Introduction: Oslo In Winter

Introduction: Oslo In Winter
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My wife and I fell in love with Norway on our trip to Bergen a few years ago. We thought the city and surrounding fjords were beautiful and were kind of blown away at the quality of the food. In fact, I began to tell people that the whole country was sort of like a cross between a national park and farm-to-table restaurant. Norway quickly became one of my favorite countries to visit.

But then I remembered that Norway is kind of a big place. It would be irresponsible to rave about how much I like the place based on one visit, right?

So when the opportunity came up for our family to spend some time in Oslo, we jumped at the chance. A few of our friends raised an eyebrow when we said we were going in winter, but that didn’t concern us at all as we live in a cold weather climate ourselves and love to travel during the off-season without the crowds.

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Here at OMAAT, we believe that getting there is way more than half the fun, and this trip was no different. It actually turned out to be even more fun than we could have anticipated. That’s because shortly after we booked this trip, United announced the launch of their new Polaris business class product and our reservations eventually updated to reflect the new branding. Since I don’t normally plan trips around trying new products, it was exciting to actually fly Polaris within the first months of its launch. Even if it was just the soft product.

But that’s not all

Not only would our transatlantic flight be our first in United Polaris, but it would also be my wife’s Million Miler flight on United. I can think of worse ways to celebrate such a milestone, and certainly way better than crossing the threshold on a regional jet flying Houston to El Paso. No offense.

We also flew Polaris on the way back. We were scheduled to connect in Houston again, but a schedule change rerouted us through Chicago. That was actually great luck as it allowed us to visit the new Polaris Lounge which had just opened a month prior. Of course my luck isn’t perfect, as we were there just days before they started restaurant-style dining. I guess you can’t have everything. So of the hard, soft, and new lounge products, we got to properly experience just one. But remember, brilliant marketing….

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Aside from the getting there and back, we did love our time in Oslo. Our family is rather outdoorsy and isn’t afraid of the cold, so we bundled up and headed out exploring. We visited the Oslo Opera House, Akershus Fortress, The Fram Museum and its neighbor, The Norwegian Maritime Musuem, Mathallen Food Court, and Spikesuppa Skating Rink, in addition to having fun at local area playgrounds in the snow.

Anyway, we had a great time in Oslo with the family. I hope you enjoy the trip report.

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Comments

  1. I too love visiting Norway. My grandparents are from northern Norway and I visit the “home land” 2-3 times a year. One of the best ways to see the country is to take the Hurtigruten coastal cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes. Billed as the “Most beautiful voyage in the world” the voyage takes 7 days northbound and 5 days return and stops at 34 ports along the way. The Norwegian coastline is stunningly beautiful any time of the year. You won’t be disappointed!

  2. My first international trip last October was to Norway – what an incredible country. I’d go back to Bergen or Oslo in a heartbeat.

    For your next trip, or whoever is reading, my girlfriend and I found the Folkmuseum in Oslo to be wonderful, and it is right next to the Viking Ship Museum as well, which was very interesting.

  3. Sounds fantastic. Perhaps you will do this in the individual installments, but can you review if you used miles/points/cash for the flights/hotels etc…

    Thanks!

  4. Scandinavia as a whole is magical at winter. Coming to think of it, in summer also as a matter of fact 🙂 Being a Scandinavian I’m biased of course, but I’m honest in my enthusiasm! The mountains, called fjäll, in the northern parts are amazingly beautiful in winter as well as in summer.

    Oh, I’d love to fly to North America in the Polaris business class seat, bit I guess I’ll have to wait a few years, as it seems. Or just settle for the soft product!

  5. Is that red brick church in Grorud??

    I love Oslo, have been there mostly in winter. Eager to read about your experience!

  6. Couple of important things that nobody has mentioned. 1. In the winter you’re barely getting any sunlight. Maybe 5 hours / day if that much. 2. Stuff in Norway is friggin expensive. When you see how much even a bottle of water will cost you’ll be surprised and this is at a supermarket rather than a touristy place. If you eat at a restaurant every afternoon and night it’s going to rival your hotel bill. Though lodging is pretty reasonable even during the summer months. Strong dollar right now will make it a little less painful.
    That said, I loved Norway. People are friendly. Cities are clean. Just a beautiful and comfortable country.

  7. Visited in Feb a few years ago. One thing you can do is toboggan down a mountain about 30 minutes outside Oslo. It’s accessible via the subway system, and at the bottom, you take the subway back up to the top!

    Lots of fun, I’d recommend!

  8. I visited Oslo on the cheap last October. A few things to note:

    1. Food in Oslo can be expensive. However, Oslo’s City Hall has a cafeteria in the basement (access through doors facing the fjord and train, not main entrance) where you can get a full, delicious meal for 40-60 kr. It is meant for government emplooyees but opens to the public Mon – Fri after 12:30 PM. The hot meals change each day, but there is a permanent salad bar. Great hidden jem.

    2. Also, if you are looking for free bathrooms in that general vicinity, the Oslo City Hall has them (both near cafeteria and through the main entrance side) as do the Akershus Fortress (housed in its own building on the grounds).

    3. Many national museums have a free day each Thursday. You can visit the National Museum of Art and see the famous painting “The Scream” among others!

    4. Oslo City Hall and Akershus Fortress are worth seeing. The City Hall has beautifully decorated rooms and paintings and is free to the public (main entry is the north entrance opposite the side facing the train). Also, the grounds of Akershus Fortress are free to wander (museums and tours are extra).

    5. Walk the roof of the Opera House. Yes, the roof. It is an architectural masterpiece and has several slanted walkways which offer majestic views of the city and Oslofjord.

    Enjoy Oslo! 🙂

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