Oslo…From Under An Umbrella

Gustav Vigeland's monolith column at Vigeland Sculpture Park. (Photograph by Hanna Snarberg)

– By Hanna Snarberg

If I say Norway, most of you probably think of boats, water, and stunning nature. I happened to visit Oslo for two days in July when the rain just wouldn’t stop pouring down. Since I had forgotten my raincoat, I decided to scrap my plan to visit the beautiful Oslo Fjord region and explore the Oslo city center instead.

Here’s what Norway’s capital city has to offer on a rainy summer’s day:

Lodging

Bearing in mind that Norway can be costly, I picked a small but very affordable and eco-friendly three-star hotel, the Carlton Oslo Hotel Guldsmeden.

Calm waters at sunrise at Aker Brygge. (Photograph by Vladislav Karapanov, My Shot)

This centrally located hotel’s commitment to the environment can be seen in every little detail (the shampoo, soap, and body lotion they provide guests is 100% natural and their delicious breakfast buffet is organic and mostly local). And, due to its central location on Parkveien, it makes for a convenient base camp for exploring the Royal Palace and the famous cafe and restaurant area around Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen.

Museums

You simply must see Edvard Munch‘s most famous work, “The Scream” (a pastel version recently was sold for a record-setting $120 million at auction) at the Munch Museum. Also don’t miss the Historical Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, the small but very informative museum about world-renowned Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and the Mini Bottle Gallery where you can see the world’s biggest collection (53,000) of miniature bottles. Trust me, it’s cool.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

The “Angry Boy” of Vigeland Park. (Photograph by Jorgen Tharaldsen, My Shot)

If a park full of sculptures doesn’t sound exciting to you, you haven’t been here yet. This is a one-of-a-kind, fun, creative place to spend the day getting inspired and culturally enriched by Gustav Vigeland‘s hundreds of sculptures in bronze, granite, and iron. Don’t miss the “Angry Boy” (“Sinnataggen“), and the 14-meter-high monolithic column consisting of 121 human figures.

The Nobel Peace Center

Learn more about the laureates who have been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, and see their impressive bodies of work on display. The center is currently hosting a unique dual exhibition, “In Afghanistan,” featuring the work of prize-winning photographers Lynsey Addario (a contributing photographer for National Geographic) and the late Tim Hetherington. See the exhibition that has attracted record turn outs until September 2, 2012.

Grünerløkka

You’ll agree that this charming part of the city is tailor-made for strolling around at a leisurely pace. Make sure to check out the picturesque areas around Birkelunden and Olaf Ryes Plass. And don’t forget to stop in for a coffee or a glass of wine to take a break from ducking into shops. The Fru Hagen cafe is well worth a visit. Find it on Thorvald Meyersgate 40.

Fru Hagen cafe in Grünerløkka. (Photograph by Hanna Snarberg)

Eating out

If seafood rules in Oslo, salmon is the master of ceremonies. Served in many forms — tartare, smoked, pan-fried, grilled — it’s offered on almost every menu you’ll encounter in this port city. In the Aker Brygge area there are several restaurants with breathtaking views of the Oslo Fjord: gourmet eatery Onda, Solsidan or Lofoten, just to name a few. But wherever you decide to eat, make sure to try the salmon!


Oslo…From Under An Umbrella

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