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Travel

Aker Brygge and the Opera House in Oslo

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Because I haven’t started traveling outside of Oslo yet, I still get to spend my free time exploring the sights of the city. Each day I learn a new neighborhood or new way to get from one point to another. For example, today I took the tram for the first time, which was super easy and comfortable. As someone from the U.S., the public transportation system here is simply amazing.

The app gives you the exact times and locations of where to make transfers to get to your destination. I had previously walked to the top of the Opera House on an evening I was already downtown by the central station.

The Opera House is gorgeous, but tickets to shows are out of my price range. However, from the top I got a great view of the new Munch Museum. This is definitely a place where I need to spend a few days visiting. There was some type of DJ or outdoor concert on a big screen right outside, so I stood and listened to some music for a bit.

Aker Brygge

A beautiful area to walk along the water in Oslo is at Aker Brygge. I had not had the chance to explore this area, but walked along just around sunset time. I saw the outline of the buildings a few weeks ago when I took a ferry ride. The area is hustling and bustling with people. There are a lot of restaurants of various price ranges. You can find affordable dinners up to expensive meals in much fancier restaurants.

As the weather gets colder, people still eat outside and the restaurants are set up to accommodate this. Heat lamps are placed outside with blankets and fire pits. It’s kind of cool how Norwegians are so in touch with nature that they have found ways to still enjoy the fresh air even in winter.

At the end of the pier in Aker Brygge, there is a diving board to jump into the water. I saw a couple of people swimming there while I was bundled up in my jacket. Apparently, people will swim all year no matter how cold it is.

There are many events free to public in this area, such as the festival of light art. I can’t wait to check them out throughout this year!

Categories
Lifestyle Relaxation Travel

5 Awesome Places to Check Out in Oslo

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So, as you may know by now, I am living in Norway until Summer 2022. This means I get to explore lots of new places in my new home city.

I went to The South Indian restaurant for dinner one night. There, I ordered the shrimp biryani and it was the best Indian dish I have ever had. I highly recommend checking this place out if you head to Oslo anytime soon.

In this post I wanted to share my top 5 adventures in the 2 weeks since I arrived. I am sure that I will have plenty more to share as time goes on.

Oslo Public Library

On Thursday, I ventured out to the new main modern public library in Oslo. It is located on the water right next to the Opera House. As you walk in the entrance there is a cafe and escalators to head up to any of the five floors. They have everything you can think of, including music stations where you can play different instruments. I decided to work out on the mezzanine area for a bit because the inside of the library was extremely crowded. While beautiful, I don’t think this is a place I can work regularly.

Frogner Park

I took a nice long walk one day in Frogner Park, which is the biggest park in central Oslo. Thankfully, it was not crowded that day so I got to get pretty close to the sculptures and take my time walking through. It says on the website that there is a cafe and playground, but the park is so big, I didn’t see that part yet.

Waterfalls by the river

So I discovered the Akerselva River by accident. I knew it was there and planned to visit it some day, but just happened to be heading to a Too Good To Go snack pick-up that took me along the river to get there.

I am excited to go back and actually walk the whole length of the river, which is several miles long. However, it was a beautiful day and I got some great pictures on my walk.

Karl Johans Gate

This stretch between the palace and Oslo S central transportation station contains restaurants and shops galore. I have walked it 2 times and I still see new places to check out.

Holmenkollen

I took a beautiful metro ride out of the center city to get some views overlooking Oslo and the water. The Holmenkollen stop is known for a big ski jump that is a major tourist attraction. I cannot wait to go back up and drink hot chocolate in the lodge while I watch other people ski (not me).

While I walked up the hill, I managed to get some decent shots nearing sun down.

Overall, I accomplished a lot of sight-seeing in my first two weeks. I have a pretty good grasp on the transportation system, but have taken advantage of nice weather to walk as many places as possible.

I worked a little bit last week, but starting tomorrow morning, I will begin the day with a to-do list and knock out tons of emails to get started.

Categories
Lifestyle Relaxation Travel

Roaming in Oslo, Norway: Exploring the City

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Well, I’m finally out of quarantine and can go about the city as I wish. Interestingly, because of the strict measures in place the last year and half, things seem relatively normal here. I haven’t seen anyone wearing a mask, but the majority of the population is vaccinated at this point.

The first day out of quarantine wasn’t a whole lot different than the previous days. I did get to meet a friend in person for the first time and I ate a yummy appetizer in a restaurant.

It was refreshing to get out and walk around the city and take in all of the sights. I was surprised at how easy it is to get close to the palace where the king and queen live. It seems to be a big attraction. While I was walking by, they were doing the changing of the guards, which was pretty cool to watch.

I finally got the chance to check out some stores and get a few items that I didn’t pack to bring with me. I picked up an extra blanket, slippers, and a hair straightener.


Prices Compared to the U.S.

A lot of people warned me that things here would be more expensive. So far, I am finding the prices to be fairly comparable to most of the places I lived in the U.S. Food and drink prices at restaurants are about the same, but tipping is not required in Norway. I even had one server try to give me the tip back saying that it’s not customary and they make a living wage, unlike the U.S.

My grocery bill was not much different than I would expect to pay at home. You can search for good deals and sales. Just like in the U.S., there are certain times and days when stores run promotions or deals on items.

The coolest app that I learned about a couple of days ago is called Too Good To Go. It looks like some of the big cities in the U.S. are starting to use it as well.

Essentially, you pay a discount price, typically a few dollars, for a surprise bag from a store or cafe. The pick-up window is between 10 and 15 minutes before the store closes. It helps reduce waste so they don’t have to throw as much away. For $10, I have enough sandwiches and baked goods for my breakfasts and lunches this week. One cafe gave a salad, hummus wrap, and arugula sandwich in the surprise bag.

Travel in Oslo

For around $100, I purchased a monthly pass to travel around the city using rail, metro, buses, and ferries. That is fairly comparable to a pass in NYC, which is $127 for the month.

Interestingly, there are no stations preventing entry onto the metro platforms. It is super easy to just walk right on from any stop. I tried to scan my phone on the train the first time I got on, but nothing was happening. I asked someone and apparently, it is all done on the honor system. So basically anyone can ride public transportation. They do random checks with hefty fines to prevent people from taking advantage of the system.

The monthly pass even allowed access to the ferries. So yesterday, I decided to take a ferry ride to the different fjords.

I start officially working this week, so I will be sure to make more Productivity posts. This will be important as I transition from a vacation/self-care mode back into organization and travel.