Okay perhaps I was a bit ambitious to think I’d get around to writing part two of our holiday in Norway within the next couple of days. If you didn’t read it, head back a week or so (or click here!) to read about the rocky start to our holiday in Norway. It definitely gets better, so bear with me!
This post is slightly longer, and on a much more positive note (with lots more photographs!). Airbnb ever so kindly refunded us for our accommodation, as well as offering us full compensation for our nights stay in the Raddison. This took the pressure off us completely, and we could enjoy our holiday without the stress of lost money. I’m so glad as well, because I love Airbnb!
We awoke in our room, not wanting to leave the super comfortable beds, but eager to see what Norway had in store for us. This was the day I had planned from the start! Cross Country Skiing in the beautiful Nordmarka forest area that surrounds Oslo, the ones I had researched and dreamed about since booking the flights!
Once we had packed everything back into our bags, we went for Breakfast in the hotel – a huge buffet of food, with a healthy selection for us both! We made sure to get our money’s worth, as we had a big day ahead of us! Needless to say that at the Raddisson Blu, the food was delicious and was certainly enough to keep us on the move.
Heading out into the city, we were amazed by all the beautiful snow, as this was the first time seeing it in the light of day! Trying not to get distracted by too many picture opportunities, we made our way slowly to the north end of the city, to our next night’s accommodation, a small apartment we found on Airbnb. As we walked we saw beautiful snowy parks with people playing on sleds and snowboards, new parts of the city, and some amazing graffiti!
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Arriving at our new accommodation, we were warmly welcomed and were luckily allowed to drop our bags off earlier than check-in so that we could continue our day without lugging them around with us! We had a quick rest stop, and organised ourselves to head out to the west of the city to Majorstuen, where we would catch the train to the outskirts of the city.
It was about a 30-minute walk, where we once again made the most of, walking through a large park and making the most of the snowy climate! As we reached Majorstuen, we left the residential area of the town and started to see more shops and people! We managed to not give in to temptation and carried on walking to the station (We have decided shopping will have to wait until we go back next year!)
We bought a day pass at the station, and hopped on the next train (luckily after realising we were stood on the wrong side!) where we were taken out of the city. We were a bit apprehensive about the weather as we started the journey; it was pretty foggy and I was worried it wouldn’t look like the pictures we had seen online, but as our journey continued, we rose above the fog level and into blue skies! It was beautiful, and everything I had hoped for! As we rode the train higher and higher it got even more breath-taking! Finally we arrived at the last stop on the line: Frognerseteren.
We had to get a picture of ourselves here, as this was the place we had been looking at on a live webcam for weeks, with our fingers crossed for snow (and boy did we get it!). Our original plan was to ride the Korketrekkeren, but had decided on going cross country skiing instead, as we had both always wanted to try it! (S had never even tried skiing at all!)
Before any of that though, was lunch at the Frognerseteren restaurant, where we had heard great things about the coffee and waffles! So we headed down from the station, avoiding all the sleds that were racing down the hill around us, and down to the beautiful Viking-looking restaurant building, where there’s a buffet style lunch room at the back. We had some delicious salmon sandwiches with a muffin and brownie for energy!
Once we had fuelled up again, we started our search for the ski rental; unfortunately, easier said than done! In the immediate area was a sled rental building, but the queue was huge on this beautiful day, and we (wrongly) thought they were really expensive after reading online! So, we started asking people if they knew where the Ski rental area was, and nobody seemed to be sure but had a general idea that there was one only a mile further up the hill from the train station.
This was a great excuse to see the surrounding area, play in the knee high snow, and for S to take photos of the breath-taking scenery! We followed a trail up higher, and arrived at a giant, incredible frozen Lake Øvresetertjern, like a blanket of snow spread out around us! This also showed a promising sight: a ski lift, and yet more cross country skiers! We must be on the right track! So up and up we went, and finally arrived at Oslo Vinterpark, at Tryvann: full of snowboarders and downhill skiers!
This was the place we were looking for! We hunted down the rental building and got our cross country skis! At only £20 a day, this was amazing! But unfortunately, after all our sightseeing, and the park closing earlier on a Sunday, we had to bring them back again in 2 hours! Those two hours were worth every penny though!
We began at the ‘beginners’ area, which oddly started with a large downhill sweeping bend – we both fell off straight away! Slowly we got used to the skis and the track and had an amazing time, laughing and helping each other along the trail and back again a few times. By the end we were (almost) naturals, and very tired with twisted ankles and bruised bums from our learning experience!
As it started getting dark, and the fog rolled in, we decided to head back in time to return our skis and catch the train back down to central Oslo, to get some dinner and some much needed rest! Once we arrived back in the city (which oddly felt even colder than the mountains!).
We found a nice warm bar/bistro called Homan, where we enjoyed a couple of drinks and a Chorizo, parmesan, tomato sauce, onion and rocket pizza. Delicious! It was so comfortable here we could have stayed all night! But as it grew later and people left, we headed out and went back to our lovely little apartment, to rest up for our final day.
We awoke refreshed and feeling great from yesterday’s much more successful day! Although very achey and with slight limps from our minor skiing injuries! We had until 3pm to see as much of the city as we could before we had to catch the bus out to the airport and unfortunately leave this beautiful place!
So we planned to go to the Vigelandsparken, a sculpture park dedicated to the artist Gustav Vigeland – it is known as his life’s work and has more than 200 of his very interesting sculptures, mostly featuring the human body, and features a giant 57-foot monolith in the center, comprising entirely human forms sculpted into a huge block of granite.
It looked absolutely incredible in the snow, and we were blown away by the beauty and sheer volume of work Vigeland created! It cost nothing, and we definitely recommend checking it out!
We then headed back towards the city centre to see the sea front covered in ice and the larger city buildings on the way to the bus depot (I unfortunately had to pass by Illum, one of my favourite shops as we didn’t have any room for souvenirs in our baggage). From there it was a (much more relaxed this time) bus journey back out to the airport and a flight back home! I never thought getting off a flight home to England could be warm!
So, there you have it, a weekend in Oslo with a bit of cross-country skiing for all under £100pp! Okay, okay – you got me! The accommodation would have knocked us over our budget, of course! But really, are we arguing about pennies here? We went from Cornwall to the Norwegian sloops for under £50 each, if that’s not a bargain, I don’t know what is. Now, go get on SkyScanner.. I dare you!