Icy cold Oslo

Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
Trip End Jan 23, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Norway  , Oslo,
Monday, January 14, 2013

Temp. -9C but colder in the wind

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. Very slippery, and you can't really see the ice patches underneath, until your foot suddenly slides.  It's not that I mind walking in the snow, I love it actually.  Especially the 'zing' you get when a snowflake goes up your nose or in your eye.  But it means I have to wallk really slowly and in some areas, literally take baby steps.  By the end of the day my legs are killing me.  Not because of the kilometres I walked, although it was a lot, but because the whole time I'm walking tense.  I'm proud to say though that I haven't yet fallen over.  I saw a couple of locals fall, including a man in a business suit which was shamefully quite funny to watch.

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. So my instincts were correct. It didn't stop me walking around, and I never do the tourist thing carrying a camera and map in my hands.  But I was very wary, and always checking around me if it was a quiet area.  I keep my handbag inside my zipped up coat, practically under my arm, so if anyone tried to pick pocket me they would only score many snotty tissues. In this cold weather your nose constantly drips ;)

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
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la on

the royals walk on the street huh? im surprised you didn't happen to run into them as well!

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