Today’s post is going to be a little different than the previous ones. As I said in my intro piece (you can read that here), I intend to make this blog mostly about beauty & hair, however I want to write about other things that I am also passionate about. One of my biggest passions in life is travelling. I love going to new places, near and far, and experiencing different cultures. I think it is such an important thing to do, and is really life changing. That being said, I’ve been to 11 countries so far, and I’d like to retroactively share those experiences with you all.
Over the holidays I was fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to Oslo, Norway, and it was incredible. It easily made my Top 5 list of all the places I’ve been within hours of being there. Granted, I was only there for 3 days total, but in those 3 days, I’d seen enough to know that it was a place I could spend serious time in.
First thing to know about Norway in winter is it is freaking cold. The temperature stayed in the negatives, ranging from -7 to about -12 at the lowest, and it snowed the entire time I was there. For a Florida girl like me, it was equal parts shocking and magical. I had never experienced real snow before, so it was a real treat. Best advice we got was layer your clothes. No seriously, I was wearing about 3 shirts, a sweater, leggings, 2 pairs of socks, jeans, leg warmers, boots, gloves, a scarf and a parka at basically all times. If you’re used to really cold temps, all that may not be necessary, but for me, it was lifesaving.
While we were there we visited two really cool places that stood out to me: Vigelandsparken, and Nordmarka forest.
Vigelandsparken or Vigeland Park is a sculpture park/museum featuring works by Gustav Vigeland. It is really interesting, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s really nice for a walk through, and it’s free. Theoretically you could go at anytime, but I’d definitely suggest during the day, so you can better see the sculptures. You can spend as much or as little time there as you want, we walked around for about an hour, due to our limited time. It’s definitely one of the more unique museums to visit, so I definitely recommend it!
Oh Nordmarka, how I love thee. Honestly, it sounds silly, because it is literally just a forest but it was seriously magical. Maybe because I’m from Florida, and we don’t even have hills, let alone mountains, or maybe because it was covered 5-6 inches deep in snow, but I instantly loved it. And let me tell you, I’m not the outdoorsy type. The best part is, it is super accessible, and free ( unless you rent sleds/ski gear). You just take Metro line 1 heading north and go until it reaches the last stop. You step off the platform into a winter wonderland, reminiscent of Narnia during the White Witch’s reign. We hiked for about 2.5 hours, and it was gorgeous. Honestly, it was the highlight of my trip.
Now, a few notes I want to make about Oslo:
One, it is supremely expensive. Seriously, do not take the trip lightly, because you will throw some serious cash in. Eating out is very pricey, especially along Karl Johans Gate, which I would honestly avoid to save some money. I’d check out the Grünerløkka area if you’re looking for a cheaper meal. Or as we did a few times, the Oslo Central Station has some quite a few options for relatively good prices.For nights out, just be prepared to drop some serious dough, as alcohol is ridiculously expensive in Norway, because it is taxed so much. Two beers can cost as much as $35. If you’re set on drinking, just close your eyes as you hand over the cash.
As far as lodging, my recommendation would be to hook up with AirBnB, because it’ll be the cheapest option by far. Our host, Hege was amazing. She was super sweet, sat down with us for about and hour and a half the first night to give us recommendations, explain public transportation, etc. And the price couldn’t be beat. I highly, highly recommend staying with her!
Second, I want to mention that it gets dark very early during the winter in Oslo. It gets truly light out around 11am-noon. Most attractions close around 4pm, which, incidentally, is when it starts to get dark. You have about a 4-5 hour window of daylight in which to do things, particularly outdoors. This was the major reason we didn’t get to do as much as we wanted in Oslo, simply because there weren’t enough daylight hours. It definitely didn’t impact how wonderful the trip was, but if that’s a problem for you, I would probably avoid visiting during the winter months.
Third, cash is a must. This is pretty standard in a lot of Europe, and yes they do accept your card, but most people pay in cash. As an American, this is really foreign to me, because people hate cash in the States, but you get used to it. Just pop your card into an ATM and take out as much as you think you’ll need and use that. I honestly used my card maybe 2-3 times the whole time I was there (plus side, no pesky international transaction fees). And don’t forget to use your coins, because they’re actually real money over there!
To wrap it up, Oslo was an amazing experience. Although we were limited on time and daylight hours, I had a simply magnificent time, and I highly recommend it. I definitely can’t wait to visit again!
Let me know if you’ve visited Oslo, or other parts of Norway, and what your thoughts are! I’d love to know where I should visit next!