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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

An Oslo Stroll

NORWAY | Monday, 10 December 2018 | Views [188] | Comments [1]

For much of this trip I was dreading having to spend time in Oslo. The Norwegian capital just doesn't stand out the same way as London, Rome, or Vienna. People travel to France just to go to Paris and to the Netherlands to go to Amsterdam but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone travelling to Norway just to go to Oslo. I didn't sleep well last night and I woke up exhausted. My sleep patterns have been terribly out of sync due to having to stay up late to chase the aurora and having to take advantage of what little sunlight there is during the day. I only have two nights left in Norway, and as the beating heart of the country, I just had to get out there and explore. 

Henrik is my CS host here in Oslo. As in Ireland back in May, I’ve managed to lay out plans with CS hosts for my entire stay in Norway. Henrik has a speaker which he’s personally named “Alexa” and he can say “Alexa, put the news on” and it will! Talk about futuristic. I shall talk about the adventure of getting here last night. I hitchhiked into the Oslo city centre where I took a train to Sandvika on the outskirts of Oslo, marking the first time I’ve paid for transport in Norway. GoogleMaps would gave me the wrong directions and it was only when I flagged down a Securitas vehicle and the guard downloaded Whatsapp so I could call Henrik. He had to stay up late when he has to work at 7 AM and I felt terrible. This morning it didn't matter how tired I was, I had to get out there. Through the snow I walked toward Lysaker Station where I was invited into Henrik's work for a coffee. Fueled with caffeine, a bus would whisk me into town.  

Founded in 1040, Oslo is at once both ancient and modern. Norway is what I think of as "Japan of the West" because it's simultaneously one of the world's oldest countries and incredibly futuristic. It's one of the most cashless societies; often it's more expensive to pay for things with cash and couple of my CS hosts have admitted they never carry cash. My first stop of the day was Akershus Fortress.

Originally built as a royal residence, it is today the office of the prime minister. Few people would know that Norway is a (constitutional) monarchy, and King Harald V has been the king since the 1980s. There are a number of European countries (e.g. Netherlands, Sweden, Spain) that are technically still monarchies even though the monarch has little to no political power. At Akershus I got a photo with one of the king’s guards.

Practically everywhere else, photos wouldn’t be allowed with people in uniform but Norway is very liberal. Before beginning my stroll today I plotted out potential geocaches, and I found a few by mid-morning. As I spotted another geocache I realized my pen stopped working; I stopped into a kebab shop where I ordered some chips and borrowed a pen so I could sign the geocache. Free attractions are few and far between in Norway but Akershus is one of the exceptions. From there I wandered Central Oslo in search of geocaches until I came upon the Royal Palace.

Whilst there are occasional tours in summer, visitors aren’t allowed in winter. Norway seems like one of those countries where the king would invite me in for biscuits and coffee. In all I found 21 geocaches today, and the colours of the sunset didn't disappoint:

Although I haven’t been drinking much at all since I’ve been in Norway, I was up for some wine tonight. Alcohol is a tricky issue here in Norway, as it’s not easy to buy drinks that are more than 3.5% alcohol by volume, therefore wine is only sold at government-run shops that close rather early (around 6 PM or so). I opted for some wine in a cardboard container just in case I took a bad fall in snow or ice and shattered a glass bottle. I’ve never noticed a country that decorates for Christmas as much as Norway as they’re extremely passionate about the arrival of Santa Claus.

Tonight at Henrik’s flat, I’d have many stories to share as I wandered round Oslo for much longer than I expected today. I only planned on walking perhaps until the sun set due to how exhausted I was but I mustered the energy. Tomorrow I plan to visit Bygdøy and go to the Viking Ship Museum.  I shall see how I feel and how I tackle this beautiful city. Norway has treated me well, and a summer visit is already on my radar.  

This evening was a rather quiet one with, in the words of a former CSer, a batchelor's dinner of frozen pizza and boxed wine. After one day, Oslo is a city I enjoy substantially more than I expected to.

 

Comments

1

Great story Chris. Enjoying something more than expected is always a treat. Thanks again for sharing.

  [email protected] Jan 3, 2019 6:03 AM

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