Sorry for the delay in this post. I just got back to America after having a wonderful last trip to visit some places that I had been hoping to see. It’s been a crazy few days, and I finally now have time to tell you about them!
Reinhard, the ultimate travel partner, and I planned on going to Oslo for a couple of days, followed by a long layover in Riga before returning to Tallinn. Norway is VERY cold this time of year, but it is also very pretty. We caught Oslo on a crazy weekend. There was some sort of a soccer championship, so finding a room was difficult. But with the assistance of a travel agent, we got a fabulous room for half the price. We were so snug in our room that we were tempted to just stay in and hide from the cold. However, we were in Oslo! We had to go exploring! Walking down all the beautifully decorated streets (so much Christmas spirit), we took tons of pictures and ended up getting a little lost along the way.
We eventually found the Akershus fortress, an ancient construction on a hill, offering views of the incredible Oslo fjord. We got to see the changing of the royal guards (yes, Norway has royalty – a king and queen). The fortress was really cool. Part of it is even recreated in Epcot in Disney world! So if you’re in Disney, eat at the Akershus banquet hall and pretend like you’re in the real Norway! The real Akershus dates back to the 1200s. It started out as a castle but has served different purposes over the years (even with a brief run as a prison). Now it is just a pretty place for tourists to visit, with museums and a mausoleum.
Another important thing to do when you visit Oslo is to walk on the opera house. We could see people walking around on the opera house with our view from our hotel room, so we were inspired to give it a try. The opera house is located right on the water and has really a interesting architectural design which allows guests to walk on the roof. When we got there, many people were inside (I guess there was a performance just about to start), but we enjoyed wandering around the outside.
Frozen, we called it a day until the sun decided to come up the next morning. I really wanted to see the Vigeland sculpture park, so we took a really expensive metro ride out there (about 8 times as expensive as Tallinn public transportation… Silly Scandinavians). But the park was incredible. There were tons of sculptures all done by the same artist, depicting the span of human life. The park was huge and seemed to be where Osloites spend lots of time.
That evening we decided to spend in the Akker Brygge area. It’s an old fishing wharf that received an incredibly modern facelift. Everything was high-tech and glassy. Yet, they managed to make it look so beautifully decorated for Christmas. It was a wonderful slice of modern Oslo. We had a delicious dinner in Akker Brygge. One of the guides I looked up online for affordable dining in Oslo pointed us to an Italian restaurant in the district. Our meal was still rather expensive, but for Oslo it was reasonable. But the important things were that the food was tasty and it got us out of the bone chilling weather for a while. Oslo was such a beautiful place to visit and 2 days was the right amount of time to spend.