Icy cold Oslo
Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
56Trip End Jan 23, 2013
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Where I stayed
Time to get the thermals out again!
I'm a bit slow with this blog entry because I had a very busy day with extremes that when I got back to the hotel I collapsed on the bed.
I had a full day of walking around the whole (practically) city of Oslo. I did a tiny bit of shopping, visited the Royal Palace, explored (kinda) the old fortress and saw where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. All this and a lot more in extreme weather conditions. There was a super icy breeze blowing that made your face feel like it was being cut with razor blades. It snowed the whole day, from light to quite heavy, which makes the streets look pretty, but when it's not thick on the ground it's really tricky to walk
Anyway, back to what I actually saw. There are many streets with shops, similar to Melbourne. Not a lot that I was interested in as it wasn't that unusual. There was one really cool shop called 'Designs of Norway'. If I could I would decorate my whole house with their furnishings. But of course, unless I book a shipping crate it's not possible.
Oslo is an extremely busy city, with people rushing everywhere. I must admit that it is the first place on my trip that I've had to have my guard up. I walked the streets of Helsinki in the wee hours of the morning and always felt safe. I wouldn't do that here. There are a lot of refuge/migrants in the city, similar to us, and the majority are fine. But there are certain groups of young males, typically Arabic decent, that just stand around it groups. The first night I arrived and walked out of the Central Station dragging my suitcase, I could just sense those eyes watching. Within two minutes I saw three policemen on horse back patrolling the area. Then today when I went to visit the Tourist Bureau, there was a huge sign warning tourists of pick pockets and crime
Oslo has patches of old buildings and in contrast the ultra modern. I think many areas, again, were destroyed in the Second World War. The Town Hall was built in the 1950s and it is the ugliest building I've ever seen. Other than that there are many examples of beautiful and ornate architecture. Parliament House is very eye catching. The new Opera House opened in 2008 is typical of modern Scandanavian design, but not as good as Sydney's.
The Royal Palace is quite imposing at the end of the main street, but unlike Buckingham Palace in London. It surprised me actually. You could actually walk up to the steps to the main door. There are guards on duty but no where near as pompess as the UK. The whole front of the building can be walked up to. The fence that surrounds the palace and grounds is totally open so you can walk around the whole block and see in. I heard that the Norweigen Royal family are quite relaxed and are often seen in the streets. Really refreshing to see. By the way the Queen of Norway is called 'Sonja'. What a beautiful name, don't you think.
The other main building I saw today was the Old Fortress and Castle which is just near the harbour. Unfortunately it is only open on weekends so I couldn't go in the main building. But I could walk around the grounds and go inside the museum. It has the most fascinating history. A castle from the 1300s until