The first week of April in Oslo meant snow-covered hills around Oslo Airport on the 50 km train ride to the city and limited appearance of green buds on trees once in Oslo city center. Still, the clear sky and daytime temperature rising to the low teens in European measure, mid-50s for Americans, on a fine early spring weather Saturday meant people were enjoying sun, cafes and parks around Oslo as we walked the city.
My desire to fly SAS Scandinavian airlines home to Monterey via Oslo-Copenhagen-San Francisco for $477 round trip meant a $65 Norwegian Airlines ticket from Prague to Oslo provided flights back to California for $304 one way with flights back to Oslo, Norway for $239 in summer. While Kelley has spent time in Copenhagen and Stockholm, this was her first time in Norway. This was my seventh trip to Norway since 2013.
On my two other trips into Oslo City my train station destination was Oslo Central Station. Google Maps showed Oslo National Theater Station would drop us off closer to The Thief, our hotel for the overnight stay before our flight to California. Loyalty Traveler – The Thief Oslo steals any negative connotation of Choice Privileges.
As most people departing the station walked in the direction of Studenterlunden, the narrow city center park established in 1837 located between the National Theater (1899) and Stortinget (1866) – Norway’s Parliament building in the heart of 19th century Oslo architecture, our walking route to The Thief led us along newer streets and mostly deserted sidewalks surrounded by modern buildings.
Not providing the urban scenery I wanted Kelley to experience for her first impressions of Oslo’s extensive waterfront, I veered off from the direct route to The Thief to walk along the Aker Brygge waterfront to Tjuvholmen, a showcase of modern urban renewal on a peninsula extending into Oslo fjord. One of the modern buildings is The Thief hotel.
Kelley wondered why a luxury hotel would call itself The Thief?
‘Tjuv’ is Norwegian for ‘thief’. According to wikipedia, Tjuvholmen peninsula is where thieves were executed in the 18th century. This area was developed as docklands in the 19th and 20th century.
These days Tjuvholmen is the site of Oslo urban renewal with high end residential apartment buildings, a public swimming area with beach and docks, the Astrup Fearnley Museum and Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park.
While the water in Oslo Fjord is chilling in April, I have been on these swimming docks in September when locals were in the water and sunbathing on the docks.
Aker Brygge is considered one of Norway’s premier waterfront developments. The area is a popular spot for dining, waterfront cafes and the terminal point for ferry commutes for towns around Oslo Fjord.
My photo below of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo at the Aker Brygge waterfront was taken several years ago. The backdrop to the Peace Center has changed and not too photogenic with the massive new National Museum under construction directly behind the center.
Interestingly, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was born in Stockholm, Sweden and developed numerous patented technological and engineering achievements during his lifetime. He made a fortune through his invention of dynamite.
Even wealthier than Alfred Nobel was his older brother Ludvig, credited with creating the Russian oil industry in Baku, Azerbaijan in the 19th century. According to Wikipedia, the story is when Ludvig Nobel died in Cannes in 1888 a French newspaper mistakenly printed an obituary for Alfred Nobel with the description Le marchand de la mort est mort (“The merchant of death is dead”) and went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”
Alfred Nobel, a bachelor, established the Nobel Prizes in 1895 providing 94% of his wealth to endow annual prizes for physical science, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. His will stipulated the Nobel Peace Prize would be determined by a committee of Norwegians. The Nobel Peace Prize is the only one of the prizes awarded in Oslo. The other Nobel Prize ceremonies occur in Stockholm, Sweden.
Two statues in front of National Theater depict Henrik Ibsen, the world’s most performed dramatist after Shakespeare, and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, poet and winner of the 1903 Nobel Prize for Literature.
The ice rink in Studenterlunden park was past the season for ice, yet still too early in the year to be a fountain pool. Children played in the large dry concrete space.
Grand Hotel Oslo is where President Obama stayed when he was presented the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Royal Palace seen from Grand Hotel on Karl Johans Gate.
It is not everyday I see polar bear taxidermy. This was the second polar bear I had seen in six hours since arriving in Norway. I mentioned to the receptionist at The Thief that Kelley found Oslo quite cold after Prague. He joked the weather had warmed up enough that the polar bears weren’t wandering the streets.
Of course not, they’ve all been shot and stuffed for souvenir shop displays.
Oslo City Bike offers 235 stations for bicycles at 49 NOK ($5.76 USD) for a 24 hour pass or 399 NOK ($46.93 USD) for a season pass valid from April to November.
Honestly, there were far more people riding around Oslo on electric scooters than bicycles.
Keep Lofoten Oil Free
On our way to Illegal Burger we passed by Youngstorget Square where a live concert was happening at a rally against oil drilling in the Lofoten Islands of Arctic Norway.
After our meal we walked into the square and spoke with a young woman about the event. She explained it was a rally for a ban on oil drilling around Norway’s Lofoten Islands. A Labour Party major platform decision on April 6, 2019 came out in support of a permanent ban on oil drilling for the Lofoten, Vesteralen and Senja islands. The oil drilling ban was significant enough to make international press coverage in a country with a one trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund built primarily from oil revenue.
In 2015, I flew to Evenes Airport and spent three nights in Harstad. My plan was to travel to the Loftoten islands, but I became ill the first day and spent most of my time hanging out at Hotel Articus.
Oslo Cathedral originally 1694-1697 was rebuilt in 1848-1850. Oslo has had a cathedral since the 12th century. St. Hallvards Cathedral was the main church in Oslo for 500 years until it burned down in 1624.
Horses outside Akershus Fortress were a surprise to come across in central Oslo, a city filled with fast modes of transportation.
Walking through the park space outside the fortress took us back to the waterfront at Oslo City hall and Aker Brygge.
Curious as to why there is a statue for Franklin D. Roosevelt at the edge of Radhusplassen – City Hall Square, a quick web search led me to this TripAdvisor explanation from FDR historian Scott Larsen.
The reasons why there is a statue of FDR near the Oslo Harbor is simple: President Roosevelt helped Queen Marthe and her three children – today one is the king of Norway – escape Norway when the Germans invaded Norway. Also, they came and lived at the White House shortly afterwards with the crown princess and the president becoming friends. After WWII, both the princess and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated the statue as a thank you for this American president’s help and kindness toward Norway and the Norwegian royal family. – FDR Historian and writer for Norwegian American newspaper, Seattle. Scott Larsen – TripAdvisor.com
And basically we were back at the waterfront of Aker Brygge and minutes from our hotel after walking around Oslo a few miles.
Loyalty Traveler Oslo
- Hotel Review Clarion Royal Christiania Oslo, Norway (Sep 6)
- Oslo, Norway walking on a summer day (Sep 6, 2014).
- Hotel Review Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion Oslo, Norway (Sep 7)
- Clarion Collection Folketeateret Oslo is recommended Nordic Choice Hotel (Sep 27)
- Tourism: Hunger in Oslo. Prices? What Prices! (March 13)
- Tourism: The King’s Royal Guards in Oslo (March 18)
- Tourism: Oslo Winter Walkabout, Hotel Rates and Points (March 21) – Akershus Fortress and Opera House
- Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo Norway (March 19)