If feels like I’ve been here a month, instead of two short weeks. I have found my rhythm within the city and have grown to love my routine.
Due to the early sunlight, I usually awake between 6 to 8am, which is quite unheard of here. Then I spill out of bed and if the weather permits it I take a stroll in the immediate vicinity. I think my favourite bit of the morning is to pass through the cemetery. My morning rituals also include writing my blogs or filling in my diary, sorting through photo’s and phoning home. I am usually showered by the time my host stirs around nine or ten.
Then breakfast ensues, a lovely tradition we have cemented of oats, fruits and cinnamon, paired with delicious cups of French press coffee. After breakfast I embark on my morning’s expedition. Yesterday morning my original plan was to take a free tour of Oslo, but the rain was not friendly, so I resorted to visit the Historical Museum near the city centre.
With my raincoat tightly fastened and my backpack on my back I set off to the museum, using my instincts to guide me instead of arguing with Google Maps. I am proud to say I managed to get all the way there without using my phone!
This exhibit was different to the Viking Ship Museum and the Norsk Folk Museum – the format was more like a traditional museum. There were several floors and each room housed a different cultural period or phenomenon. I loved the first section – it included artefacts from the viking ages. I finally got to see swords and shields and other battle accessories – what every viking enthusiast dreams of.
There was also a great deal of the museum dedicated to the Sami people, the traditional people who inhabited the Arctic. There was even an exposition on modern anthropology concerned with fashion, tattoos and sexuality. I appreciated the full flavour that the museum offered.
After my mind became saturated with knowledge I headed down to the docks to get some fresh air. My feet followed an unfamiliar path, but I trusted that I would make it to the docks eventually. The Oslo Aker Brygge (harbour) has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants and shopping, but I was more intrigued by the statues and the street art. I thought Cape Town was a city that celebrated art the most, but I am astounded by the amount of art to be found in Norway. It is not uncommon to see a statue on almost every corner in the city centre, and the harbour was spotted with statues everywhere with figures of all shapes and sizes.
I have also been enjoying the street art. Some are made for aesthetic pleasure, but others hold more political value. I love how the art has been incorporated into every day living, that way people ponder it and admire it – it becomes part of their life. It really indulges the cultural landscape.
I had been craving a cappuccino for some time, and remembered that a friend works at a coffee shop at the docks, called Kaffebrenneriet avd Vestbanen. I popped inside to say hi and grab a single shot cappuccino. I also settled for a shrimp sandwich, which is apparently a Swedish thing, but is very popular in Norway.
It was nice sitting inside and avoiding the rain. I polished off my sandwich and tool a leisurely stroll home, stopping along the way to buy dishwashing liquid – it was that time.
I lazed around at home in the afternoon, cleaned the apartment and did the dishes. Then I got ready for the evening. I was to meet up with Unni, Trond and Henrik at Tranen, which is a bakery by day and a delicious pizzeria by night. Upon arrival I was introduced to two pizza concepts: the ‘hvit’ (white) pizza and the ‘rød’ (red) pizza. The hvit pizza is made with a creme fraiche base and resembles a ‘flammkuchen’; then the rød pizza has the traditional tomato base.
On good authority (both Unni’s and the waitress’s) I selected the ‘reinsdyr’ hvit pizza, which is topped with Carpaccio of reindeer from Roros, with pomegranate and red onion . And it was delicious! The pizza was thin based, not too hard or crunchy. The texture and flavour was perfect. No wonder it’s the best pizza place in town!
After we wined and dined and chatted for some time before I met up with two new friends for a nightcap. Klara suggested the Kulturhuset, but some of us were underage (age being 23 for some reason). So we ventured off to find a cosy corner of a different bar.
The three of us snuggled up in a bar called Robinet, on Mariboes gate (‘gate’ means road, as I found out). It was a small place, with Berlin club music and a red theme. I was a bit tired of wine and beer, so I decided to swing with their Alabama Gin Fizz, which then became the unanimous drink of choice. It was a rather classy cocktail that was a mix of gin, lemon, mint, ginger beer and ice. It tickled all the taste buds in the right places, but was done before you realised.
It grew late (not dark) and I had an early morning coming up, so I decided to head out. I greeted the girls and set off home. Just having the freedom to get lost in Oslo is so liberating. Without knowing it, my feet found my well worn track home, and I found myself at the front door of the apartment building without realising it.
The walk home was beautiful. It’s amazing that even at midnight the light was as soft as the morning sky, the grey before dawn illuminating the clouds. The night sits suspended in a sort of twilight, never quite falling into darkness.