Long Weekend in Oslo – Day 1

Sometime during the spring an offer caught my eye where return flights from Helsinki to Oslo cost around 60€. We went to Northern Norway last summer, so this was an opportunity to see the capital of Norway. We ended up getting flights from Finnair for 77€ per person and we chose those just based on the flight times. This way we arrived on Friday morning and left on Sunday evening making the most of our long weekend.

Our flight left at 7:35 and we miscalculated a bit the time we needed to prepare and to get to the airport, so we basically ran from airport security to the gate and walked right on the plane. I’ve gotten more comfortable with not arriving to the airport super early, but this was a bit too close. The flight was comfortable 1h 15min, which I spent reading the Lonely Planet guidebook chapter on Oslo on my iPad and making plans for our stay.

When we arrived in Oslo, we decided to take the Flytoget airport express train to the city. It seemed like the most comfortable option as it leaves every 10min and the trip takes approx. 20min to get to the city. The cost is of course quite high as it was 180NOK (20€) per person one way. On the plus side it was super easy to find and to buy tickets and the trip was  comfortable.

I had booked Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz for our stay as I wanted a nice hotel with a very good breakfast. We had loved Thon hotels’ breakfasts on our trip last summer and considering Norway’s general price level, it is probably worth to pay a bit more for a hotel with nice breakfast than to have breakfast at a cafe somewhere. Also when it’s a short trip, it feels nice to have a bit of luxury. 🙂

We arrived at Oslo central railway station and decided to walk to the hotel. It was about a 15min walk, but the streets were made of cobblestones, so it wasn’t the most comfortable with suitcases, but luckily we only had half-empty carry-ons. When we arrived at the hotel, it was only a bit after 9 a.m., so we didn’t have high hopes of getting a room, but to our great surprise our room was already available, so we could check right in. Our room turned out to be great although on a small side and there wasn’t much room to place the suitcases. The windows were into the courtyard, so it was very quiet.

Our room at Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz

The bathroom was impeccably clean and of a very comfortable size.

Bathroom at Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz

We needed to wake up early to catch a flight, so we ended up taking a nap for a couple of hours in our soft newly made beds. I also prepared a preliminary to-see and to-do list for us. This was a holiday after all. 😉

After that we finally got up and realized that we are hungry. After some googling we decided to eat at Elias Mat & Sånt, which was located just around the corner from the hotel. They serve lunch until 4 p.m., which was on the light side, but just what we needed.

Elias Mat & Sånt
Elias Mat & Sånt. Fish soup with homemade bread.
Elias Mat & Sånt. Salmon omelet with vegetables.

After lunch we headed to the Oslo Royal Palace, which was relatively close.

Oslo Royal Palace

There was a nice view into the city from the Oslo Royal Palace as it was on top of a small hill.

King Carl Johan statue and the view

It was a very warm day, around +25°C, so we slowly strolled around the palace and walked a bit in the surrounding Palace Park, which was nice and had some shade.

Oslo Royal Palace Park

There was also a cute statue to Queen Maud.

Queen Maud statue

After that we decided to catch a tram and head to the Vigeland Park. We walked to Aker Brygge area, which has a really neat beach promenade and was full of life and people.

Aker Brygge

We took a tram #12 for a few stops. It is possible to buy tickets from the driver, but there are tickets machines here and there, but they are rather scarce. The ticket costs 50NOK (approx. 5,70€) if purchased from the driver, but 30NOK (3,40€) if purchased from a ticket machine. We bought tickets first from the driver, but there is a machine on the Vigeland Park tram stop.

Another alternative is to buy the Oslo Pass, but we didn’t have specific itinerary for the three days, so it made more sense for us to buy tickets as we god. Oslo Pass for three days would’ve cost us 590NOK (67,50€) each, but we ended up spending on museum and transportation 370NOK (42,30€) each. This was mostly due that we only visited three museums and walked a lot around the city. Also we didn’t need to pay for the tram trip once because the machine was broken and we took a taxi once, but even if we would’ve used public transportation on those occasions and paid normally, we would’ve still needed to pay only 470NOK (53,80€), so it is the museums that make all the difference.

There is a display in trams, which shows the stop names and I always download offline maps onto my phone before traveling, so it was easy to know where to get out. When we got to the Vigeland Park, the first thing we did is find a cafe, which sold ice cream. 🙂 I know that for many people +25°C is barely a warm day, but for me, this is the highest temperature I can function in. So we needed water and definitely ice cream. After that we headed to explore the sculpture park, which has over 200 sculptures. The park was rather surreal, but fun and there was a lot of people and especially families with children.

The park is not super large, but we managed to spend a good hour and a half there.

Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park

After the park, we took the tram back to the hotel to take a shower and have a break before we needed to leave for the restaurant. I have asked a couple of people, who’ve been to Oslo to recommend a restaurant and interestingly they both recommended Alex Sushi, so of course I had to make a reservation there. It turned out that this is in fact a chain of restaurants and without researching it much further, I booked a table at the Tjuvholmen location, because it was closer. I was reading the TripAdvisor reviews after the dinner and it seems that the Solli Plass location is significantly better, but we enjoyed our evening nevertheless.

Alex Sushi serve only a set menu and you have a choice between three options. The difference between options is the fish used. So in the cheapest option the fish is your basic salmon and such when in the more expensive options they also use lobster and more expensive fish. We chose the middle option, which cost around 700NOK (80€) per person if I remember correctly. For drinks we had some water and a couple of glasses of wine. The food was really good! I’ve read people to complain about the Tjuvholmen location service on TripAdvisor, but we had two very nice servers, so no complains there.

Alex Sushi. Sashimi with truffle oil was excellent. Fresh fish with a twist.
Alex Sushi. Nigiris were pure perfection. Fish was fresh and very tasty.
Alex Sushi. Salmon-avocado tartar was good, but I would’ve preferred a bit stronger taste.
Alex Sushi. Makis were also really good.
Alex Sushi. Lobster and pickled vegetables. Maybe my least favorite dish as it wasn’t quite on the level of sushi.

We were very happy with our dinner and it was nice to take a stroll in the warm evening when we walked back to the hotel. As we woke up very early, this is all we could manage for the first day and it felt heavenly to fall into the soft bed and enjoy the nice chill of the room.

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