Day 7 - Oslo (NO)
Today we decided to explore a little outside the city and first set off on the T-Bane, metro to Frognerseteren. It is easiest to get on in the centre at the Parliament building (Stortinget). Just look for the 'T' sign and the steps next to Max Burger restaurant. You need to go westbound and Frognerseteren is at the end of the line.
Download the Ruter app on your phone, and buy a 24-hour ticket. This is the best option if you want to do a boat trip in the afternoon which I thoroughly recommend.
We made the mistake of buying a single journey for zone 1 which is timed. You have just 1 hour to complete the journey and if your time runs out, you have to buy another ticket. We decided to do a bit of hopping on and off and this cost us more money. You may also qualify for a senior rate which is half price!
It took us about half an hour to get to Frognerseteren at a height of 469 metres above sea level and the snow made everything look really picturesque. (Absolutely no technical problems in spite of the weather and elevation!). This area is right in the middle of the Marka forest and is great for hiking in summer or skiing in winter.
It was purely magical at the top and as the train pulled into the station, scores of youngsters grabbed their skis and toboggans and started hurtling down the slopes, screaming with delight!
At the destination point there is a restaurant and an outside art exhibition called Roseslottet (Rose Castle), dedicated to democracy, the rule of law and humanism. It tells the story of occupation in Norway from 1940 to 1945 describing the values we lost and regained. It is full of magnificent structures and paintings.
We then headed down to Holmenkollen, to see the ski jump (the most modern in the world with a capacity for 70,000 spectators). It is possible to walk the 2.5 kms but it was obviously quite difficult in the snow so we hopped back on the train and sat in comfort for the 5 stops back down towards the city. It was fascinating watching some incredible skiers making the jumps - they literally flew through the air above us! You can also visit the ski museum and go up the ski tower which has amazing views over the city and surrounding area. In addition there is a ski simulator and a souvenir shop here.
After a quick stop for lunch, we then headed down to the harbour in the afternoon to get a ferry which took us on a one-hour trip around some of the islands in the Oslo Fjord. The boat was electric and glided silently through the water allowing us to fully appreciate the sights and sounds around us. Of course, the Oslo Fjord does not compare to the fjords around Bergen but it was still great to see and experience one of these famous Norwegian waterways for the first time.
Top tip! There is a 2-hour boat trip which costs nearly £40 per person but there is also the regular ferry which hops around the islands and is covered by the 24-hour Ruter pass! If money and time are limited, I would recommend the quick hop to get an overview and a taste of the Oslo Fjord. For information, go to the ticket ofice between points A and B down at the waterfront at Aker Brygge. The boat we took went from point E and was the B1 line.
And if you want to do something completely different! There are even floating saunas! We saw one go past us and thought it was a shed on a raft!
We stayed in a great hotel called K7. It was again very comfortable and had quite a good breakfast for £12. We were able to really eat well and keep going for quite a number of hours without refuelling! Oslo is a small city and very easy to get around and the hotel was near the harbour and the centre so it was a perfect location. It did have some cheaper rooms too which did not have private/ensuite bathrooms and there was also a kitchen and laundry room as well as a comfortable lounge area. The staff were very helpful and friendly too.
We found some good restaurants down by the waterfront and our favourite was Jarmann gastro pub. The meal was delicious and main courses cost about £15-20. We found food generally a little cheaper here than in Copenhagen but wine!!!!! It started at £10 a glass! I had a 30cl glass of beer - the cheapest on the menu at nearly £6! I guess I will not be drinking much here! You can buy beer in supermarkets but you have to go to the Vinmonopolet for wine or anything stronger. They are a government-owned alcoholic beverage retailer and the only company allowed to sell beverages containing an alcohol content higher than 4.75% in Norway. They have a Ⓥ symbol and are colloquially shortened to Polet.