A summer trip to Norway isn't fulfilled until I spend some time walking around Oslo's streets, eating ice cream, and of course doing the obligatory shopping. My sister, husband, and I woke up to a beautifully sunny Norwegian day.
We jumped on a bus and a few minutes later we were on Karl Johan's Gate (a main shopping street that leads right to the Royal Palace). Still kind of early, the streets weren't too busy, which made for easy navigating through the sidewalks and parks, on our way to the Opera House.
Business men were carrying about their morning business, not stopping to smell the flowers, while vacationers were enjoying a brunch surrounded by flowers.
I'd really like to have these pots outside my home. They look like something from a fairy tale.
Before we had walked more than a couple of blocks, we were given free popsicle, not in that creepy way, but for some promotional gig. I smiled and ripped open the forever familiar frozen treat.
Operahuset (The Opera House) is a rather new (opened in 2008) structure and now popular tourist destination. You see there's something special about it. You can walk up to the roof and you don't even need stairs to do it. It's a blinding white color when the sun is out and contrasts wonderfully with the Oslo fjord which nearly surrounds it.
In order to get to the top, you just have to walk up the sides of the building (no speidi skills required).
I caught this girl trying out some of her skills and finally getting it.
As if the architecture of the Opera House wasn't enough, they even added some more glass art into the fjord itself.
We gradually made our way up.
Off in the distance is the ski jump at Holmenkollen.
This family was staying close to the shore bathing in the warm(ish) water.
We made our way back the way we came, taking one turn down a side street to Nasjonalmuseet (The National Gallery). It's one of my favorite places in the city, and I've all but memorized the paintings by now. Visiting "Scream" and "Madonna" by Edvard Munch is an obvious choice, but he has other greats as well such as "Sick Girl" which I'm a fan of.
Knud Bergslien is an artist to check out as well as Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude. All of whom are featured in the museum.
We sped through the gallery with hungry stomachs before getting a quick bite to eat from Deli de Luca and taking it to the park.
The park surrounding the Royal Palace is open to the public. People bathe in the sun, bury themselves in a good book or canoodle with a close companion. We decided it'd be nice to rest our feet and nourish our bodies.
See, now wasn't that graceful?
When I spot an English Bulldog, it's not uncommon for me to run to it, regardless of what I may have previously been doing, and politely ask the owner if I may pet it. I then proceed to get on my knees and play with the cute critter for as long as possible, without being too weird. I held back this time, but snapped a photo anyway.
Full and chipper with rejuvenated bodies, we got a bit closer to the palace and made our way around it to the back, where there are ponds with eager to be fed birds and lots of children playing about. We walked all around, making our way to different parts of the city and soon realized it was time to head home.
Once home, dinner was practically ready, so we settled in for a traditional meal of salmon, yellow potatoes, cucumber salad, a butter cream sauce, and a nice glass of red wine. It was the perfect ending to our day.
Day two in Oslo couldn't begin without a breakfast made for me by my sister. I love having oatmeal in the morning and jazzing it up with fruits, almond butter, nuts, and anything else that suits my fancy that day. My sister doesn't serve plain old mushy boring oats either, no sir!
I sang her praises and ate every last drop of jam that rested at the bottom of the bowl. We had our coffee and headed into town a bit later than the day before. We decided it'd be a lazier day in the city today, ending with a sushi dinner on Aker Brygge.
As is true with almost any city, Oslo has its ritzy neighborhoods too. We happened upon one and I couldn't help but "oooo" and "ahhh" over the cute town homes and gardens which surrounded them. I spotted a scooter waiting outside one of them that had my name written all over it.
We came to a market before heading into
Grünerløkka. There we bought a light lunch which consisted of fresh, warm, sun-ripe, Norwegian strawberries.
Once in Grünerløkka, considered the "hipster" neighborhood of Oslo, we made our way in and out of various vintage shops, and people watched as we sat in the park near a fountain. I do love a good vintage find now and again and I found one.
is white with a navy blue lip and handle. I loved it as soon as I found it and for less than $10, I'd say it was a steal. Since it's a bit rusty inside, I'm using it as a vase, placing a ball jar in it, to protect it from the water.
After a few hours of strolling about, we went back into the city center and rested our feet near the water's edge at Aker Brygge. It's a lovely place, lined with nice restaurants and shops and is essentially a boardwalk.
You can watch all of the Oslo Fjord boat traffic coming in and out.
At six o'clock on the dot, we met my dad and his girlfriend for a sushi dinner. Now, I was just recently in Japan and had
, but I was willing to let my sushi snob self have some anyways.
SAKE is a restaurant that I've been to a number of times and it doesn't disappoint. The fish is fresh and the ambiance is relaxing. They have light blankets to wrap around your shoulders if there's a breeze, and a wine selection to impress. I ordered a glass of dry white, but eventually two bottles of red made their way to us.
Our food arrived and before anyone could eat, I had my camera dangling over them.
My sister had a crab roll and fresh scallops.
I had salmon, served three ways, maki, sashimi, and nigiri, complete with a small seaweed salad and sweet dressing.
My husband and dad had a mixture of everything.
Looks lovely doesn't it? The fish was superb and the rice was so-so. Until I visited Japan and tried it for myself, I didn't understand how important the rice was to the dish. It's SOOOO important.
Ending the meal, like any sensible person, it was off to one of the many soft serve (softis) ice cream stands. I opted for my favorite vanilla with krokan topping. Krokan is hardened caramelized sugar (think heath, kind of) mixed with some nuts (peanuts often). It's crunchy and amazing.
The sugar got the better of me though, and before I knew it I was exhibiting some silly behavior, but I composed myself....