Since we've got back and people have asked me about it, the two things I have found myself repeating are that it was a) HOT and b) PRICEY. I think Norway is one of those places that people assume is all hats and snow, but it was actually hotter the weekend we were there than it had been in London over the last couple of weeks so it just goes to show how important it always is to check the weather forecasts! We already knew food and, especially, alcohol would be expensive so we took a bottle of wine with us and then bought two at the airport when we arrived in Oslo to save us a bit of money.
I would generally write a bit of a highlights list when writing up trips like this, but as there were no real low-lights I'm instead going to do a mini travel diary.
We flew with Norwegian and ended up choosing a flight that left at 5.50am. This was, obviously, a decision led by price, but it actually worked out well as it meant we had the whole of Friday to spend in Oslo. The flight was great - we had loads of leg-room, the in-flight magazine was actually full of interesting articles and it had free wifi! Thoroughly recommended. We were staying in Grünerløkka in an apartment I found on airbnb which was perfect for us - cheaper than most hotels and meant we could be as flexible as we liked. We spent Friday exploring the area - stopping for coffee / hot chocolate and apple juice along the way. We walked along the river and even though it rained a little it was still absolutely beautiful.
After a quick change of clothes at the apartment and a glass (ok a bottle) of wine we headed out to dinner at Villa Paradiso. After a 30-minute wait at the bar which we spent nursing a (£7.90) pint each of the locally brewed beer we were seated and ordered a pizza each - one four cheeses and one ndujla - and both were delicious (and huge). The broccoli and ndujla sausage on mine were fresh and spicy accordingly, without being too overwhelming. Including the beers the meal came to about £45.
This was the day we had dedicated to exploring Oslo a bit but not doing anything too taxing. We walked over to the Royal Palace park and spent a couple of hours sitting, reading and taking in the greenery. One thing we noticed about Oslo was that it was very, very green - there are parks, trees, and grass-filled areas wherever you look. We took a wander over to Frogner Park to look at the sculptures - stopping to buy some watermelon on the way (to give you an idea of the heat!) Frogner Park was quite a strange experience - it was one of the busiest places we visited over the weekend but seemed to be popular with both tourists and locals. It's worth a visit, but nowhere near as relaxing as the park at the Royal Palace.
It was well into an acceptable drinking time by this point, so we headed to the Summit Bar at the Radisson Blu for a couple of drinks. The good thing that we found about Oslo drinking prices is that they are pretty generic across the board - so the drinks we had here were no more expensive than the drinks we had in the pub on the corner. It's pricey, yes, but at least you know what you're getting when you walk in somewhere for the first time.
We headed on to dinner after this and, after a bit of searching, made it to Illegal Burger. The burgers and fries were exactly what we needed after a day of walking around in the sun, so I'm glad we persevered! The burgers were around £10 each, so in total we spent around £40 I think.
Whilst I was doing my research I stumbled across a walking tour on frommers.com that was right up our street (how punny of me). We chose to do it on this day as the National Gallery has free admission on Sundays, so we spent a lovely few hours making our way through this in the sun. I'm really glad we found this, as it seemed a much better use of our time than if we had just been wandering aimlessly around the city.
For dinner that night we headed to Egget Kafe where I had a spanish tortilla and he had bratwurst. Again, with drinks, this came to around £40, so in general I don't think we did too badly in our food-spending. After dinner we went to Fru Hagen for a drink which was nice (although the food didn't look too desirable) before we headed back to the apartment to pack for our flight the next morning.
As always, I had done all my research before we left which was even more important than usual seeing as food and drink can be so expensive. We didn't eat anywhere super fancy but our three meals out were all delicious and, I think, really good decisions. If I were staying in Oslo again I would re-visit all of them. And I guess that's the question - would we visit again? The only thing that would stop me from re-visiting really is the price, it was a lovely city - quiet, clean, green - but I'm always going to be someone who likes to have a bottle of wine with dinner and house wine is always going to be at least £40 a bottle. For those of you who this isn't an issue for then yes - visit immediately! For me though, I think there will be other places I'd like to visit for the first time before I make a trip back.