Day 1 of our Christmas holiday, and we’d just landed in Norway! After an hour delay at Stansted it was more early afternoon than late morning! 1st things first, getting into central Oslo from the Airport. There are 2 routes, either by tube or an express route. The express route, run by flytoget, takes you straight to Oslo Central, but costs about £20 return. The metro also runs, it takes longer, but I believe it’s cheaper.
We were told to buy flytoget tickets, not knowing any better, and proceeded to take the metro. Don’t do it, your tickets aren’t valid, and the conductor may give you a talking to when he inspects them. It’s fine, I think the Norwegians don’t think the British are the brightest, it’s fairly easy to play the dumb tourist card.
As soon as we stepped out of the heated airport and onto the train platform the cold biting air was upon us. Sub-zero temperatures needled at us until we donned our scarves, hats and gloves, much to the amusement of the surrounding locals as they stood remarking as to the ‘mild temperature’ of the day.
Norwegian winter days are rather short; The sun rises at about 11am, and sets by 4pm, although I’m not sure if you can call it sunrise or sunset, we didn’t see the sun once over the trip, just slightly different shades and brightness of grey sky. By the time we wandered to the hostel and left our bags, it was firmly night time, at about 5pm.
Too late to visit any museums, we decided to walk through the city center and up to the palace, via some dinner. Norway truly do get into the Holiday Spirit! Every street was lit up with beautiful lights, Christmas trees were abundant, and trams chundered past with fairy lights draped elegantly from the roof. The Christmas market with Ferris Wheel and Ice Rink was packed with tourists and locals, searching for a last minute Christmas gift. Unfortunately, by our final day in the city the market had been dismantled, following the horrific terrorist attack at a similar market in Berlin.
After a long day of travelling we were looking forward to our first meal in the capital. Neither myself nor Emily eat meat, which has never been an issue travelling before. Unfortunately, this was going to prove to be rather an issue. After pottering round for some time, searching for options we found the Norwegian answer to Pizza Hut. £26 for a medium pizza was not to be. Vegetarianism does not seem to be a thing in Norway. Precious few restaurants have a veggie equivalent, and virtually none affordably. McDonald’s, our last resort, had even removed their Veggie Deluxe from the menu, and Subway had a 200% price increase.
Hard Rock Cafe, usually an expensive option, proved to be our saving grace! With affordable food, a whole page of vegetarian options and bottomless drinks, it was a jewel in Oslo’s crown!
A 20 minute walk later, and we were tucked up in bed, exhausted from our 3am start and excited for our 1st full day of exploring.