The overnight train to Oslo departs Stavanger at 10:20 PM and arrives in Oslo at 7:30 AM. Considering it takes about 8 hours to drive, one might wonder, ” why does it take even longer by train?” We have decided, more so than stopping, it takes the most obscene squiggly route ever (see a map). Sarah and I chose to opt out of paying over 1000 Kr for a sleeper car and stick with our minpris ticket of 199 Kr. We were grateful when the train was not full and we each got 2 seats to ourselves for the overnight journey. I can’t say I got much sleep, and I know for a fact Sarah got even less, but the extra bit of space made the ride more palatable. I didn’t see very much as it was still early April and dark most of the night, but I imagine in the summer it is quite pretty. Aside from the train somehow switching directions in the night, the ride went without a hitch. We arrived in Oslo bright and early with a polite English translated announcement of “We are now arriving at Oslo Central Station, Please Leave.”
And so we left to be greeted in the parking lot by our wonderful host (and friend of Teta’s) Eva. Just for everyone’s information, Eva is an amazing host, with a beautiful home and a killer cappuccino. We were getting a bit spoiled at this point since city number two of the journey also came with a comfy bed, a gracious host, delicious coffee, views of the fjords, and a decent amount of sunshine!
After washing up and filling up our tummies, Eva showed us into the city and we began our touring with Vigeland Park. Ok, yes…Vigeland Park is a sight to see. It is 100 % a work of art and impressive. However, everyone seems to make it sound upbeat and like fun day in the park. I recommend seeing it, but the park, in my opinion is creepy. There are some very grave and dark emotions being portrayed through the sculptures and I found it quite interesting that most people failed to allude to this element in any way. That is for just how many people highly recommended going here. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Gustav Vigeland had a lot of trauma in his life (or something) when he made this park. Regardless, it is beautiful when you admire what he has created. So yes, I do recommend the park, but with the disclaimer that it is a tad creepy.
After working our way through the park, we walked our way through the sites…The National Library (plus exhibit), Wayne’s Coffee, The National Theatre, The Royal Palace, The National Gallery (Including Munch’s “Scream”), Akershus Fortress, various government buildings, the main walking street, and so on and so forth. The sun was spectacular, so we spent the better park of the evening hanging out around Aker Brygge where many of the locals were out sun bathing and eating ice cream. Sorry, not quite ready for that at 3 degrees Celsius. We had a wonderful recommendation for Jewel of India for dinner, which we happily indulged in and took plenty of leftovers home. Having little rest on the overnight train, we were pretty ready to hit the hay after all that.
Wednesday morning, we got up bright and early to catch the ferry over to Bygdoy which houses several museums. We chose to circle the National Museum of Cultural History which is an outdoor museum to get the jist since it wasn’t open. You get to see all the buildings from an earlier time in Norway and it was pretty cool. Then we got a bit lost…. The whole concept of several roads being named the same thing and being trapped on hills where you can’t see what is ahead of you got the best of us. So after seeing way more of the island than anticipated, we sorted ourselves out and made our way back to the city center. On our way to the Opera house we found a delicious all gluten-free bakery for a cuppa and a snack, then ran into the Mini Bottle Museum. Very very sadly, it is only open on days we were not in Oslo, but we got a taste from the entrance. Lastly, we capped off our stay with a tour of the Opera House. I have to say it is pretty cool architecturally when you start to look at the details. Plus you can walk on the roof! Our tour was perfect for us dancers because we were allowed to go back stage, see all the studios and even walk through the costume shop!
Some left over Indian yum yums and a little chat time with Eva topped of our day and a half in Oslo. By evening, we were off to country number two: Sweden! (Sarah strongly hoping the dialect would sound like the Swedish chef from The Muppets and me singing “My bum is on the Swedish” from a time when Tom Green was on MTV)
Photos From Stavanger & Oslo: