Oslo

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Aimless wandering

It has been strangely hard to get over jetlag. It’s barely 8pm before I can hardly keep my eyes open and I have a feeling this is going to be messed up even further the moment I get into the Polar night in Svalbard. On the positive side, that means I’m up with lots of time to spare – I can eat breakfast, go out and still be in time to enjoy the slow sunrise at Holmenkollen (what looks to be a very affluent residential area as well as a ski recreation area) on Line 1 of the T-bane. There were already those who were training for competitions at that...

Paupering in Oslo

Seven years ago, I visited Oslo and stayed in someone’s apartment, essentially getting the entire place to myself when the owner coincidentally went on vacation during those exact dates I was here. As I got to Tøyen where he stayed, I wondered if I was actually observing the underbelly of Oslo’s poorer population. Things change dramatically a few train stops away, and all these years later, I’m not too sure if what I’m seeing of Oslo is too different – at least superficially. Now that I’m at a budget place near the National Theatret, I get to see what the tourists see and do what they do, and unwittingly find...

Fjordland

Norway is expensive, much to my dismay. Food and drink cost thrice to four times as much as I am used to. Yet I had the most extraordinary encounter in Café Asylet on my last night in Oslo. The original intention to try at least a meagre portion of Norwegian food had finally won out, and thus determinedly made my way to Asylet that wasn’t far from the Oslo lodging. I ended up asking someone busy wrapping knives and forks in serviettes for his translation of the menu, inwardly cringing at the prices, and ordered something decent and least expensive, which also happened to be the Café’s special. Turned out that...

Oslo: Old and Powerfully Simple

If there’s anything to say about classic Scandinavian design, Oslo Airport Gardemoen probably embodies it (well, at least it ranks second to Copenhagen’s one). Pine floors, navy, white and yellow, sleek, clean lines. Norway already feels more rugged than picture-perfect Sweden (that seems so typically Scandinavian) but it’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen (judging only from the countryside – rolling hills and all – from the airport), next to New Zealand. It took a terribly long time to get to the place where I stayed, which is in someone’s apartment in an immigrant (mixed with the university students’ housing) area (which Westerners are generally fascinated with). It turned out that I had...