The city of Oslo,capital of Norway, is nestled between the Oslofjord and hundreds of square miles of forested hills. We were excited about going there , because of it’s Ski resorts. Three of us went on our trip to Oslo in February, a very cold month in which temperatures drop up to -10 deg.
We are backpackers thus like to keep it simple, hence limited ourselves to just a hand luggage with one pair of clothes. This saves a lot of time in the airport check in counter(can do online check in and enter security check directly) consequently avoiding waiting for your bags at the arrivals. We left Amsterdam on a Friday night and arrived back on Sunday night. We love staying at Airbnb apartments – Feels like home, you get a perspective of how the houses in that region look like and rates are cheap if you share it with friends. We booked a room for 650 NOK(65 Euros) a night (3 people) for 2 nights
SOME FACTS ABOUT OSLO
- It was ranked number one in terms of quality of life among European large cities in the European Cities of the Future 2012 report by fDi
- A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo as the second most expensive city in the world for living expenses after Tokyo
Oslo greeted us well with snowfall.The rail tracks were white and were a sight toremember.The ride from Airport to the city center cost 90 NOK- 9 Euros and a 24 hr pass was also 90 NOK (9 Euros). We stayed at a house in Ekeberg Hageby. The lady who hosted us took us in warmly. She had two fluffy dogs and a beautiful house.
We spent out night there and left for Skiing the next day
SKIING AT OSLO
We went to this Ski resort which cost us 28 Euro for the ski rentals including helmet and around 20 Euros for a day pass for the lifts. The fun part was that beginners section was free :P
It took us a while to find the Ski equipment hut. We waded in the snow and finally reached the place which rented the equipment. The skiing shoes were heavy and it took us a while to get used to walking in it. The skiing kit had these parts
- Skii boots
- Skii blades
- Skii poles
We were sent to the kids sections since we were beginners. The ski resort was a big hill covered with snow having steep slopes for expert skiers to ski and a relatively flat part for people like us to try out.
- How to walk with yours skiing equipment on
- How to snow plough and stop if you slide
- Show to get up if you fall
Because these are the most important things you need to know if you want to ski- Not to become a pro but to save yourself from any accidents.
When we first wore our skis we could not stand with it. We were sliding in different directions. When we did slide we could not stop. I fell down and I could not get up. My friend tried a free slide and bumped into the barrier since he could not stop himself. It is risky if you do not take baby steps
Speaking of baby steps we saw babies – yes 3 year old there practising Skiing. Really cute kids in the snow skiing
Our morning skiing session was a disaster. We decided to take a break and sit in a café in the middle of the snowy hill. We relaxed for about an hour and continued for our afternoon session. Surprisingly we skied well this time.We were much more cautious and went slowly. We took videos of each other. We ended up being the last people to leave the field a 17:30. The slow ploughing machine came and levelled the snow. We rolled and played in the snow and went back home. It was delightful at home near the heaters. But we had severe body pains from Skiing. Your wrists, legs and back hurts a lot.
We could hardly wake up in the morning. We did not have any itinerary in mind so we decided few places to visit and started our day.
We walked from the central station to the castle. The roads in Oslo are terribly deserted. It feels like being in a horror movie with dried leaves on the snow, lonely houses, no one walking on the streets, sculptures in black ! Gives an eerie vibe.
The fortress was beautiful. The building of Akershus Castle and Fortress was commenced in 1299 under king Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, had a strategical location at the very end of the headland, and withstood a number of sieges throughout the ages. King Christian IV (1588-1648) had the castle modernised and converted into a renaissance castle and royal residence. It was guarded with canons on all sides. The view from the castle was spectacular.
The building is situated in the Bjørvika neighborhood of central Oslo, at the head of the Oslofjord.It has a slanting roof on which people can walk on. Since it always snows at Oslo the whole building looks white and it is very exciting walking on the snowy roof looking over the city.
We could hardly make it to the next place we wanted to go by walking because of the hilly topology of Oslo. We had to find a tunnel to get through the mountains and we gave up. We ended up roaming around the embankments
Oslo is famous for its cutting edge architecture, diverse variety of apartment types. It is a fusion of contemporary and medieval styles. Norway has witnessed an architectural boom in recent years, which has seen a range of innovative and exciting projects pop up throughout the country. This has transformed the country into an architectural laboratory.
SOME TIPS AND REFLECTIONS ON TRAVELLING TO OSLO IN WINTER
BE PREPARED FOR THE COLD
The temperature is between 0 and -8 deg
Enough said. If you an intolerant to extremely cold climates better not to go in winter. We were living in Amsterdam where it is 3 deg to -3 deg so it was not a big deal for us to adjust in the cold. But if you are from a hot country then better be prepared. Wear four layers of clothing.
BE PREPARED FOR SKIING
- Skiing is something you must definitely try out in Oslo. It is a hobby for most people here. You can see people with Skiis in buses.
- Take a pair of Ski pants, Snow goggles and a thick glove(not the thin woollen glove) Water proof gloves. Because these wont be given by the ski equipment providers.
- Be in good shape for skiing because your body is going to ache a lot after it.
- Take a day pass and not just ski for 1 or 2 hours.
TAKE FOOD WITH YOU
Take a packet of chips or bread with you. We could not find a supermarket near the place we stayed because there were only houses till the horizon we could see and no one was out on streets to ask for help or directions especially if you are a vegetarian. Food is expensive in oslo. You can save a lot by cooking at the place where you are staying or bring packed food. We hardly spent 20 euros on food because our home stay had all the groceries needed.
RELAX AND CHILL OUT
It’s a scarcely populated place. You will feel like you have all the place in this world. Chill and enjoy your time there. Play with the snow. The scenery is gorgeous with white bright snow everywhere and yellow wooden houses. It is a very romantic place to be in!
This trip was originally published on 'Exploring Life'.