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 walked a big round complete with baggage before entering the apartment complex.

And this is the strangest situation: to be in some stranger’s home without having ever met the host. In any case, it’s a small apartment on the 10th floor with a heck of a view from the kitchen and balcony.
The host himself was not in (!), so I was greeted by a friend of his who has the same surname, and looks like an elongated version of Steven Spielberg, and who, after demonstrating how the apartment works, kindly agreed to drive me to Majorstua so that I could walk to Vigeland sculpture park and from there, to the central station. He spoke English well enough, though I suspect understanding it beyond simple questions might pose a bit of a problem, such that places he recommended came out verbally as “This place is OK.”, “This street is…OK”.

But Vigeland was gorgeous in a way I hadn’t expected. Large, sprawling and filled with the amazing work of Gustav Vigeland that I spent a long time looking at.

Vigelandpark

A downhill walk from Bogstadveien through yet another park suddenly brought into a dramatic view another long, flag-lined crowded street – which I learnt soon enough – is the vein of Oslo modern city: Karl Johan Gate.

Maybe it’s the green belts, or the cool air, but hilly and rolling Oslo packs a surprise punch by straddling urban modernity and simplicity, while ready to bankrupt you.

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    […] 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 […]

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