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« Heather reporting from Capetown | Main | A true taste of Amsterdam »

Christine reporting from Oslo

Monday, 11 October 2010 by Irene Hoofs


One of my favourite things about Oslo is that it is neither too big, nor too small.  It is the third largest city in Scandinavia, with a little over 500 000 inhabitants, and the capital of Norway, but it is still a manageable size and easy to get around.  It has shopping, entertainment and leisure activities for everyone, but today I’m going to show you my favourite spots.


My daily errands usually take me to the city centre, the area around the city’s main street Karl Johans gate.  The Royal Castle lies in one end of the street, and the central station in the other.  A lot of the big chains, like H&M, Zara, etc have stores along Karl Johan, and there are also several large department stores, and of course a lot of cafes and restaurants.


Norway Designs in Stortingsgata is, as the name implies, a design shop with art, home décor and interiors from Norwegian, Scandinavian and European designers, and is a must when shopping in Oslo!  It also houses Papirhuset, that stocks the most beautiful paper you can wish for. One of my very favourite shops!

{designer clothing by Mette Moller}

{art by Odd Tandberg and ceramics by Grete Jalk}
If I’m in the market for a little more original and one-of-a-kind clothes, accessories or home decor I always head a little farther east, to Grünerløkka.  Formerly a working class area of town, this district has become enormously popular with the young and hip crowd.  You’ll find a lot of small shops with more original wares, with everything from independent designer clothes to furniture and art.  If you get tired from shopping, there’s an abundance of cafés where you can rest your sore legs and have a delicious meal at the same time.  I especially recommend Sult in Thorvald Meyers gate.


West of the city centre lies Majorstua, also a trendy shopping district with lots of shops, cafes and restaurants. I often go to the Broker for lunch, or just a coffee. Nearby, you’ll also find Frognerparken, or Vigelandsparken as it is also called.  It is a large public park that contains the oversized naked sculptures of Gustav Vigeland, and is one of the main tourist attractions in town.  There are grass where you can relax and sunbathe, paths to take a walk or rollerblade, and outdoor swimmingpools.  I enjoy this park very much, and highly recommend it for a picnic on a sunny day!  Bring your own food and drink; the restaurant inside the park is ridiculously expensive!


There are plenty of woods around Oslo – in fact the geographical centre of town is in the middle of a forest - where one can go skiing in winter or hiking and biking in summer.  I’m not much of a forest person, so on a leisurely summer day, I usually opt for a boat ride.  There are several small islands a few minutes by public boat from the docks downtown.  On hot days, there really is nothing better than to get out of the city centre, and spend the day island hopping.


Finally, on this tour around Oslo, I’ll actually take you even farther west, outside the city.  Bærums Verk, 30 minutes by car from the centre of Oslo, is well worth a visit.  An iron foundry in the 17th century, it is now a charming, old fashion shopping street.  The old buildings where the iron workers used to live have been preserved, and are now home to the many small shops where you can buy high-quality handmade goods.  Bærums Verk also houses the famous, but expensive interior shop Verket Interiør.


When you get hungry, there are several places to eat, one of them being Norway’s oldest restaurant Værtshuset, where they also claim to have a house ghost.  A more economicaI option is Melboden where you’ll find the best tasting Italian pizzas outside of Italy!  Finally, you can go for a stroll by the river Lomma.


That brings this Oslo tour to an end, thanks for joining me, and thanks so much to Irene for having me!

* * * Christine from HappyGreen

{originally posted in June 2008}

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