We got off the cruise ship and started making our way to Oslo Sentralstajon, a place that when pronouced correctly sounds a lot like Oslo Central Station. See, there is a process that has to happen with every new place we come to.
1-Exchange currency (we’ve gone through Euros, Danish Krones, Norweigen Krones, and will also hit Swedish Krones before it is all over.
2-Get a city map.
3-Get a public transport map.
4-Figure out how to get to a bed.
We left the station, money, maps, and directions in hand and walked down Karl Johan’s Gate which is a mostly pedestrian only street that goes all the way to the door step of the royal palace…it is also the tourist drag with several thousand cookie-cut souvenir shops, several hundred McDonalds, two TGIFridays, and a Hard Rock Café. *sigh*
We got to our hotel, The Rica Holdberg, and checked into our room. Spent 10 minutes figuring out how to work the faucet/toilet/etc. Famished we went down to a restaurant called Kaffistana which was reported to have quality traditonal Norweigen food. I ate reindeer. It was stomachable.
Here’s the catch, while the meal was big, Erin and I split it, and got a bottle of water. The bill was 300NOK, or, a third of the cash I was carrying at the time. A quick run of the numbers revealed that this meal had just cost $50!… and the water itself was $6.
“If you got money,
And you know it,
Take it out your pocket in Norway and prove it.”
We resigned ourselves to the expensiveness that this city was to bring at decided that we couldn’t….holy crap, seriously, about a hundred more dudes in kilts, what the crap is going on?
We went down to the tourist office where for 80NOK you can rent a tourist card which gives you access to free city bikes for 24 hours. This system was much better than Copenhagen. We did not ever have trouble finding or using the bikes and we would ride them everywhere for the rest of the day. At about $13.50 I think we actually got our money’s worth.
First we pedaled over to an area called Bygdøy which I invariably would refer to as Big Boy for the next two days. I’m not a huuuge museum person but we both thought that the Vikinhshiphuset (viking ship museum) would be pretty cool.
It was pretty good. The place has three ships that were excavated as grave sites and have articles about how Viking people were (evidently) buried with their ship and belongings because they would need them in the after life. (I couldn’t help thinking that maybe they just didn’t have any place for old uncle leroy’s stuff…)
We left the museum and biked up to the Vigelandparken, a considerable sized park with over 1200 statues in it all by the same dude. The statues line this bridge and depict the life and culture of two generations from birth to death. I didn’t really get it but was pret… More Scotsman over there look!
We left the park and pedalled back home to get ready for some dinner. We learned of a cheaper area on the East side of the city called Grønland which is supposed to be cool.