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Trip Down Memory Lane: Scandinavian Trip Summer 2019 - Part 3

Updated: May 3, 2021

In this series I'm scratching the travel itch by re-living a trip across Scandinavia in the Summer of 2019.

Day 4: Oslo

This was the day that I fell in love with brunost which literally translates to "brown cheese." It tastes like a mixture of cheese and caramel. It might seem strange but it is downright delicious. Also, the complimentary breakfast buffet at Comfort Hotel Børsparken was ridiculously amazing.

Yes, once again there was an entire table devoted to charcuterie! There were also about 4 other tables filled with everything one could ever want for breakfast. After fueling up with a good meal and several cups of coffee it was time to explore the Norwegian capital.

The city center is a gem of a place to explore on foot. Karl Johans Gate is Oslo's de facto main street stretching from Oslo Central Station to the Royal Palace. The city's nickname, "The Tiger City," helps to explain why Oslo's most photographed citizen is strutting thier stuff near the train station.

Much of the area around Karl Johan's Gate is made up of a cohesive 19th century architectural style. One of the most iconic sights is the sign for the Norwegian confectioner, Freia. Although now owned by a multinational corporation, its chocolate is still a must try when in Norway, especially their Kvikk Lunsj product.

After passing through the typical tourist / shopping area one expects to find in a city center we came upon many of Oslo's culturally significant buildings. The first one we passed by was Norway's parliament, Stortingsbygningen.

A few blocks away, across a park from the parliament building lies the National Theatre. The plaza surrounding the theatre is a great place to stop and drink a cup of coffee.

The last section of Karl Johans Gate leads up to the Royal Palace in Oslo. Surrounded on all sides by a park, the building both exudes regality but also a humbleness that exemplifies Nordic values.

After exploring the area directly around Karl Johans Gate it was time for a tour of Rådhuset, Oslo City Hall. Many European cities are focused around a church, but in Scandinavia civic buildings fill that role. Rådhuset's claim to fame is that the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony is held here every December. After admiring its mural covered interior it was time to ferry across the Oslofjord to visit the Norwegian Folk Museum in Bygdøy.

Over 150 buildings from various towns and villages in Norway have been relocated to this open air museum. We walked around and inside many of the buildings including the apothecary, a fruit and tobacco shop, and even some apartments.

The traditional wooden buildings, like this one originally built Telemark in northern Norway, are truly remarkable with the impressive handiwork.

The museum's crown jewel would be the Gol Stave Church. The church was originally built in the village of Gol in the 13th century and saved from demolition by being moved to the museum in 1907. Words and pictures don't do this intricately designed structure justice.

After a morning filled with viewing historical sights and buildings it was time to enjoy Oslo's natural landscape. Oslo's metro, aka the T-bane, doesn't just serve the city center or highly populated areas. We were able to take it up into hills overlooking Oslo. I wish my daily commute had sweeping views like this!

The end of this line is Frognerseteren which is home to a restaurant as well as hiking trails in the summer and skiing during the winter. As we have were indulging during breakfast it seemed like a good idea for us to walk from here to an iconic Norwegian sports venue.

The Holmenkollen Ski Jump was built in the 19th century but has been renovated several times since, each time getting larger and taller. A ski museum lies at the base of the structure with the highlight being an elevator ride to soak up the vista from the top.

The view of the Oslofjord is spectacular from up here! Although there is an option to Zipline to the bottom of the ski jump we opted for the slightly less adrenaline pumping elevator. After my breath was sufficiently taken away from the landscape unfolding below it was time to walk back to the metro for another scenic ride back into town.

A trip to Oslo would not be complete without visiting the Oslo Opera House. The architecture of the building was designed to emulate an iceberg in the fjord and I couldn't think of a cooler (pun intended) structure in the city.

The roof of the Oslo Opera House is essentially a public plaza. People are encouraged to walk all around the roof to enjoy the gorgeous setting.

Looking inland from the Opera House lies Oslo's new Barcode Project, which rises from former industrial grounds. Although some find the area detrimental to the city's character, I found it awe-inspiring to see a modern city development able to compliment its natural surroundings with its eye catching steel and glass designs.

After a long day of exploring Oslo it was time to head back to Karl Johans Gate to find some dinner before resting up for another eventful day.

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