In 2015 I was working a stressful office job, struggled every single day and was always tired. The best moment of that year was taking my first friend-cation to Oslo, Norway. I still miss the city so much.
Norwegian people are some of the kindest people you will EVER meet. The minute I landed in Oslo I made a new best friends and almost forgot about the friends I was travelling with. You’d think I’m joking but seriously, Imogen… if you’re out there… just know that you’re still my favourite. Oslo is the capital of Norway and a populated urban area so you’d think everyone would be hostile and unfriendly. It’s the complete opposite. Everywhere we went, we received a smile and it was one of the best things about the trip. A bad face-to-face experience can ruin a day but every person I spoke to or even made eye contact with in Oslo seemed happy to see me. It was interesting that nobody every seemed to be in a rush. I’m not surprised it’s one of the happiest cities in the world.
The Parks & Gardens
Exploring the parks was one of the activities I was most looking forward too, especially the botanical gardens. Long-time blog readers know how I feel about parks and natural spaces so I was really excited to see what Oslo had to offer. One the first day, we headed to Vigeland Park and Sculpture Museum. Originally, it was supposed to be a quick hour-long trip but we ended up spending most of the day relaxing in the park. The University Botanical Garden is Oslo’s oldest botanical garden and it totally took my breath away. There was so much green. I never used to be a nature person but I think my mind started to change after my trip here. Taking a long walk through there was a dream – I want to go back!
I’m a sucker for a good view of rolling hills or sunny landscapes. On the third day in Oslo, I visited Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower and the most exciting thing was the view from the top. The ski jump was fun to look at too, but the view from right at the top is permanently etched in my brain. From that height, Oslo looks like a perfectly untouched city, with plenty of green, houses dotted around and crystal clear water. With all the chaos going on in the world, and so many places now destroyed, I would love to go back and take in this view again. The city is so well looked-after, it felt almost peaceful looking over it all.
Museums are a must when I take trips. No matter where I’m going, I like to have visited at least one museum. Oslo has plenty: Munch Museum, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Museum of Cultural History, Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, Nobel Peace Center, Norway’s Resistance Museum, Fram Museum and so many more. Sadly, I couldn’t visit them all as it felt like the list was endless and we only had a couple of days but I would love to return and learn more. My favourite was the Nobel Peace Center, which I’d go to again just to learn more about some great minds.
I love a good cityscape shot and can appreciate some good design. One place that will always stick in my mind in Oslo is the Opera House. You could walk on the roof. I never got to go inside the building but there are no photos that do the outside any justice. That goes for most buildings in Oslo. I remember mistaking university buildings for palaces because they were so picturesque. The Royal Palace in Oslo itself was beautiful to see up close. I’m still shocked you can pretty much walk up to the front door! A lot of Norwegian buildings were built during the 19th century (apart from Akershus Fortress which was built in in the 1290s) and the elegance and innovativeness is evident in each construction. I like cities that have buildings that stand out, and almost every area of Oslo has one structure that steals the limelight. I’m not surprised they have an entire museum dedicated to the architecture.
Oslo, I’ll be back!