Norway, you did not disappoint us. Well, actually you kind of did. Not because your landscapes weren’t gorgeous and your people super helpful and friendly but because you were so damn expensive. I know you are one of the richest countries in the world but that doesn’t mean we are. We really learned our lesson when we decided to go out to lunch one day at a cute little deli-style bakery. We ordered three sandwiches, a pretzel, one soda, one coffee, two brownies, and some crackers. Our grand total was $100. Ouch. Needless to say we went grocery shopping that day (still pricey but marginally cheaper) and cooked most of our dinners in our AirBnB.
I’m not one to hold grudges, so let’s move on shall we?
First up on our quick Norway tour was Oslo (say it like Oprah would, it’s more fun that way). We took an overnight flight and arrived at 11:00 am, some of us more bright eyed and bushy tailed than others. See pic below. Apparently we flew on a Boeing Dreamliner which Tim was enamored by. He tried to tout the apparently amazing features of this new type of aircraft (less noisy, uses less fuel, larger tinted windows, better air filtration) but to me a plane, is a plane, is a plane. Unless I suddenly become a zillionaire with my own private jet, I have yet to ride on a plane and think “hey, this is a great experience full of so much leg room and good food.”
Our first day in Oslo was a wet and rainy one. This is also when we learned the hard way that Paige’s rain coat no longer fit and Parker’s no longer repels water and we were not about to stop in at the local Helly Hanson and pay $200 for one new coat. Time for free umbrellas at our hotel and hopefully no one loses an eye. I also blame the rain and parental jet lag on our embarrassingly poor dinner choice our first night as well. I hang my head in defeat when I tell you we caved and ate at Subway. It was one of those wet, cranky, stressed, hangry moments where we all just needed FOOD and FAST. No time to look for the cutest most culturally immersive Norwegian cafe to be proud of. It was simply time to eat and eat we did. However, they do not offer mustard as a sandwich condiment (true not just at Subway) so my foot long was slightly underwhelming.
A strange wave of jet leg hit us all that first night and we found ourselves awake around 1:00 in the morning. We all watched a movie together until we got tired again and went back to bed until 9:00am. We woke the next day to glorious sunny blue skies and hit the ground running. We rode a ferry to Bygdoy peninsula to visit the Viking Ship Museum where we saw a traditional Viking ship used back in the late 9th century. The kids had more fun begging for ice cream and running around in the grass park out back. We then walked to the Fram Museum which housed the Fram ice breaker and polar research ship from the late 1890’s steered by Fridtjof Nansen. The kids loved exploring the ship and seeing the kitchen, sleeping bunks, anchors, and ship deck. Tim and I enjoyed traumatizing the kids with the Arctic Simulation Room (glorified meat locker) where the kids proceeded to scream bloody murder at the mix of cold temps, scary storm sounds, and wax figures of frozen dead Arctic explorers. Welcome to the world of travel kiddos.
The day could only get better from there so we trammed our way (I’m verbing, I know) up to the Mathallen, a Norwegian food hall and grubbed on a dinner of ribs, sausage mac n’ cheese, burritos and of course, a cold Coke (none of which of course is Norwegian). What is it about a Coke that just tastes better when you’re traveling? And while we’re on the topic, the same goes for gelato. I swear it feels like we eat gelato almost every day and it seems completely normal. Granted their serving scoops are much more reasonably sized than those back in the states so you don’t feel as gross afterwards. We’re quickly learning that a cold Coke and a scoop of gelato can go a long way when trying to prevent melt downs and blood sugar crashes. After dinner, the kids played on a nearby park dubbing it the most fun park they’ve ever seen! Note: they have been saying this about most parks we encounter on our trip but just go with it, it’s the little things that matter at this point.
We then ended, what felt like, a perfect day in Oslo by hanging out and running around on the roof of the Oslo Opera House. The Opera House, opened in 2008, and was designed by Snohetta to be a place for visitors to hang out and explore. It lifted our spirits to have our last day in Oslo be a good one after our soggy and cranky start the day before.
I have to admit, we felt very safe in Oslo and gave the kids longer than normal travel leashes to run around and play. Coming straight from Manhattan, the energy level of Oslo was much calmer, less crowded, and frantic and I think our jet-lagged bodies needed it. People were very laid-back and friendly and they spoke great English which made for a smooth transition into Europe. Oslo felt much more international than I expected and it presented itself as a clean, wealthy, capital city. I definitely left with the feeling that there is a deep history and pride in their Nordic voyager and explorer culture. Since the prices were so exorbitant, I can’t say that we’ll ever be back but the short three days we spent there left me feeling happy that Oslo was the start to our adventure.