Somehow I’ve always neglected Nordics as a travel destination (despite actually really wanting to see them). Therefore covering maternity leave for a colleague and occasionally going there came as a nice perk of the job.
As one of my last trips in 2017 I had my first ever trip to Norway… for work only, but nevertheless. And thanks to things going anything but planned, I ended up with an extra night there, although without actually seeing a thing (if you don’t count hotels and airports).
So I was delighted when Norway showed up on my travel itinerary again for January. And the prospect of actually staying in Oslo for a night and not just changing flights there got me rather excited.
Having learned the lesson last time, I was a little better prepared and had meanwhile bought a sensible thick winter coat and thermal under layer (ok ok, you got me there… not specifically for the Norway trip, more for the upcoming trip to New York, Oslo just happened to be the perfect opportunity to actually road test them beforehand).
The flight from London to Oslo takes a good two hours and after the disaster last time, I opted for British Airways, just in case (at least if things do go wrong, I can count on their assistance, thanks to my frequent flyer status).
And since I was supposed to have four meetings in two days (although this did change to three meetings in the end), I flew out the day before, to ensure we had enough time.
Arriving at Oslo airport, I took the fast train to Drammen, where I was staying the first night. I landed around 4pm and dusk was just setting in, however by the time I arrived at Drammen (which is around 1 hour by train) it was pitch black and rather chilly.
Unfortunately for me, the cab driver outside the station couldn’t quite be bothered to actually take me to my hotel and with the info the hotel ‘was just across the bridge’ he pointed me into the direction he expected me to walk…. Ok he was right and the hotel was just across the bridge (well across the bridge and then another 5 minutes along the water), but since it was freezing cold, pitch black and icy, I would have preferred a warm cab rather than dragging my trolley along. But hey, didn’t I plan on road testing my coat? Mission accomplished, box ticked, it is warm (same unfortunately can’t be said for my leather gloves, so there is one more thing to buy before New York).
Once checked in, I left my luggage in my room, added another base layer and off I went to explore Drammen by night.
Next day meant two meetings, then finally off to Oslo.
I opted for a central hotel, allowing me to rummage around town as much as possible.
I arrived at the hotel just before three, so I knew I had around an hour and a half of day light before dusk sets in again, so no time to waste.
I briefly checked with reception what were the absolute must-sees (given the rather limited time) and armed with a map I went to explore.
For time reasons I straight away skipped all museums and unfortunately also the sculpture garden, so that makes it onto the bucket list next time (hopefully).
First I went past the National Theatre and up to the Royal Palace.
Then past the Konserthus (concert hall) down towards the harbour.
Along the sea front towards the Akershus Fortress (by now dusk was settling in) and then back into town.
By then I had been out for a while and whilst not yet completely frozen solid, I did fancy some warmth and a nice cuppa. So when I came past an inviting looking bakery, in I went.
It turned out to be W.B.Samson, apparently Oslo’s oldest bakery. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. But I do know that it was a nice place to sit and the ‘Kanelsnurr’ (a cinnamon bun, but without all that icing you get in the UK) was absolutely divine.
Warmed up and rested I went on to explore more of Oslo. So far I had done well not actually consulting that map, but just walking. After all, I didn’t have any specific destination, so I couldn’t really get lost (well I could, but I wouldn’t necessarily know)
Final stop that evening was Aker Brygge, a former dock, nowadays shopping and food destination for some last minute shop browsing and dinner.
The next morning I had some time to kill before my first meeting, so I decided to get up early (as you do) and do another tour through Oslo, this time at dawn rather than dusk.
And somehow I ended at the bakery again, so I totally had to get myself another one of those cinnamon buns… good thing I am not living in Oslo… dieting would be just that little bit harder there).