A new destination, a reunion with my sister and her boyfriend and a Christmas market visit… Oslo promised to be a city-break to remember! While chilly temperatures and grim weather on the Saturday meant we didn’t cram in quite as many activities as I would normally, we still managed to check out some of the city’s notable sights and some amazing street art. Read on to see how we spent two snowy days in Oslo!
We were staying near the hipster area of Grünerlokka so one of our first activities (after coffee, naturally) was to wander along the Akerselva to see some of the street art decorating abandoned buildings, pipes and walls – everywhere we turned we spotted different pieces!
This piece was my favourite – so many cute characters!
Laughing at a rude version of Where’s Wally
A dusting of snow by Trinity Church
Our next stop was the Christmas Market along Stortinsgata. Unfortunately it was crammed and we were short on patience, so we wandered along the outside – not even tempted by the delicious scent of churros, the line was too long! Instead we strolled up the hill to the Slottsplassen to admire the edifice of the Royal Palace and the fortitude of the guards standing sentry in the freezing temperatures.
Joe making friends along the way
The Royal Palace
Warming up with amazing vegan lasagne at Nordvegan
The weather was getting to us so much that next we did something completely London – we went to the pub! Friends were in town and holed up at a craft beer specialist so, although we had all flown out for a change of pace, we instead opted for exactly what we might have done on a Saturday afternoon at home. And I don’t regret it one bit – we had a really fun afternoon swapping stories, tasting craft beers and generally having a great catch-up!
But don’t worry – we did venture out again! Like Cologne (and many cities!), Oslo doesn’t have just one central Christmas market but a number scattered around the city. I think the market in Youngstorget was my favourite – this may or may not have had something to do with the fact that it took place in a large tent, filled with braziers and featuring a large central fire.
One of my favourite parts about Oslo’s Christmas spirit was the beautiful lights that decorated all the central streets, from bells to stars to sparkling strings. The city was gorgeously lit!
The beautiful Oslo Opera House – with ice covering the sea in front!
Then we spotted some street art on the way to dinner – and A WOLF!!*
*May not be an actual wolf but it was quite happily chilling there and just gazed at us as we exclaimed loudly!
The next day dawned clear and sunny – a real motivation to make the most of our last day. I opted to head out to the Norske Folk Museum where I could get a two-for-one of Norwegian culture and another Christmas museum!
But first, coffee at the fabulous Hendrix Ibsen
The main drawcard of the Norwegian Folk Museum is the outdoor collection of 160 historic buildings, many of them log-houses built in the styles of different eras. It was fascinating to see the evolution from low slung houses that looked more like stables, to the multi-storey carved edifices of later times. There were also more modern houses beautified with traditional Christmas decorations – too cute!
The icing on the Christmas cake was the beautiful handicrafts in the stalls tucked in between the houses – I wanted to take these gorgeous wreaths home with me in addition to all the tasty goodies.
Lethal looking icicles!
I walked into the pink building pictured above and heard singing – it was this group of kids and adults joining hands around the Christmas tree. I think they had spontaneously burst into song at that moment and it was utterly glorious – once of those chance encounters on holiday when I might snap a quick picture, but then just enjoyed the spectacle.
As the mid-winter sun set on Oslo, I promised myself I would be back to explore the city more thoroughly… but next time I think I’ll try to visit in summer!
Have you visited Oslo? What should I see next time?