This is journal entry 3, our second day in Norway in which we enjoyed an Oslo City Break.
My six-year-old son and I have embarked upon a 14-day Eurail trip from Oslo, Norway to Bodo in the Arctic Circle. We are in Oslo for 2 days and are heading to Stavanger, Haugesund, Bergen, Flam, Stegastein, Myrdal, Trondheim, Saltfjellet, and Bodo on guided adventure tours to explore Viking heritage, the places that inspired Disney’s Frozen, culture, landscapes and fun things for kids.
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Destination Norway Day 3 Journal Entry: Our Oslo City Break
It takes about 48 hours to get fully acclimated to a six hour time shift into the future. And it’s no help to a six year old that the sky doesn’t get dark until 9:30PM. If you have kids you know, it’s not time for bed until its dark… Needless to say, we made up for the lack of sleep on our first two days by sleeping in until 9:30AM. Yes, it’s true. But it felt so good.
Travel Tip: When you’re traveling to a time zone ahead of yours it’s best to go straight into the day without sleeping and then get a full 8 hours at bedtime (more for kids of course).
Today we had an open agenda with a key to the city. Of course our main focus is always finding places related to fairy tales, folklore, legends and mythology so, our first choice was to head back to the Akershus Fortress, the model for the castle in Disney’s, Frozen. More on places in Norway related to Frozen here.
So we took the long way…
Maybe it’s the Easter Holiday, but Oslo is not a terribly busy city. Despite its beautiful waterside ambiance, it’s just not that crowded which makes for a pretty laid back environment. Plus, you don’t have to worry about sudden death every 3 seconds. Pedestrians REALLY DO have the right of way! This kind of relaxed atmosphere inspired us to just take our time (which went incredibly well with sleeping in). We let our eyes guide us.
Outland Comic Book Store and Fandom Mecca
Sure enough they guided us right to a life-sized LEGO Spider-Man and LEGO Captain America. The Little was in bliss. Then, we saw a life-sized Gollum and Iron Man and just like that we were reeled in, hook, line and sinker.
We had arrived at nerd Heaven otherwise called Outland, a comic book store full of collectables and fandom treats. All you could hear from the isles of this nerd mecca was “Look at this!” and “No way!” as we made our way through the Minecraft, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Walking Dead sections. We were totally losing it over this place, it was such an unexpected treat. If you’re in Oslo, you have to check this place out. Address: Map
Akershus Fortress – Model for Frozen and Epcot Center
One LEGO purchase later and we were off to Akershus Fortress, most commonly known as being replicated at Walt Disney’s Epcot Center and now as the model for the castle in Frozen.
A quick history nibble of Akershus Fortress – A medieval fortress built to protect the city in the late 1200’s. Over the years it has served for military use and a prison. It towers over the city high upon a hill offering the best views of the waterside city. It’s now still used as a military area. It’s open to the public both inside and out (out later than in for details on this check out their site here). Norwegian Royalty have been buried in the Royal Mausoleum in the castle. They include King Sigurd I, King Haakon V, Queen Eufemia, King Haakon VII, Queen Maud, King Olav V and Crown Princess Märtha.
We loved running around the grounds and taking pictures. The Little thought the guard looked funny because he stood so still. It’s a great place to enjoy a nice day. A must see.
The Waterfront Park – Unwind, Play and Enjoy Sculptures
After running around Akershus Fortress, we made our way through the city along the waterfront. There’s a wide open “mother child” sculpture park that sits in front of City Hall along the water. The Little loved running around here and made a few friends to play with. There are some beautiful sculptures here depicting a mother with her children. A nice point of interest for us, especially since we were doing this whole trip alone. We always love being waterside, and felt a cozy connection to our own home as we walked dockside alongside sailboats and yachts.
Travel Tip: It’s good to let your kids make friends even if they don’t speak the same language. Kids share an unspoken language and no matter where they are, always find ways to entertain each other. Plus, when you’re backpacking alone with your kid, they need that interaction at every chance. Taking them to a park like this is like therapy for them, so try to schedule some park time.
City Hall – Norse Mythology
Just across the street from the Waterfront Park stands the Oslo City Hall which houses the city council, city administration, and art studios and galleries. More importantly to us, it’s home to one of the most elaborate decorations of Norse Mythology in the whole of Scandinavia with an exhibit of sixteen wood relief carvings on the walls of the courtyard buildings sculpted by artist Dagfin Werenskiold. He depicts old Norse divine and heroic poems from both The Older Edda and The Younger Edda. (More on this to come).
From my perspective, seeing this artwork was one of the highlights of our time in Norway’s capital city. It was in the afternoon, the weather was clear and we were alone which made for a really cool storytelling experience. I was able to share with The Little the tales that explain the carvings. Not to mention there’s a super cool astro clock on the City Hall tower! An all around total score for us and a perfect stop on our way to Lofoten Restaurant. Lofoten is a waterside restaurant in Aker Byrgge, a small waterfront shopping and dining district which is literally just a five-minute walk from the park and City Hall.
Where to Eat – Lofoten Restaurant (Lofoten Fiskerestaurant)
We had a pretty amazing day of sleeping in, taking in the city and the culture, exploring the Akershus Fortress, Waterfront Park, City Hall and Outlander Store. We were starving by the time we made it to our dinner reservation at Lofoten Restaurant which sits perfectly dockside where everyone in the restaurant has a view.
This time The Little was a little more open to his dinner. He chose the Pollock, I the Norwegian Whale. Our dinner and service far exceeded expectations. Everything was completely perfect and delicious. Both of us tried new things and loved every bite. The wine offerings were perfectly paired by our knowledgeable server. I couldn’t have had a better meal to end the day. The price point for Lofoten is $$$ but worth every dime. Great for special occasions, dates and memorable moments.
Tips and Final Thoughts
It was yet again another successful day spent on our solo trip together through Norway and a perfect Oslo city break. We made great memories, had full bellies, and enjoyed a snowball fight-walk back to our hotel. We loved seeing the Viking ships and the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History the day before and TOTALLY recommend you make time for those as well for a complete Fairytale Traveler experience. It was a totally awesome way to pop off our Viking expedition through Norway. We can’t wait to see what else Norway has in store. Now it’s time to pack up and get ready for our next adventure, a Eurail ride to Stavanger! (Check back for Day 4 soon).