We left our Copenhagen Airbnb at 7:30AM and headed for the train station. About 5 hours later we were still on our train but we were at a complete stop. Apparently, the Stockholm train station we were traveling through had some electrical issues. So all trains going in the area were stalled and some canceled, including our next train. Now worried we were going to be stranded in Stockholm, we sat there and nervously panicked.
After an hour of being stuck on the train, it eventually headed off and our next train was fortunately back on schedule. Our arrival time was pushed back two hours but we ultimately made it to Oslo, Norway. 14 hours of travel, to the minute.
We picked up some noodles from a 7/11 then trecked to our hotel for the evening.
Day 2 – Happy New Years Eve!
We started our next day a bit late. Super easy since the sun does not rise until 9:30AM. After deciding to wake up we made breakfast in our little hotel/apartment, then headed to our first site.
There were a few things on our list that were closed due to the holiday. One of those things was the Folk Musem. A museum where they show old traditional homes from people all over Norway. So we started with the Viking museum. An easy 15-minute bus ride and we arrived in a suburban area with both the Folk and Viking Museum.
We first stopped at the Viking museum. It was a bit smaller then we were expecting. There were only 3 ships and a small room with a bunch of Viking relics. But it was overall a pretty cool site.
After the Viking museum, we headed over to the Folk museum just up the road. It was closed for the day but there was something special M had his heart set on, seeing the Viking church. We were able to see it from the road and took a few photos.
We headed back to the train station where we picked up a few groceries for our stay. Then returned to our hotel for lunch. It was about to get dark (3:30PM!) so we saved the rest of our list for the next day and relaxed in our room until midnight!
Getting a bit antsy we decided to leave our room for a walk when it began to snow heavily. We walked around looking at the Christmas lights and peering into restaurants and cafes looking for a somewhat cheap drink. All prices in Oslo are essentially doubled, making it very difficult to eat or drink out. Eventually, we came to a fast food place and ordered a couple lattes. Which for some reason turned into iced lattes. We began anticipating a cold night.
At around 11:00PM we headed through the freshly laid snow towards the Oslo Opera house. We had heard it was an excellent spot to see the fireworks all over the city and for good reason. The Opera house has a slope built in so you can sort of walk to the top of the roof.
Turns out we arrived there pretty early. We walked to the top, throwing a snowball or two, M accidentally tossed one right at my face…I was thrilled.
Once at the top we realized why it was so popular. It was a fantastic view of the entire city and Fjord. We made a few snowmen while we waited and chucked snowballs into the bay.
As it got closer to midnight more and more fireworks began to go off in the city, including right above our head. Many people came to the opera house equipped with fireworks of their own. They are clearly legal in Norway, however peoples ability to properly set them off is still in question. When midnight hit we were surrounded by fireworks exploding throughout the entire city.
On our way back we had one stop to make. I had to make my very first Snow Angel.
A late bedtime led to a late wakeup call. We eventually had our breakfast and made it out to the town. The entire city felt empty. Only a few tourists walking around. But our first stop was the Norwegian palace. Sitting on top of a hill at the end of the main street in Oslo sits their humble palace. Not incredibly fancy. Only a few guards to let you know the place is important. I even got an awkward photo with one!
After the palace, we continued to explore the city heading towards the headquarters of the Noble Peace Prize. Unfortunately, it was closed but it looks nice from the outside.
Just a little farther down the bay sits a large fort. There was no information provided as we explored this fort, but we thought it was pretty cool and medieval looking. Even got some cool views of the city.
We returned to our hotel, enjoyed lunch, and relaxed. While Oslo is nice, it is expensive and there is not much to do.
The next day we had the earliest of trains. A 5:56AM train had our butts up at 4 and snoring the entire 5-hour ride. Our train took us to Stockholm where we camped out in a Subway (the restaurant, not a metro) until our bus shuttled us to our next adventure. An overnight ferry ride to Helsinki, Finland.
A few hours later, we were walking onto the Viking Cruise liner. I, K, had experienced a Mediterranean cruise before but figured this would be much more low budget and on par with the other overnight trains, we had experienced. Not the case. This was the first time M had experienced anything close to a cruise line and we both enjoyed ourselves.
Typically when you travel by plane or train you expect dirt cheap accommodations. We were pleasantly surprised by our good size room and bathroom despite it being below the car deck. We also enjoyed exploring the bars, cafes, and restaurants onboard.
M had booked us the buffet for dinner that night and we are so glad! There were tons of really yummy options and it was all pretty great quality food. I had probably some of the best salmon I had ever eaten. There were also some super delicious dishes like stuffed peppers, broccoli and cheese tarts, Swedish meatballs, and potatoes gratin. Quality food that was delicious!
But the real MVP of the night was the open wine and beer bar with accompanying desserts. So yum!
After our dinner, we visited one of the swanky bars for an Irish coffee. This turned out to be a mistake when I could not fall asleep later that night. It was either that or the choppy waves we felt while crossing the open ocean.
Hotel: Oslo Apartments
Our apartment was perfectly located near the city center and train station. Which is the main reason why we booked the place. The only issue was the office we needed to visit to pick up the key was a ridiculous 20 minutes away. Not very convenient.
The room was certainly not the cleanest and kitchen was not perfect, but it held us over for the time being.
***One Way We Saved Money In Norway: When we began planning our Scandinavian adventure we quickly realized it is a very expensive part of Europe. In preparation, we took to the internet to find a few ways to save money. With each post, I have decided to list one of our tricks!
One of the most difficult things to do when arriving in a new city is learning how their public transportation works. Traveling all over Europe we have seen every method. From apps to buy tickets, to only selling tickets on the moving tram. You would think it is the same price everywhere, but this can sometimes not be the case. In Oslo we found buying tickets at the 7/11 or metro station was often cheaper than purchasing them directly on the bus. Most of the time we tried to walk, but when an area was unwalkable or the cold was too much, we visited one of the many 7/11’s to buy our cheaper transportation tickets.