Hallo Hallo Oslo

It’s January 6, and I have just arrived at Oslo Gardermoen Airport; boy it’s cold! It’s not so bad, I like Winter and the snow—everything always looks so much nicer under a blanket of crisp whiteness.

After I’ve passed through Duty-Free, I exit the main terminal. After several moments of confusion I figure out where I am, so I precede to buy my NSB train ticket, before making my way down to the platform.

As I wait, I have only a Blackbird for company. Although, I don’t think he is interested in forming any kind of lasting friendship; I notice he is firmly fixated on the almonds I am eating.

A short while later I am approached by a couple. They would appear to be in their early forties; the lady starts talking to me in English, but from the accent I think she/they may actually be Italian.

‘Do you know if the next train makes a stop at the National Theatre in Oslo?’ the lady asks.

I tell her: I’m also waiting for this train, but that I’m not too sure if it does or not, and that I’m not from this Oslo.

She is, however, some how convinced I’m a local. Then she asks, ‘if they should change at Oslo central?’

Again I reply, politely: I’m just here visiting, but that I would assume you would, yes.

She seems satisfied by this, I think. They amble back towards the information board to study it some more. Not long after, I notice they approach somebody else.

The train appears and pulls smoothly into the station. I hop onboard and once I’m seated I check for the free wifi connection. This is one of those small things that impresses me about Norway, the Internet coverage is excellent and far superior to most of the countries I have visited in Europe recently.

The train is fairly busy. I’m sat amongst a young family, both in my row of seats and the row in front. The youngest of the children is a boy of about four–years–old, he is looking at me curiously, in a trance like state. After a few minutes he breaks his silence, ‘Hvordan står det til?’—How are you.

I don’t know much Norwegian and so the best I could muster is ‘Engelsk!’ and ‘Bra takk.’—Good, thanks.

Pausing for a moment, you can see he is thinking about what he will say next, then he suddenly shouts, ‘HALLO! HALLO!’ I meet his parents gaze and we all share a smile and laugh.

I arrive at Oslo central, at this point the snow has really started to come down pretty heavily, and to my delight of course.

As I meander my way through the streets of a dark and gloomy city centre, I’m struck by the subtle contrast of the modern architecture mixed with the more traditional styles, it some how seems to blend quite well together, having a kind of even consistency.

As I round a corner, Oslo Cathedral comes into view, standing alone in isolation. Much of the surrounding buildings have evolved over the years, while the Cathedral has been frozen in time almost and in turn making it appear almost out of place.

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I realise now is a good time to buy some food. I decide on: a sandwich, an Almond Snickers and a coffee. Then I make the short walk along Grensen towards my hotel in what is a perfect wintery scene.

Inside the lobby at the hotel I am greeted in Norwegian by the receptionist. This seems to happen pretty much every time I meet new people in Norway, either the combination of my surname and/or more likely my physical appearance, so people assume I’m Norwegian, which I actually quite like.

Once I enter my room, I immediately make my way to the window and I’m greeted with the most memorable of views (see picture, below). By now I’m pretty tired, and so I’m happy to grab a hot shower, get cosy in the warmth of the bed and read my book for rest of the evening —that way I will be fresh and ready for my first full day in the Capital, tomorrow.

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