Europe 2015 Diary Entry II – Oslo

One year later, I’m finally finding the time to document my memories of our trip. I’m calling them diary entries, because they’re mostly thought dumps to recall as many details as possible – mostly for memory sake. I’m already forgetting little details about our trip, which is sad as it was really a once in a lifetime experience that I want to remember for the rest of my life. So these posts will be long and full of pictures. Consider yourself warned. :)

When we first started to plan our trip, I gave Mike free reign to plan out our first two weeks in Scandinavia. I was going through an incredibly busy time at work and planning a trip in an area that I had never really considered (but was open to) visiting seemed overwhelming. So off he went to plan our very belated honeymoon. I figured it would be fun to be surprised.

We caught a very early train from Gothenburg to Oslo. The idea was that we’d avoid having to find our AirBnb in the dark once we arrived in Oslo. Most things were closed at the train station in Gothenburg when we arrived, aside from 1 or 2 cafes.

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Mike ordered a cappuccino and drank it very quickly. I ordered an Americano which was too hot to drink. Mike told me to finish it before we walked to the train platform. I refused and insisted I’d be fine with my luggage. This is me not being fine at all. I spilled my coffee everywhere and instead of helping me, Mike took a photo. I had to throw out my coffee. :'(

Mike got really excited when he saw Daim chocolate for the first time on this trip. It’s basically like a Skor bar if you’re familiar with those. Hard toffee on the inside, chocolate on the outside. They are delicious, but both of us were too tired to show our excitement on the train. I still needed my coffee.

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Trying to look excited with our Daim. Still very jet lagged at this point.

Once I got a coffee on the train (which was overpriced, and, not surprisingly, not very tasty), I was finally able to enjoy the views. I was trying really hard to stay awake during the day because I wanted to start actually sleeping at night.

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Taking the train from city to city is a pleasure in Europe. 🙂

On the train ride from Gothenburg to Oslo, I asked Mike why he chose Oslo as our next stop. He said he didn’t know. I asked him what his memory of Oslo was the last time he was there. He drew a blank. In fact, the only memory he had was of him losing his camera that he’d been travelling with – and 6 months worth of photos along with it. Huh…

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We caught the end of a sunrise when we headed out for our first run in Oslo.

After we arrived at our AirBnb, settled in and chatted with our host, we decided to go out for a run. It had just rained and dropped below zero for the first time which mean that the entire city was covered in ice. It was like running through a skating rink. But since we had so little time in Oslo, we wanted to take advantage of our time there and explore. The run was slow, but pretty. We saw some really nice areas and neighbourhoods, while taking it easy to be safe. After making it through almost the entire run, Mike took out his phone to take a photo of me… and it slipped out of his hand and onto the ground. His screen shattered. 🙁

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This could have been a skating rink.

That quickly ended our run and put a bit of a damper on our evening. The rest of the night was spent researching what our options were and we determined that we’d have to go to the Apple store in Malmo, our next next stop after Stockholm, to get it fixed. Needless to say, Mike was a little stressed over this as we had no idea how much repairing the screen would cost and we weren’t expecting to have such a big expense so early on in the trip.

After we got back and showered, we went in search for food. A few glances at restaurant menus – even food court food – resulted in us deciding that eating in was our best bet. It really is insane how expensive everything was. Meh. We ended up picking up more museli for breakfast, oat milk (THE BEST), some fresh pasta, spinach, tomato sauce and cheese. A good idea in theory, but honestly, it was just okay. A very forgettable meal that cost twice as much as it would have if we had bought the same ingredients in Canada.

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Not the greatest meal, but it was food and just about all we could afford in Norway.

At least we got to cook it in this gorgeous kitchen.

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Our Airbnb host’s kitchen was gorgeous. Small, but functional. They were both designers and it showed – their bathroom was also stunning.

The next morning, we debated whether to go for our scheduled long run or not, and ultimately decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, it was still as icy as it was the day before and still goes down as the hardest long run I have done all year. Mike originally was going to run at his own pace, but a few kms in, he realized how difficult it was going to be and stuck with me the whole way. I fell at least twice, but we had fun together. It was one of those experiences that brought us closer together (although I may have been a little grumpy). We even got a glimpse at just how tough the Norwegians are. Most of them were running on the ice in regular running shoes – not trail shoes or with  special spikes for traction – like it was just a regular day. Even Mike, the trail runner at heart, looked in awe. We did see a few of them slip on the ice as well, but they’d get up as quickly as they fell and continue running without even blinking.

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I love the style of the buildings in Europe. I always wondered what it would be like to live in one of them! We got a taste at our AirBnb – sometimes you have to walk up very long flights of stairs. With giant suitcases.

The one positive of stopping so much was that it allowed me to take lots of photos.

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Either a little park… or someone’s backyard.
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Statue bridge in Frogner Park.
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So icy, and the roads had not yet been covered in pebbles (they use small rocks instead of salt).

At least our friends back home thought the below photo was funny. In the moment, I was just so over running in icy Oslo.

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And that was the look of exhaustion after taking close to 3 hours to run 20ish km.

We purposely finished our run near Tim Wendelboe. One of our favourite cafe owners from Toronto was raving about his coffee and told us that Tim was legendary within the barista circles. It was pretty cold and I was exhausted by the time we got there, so sitting down and drinking a perfectly made cappuccino was bliss. We finished ours and ended up getting back in line to share another.

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We each ordered a cappuccino to stay and then a third to share once we left. So good!

On our way back home, we also stopped by a food market hall and picked up a jar of peanut butter. Hey, I was excited to see something “familiar” and also thought it would make a nice snack on the train ride to Stockholm. More on that later. We also ate a few small plates of food, since we couldn’t really afford much more! I also managed to FaceTime my sister using the building’s free wifi.

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A delicious egg tortilla slice on sourdough bread. Don’t even ask how much this tiny thing cost.

We briefly considered going out for dinner, but decided to have a repeat of the previous night’s boring dinner. Norway really is one of the most expensive countries I have ever been to. Apparently it’s common for Norwegians to cross the border to Sweden to stock up on as much food as they can.

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Our host made this amazing foccacia bread. We had to stop ourselves from devouring the whole thing!

Later that night, we decided to go to a local bar for a drink – we figured that would be cheaper than eating out as well. Mike ordered us two locally brewed beers and we almost spat out our beer when we found out how much it was. Sure, it was nice, but at the price they charged us, we made sure we drank every last sip before we left.

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The most we paid for beers during our entire trip. It was good, but not worth the cost.

The iPhone incident, the two ice-infested runs and the fact that we couldn’t afford anything to eat or drink left us with a bit of a sour taste of Oslo. In total, we spent two nights and one full day there, so not enough to really get a feel for it but we still left agreeing that we wouldn’t be in a hurry to return.

Next stop, Stockholm…

alison

More diary entries:
Diary entry I: Gothenburg

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