I feel like I should add a few disclaimers here before I write out my thoughts:
- We arrived in Oslo the day after a heavy rainstorm that melted all the snow but hung around long enough to freeze and turn the entire city into a skating rink. Apparently this isn’t typical?
- We were only here for two nights so we didn’t have too much time to spend exploring the city
- We were here over the weekend, and most businesses close early on Saturdays and are not open at all on Sundays.
To be honest, neither Mike and I had a great time in Oslo. Perhaps it was our bad luck with the weather, or the fact that the city was pretty quiet while we were there (a combination of it being Winter and the weekend?)… whatever it was, we both agreed that we were relieved to move on. We managed to get out two “runs” while we were there. I say “runs” loosely because both of them felt more like power walks than actual runs.
Run #1 Ekebergsletta (easy run)
On the first night we arrived there, we attempted to go for a run to explore the city. We arrived in the afternoon, so we only had about an hour left of sunlight before it set at 4pm (generally speaking, this has been really hard for me to adjust to). As soon as we got out, we realized that we should have worn our trail shoes. A reasonable pace just wasn’t happening. None of the ice had been salted or treated with anything that would help make running over it more easily. There was a lot of stopping, walking, and frustrated sighs.
On a positive note, we did run up a pretty steep hill that doubled as a really fancy neighbourhood. It was so fancy, that we saw a random horse and carriage gliding through the streets like it was no big deal.
Run #2: Bygdøy (long run)
So, after much debate and weather monitoring, we decided to attempt to do our long run in Oslo because it seemed warmer than the day before.
Spoiler: it was a mistake. We waited until the afternoon when we felt it would be the warmest part of the day, and we decided to forgo pace and stick together (that part made me happy). It started out okay, perhaps because we ran through neighbourhoods that were more groomed than the rest of the city. That may have had something to do with the fact that it was near the palace.
The rest of the long run, however, was a nightmare. It seemed to get more icy and slippery as we went on – it felt like the temperature actually dropped as well. Eventually (as I’m apt to do), I slipped and fell right on my ass (or should I say “glute” to make this sound less crass?). Then we decided to run through a snowy field for some relief off the icy road and I was rewarded by twisting my ankle.
Eventually, we made it to the cafe we’d been wanting to check out (when some of your favourite cafes in Toronto recommend a place to you, you listen).
It was much easier to see all the positives of this run when it was over. First of all, I got to do a long run with Mike. I haven’t had an opportunity to do this with him in ages because he’s so much faster than me. Biggest plus. 🙂 Second, both of us got through the run without any major injury. We saw a few other runners slip and fall, and other walkers tip toeing across ice because the conditions were so bad. Third, we saw quite a few runners out there, acting as if it was just another ordinary day. One older runner jumped right off the paved street and onto a really icy looking trail. He didn’t flinch or falter for a second. It was incredibly inspiring and motivating. If they can get used to it, surely we could get through this long run as well (and we did).
As I mentioned earlier, this wasn’t our favourite city. We’ve always been able to find pretty good things about every place we visited, but we struggled here. Again, maybe it’s because we spent so little time and had bad luck with the weather. Maybe next time we could plan to go skiing or snow showing instead of running (haha, except we love running so much). Maybe we should come back and visit in the summer – during the week – when I suspect the city comes to life.
Lots of maybes. For now, we’re happily touring other cities in Sweden and liking it a lot better.