Oslo

Entering Norway on the E6, a road which we’ll use again to reach Nordkapp, we duly turned right to ‘declare’ Stanley. After some confusion between ourselves and a short wait in the customs office with hundreds of truckers, I got Stanley’s passport checked and we were good to go.

Our destination in Oslo was Holmenkollen, north of the city and home to Holmenkollbakken Ski Jump Centre, which we would be parking right beside.

Arriving mid-afternoon after driving through rain and 3 toll points, which will cost us approx. £30 when EPC send their bill, but the views over the city were amazing and even the ski jump itself was majestic.

We ate lunch as coach loads of tourists arrived to visit the ski museum, presumably on an excursion from their cruise ship docked in Oslo?

A stroll around the jump led to an enjoyable game of frisbee-golf, taking us around the local wood and Holmenkollen church.

Averaging 1 above par, I was over-confident on the 18th and lost the frisbee. Eventually we found the frisbee plus one more and some wild strawberries.

To avoid paying the 16 congestion/toll charge to enter town, plus any parking fees, we paid 105 NOK (approx. £10) each for a 24 hour ticket on all the public transport.

Taking the T-Bane down the hill and into town provided some great views. From above, Oslo looked very interesting and we were looking forward to seeing it.

Heading straight to the tourist office for a city map and free wifi, we backed up some photos and planned our day.

At the opera house, which sits by the harbour like an iceberg, we had lunch on the roof to the sound of construction work on the Barcode Project, a redevelopment project on former dock and industrial land.

We followed the tourist route around the harbour, past floating saunas available to rent and take out on the fjord. At SALT, an art and music venue, we checked out the saunas there, also available to hire while you drink and listen to the music. We noted the price of pizzas, 160 NOK – about £16, wow!

Continuing past a cruise ship we came to the Radhuset (Town Hall), an imposing socialist looking building which on first impression, I’m sure most people dislike. But on inspection of the interior (primarily just to use the free toilets – whose urinals were from Stoke-on-Trent!), you see the artwork and art deco features and feelings change.

After another sandwich and drink in the grounds of the Royal Palace, we headed down Karl Johans Gate, past Stortinget the Norwegian Parliament building and onto the ramparts of Akerhus Fortress, before being chased off by seagulls protecting their grounded young.

We headed back to the tourist office to download some Netflix, while next door at a street food and drinks bar “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was sung by the crowd; in Norwegian of course.

As rain came we decided against visiting the Vigeland sculpture park and caught the T-Bane, looking forward to the scenery on the way back up to Holmenkollen.

We found a seat opposite a lady eating an ice-lolly, as usual Stanley craved attention which she kindly gave, along with her ice-lolly. She said something to us in Norwegian, which we gave our standard reply of “Sorry, we’re English”.

Thinking that was the end of our interaction, she then suddenly told us about her favorite James Bond film ‘From Russia with Love’, describing the train fight scene. Following it up with nasal snooks, random shouts of “Oh My God”, sharing her sandwich with Stanley then deciding it wasn’t nice and offering it to everybody in the carriage before throwing it in the bin.

With many more random comments about missing her parents, buying jewelery in Murica and working as a dental hygienist (she did actually floss after the bit of sandwich), we realised we parked ourselves next to the T-Bane oddball, and everyone else on the carriage knew it too.

Jumping off at our stop and power walking up the hill, we made it back to the van at 8pm. Shattered after our longest walk of the trip.

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