wheelbarrow and pushing them to the storage place.

About 45 minutes later they were all setup and we headed for an early dinner at the local Asian place. The Ban-Mi I had was unfortunately not that great, but the dinner was a lovely way to finish up our weekend. A movie later we dropped into bed😴

Oslos overwhelming overture to ordinary occurrences

We awoke feeling a little sore from walking and a little groggy… which was probably related to the choice of dinner last night 😅

Seriously though, Manja was feeling a bit ill last night already and awoke with a stomach ache. Not the best start for the day…

None the less, we got ourselves up and ready.  As we left we got a message from our host, asking us to leave a spare set of keys in the flowerpot outside….  Errr… Okay.  Well, not our flat, so: Done!

This tree grows keys now

We decided to try out the bakery downstairs, which looked fancy.  As we headed in we had two problems: Manja was overwhelmed with choice for sweet breakfasts and I was underwhelmed with choice of savoury breakfasts…  especially the €8-10 price-tag for a sandwich option. So we asked the Google-Oracle for an alternate option and it provided one en-route for our daytrip with excellent reviews.  Once there Manja settled on an “Apple pocket” with Chamomile tea while I had a tomato-mozerella-egg giant baguette with coffee.

It’s not the size that… Well, no, okay, it’s all about the size.

Charged up for the day we walked down to the Habour, making the most of the few rays of sunlight to take some nice pictures.  This was followed by a walk across “Akershus Festning” which was the original castle of Oslo and actually survived a bunch of attacks, and is still used as a military base even though it’s open to the public.  Amongst brilliant views of the Fjord from the ramparts, it also had a bunch of cannons of various eras to inspect.  There is also a church and two museums to visit, but we opted to use the daylight to continue our exploration of Oslo.

Our next stop was the Opera of Oslo, which is a fantastic bit of architecture.  You can walk all the way up the building and appreciate yet another view over the Fjord.  Along the side you can also see some Sauna Boats, basically a houseboat converted into a sauna with the option of jumping into the freezing cold Fjord water at the end…  Brrrrr….. 🥶.  We use the Opera itself to spend a few minutes inside and warm up again ourselves.

From there we headed to the Oslo Mathallen, which is a really cool and fancy food-court. Just outside we also found this place:

I think I would feel riiight at home in this area, particularly when I spotted a rock-climbing gym not 5 minutes away!  We decided to have a small cupcake and coffee break, just to give us some energy while making sure we’d still be hungry for dinner.

Charged up, our next stop would be “Æreslunden” which is the main Honorific Graveyard in Norway. We didn’t know much abou the history, but Manja pointed out that it was the burrial place of Edvard Munch, who famously painted the scream. We wandered the graveyard for a while, being delighted by some stories we found by way of QR codes on the graves. I also found a cool goose.

With daylight starting to run out, we had one more important stop to make: Frogner Park. Now, contrary to what a metal goose may tell you, I’ve got to say that I am generally not a huge fan of sculptures, but this place was amazing. A whole lot of sculptures of people and families and human life represented in bronze and granite, including a monolith in the center which is, upon closer inspection, a pile of people.  I was honestly taken aback by this, in terms of the emotion displayed in many sculptures, by the volume of sculptures and by their life-like appearance. I mean, the bodies used were not idealized in any way, they were simply representing normal people, which seems unusual to me. In addition, many sculptures had multiple people as part of them, some even whole groups of children. As the sun set we headed back to our Airbnb, and I was very happy to have come here and experienced this place – especially because I would have never thought to go if it were left up to my planning!

Pretty exhausted we arrived back at our Airbnb, with just enough time to freshen up a bit and select a place for dinner. We had been seeing pizza all around us all day, so that was the flavour of the evening. We found a nice place just 5 minutes away, but when we got there they were all booked out…  dang! Not to be discouraged we headed over to another place, which was 10 minutes away from our accomodation, unfortunately in the other direction…  Manja was getting a touch tired, so I offered to carry her for a bit…  Which she actually accepted. So I walked with her on my back for a block, much to the amusement of passer bys, and our own giggles. I maintain that I just had to put her down because I was laughing too much 😉

When we got to the pizza place we were lucky – getting the last available table in the house. The place was small, run by an old skinny Italian guy who spent his time behind the counter greeting everyone and continuously making Pizzas. We opted for the Vegetarian and the three-cheese version, spending our waiting time observing the other guests, as our table was perched on a platform in the corner of the restaurant. The pizza arrived not long after and we were pleasantly surprised by how good they looked. The flavour wasn’t as great but not bad either.

Happy and full we walked the final 10 minutes to our Airbnb and spent the night relaxing and updating this blog 🙂

Date-trip to Norway!

For Christmas Manja had arranged a trip to Oslo for me. I chose to interpret it as an extended date-trip 🥰

So Friday morning we got ready and headed over to the airport.  Traffic wasn’t great, so the Taxi took a bit longer but we knew about this in advance and left early enough. We got through security and boarded a short time later. Take-off was a bit bumpy, but the flight was fine and we landed in Oslo 1.5 hours later to a beautiful snowy landscape.

As always, Manja had pre-organised everything and we knew we just had to find our way to the normal train to get to our Airbnb near the city center.  At the airport we had the most friendly guy sort out the tickets for us, and we were off without any issues.  25 Minutes later we arrived at the trainstation but could not find our connection – we knew from Google that we had to go to platform “A”.  After walking around a bunch, Manja spotted a map which showed us the location of Platform A, but it took us OUT of the trainstation.  I mean, WTF? As I looked around confused we both realised what was going on at the same moment.  “Platform A” was the bus station. Two stops later we were at our Airbnb, ready to do an escape-room like adventure to get the keys. We found the shop across the road, managed to find the “Key sharing booth” and opened the key compartment with an SMS.

The appartment where we’re staying looks great: while it’s on the 5th floor of an old-school building, they had installed the tiniest elevator in between the circular staircase to the top: Only just space enough for Manja and I to fit in at the same time.

After dropping our bags, the next challenge would be finding lunch.  We consulted the google oracle and found an interesting sounding place “San Francisco Bread Bowl”, which was conveniently located between our Airbnb and the City center.  Everything in Oslo itself appears to be walking distance, so we headed over and ended up walking along “Balders Gate”.  For those who don’t get why I thought this was funny, here is a hint.

Lunch was as delicious as it was simple and plentiful.  Very much sated we stumbled down to the harbour for a bit of a walk around. The scenery is just amazing, the area has several arts centers in it too.  From the banks we could also see this colorful tree, which encouraged us to stop and make a video 🙂

At one point we got a message from our Airbnb host who asked us to check if she left the keys behind… As we were not there yet we could not check.  She let us know that it didn’t matter, because she wouldn’t be home tonight anyway… Which meant we would have the flat to ourselves and could have a chilled night in after sunset.

On our way back we checked out a few stores to see if we could find a replacement for Manjas breaking jacket, but with limited success.  As we were both super tired by this point, but with very little hunger, we decided to head back to our Airbnb with a bag of chips to watch a movie. The idea is to head to bed timely so that we can make the most of the daylight hours tomorrow.

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