To start off with, I have to say that I am extremely grateful to my wonderful host and her friends, who have been so welcoming and helpful. Being taken along by city-loving locals is the best thing that can happen to any traveller, I have experienced a magnificent weekend in lovely Oslo and have seen sides of the city that I would’ve certainly missed without them.
Saturday – street festival and bbq
After a slow and lazy breakfast on Saturday, they invited me to join for a local city happening in the closeby district of Tøyen. It’s a district that – for Norwegian standards – has a higher crime rate, many immigrants and is generally considered to be “a bit problematic”, but still not dangerous really. A street celebration to connect the people of its district and to show engagement and encourage the feeling of “togetherness” brought a great fun spirit to this warm morning – live music, all kinds of interactive shows – it was a pleasure to watch.
To make most use of the glorious warm weather, more walking around and sightseeing was on my schedule, in the evening we all came together again to celebrate our bbq premiere of this year in Sofienbergparken.
Sunday – flea markets and sightseeing
On Sunday I was again invited by my host and her friends to join them in a tour of Oslos spring flea markets that take place one weekend each year, held mostly in schools in the city. They were quite massive! Besides clothes, kitchen supplies and such things, you could also find furniture and ski equipment, auctions took place and home-made baking goods were sold. Some more infos on upcoming flea markets can be found here. The driving around Oslo and a couple of the outer districts areas was absolutely stunning. We passed Oslos oldest church, Old Aker Church and my favourite was the road that leads up to the Nordstrand area which gives you a magnificent view of Oslos shoreline and the islands in the bay. If you are car-less you can also take tram 19 direction Ljabru (which is also considered somewhat of the “sightseeing tram” as it passes by many major landmarks and has a beautiful route through the city).
We took a little extra drive to Åpent bakeri (managed to get me hooked on iced coffee again) in Ullevål, an area of many brick houses with white framed windows that looked very Western German to me, where also the Blinden universitetet is located, as is the football stadium of Oslo.
In the afternoon I took off by myself again to check out some more city sights on my list. I took a tram to Vigelandsparken and walked around there a little bit, a huuuge park and tons of people enjoying the sun. Part of that park is the famous sculpture park that’s definitely worth seeing. I needed lunch though, so I headed towards the Royal Gardens (Slottsparken) to find Restaurant “Lorry“, also recommended by my colleague writers. I was originally looking for some Norwegian food, but when I saw the mussels and fries on the table beside me I was instantly sold. Some Belgian energy then. I worked on my sunburn on their terrace for a while before heading back.
To finalise this wonderful day, my host came up with the spontaneous idea to drive up to Holmenkollen, the ski jump up on the hill behind the city centre, to see the sunset or more, the “golden hour”. Once there, I found it incredible how far you can see and how big Oslo seems in comparison to Helsinki. Because of the hills you can see much more of the city, which makes it seem much bigger, even though both cities have a similar population. The drive up there was very scenic and wonderful, especially in this light shortly before sundown – a perfect ending to this weekend!