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Q: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the priciest of them all?”
A: “Why it’s Olso of course!”
Having recently been to Stockholm, having previously been to Iceland and Japan, as well as working every day in London – I think I am qualified to categorically state that Oslo is very obviously the most eye-watering of the expensive collective.
It’s not expensive to get there, it wasn’t even that expensive to stay, thanks to a little Airbnb studio, which I think was probably sublet by a student, but day to day costs add up very quickly. It’s almost best not to look and not think about it until you get home and get your credit card bill. Part of the reason I wanted to go to Norway and Sweden in 2017, was to do so while I was on a reasonable wage as I knew it would be painful on any future budget. You’ve just got to suck it up.
It’s a decent walkable city and as so often in Scandinavia, public transport is reasonable and efficient. It’s easy to get by and work everything out – pretty stress-free and chilled (as long as you don’t think about the money).
Mini bottle museum
I love this place!! I love the man who created this place!!! I love that places like this exist and it helps to restore my faith in humanity. I’m sure it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s right up my street. A collection of bottles with decades of brand design and weirdly. Plus they have a slide, a creepy surprise and the best bathrooms ever! It’s the kind of place I could see myself setting up.
We were rather horrified, when the tour started, that it wasn’t the boat with the roof, but the open air sailing boat with minimal shelter and damp deck. Of course, this is Norway so they had it covered – dried all the seating, provided ponchos and blankets and made it seem almost cosy. But it was freezing and raining so we really had to just man up and take it.
One thing that is annoying about the harbour and when on a boat trip, is the number of cruise ships. I get that it’s a hub for the many fjord cruises but they really are an eye-sore and are so large they dominate the landscape.
Food and drink
I really like Scandi food so I was always going to be happy here. They do certain things so well, like a simple, great sandwich.
Our first meal was at a place called Lorry which was just down the road from where we were staying. It was our first eye opener to the tears a bill can produce. It’s apparently a touristy spot, but it’s got great, cosy outside eating area, is really interesting decor inside and the food was lovely, so a great starting point for us. Though the drunken party of 20 somethings that turned up towards the end of our meal, ruined the vibe somewhat. It’s difficult to chill when someone is so tanked that just sitting on their chair means shoving yours over and over. We wondered if the crazy cost of alcohol meant they’d downed a load of super strong beverages before coming out for beers.
We decided to go high end for one meal, to not miss out on the scandi food revolution and it was well worth it. I had some kind of dust on my arctic char and pretentious it may be, but it was also bloody good.
Sculpture and Art
There’s an amazing sculpture park within a larger park Vigeland, on the edge of town. It was bucketing down when we were there but we powered through and it was a stunning, magnificent and at times, moving place.
It’s famous for the crying baby statue. You will see souvenirs with this creepy baby on, everywhere! We realised after touching the shiny bronze hand, that they are desperately trying to stop tourists doing that, as it’s wrecking the bronze – so I would guiltily suggest if you go, don’t do it!
There are arty things all over Olso and there’s a particularly hipster area called Grünerløkka which has Blå – a cool indoor market full of artists and crafters, with cute cafes. There’s some nice street art round there and if I went back to Oslo, I’d want to stay in this area and spend more time there.
Down at the port, this super shiny dive sculpture is amazingly life like. Loving the tilt.
It’s a really lovely place, but I would recommend a visit but could not recommend it above the capital cities of the other Scandinavian countries, just because they have a bit more going for them and because of the hugely restrictive cost of Norway. I think if I return to Norway I’d definitely like to head north for some of that crazy landscape, which we got a taste of on our icey boat trip. It’s a very easy city to visit, you could live here with ease (if you had the money and a decent coat). There was a little shop just up the road from us that always made us smile when we walked past and I think Oslo, in general, would always make you smile, despite its super duper prices.