It’s a funny story how we (my friend Mandy, again, and myself) started our journey to Norway. After the little planning that we usually do before embarking on a new adventure (like buying our plane tickets and deciding over the dates), we wake up at 3am one morning ready to go on yet another adventure this year. Who would have thought that it will be a holiday full of surprises. The wake up call that morning wasn’t our alarm, no..it was far from it, because I think we were still half asleep when we were walking towards the bus station to catch a coach to Stanstead when Mandy got egged. Yes, she had a raw egg thrown at her (you can read the whole story here:http://whynottravelmandy.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/an-uneggspected-journey/ ). My hysterical laughter and she feeling almost sick definitely woke us up, and prepared for 3 brilliant days in Oslo. I need to let everyone know that I wasn’t laughing at her, and I did apologize to her on plenty occasions for my laughter, but it is what I do in situations like this, it’s like a coping mechanism. Otherwise I couldn’t have washed her hair in the bus stop, or in the airport’s bathroom, and probably I wouldn’t have carried a smelly jumper in my backpack for 3 days. Soon after we got to the airport and we got rid of the smell, the day looked brighter (having a shot of whisky at 6am and a full session of make-up, makes you feel 100% better)
We managed to board the plane and get to Norway. Once in Norway, we had a rather long train journey from the airport to Oslo central station, but apart from the massive confusion of how expensive the ticket was (Mandy’s app wasn’t working properly) we were very happy we were in Oslo. (FYI, the ticket was around £16).
The rather long train journey wasn’t bad at all. We were very lucky the sun was out (and it stayed out for the next 3 days as well), and the views that Norway has to offer are very breathtaking. Looking through the train window couldn’t help but think on how different western and especially Scandinavian countries are to Eastern European ones. One can mainly see the difference at the countryside. In western and nordic Europe everything seems neat and in order and beautifully placed. It is peaceful and quiet and just perfect. I don’t think I could ever emphasizes enough how neat and perfect things look. Especially when you’re just passing by on a train. Here you can really find tranquility unlike the Eastern European countryside which gives you a chaotic feeling, where there’s a mix of everything and an unbelievable contrast of colours and people and music and nature. I love them both, and I can relate to them both.
Once we got to the central station in Oslo, we stopped for a coffee in Starbucks (and some wifi of course). What happened next, came as a surprise. Not in a million years I would have thought that this is going to be one of my first experiences in Oslo. This random guy and his group of friends (or better said brothers and sisters) started talking to me out of the blue. After the introductory bits and pieces that you normally have with someone that you haven’t met before he told me that him and his mates are going around town healing people. When I first heard ‘healing people’ I thought I didn’t understand right, so I asked him again, just to confirm. Yes, him and his group of friends, were preaching Jesus word and were apparently healing people who needed help. So after asking me if I have any pains, and me saying that my back hurts from my backpack they started praying to God to heal my lower back. They’ve done twice just to make sure God is hearing them and they filmed me. Yes, there’s a video out there (which I hope it will never go viral) which proves the fact that these guys prayed for me (and my lower back).
After Starbucks, we decided to take on our backpacks and start exploring Oslo, discovering it’s beauty. The first stop was the Opera which was indeed beautiful. The uneven roof on which you can climb to the top, the amazing views of the pier it gave me a sense of accomplishment and freedom. I think (for me) the feeling that would describe Oslo the best is freedom.
We soon figured out that Oslo is definitely a must-do cities in Europe, and if you can understand it’s a bit more expensive that the usual places you go, you can have a lot of fun.
I can proudly say that Mandy and I did Oslo on a budget, and we haven’t really miss any important details. We walked. And I don’t mean, we walked the normal distance someone walks in a day, we walked the entire cities, we visited everything, and everything was done a pied. We walked through different neighbourhoods, we got lost and we walked some more. We ran, we jogged, we hiked in amazing parks, we walked. Yes there were times when we were wondering which way is better, of course we made poor choices, but did we enjoy it? Absolutely, every minute of it.
A few things I noticed about Oslo, maybe a few things that I wonder about Oslo, and a few that I don’t particularly like.
- I think they are somewhat obsessed with nakedness (the statues I mean)
- They have a few very strange sculptures
- They somehow managed to build up houses and restaurants in the woods, without destroying (too much) the nature, so you can easily go for hikes and enjoy the fresh air, and even lay down in the middle of a football field at high altitude (which we did).
- At crossings they have two red men and just one green. We were wondering why is that?
- There are not as many tourists as you would see in any other place in Europe, you can take your time when sightseeing and taking picture because there’s no crowd behind you waiting to do the same.
- You need to pay for the toilets (I just thought I need to let people know this :D)
- They claim it’s one of the oldest capitals if Europe, it doesn’t look like one, and that is somewhat disappointing. Everything appears to be new, and it just doesn’t give you a feel of the history and traditions.
- If you dare to seem puzzled when you pay for something the answer is going to be ‘This is Oslo, it’s expensive!’ (Like we didn’t already know that, but thanks for being kind enough to remind us).
- If you spend a few days in Norway, you’ll think the beauty is truly palpable. Everything around you looks beautiful and everyone around you looks stunning.
- We found a public toilet covered in newspapers (yes, you needed to pay to get in).
- That was Oslo. Mandy decided she wants to move there. I decided I want a roadtrip around Norway.