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November 19, 2016 / oneworld82

24 hours in Oslo

As you might know by now, Scandinavia is definitely one of my favorite regions in the World. The nature, the people, the societal structure, the landscape, the food – everything is appealing to me of this region so European yet so remote, so different.

As we were looking to come back home from London flying Lufthansa First Class (and using Aeroplan), we we faced with the dilemma of high fuel surcharges leaving from most of Europe; we wanted to use Aeroplan because they only charge 10,000 miles (or $125) for a lap infant in First Class – a steal compared to most programs (which charge 10% of the full fare). By trying various cities in Europe we came across Oslo, which even though is outrageously expensive has the benefit of a falling currency (due to falling oil prices), which meant fuel surcharges and tax of less than $250 per person – a real bargain. Getting to Oslo using Avios was not an issue, and so it was set that we would visit Oslo!

I had been to the city (and to Bergen) many years back, in wintertime. I remember liking the city (although I remember it being very expensive and cold!) – especially because at the time I was fascinated by Edvard Munch, whose Scream painting was on display at the Munch Museet.

I also remember catching the train from Bergen to Oslo, seeing the fjords early in the morning (stunning), and I still recall how sophisticated the trains looked with dedicated coaches for families and pet owners.

Our BA flight from London was very good; we used Avios – 12,500 per person in Business Class for a 2 hour flight seemed very reasonable (and only 1,250 miles for Olivia). While we were scheduled to leave at 7.20pm and to land at 10.20pm, bad weather made us land past midnight, but that was a non-issue as the flight was very enjoyable. For dinner we had …. Which was as always pretty tasty, together with a couple bottles of champagne. Flying intra-Europe business class – be it Finnair, British Airways, or Lufthansa – is always very nice; while the seat is just a normal coach seat, service is excellent and food is usually pretty good.

Since I knew we would land late and, two days after, leave very early, I had decided to use my Club Carlson points to book us at the Park Inn by the airport, which is connected by a covered walkway to the main terminal. While the Radisson Blu (also connected to the terminal) is nicer, it’s also much more expensive in terms of points.

We checked in (very quickly) around 1am, and we found a spacious room with one double and two single beds awaiting us. This was great, as we were able to carve out a “crib” for Olivia in one of the beds – she seemed very comfortable in it and slept well all night. The room was modern, very Scandinavian, and the beds were comfortable. The bathroom was big and had a nice shower – so we couldn’t complain at all.

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The most amazing thing, by the way, of arriving to Norway was that at 11pm it was still quite light outside – something I had never witnessed before since I had never been so north so far in summertime.

We spent the next day exploring Oslo, totally on foot. Getting to/from the city with the Airport Express train was a(n expensive) breeze; they have a carriage where you can hook your stroller to the wall – extra safe and very roomy. The 60km journey took around 20 minutes, and the train station is right in the city center, which is rather compact and easy to explore on foot.

Oslo has many interesting sights, all around the main pedestrian street, Karl Johans Gate. Take the Lutheran Cathedral, for instance: this structure is architecturally stunning from the outside, and remarkably interesting in the inside, with its famed stained glass.

Train station

Train station

Karl Johans Gate

Karl Johans Gate

Karl Johans Gate

Karl Johans Gate

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Or take Kungelige Slott, the Royal Palace. While it certainly isn’t the most attractive of palaces, its gardens are the perfect place where to relax and enjoy the perfect summer weather – think 78F and sunny! In fact, we spent a couple of hours on the lawn there, playing with Olivia and napping all together enjoying the beautiful sun – a luxury we cannot afford in Texas.

The Concert Hall and the Parliament are other prominent features of the city – together with the open-air cafes and the fountains dotting the area.

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But Oslo is a city on the edge of a big fjord, and the waterfront is just as impressive. The opera house, with its glass walls and magnificent location, is a prime example of that.

Oslo opera house

Oslo opera house

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The harbor is very nice throughout, with a lot of cafes and restaurants along the coast – prime location for a drink or two while enjoying the ship movement within the bay.

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As you can imagine, Norwegians love to spend time outdoor during the long days of what’s in the end a short summer; this means that streets and restaurants are packed, which makes everything very lively. It helped that the day of our visit Sweden was playing in the Eurocup (lots fo Swedish folks live here); the game was broadcasted live on a maxi screen on one of the main parks in downtown Oslo, making for a very festive atmosphere.

And what about the food? Norway is famed for its seafood – salmon anyone? – and we couldn’t of course pass the chance to try some! Look at these open-face salmon and shrimp sandwiches…! They tasted super-delicious! Or look at this cod fish and chips: well, perhaps the fish and chips weren’t too special, but still fresh and tasty overall! Norwegian cuisine is of course renowned for reindeer and moose as well, but we didn’t try any on this short trip. We did, however, try a hotdog at 7-eleven, and it was bacon-wrapped tasty! J

While it was a short stay, we really had a fun time in Oslo! Everything was fine, although very expensive (think $4 for a hotdog at 7-eleven or $33 for two toasts and a soup at a café!). Olivia also really enjoyed it. The perfect weather and the nice parks made it easy for us to have fun with a baby, and we could really tell she enjoyed it too.

So, in conclusion, if you have a baby (and a big budget) consider Norway for your next holiday: you will be impressed.

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