Oslo

Oslo wasn’t anywhere on my radar until some super cheap tickets ($140 total for a family of 4) came up for a three day weekend. Then it became very appealing. Also, we had yet to do a strictly city tour where we didn’t need to bring car seats or rent a car. The trip just seemed to be really simple and that sounded perfect. When we got off the plane we purchased the Oslo Pass which allows you transportation through the city and entry to all the museums. You can choose between 24, 48, and 72 hours in which we chose the 48 hour pass for 54 Euro a piece. The kids were free!

However, from the airport you do have to purchase the FlyToGet train tickets to go from the airport to the city center. The train was extremely easy. Get off the plane, get a ticket and there is a train that departs every 10 minutes. It dropped us off at the Oslo station right in front of our hotel. Stupid easy. I was really happy to see there was snow on the ground on our journey into the city. Its been a while since I’ve seen real snow so that was a treat.

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We stayed at the Clarion Royal and it was an amazing hotel for the price. The room was big, the beds and pillows were actually comfortable, and the amenities were on point. The breakfast buffet was huge! They also have a small heated swimming pool which we utilized both nights of our stay.

When we arrived the sun was setting and we wanted to take advantage of something still being open. We decided to walk 10 minutes to the National Gallery because I wanted to see the famous “Scream” painting by Edvard Munch- Norway’s most famous artist. They have an entire collection of his work along with two floors of beautiful art. We could have spent much more time exploring but it was dinner time for the boys and you don’t want to be in an art gallery too long with hungry children. So we headed to a taco shop across from our hotel and ran into an expat that ended up joining us for dinner.  I love finding Mexican food in Europe. When we see it we can never pass up the opportunity! Usually when you think of Mexican food you think of a quick, cheap meal. Well…this is where those cheap plane tickets became the cheapest part of our trip. Food in Norway is expensive!

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Day 2 was our only full day in Oslo so we had to cram in as much sightseeing as possible. We took the tram to Frogner park and the whining started immediately. Kellan was wearing the most layers out of everyone but that was no match for the snowy 25 degree cold. He determined he wasn’t going to have a good time as soon as he stepped off the tram. He wanted to be held the entire time so Ben ended up carrying him so I could be free to take some pictures. The park contains the Vigeland installation of nude sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. This is the same man that designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal. He spent 20 years between the 1920s-40s creating the installation. Some of the work is really bizarre but that’s what makes it so unique. I wish we could have spent more time there but with my children turning into icicles we had to be as quick as possible. Why do kids complain about being cold and then refuse to wear their gloves?

 

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The next stop was the popular Aker Brygge, an area on the water with shopping, dining, boat tours and the Nobel Peace Prize center. Ben and the kids decided to head back to the hotel for a snack so I walked around solo for about 30 minutes just enjoying the scenery. I can imagine in the summer this is the place that gets really crowded with tourists. Although there wasn’t much going on down there this time of year it was really nice and relaxing to just walk around and take in the beauty without a crowd. I practically had the entire Nobel Peace center to myself!

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Nobel Peace center

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After the kiddos took a nap in the hotel we once again set out for some burritos. I couldnt help myself.  Then we took the number 30 bus out to Bygdoy where many of the museums are located. The bus ride was about 25 minutes. Our first stop was the Viking ship museum which is utterly fascinating. To think people used these ships to cross freezing oceans so long ago….it’s just something you need to see if you are in Norway and love history.

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The Oseberg ship was excavated in 1904 and thought to be from around 800 AD

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The Gokstad ship was found in 1880 and is from the 9th century

The Fram museum is just up the road from the viking ship museum and located on the fjord. We walked around just as the sun had set and then spent about 30 minutes inside the museum. This is a good one for the kids as there are some great interactive activities. The museum is dedicated to polar exploration and the most famous explorers. The main attraction is a ship used in Arctic and Antarctic missions in the late 1800’s. You can even go on the ship and walk around. The boys definitely enjoyed this museum the most.

After our museum fun we headed back into the city in search of the cheapest meal possible. McDonalds it was! I have eaten at McDonalds in almost every country I have visited, especially after having kids. It’s cheap, its quick and its easy. While I would love to experience all the fine dining Norway has to offer, it’s just not realistic for the budget of our travelling family. In order for us to make all these international trips you have to cut costs where you can. So, thank you Mcdonalds.

After we ate we walked around some of the shopping areas and picked up some souvenirs and Christmas gifts. My new thing has been buying an ornament everywhere I go. They will be a lot of fun to look back on every year while putting up the tree.

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The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and let the kids chase pigeons outside since everything was closed on a Sunday. My mom has always said her most vivid memories of living in Europe as a child was the pigeons and I’m fairly certain it will be the same for my boys. When there are birds around nothing else matters. To all the pigeons in Europe: I am sorry my children wont leave you alone.

 

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