24 June 2009

O$LO

So we got into Oslo bright and early Tuesday morning. We had three objectives in our first few minutes there: obtain reservations for the trip back to continental Europe the next day, find a map and get a hotel room for the night. Reservations were easy, the office was open just a few minutes before we got there and we were able to get information on all our connections for the next day as well as 1st class reservations (originally we were going to head to Brussels, but scrapped that plan as we didn’t want to have to change trains at 3 in the morning – we will be spending the night in Hamburg instead) Next, it was off to the tourist information kiosk to hopefully get information on hotels and a map. We left a few minutes later with a map and a list of budget hotels, check & check. We made our way through town to the first recommended hostel, checking at a Clarion on the way (uber expensive) at the hostel we found out they had no rooms. We made our way to the next listing…only dorms left and we would have to be separated. Um no. Then a few more places all about $200, eep! We were about to give up and head back to Sweden or at least somewhere other than Oslo.

Charlton left me at the internet café at the train station and went to get money and found a gem of a hotel about 2 blocks from the train station (and with a name like Budget Hotel, how can you go wrong!) The place was very clean and it seemed like we had the whole floor to ourselves. 4 nice big bunks beds all for us and a shower across the hall, it was heaven. Although, I would have taken anything after 3 night trains without showers. $100 a night, FINE! Can’t believe how expensive it is there.

After dropping off our bags we asked the guy at the desk where we could get some cheap Norwegian food. He pointed us to a little café with Norwegian meat open faced sandwiches. Both of us were still hungry after but couldn’t afford more so we took our snacks we packed and at in front of the National Theater. Then we walked to the palace garden where I harassed some of the guards (all for a photo op) and then we headed toward Oslo University. There they had an exhibit on Oslo – its past, present and future. It was incredibly interesting and gave us a lot of background on the city. We then walked to the city’s memorial cemetery before heading back to the hotel to check in and have much needed showers and naps.

After relaxing for a bit we wandered out to get dinner, we ended up at a place down the street where we got some fried fish and french fries, still pretty expensive but at least it was more reasonable. Then we headed down to the pier area to watch the fishermen and boats. Then we walked down to Aker Brygge where there are a lot of new condos and restaurants, was a really neat area. Then it was time to head back to the hotel…although it wasn’t even dark. All the literature in Oslo said the 23rd was the longest day of the year (um, isn’t that supposed to be my birthday?!) it didn’t get dark until around 12:30 when we finally headed to bed for our early morning train ride back to the continent and more reasonable prices.

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