When it’s March, it’s cold in London but you’ve given up hope of seeing any snow before Spring comes, what do you do?
Hop onto Ryan Air’s website, book a £20.00 return to Oslo in Norway and a cheap AirBnB! Why so cheap? Because it’s SO cold!!!
Well it didn’t put us off, we booked a lush AirBnB from a lovely lady which was within walking distance of shops and essentials, and a short and very easy train ride away from everything.
Maybe we should mention the mentally unstable woman upstairs though, who at midnight starts screaming in such a blood curdling way, we thought she was being murdered!! Nope, she was fine. Apparently we find out the next day via email that our host thought the crazy lady had been sent away to the funny farm, but she was back. I think we slept with one eye open the whole night.
As soon as we dropped our bags off, we literally ran outside in our thermals, hats, scarves, gloves, snow boots and ran around the park by the apartment like complete kids. As we looked up, in the distance we could see snowy hills and some strange slope type structure.
What a funny looking thing! It’s a Ski Jump! A bit of Googling later and we were on our way up into the snowy hills to Holmenkollen, about 20-30 minutes from the city, the train winds its way through gradually more scenic views above the city, past little wooden houses with coloured roofs, it’s quite delightful.
Not to mention that something was obviously happening, everyone on our journey had skis and alot of animal pelts rolled up attached to their backpacks, Norwegian flags and cowbells everywhere. Turns out it was something like the Men’s International Cross Country Relay (or something!), a full on competition.
We bought tickets off this old couple for next to nothing because they already went and were selling their spares, which was just luck. Off we trundled into the biggest beer hall full of Viking looking men I have ever seen. Girls, Norwegian men, they’re easy on the eye!
Cowbells, snow, firepits, logs and pelts. I mean if you’re going to spend hours in freezing temperatures then do it the Norwegian way.
Down in Oslo city about 5k below, we didn’t find the locals to be the most friendly towards us, but up here in nature and snow making coffee over fires and giving it away to anyone, they were so happy.
The next day we decided to do a free walking tour, they’re such a great way to understand and see the place you’re visiting. Just Google, arrive at the meeting point at the time given and follow like sheep and learn. If it’s good you tip well, if it’s not just give a little. It’s always worth it though, I haven’t done a bad free walking tour yet.
We soaked up the history and understanding why nothing in Oslo is remotely historical looking – they built with wood and a dramatic fire in 1624 burnt it all down. The Norwegians instead turned their hand to modern architecture and they have created some incredibly impressive buildings like the Opera house.
Where it’s best though is up in the snowy hills, or out on Oslo Fjord which after failing to find enough charm to get our chops around we found all it’s beauty out on the water. Now dress warm, the boat tours operate as open top, and boy it gets colder than you imagine.
They give you blankets and the on ship bar serves up divine hot chocolate, which you can hug while you stare out at Mother Nature’s quiet watery, eerie beauty. The muted winter light just adds to the tranquility and calm of it all.
I can imagine this is a city that really opens itself up to more beauty in the Spring or Summer as well, as some of my friends have been in warmer times and really enjoyed the places like Vigeland Park, which is full of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland and is pretty special to walk around, even in winter, but better in the warmer months when the lush gardens are green and gorgeous.
The Viking Ship Museum will satisfy all your curiosity, if like me you’ve been hooked on the History Channel’s edgy TV drama called Vikings. To say I was a little excited to see a real life, fully preserved Viking ship, which was what they used to sail long distances, discover new lands and you know, pillage and discover. Fearsome people! They have a fascinating, rich and interesting history, go educate yourself with a visit.
Food and drink aren’t cheap, it’s a very expensive city. We visited the local supermarket which allowed us to make breakfast at home and a packed lunch for each day, we splurged on dinner and the wines we had were really great.
Stick Oslo on your weekend Wanderlust list, worth a visit!
Flights: £20 each with Ryan Air (they are currently about £30 for a weekend in March 2017 – go get em!)
Air BnB: We paid £176 for three nights, which is only £88 each. RIDICULOUS!!
Walking tour: FREE!!
2 Hour Fjord Boat Tour: which you can book here was about £29 each.
Viking Ship Museum: £9-£10 entry.
Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum: Tickets are priced here, but it’s about £13 each.
Flights & Accomodation for a 3 night trip was £108.00.
Seriously, what are you waiting for??