I recently had my DNA tested and it confirmed that the majority of my make up is Scandinavian. I am very excited to learn this right now since I am about a month away from another trip to a Scandinavian destination, Denmark. All of this has me reminiscing about the time my sister and I went to Oslo. My sister had just graduated with her Bachelors degree and I had been invited to speak at a conference. We thought it would be the perfect celebratory girls getaway.
It was evident when we arrived at the sleek Oslo airport that the city is filled with gorgeous people. Tall blondes with expertly tied scarves and messy buns of perfection on top of their heads- they sure know how to make a girl feel average! The city is clean and friendly and had a surprising amount of diverse pockets here and there. We crashed out in the room for the day and then enjoyed some beers on the rooftop of Gloria Flames. The next day, we explored Karl Johans Gate, the heart of Oslo and the main thoroughfare that leads to the Royal Palace.
That evening we were treated to a reception at the Oslo City Hall and were able to enjoy appetizers and wine while on a tour of the building made famous for the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. City Hall faces the main harbor of Oslo and hosts stunning art inside every room. On our next free day, we ventured across the fjord to Bygdoy Island to visit the a couple of museums. After arriving by ferry, we grabbed a quick lunch and walked to the Viking Museum. The museum houses three of the best preserved Viking ships of the 9th century and reminded me just how infantile my home country is. We wandered the delightfully colored neighborhood to the Kon Tiki Museum, which celebrates famed Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl’s mega sea voyages.
The best cultural experiences in Oslo were not found behind museum walls. The street art was truly something to see. Entire alleyways decorated in spray paint rainbows and sparkly chandeliers made for cool entrances to music venues and bars. But the most breathtaking day was spent at Vigelandsparken, a park featuring 212 of Gustav Vigeland’s incredible sculptures depicting Scandinavian humanity in its rawest forms. Babies, grandparents, proud papas, smiling cousins, and supportive couples line bridges and fountains throughout the largest park in Oslo. It was amazing to see so much emotion carved from granite.
Our trip wasn’t complete without a visit to the Oslo Opera House, completed in 2007. You can wander atop the slanted roof and catch expansive views of the fjord. The inside is just as modern and sculptural as the outside. We finished off the week with lunch on the Aker Brygge, a large pier lined with outdoor restaurants and shops, and did some cheap Scandinavian shopping (seriously, an H&M on every corner). The perfect ending to the night included an 80’s rock party at Lux Rockbar at the suggestion of our hotel bartender.
In a nutshell, Oslo was a beautiful city that was easy to navigate and offered several options for food (seafood is popular and not to be missed). The public transportation was simple and ferry tickets can be purchased at machines right on the harbor. The weather in September was drizzly at times, but opened up to the most gorgeous skies. I cannot wait to get back to a similar region soon and share it with more of my family this time around!