I can’t believe it but I’m coming home in three days! 5 months has really gone by fast. My exams are all done and I’m beyond excited to go home. My friends and housemates have all gone home for the holidays, so it’s my turn soon. Currently I’m packing, cleaning, and organizing for my return journey. It’s a big job but I’m content with it, knowing that I’ll be back in the states soon.
With less than a week left in Norway I finally took my butt to Oslo so that my brother Colten could give me a tour. He’d been to Bø twice as my guest so I needed to be his guest at least for a day. I took the train to Oslo early in the morning. The ride was so beautiful. There was snow on the ground, and it was dark for most of the way so I could see the cozy Christmas lights glowing inside and outside of the passing houses. It very much put me in the Christmas spirit. I arrived in Oslo at 9:30am and Colten met me at the train station. We had breakfast together before setting off into the city.
Colten had planned out this day carefully, even knowing where we would have dinner at the end of the day. The first place he took me was the Vigeland Statue Park. We were lucky to have beautiful weather for our adventure. It was incredibly cold, but sunny with blue skies and no wind. We walked around the park trying to pick our favorite sculptures and speculating what had possessed Vigeland to create them all in the first place.
I took a lot of pictures and Colten kindly took a touristy one of me. After getting our fill of the statues, we headed to the cafe/gift shop for hot chocolates. This hot chocolate was possibly some of the best I’d ever had. We also shared a delicious custard filled pastry.
If you ever have a chance to visit the Statue Park and the cafe, I would highly recommend it.
The next place Colten took me to was the Norwegian Folk Museum. It was nice but not too exciting. I didn’t take any pictures besides one of a beautiful stave church. I was also feeling very cold and tired at this point, not having slept enough the night before and not having brought a scarf to keep my neck and face warm. I tried not to complain about it because I was having a good time and Colten was being a great guide.
We cut that experience short though and headed to the Viking Museum because that exhibition was inside whereas the Norwegian Folk Museum had the majority of its sights outside. I was happy to take a break from the cold and behold the majesty of a massive viking ship.
This ship was build in 800. 800 and still standing in existence today! The history of the vikings is very interesting to me so I enjoyed taking a look around and imagining the past. After that, we headed back to the train station to have a snack (and some caffeine for me) before heading back out onto the streets. Our last plan for the day was to look through shops and Christmas markets.
I felt like I got the European Christmas experience along those streets. It was later in the day by this time and dark. All the lights on the buildings made the streets feel festive and magical. So much so that I forgot to be cold and grumpy. We came across two Christmas markets. One was unexpected while the other was Jul i Vinterland, the one that Colten had planned on showing me.
The first one was a spacious hut filled with Norwegian Christmas music, food, a fire pit, and all kinds of trinkets and clothing. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of that one, only a video that I posted on Facebook. I did make sure to take pictures of Jul i Vinterland.
Jul i Vinterland was adorable! It was a long line of stalls selling treats and goods. There was also a lit up ferris wheel, a carousel, an ice rink, and a place to meet Santa (or in Norway’s case, the Julenisse). The only thing I bought from there was homemade kransekake because I just love it. I would describe kransekake as a type of cookie that’s made with almond paste, baked in rings (usually to create a tower), and then decorated with a line of white icing and little Norwegian flags. It’s perfectly chewy with a lovely almond flavor. Colten and I each ate a ring for dessert after dinner. But first we headed away from the Christmas market to our dinner destination, Max’s Burgers.
Colten described it as Norway’s version of McDonald’s. It. Was. Delicious. I think I’m just a sucker for a good veggie burger and fries though. One of the things that I will miss about Norway is how their veggie burgers are. I don’t know what it is about them but they were all better than most American veggie burgers that I’ve had; maybe the composition of the patty or what kind of veggies they used in it. Also, they were just more available at food places. After our bellies were full and warm, we went to Colten’s apartment to chill out while my phone charged. We watched youtube together and then headed back to the train station so that I could wait for my train. I arrived home around 1:00am and went straight to bed.
That marks the end of my Norwegian adventures! The only thing I have left to do now is get home. I’m flying alone for the first time, which I am quite nervous about. Everyone is telling me that the process is easy so I’m trying not to worry too much. As anxious as I am, I’m also giddy with excitement. In only three days I’ll get to see everyone I love in person; my family, my pets, my friends, and my boyfriend. I couldn’t be happier to say that I’ll be home for Christmas.
I’ll write one more post to reflect on my whole experience. Perhaps that will be written after Christmas but maybe sooner while I recover from jet lag. Until then, thanks for reading.