Spending big in Oslo

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
Ekeberg Camping

Flag of Norway  , Oslo county,
Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 22, 2010

Heading off west in the direction of Oslo, but planning to take a couple of days to get the 350kms done. This evening we have stopped at Orebro, a smaller town 100 km west of Stockholm. The campground is the polar opposite of the one in Stockholm… it is huge and modern and clean, with extensive facilities, including a major swimming park complex. We needed this to get our computers charged up, and to get decent internet so we can catch up on our communication, and on our planning for the next few weeks, which is helped by internet research.

We did go into the town here. It has its pretty little town centre with the obligatory castle and cathedral (aren't we becoming jaded!), a river through the middle, and a large pedestrian zone shopping area.

July 23, 2010

Long drive today from Orebro into Norway, and camping just on a hill above Oslo, but haven’t gone in yet. We drove about 6 hours, with lunch and coffee breaks, to make about 350 kms. The drive was comfortable enough, but the countryside could well have been rural BC… very unlike continental Europe which would have had pretty small towns every few kms.. There was a noticeable difference, interestingly, as we crossed the mountain ridge separating Sweden from Norway… the fiels became quite noticeably prettier and better kept on the Norway side, probably because it is the most productive agricultural region of this rocky and much frozen land.

The campground here, Ekerberg Camping, is on a promontory overlooking Oslo… quite a pretty and clean site… all grassy field and nice clean facilities, but outrageously expensive ($45), as we have noted petrol and groceries to be as well. I don’t think we will stay long!….and no internet nor electricity! They do have electricity sites but all were taken. It would have been closer to $50 if we did have electric.

Fun wandering around the campground this evening, chatting with people in various camper types… a couple in a typical Euro type camper van… not crazy about it as it really didn’t have more room than our Westfalia, and an interesting Dutch woman in her forties perhaps, traveling as a single Mom with her 6 yr old daughter in a caravan (trailer).

Even more interesting, 2 parties in vintage VW vans… a dutch guy in a 1976 window van with a pop-top who had designed the interior himself, and a Brit family in a 1974 Westfalia with right hand drive and an attached tent which Pat wants to get . We’ll have to check it out on the internet.

Tomorrow the plan is to bike down (long hill) into Oslo and check out the sculpture park and the Viking Museum. To be continued.

July 24, 2010

The weather continues to be mostly sunny, with some cloudy spots… quite a bit cooler here in Oslo… we needed extra blanket at night, and sweatshirts in the evening, but up to 22C in the day.

We rode down into Oslo this morning… the hill down from the campsite is about three times the distance of the Gibsons hill, but about half as steep.

Our first impression was the pedestrian shopping area, which was quietish on Saturday morning, but some nice cobbled streets, and as it approached the Palace, some nice parks and fountains. We did not tour the palace…. Seen one palace, seen 'em all, but bypassed it towards Vigelund sculpture park.

Just past the palace is a few blocks of very large and pretty manors, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th C. We chanced upon a high class Saturday market in this area, where most of the trading was antiques… dinnerware, silverware, classy clothing. There were lots of well dressed folks with their expensive dogs at their side. We didn’t buy anything!

The Vigelund park is a huge public gardens and greenspace, probably about 5 or 6sq kms. Some of it was neatly laid out rose gardens, bridges and trils, but much was just lawn space where hundreds were sunning themselves.

The highlight, of course, was the hundreds of Vigelund sculptures, mostly arrayed along a particular bridge, then around a central fountain, and finally up a hill in a large pavilion area with his great obelisk at the centre. Only the photos can properly describe it.

By mid-afternoon it was time to proceed to the Viking Ship Museum. It was a good 20 minute bike ride, some of it up moderate hills, but through delightful parks and greenspace. The museum itself was very interesting, but not anywhere near the scale of the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. There were three well preserved Viking ships to be seen close-up, as well as some artifacts that were found buried with them… chests, ornaments, leather shoes, clothing fragments, carvings. Ultimately, though a small museum, a very satisfactory glimpse into the life of the norse from around 800 AD.

We were a little disappointed following the museum, to discover that the passenger ferry which would have been a significant short-cut back to town, did not take bicycles.

There have been, indeed, some disappointments with Oslo, though we are still glad we came. The prices are all pretty much exorbitant… almost everything is double what we have come to expect… $45 for a campsite, and without electricity nor internet, more than $7 for a smallish beer, $8 for a bag of potato chips, $2.50 for a lousy coffee at McDonalds, $75 for a petrol fill-up.

We have decided that one day of these prices is enough, and will head south tomorrow. That is an advantage of the bicycle touring…. We pretty well saw the important sites in Oslo in the one day.

In case you were wondering, only one of us challenged the hill back up to the campsite, and then drove the van down to retrieve the other… you get to guess which was which.
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