I was decluttering the folder of photos in my computer and came across the ones which I had taken in Oslo. It has been one-and-a-half years since we visited Oslo. If you were to ask me what I remember most about the city, it would be the clean, crisp and pollution-free air, the shiny, glowing faces of the Norwegians and how frightfully expensive everything was for a tourist like me.
I spent most of my time wandering around the city while the husband was attending meetings. It was easy to get around on foot, or the tram.
The Nobel Peace Museum, a short walk away from the waterfront.
The Stortinget (top), the Oslo Parliament House. The venerable Grand Hotel Oslo (bottom).
Even though I have been using a DSLR for 3.5 years, I have not used Photoshop and Lightroom to post-process my photos. I usually shoot in JPEG and edit the photos in Picasa. JPEG files have limitations in how much post-processing one can perform on them, but they are smaller in size and I don’t have to carry too many SD cards.
I know about the benefits of using Lightroom and Photoshop but just never got around to learning how to use the softwares. I finally purchased a copy of Lightroom 4 recently and have been learning how to use it by experimenting with the various functions and presets myself and reading up tutorials online.
I almost never shoot in RAW but I unearthed a stack of photos of my trip to Oslo last July which were shot in RAW. Amazing! I imported these photos into Lightroom and tried a couple of presets that I came up with. I like the ‘desaturated’ look in photos where the colours appear washed-out because it gives off an edgy yet nostalgic feel.
Some photos of our first day in Oslo. This is the very charming square, dotted with pots of flowers, behind our hotel that we walk through to get to the harbour area.
Overlooking the harbour.
Queuing up for a hot-dog at the stand. It was the most expensive hot-dog I have ever eaten! S$10 a piece.
The Akershus Fortress which overlooks the harbour.
Strolling along the harbour area, heading towards Solsiden, a seafood restaurant, for dinner. There are a number of restaurants housed in converted warehouses with a great view of the waters located along the harbour.
I like the casual, airy and spacious layout of Solsiden. I did some research online and this restaurant came up highly recommended and well-reviewed so I was looking forward to dinner. Solsiden’s service is great, food is good but pricey (given that we are in Norway) and we felt very relaxied in the laid-back atmosphere. Because it is summer time, the day-light hours are long and you could enjoy the view of the harbour from the restaurant all the way till 9pm at night.
A massive seafood platter for 2 persons. It was waaaay too much food for the two of us to finish. By the time we worked through the mussels, oysters, crabs, clams, lobster, we barely had room for the huge pile of shrimps lying at the bottom of the platter. The seafood was extremely fresh and delicious but I have always preferred to eat my seafood hot, not cold. This is making me crave for a plate of chili crabs.
Post-dinner walk to work off all that food. We walked as far as the newly constructed Oslo Opera House, a snazzy glass and cement structure and turned back. The area that makes up the Oslo city centre area is fairly compact and is pretty easy to navigate on foot.
I love the colors of these buildings in Oslo. Besides the usual brick-and-cement buildings, we saw many buildings painted in gorgeous colours. Salmon-pink. Bright yellow. Teal green. Blood orange.
Using Lightroom does improve the efficiency in editing and uploading photos. I like it. 🙂 It looks like I will have to start shooting in RAW.
This was our last day in Oslo. We checked out of the hotel, strolled to the harbour for the last time to admire the view for the last time and hopefully, find some lunch before we had to leave for the airport. For a large part of our trip, the skies in Oslo were grey, cloudy and threatening to rain all the time, so we were really glad to see gorgeous blue skies with fluffy white clouds on our last day.
Chilling out with a glass of wine, watching people, and enjoying every moment of the gorgeous view presented before us.
I have been struggling for weeks to get this post up. I log into WordPress, I type a few sentences, I delete them, I re-type them again, and then I go to bed, without ever completing the post.
This is the Oslo City Hall, the capital’s administrative body and seat of the City Council, and the venue for the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. It is also one of the few attractions in Oslo which does not charge an entry fee.
It is a beautiful historic building, with a brick facade, two tall towers and a huge clock. I enjoyed wandering around in the building, admiring the beautiful rooms decorated with intricate lights and standing lamps. The City Hall is my favourite attraction in Oslo.
Every time I flip open the menu at a restaurant in Oslo, I feel conflicted. Should I choose the mussels, or the oysters, or the fish stew? Due to the excruciatingly expensive prices, I tried not to order more than one main course. Most of the time, I pick the mussels which taste sooooo good.
I have always wanted to try the fish stew, and only got around to ordering the dish on our last day in Oslo at an open-air restaurant facing the harbour. The broth was tasty, with generous portions of shrimp and mussels and julienne vegetables. The cream sauce was light and creamy, but without being cloying or fishy. I mopped up all the sauce with bread.
Visiting Oslo makes me feel glad that there is an availability of cheap and good food at the hawker centres and coffeeshops in Singapore, such that eating out frequently will not send us to the poor house.
The host of TBH’s business meeting gave us a couple of suggestions on accommodation, and we chose to stay in a 3-star Radisson hotel called Park Inn. The hotel is not a luxurious or fancy one, but it has an excellent location. It is a short walk or tram ride to the harbour, museums, shopping streets and the subway station.
We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, and the city looked like a ghost-town. The shops were closed, the restaurants were closed, and the streets were empty and quiet. After we checked into the hotel and freshened up, we decided to take a walk and explore the area around our hotel. We had a couple of hours to kill before going for dinner at 5pm. I had made a reservation at Solsiden, a popular seafood restaurant located at the harbour, in Singapore.
We left the hotel, walked down the streets, and turned the corner into this charming square. I was like – WOW! This is so pretty.
Mint green and persimmon-coloured buildings side by side.
Many people were posing for photographs at this fountain and I had to wait a while to get a shot of this which didn’t have any human beings or traffic.
Love the mustard-yellow walls of this cafe. We walked past this building everyday but never got around to actually entering the cafe.
Tagging along on TBH’s business trip to Oslo in July was one of those unexpected but pleasant surprises in life. We have never really thought about visiting Norway, or any of the other Nordic countries. We have a phobia of long-haul flights, and having to deal with jetlag thereafter, so we typically stick to visiting countries in our region whenever we go on a holiday.
After hemming and hawing over having to take a long-haul flight to Oslo for a couple of days, we decided that I should just go along. Afterall, this was a great opportunity for us to see a city together which we wouldn’t ordinarily think about visiting. Also, summer was perfect for visiting Oslo.
Strangely, on this Oslo trip, both our body clocks adjusted fairly quickly to the time difference. Not that I am complaining, but the quick adjustment really helped us enjoy our holiday immediately upon arrival.
My first impression of Oslo was its very cool airport. Unlike most international airports which are designed using a fairly standard combination of steel-and-glass, and comes across as cold and functional, the Oslo airport has a very welcoming vibe. Stepping into the airport made me think that I had entered an upmarket Ikea. The airport’s design had simple and clean lines, and incorporated plenty of light wood and Nordic-inspired furnishings. As you can see from the photos above, my eyes were drawn to the sleek lamps hung in various cafes located within the airport.
I have to rave about the airport bus that took us from the airport into the city. It is clean, spacious and get this, comes with free wifi! I Whatsapp-ed and Facebook-ed for the entire length of the 45-minute journey between the airport and the city.
My second impression of Oslo was how terribly expensive things cost, but that’s another story for another blog post. 🙂
Maybe my eyes are drawn to good-looking Scandinavian men, but it does seem that everywhere I go in Oslo, I see fathers piggy-riding young kids on their shoulders, cycling with their kids, or feeding birds with their kids at the harbour. And during the weekdays!
The Oslo Cathedral from another angle, just before it started pouring.