One of my main reasons for moving to Copenhagen to study back in August last year, was because of the opportunities to take short trips to our neighbour countries of Sweden and Norway, and to travel whenever I feel like it and have time, as the airport is just a short metro ride away.
Lula, Zille and I went on a day trip to Lund in Sweden in February, I went on a short 4-day trip to Albania a couple of weeks ago, and on March 26th, I was off again on a short trip to Oslo, the capital of Norway, with Lula and Amanda, who are both friends that I’ve met here in Copenhagen. Our friend Nikolai was also supposed to join us, but unfortunately, he got ill shortly before departure.
Going to Oslo was Lula’s idea. She’d found extremely cheap tickets (just 67 DKK per person!!) for a mini cruise leaving Sunday and coming back Tuesday, giving us 6 hours in Oslo. Although I’d been to Oslo before, I didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity, as Oslo is one of my favourite cities and a place that I had sworn to come back to. But more importantly, I was excited to go on a cruise with good friends and I just couldn’t say no to that!
The trip was extremely spontaneous and we arranged it all just four days before departure, but that’s exactly what I love about living in Copenhagen! If I feel the need to get out of the city (or even the country!), I can – and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
So, on March 26th at 4.30 PM, we were off on a mini cruise to Oslo via Øresund, Kattegat, Skagerrak and the Oslo Fjord.
After dropping off our bags in the cabin, we walked onto the deck and watched as Copenhagen slowly disappeared and the south west coast of Sweden appeared and was the only piece of land that we could see for hours.
Life on board
That evening, we hung out on the ferry and explored its many facilities and shops, and even did some tax-free shopping (I saw a pink rain coat and simply HAD to buy it…). We had brought our own food and drink, so we didn’t have to spend a fortune on the ferry’s (overly expensive) restaurants. It was a quiet evening, quite the contrary to what we had intended with all the beers that we had brought, but maybe that was exactly what we needed. After all, we had a long day of sightseeing ahead of us!
Arriving in Oslo
The next morning, we woke up two hours before we would reach Oslo, so we had time to see the beautiful morning light over the islands in the inner Oslo Fjord as we sailed past them and finally reached Oslo at 9.45 AM.
Ferry to Bygdøy
As soon as we arrived in Oslo, we walked to the Rådhusbrygge 3 pier, where we caught a boat to Bygdøy, a peninsula that houses many interesting museums.
Before departure, we had a few minutes to walk over to Aker Brygge, where there is a great view of the harbour with the Akershus Fortress in the background.
The Viking Ship Museum
We first visited the Viking Ship Museum, which was really interesting to us. Last semester, we heard so much about the famous Oseberg and Gokstad ship burials from the Viking Era, so we were extremely excited to be able to see them in real life. And when we finally saw them, I was completely starstruck! They were more magnificent than I’d ever imagined.
We couldn’t stay there for long, as we had a tight itinerary, but it was enough to have a good look at the ships and a quick browse around the exhibition, which displays the grave goods and skeletons found in the ship burials.
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
The next museum that we went to was the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, established in 1894 by librarian and historian Hans Aall, and opened to the public in 1901.
The museum is recognized as the world’s first open-air museum with more than 150 historic buildings that originally came from towns and rural areas all over Norway, including the 12th century Gol Stave Church, historic log houses from Telemark and Østerdal, small houses from the former working class neighbourhood of Enerhaugen in Oslo, a Standard Oil gas station from 1928 from Holmestrand and a Pakistani home of 2002. Thus, the museum tells the story of all social groups and geographical regions of Norway.
Since I love open-air museums, I really enjoyed exploring the museum and could’ve spent so much longer there than we had time for.
Sightseeing in Central Oslo
We didn’t have much time left to explore Central Oslo, so we decided to focus on some of Oslo’s most famous buildings and churches, such as the City Hall from the early 20th century; Akershus Fortress from the 13th century; Oslo Cathedral from the 17th century; the Trinity Church from 1858; and the Old Aker Church, which is the oldest existing building in Oslo, built in 1080. I particularly found the Old Aker Church interesting, mainly because of its old age, but also because of the old neighbourhood surrounding it.
Before going back to the ferry, we found time to briefly visit my friend Desirée at her workplace in the center. I haven’t seen her for a couple of years, so it was nice to say hello. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I see her here in Copenhagen!
Back on Board
At 4.30, we were off again, on the way back to Copenhagen. We were completely knackered after the long day visiting two museums and walking the cobbled streets of Central Oslo. It was nice to end the day by just sitting down and watching the fjords and islands go by until the sun set behind the clouds.
The weather that we had for our mini cruise was nothing short of perfect. It was 10-16 degrees, the sun was shining all day and clouds were few and far between. It simply couldn’t have been any better.
I was happy to share this experience with two of my favourite girls! We already have many more plans for upcoming trips that I can’t wait for. Sweden is our next-door neighbour and Norway is never too far away, even for a short weekend. I’m excited to see where our wanderlust will take us in the future!