Friday, December 02, 2016

Oslo on Overdrive.

Hello guys! So I was talking about how James and I managed to upgrade ourselves to Business Class on Qatar Airways on our way back from O...

Hello guys!

So I was talking about how James and I managed to upgrade ourselves to Business Class on Qatar Airways on our way back from Oslo. And the reason that we were in Oslo is because James was there for work, and you know, since we get free accommodation why not?
#selfiesofjacwithjamesworkinginthebackground (or foreground in this instance)

And I don't know what you guys know of following people around while they go about their business trips, but it's really not a couple holiday or anything. It's more like James going about his daily life in another country with me being on leave and gloating at James whenever he goes off to the office or for meetings. But, more on that another time.

Anyway! I managed to get a lot done in Oslo this time around, and here are my key takeaways from my trip!

#1 The Oslo Pass is worth it.

Oslo has a a tourist pass which is very straightforwardly called the "Oslo Pass". And it's great! For a fixed price you get to go into most of Oslo's museums, free public transport, and discounts at random eateries.
The Olso Pass isn't cheap. It costs about SGD $56 for a 24 hour pass and SGD $105 for a 72 hour pass. You can divide the prices by 6 to get a rough idea of how much everything is in SGD.
But! It's really easy to make the Oslo Pass worth your money. Entry to each museum ranges from 50 to 100 NOK, each public transport ride costs about 32 NOK, 52 NOK if you do take it out of the main city. But I guess you only change zones if say, you are on a business trip and your conference hotel is in a place called Asker. And let me tell, you, Oslo has plenty of museums. Here's are all the museums I went to in 3 days.
  1. Viking Ship Museum
  2. The Fram Museum
  3. Kon-Tiki Museum
  4. Norwegian Maritime Museum
  5. Munch Museum
  6. Natural History Museum
  7. The National Gallery
  8. Nobel Peace Center
  9. National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design
  10. Norwegian Museum of Contemporary Art
  11. Armed Forces Museum
  12. Norway's Resistance Museum
  13. Astrup Fearnley Museum
The city is chock full of museums. I could have gone to more, but most museums in Oslo are closed on Mondays, I went for a fjord cruise which was 15% off with the Oslo Pass, and I wasted quite some time on my last day because I accidentally climbed a mountain. Or hill. I am not sure. But it was taller than Bukit Timah. But more on that later.

Anyway, Oslo Pass! Well worth the money. And for the record, my here's my favourite photo from all my traipsing around museums.
Me and "The Scream" at the National Gallery.

And also here is the foreground against which my selfie was taken.
Yup. Art lovers in deep contemplation on the subject. You gotta give it to them.

#2 Buses in Oslo are good.

Well, for me that is. I like the buses in Singapore BUT. The buses in Norway have screens with the bus route and stop names displayed on them - very useful for suaku tourists like me.
And I know, I know. Public transport fares are much higher there so you have more to spend to tarte up the buses. BUT, still a useful feature to have. Much better than that stupid thing that we used to call "TV Mobile" anyway.

Oh and they have very nice reserved areas in the buses. Very large and complete with foldable seats! #justyourregularpublictransportfan.
That being said, transport fares are extremely expensive, making fare evasion very common in Oslo. You would have to be caught for fare evasion once a month to make buying a season pass worth it. Sometimes they do checks. And they always catch someone. Like this person here!
Here, the guy on the left didn't pay his bus fare and had a big argument with the ticket inspector and tried to push past him at the bus stop. But like, ticket inspector had a fellow inspector who the fare evader. Sadly, I don't know if he paid his fine in the end because I got off the bus. And all this talk on expensive fares brings me to my next point...

#3 Oslo is expensive.

So we know that it costs minimally $5+ to take a trip on the train or bus. But do you know how expensive everything else is? On our first day, we chanced upon this generic nondescript Norwegian eatery for dinner.
James, "Shall we go in here?" 
And so I did! I was very pleased! And some salmon and a shrimp (James says prawn) sandwich! Guess how much.
SGD $80. And that's after a 20% discount.  Also this pair of Nike Air Max 90 Essentials. I got mine in the States for about SGD $100 in May. In Singapore, it goes for SGD $179, full price. Here's what it goes for in Oslo:
Read: SGD $237.

And that's reasonable for Oslo standards! But I heard that cars and houses are cheaper than Singapore. So I guess you can migrate to Oslo to buy a car and house, and just spend your days living off packets of Prima laksa. Oh and alcohol. Alcohol prices are the same there so you won't feel the pinch when it comes to indulging in alcohol.

#4 There's nothing to do in Asker.

Asker is a zone away from the Oslo city centre. It's 30 minutes by bus (so still free with the Oslo Pass), but phenomenally different in terms of things to do. We had to go to Asker because James' course was being held there, and that was where the hotel was.

So I'm sure it's very nice in the summer. But it's rubbish in the winter. Also everything is in Norwegian and there's no room service. So you have to go out to get your own food if you don't want to eat at the restaurant. (I did not, as I did not want to be the extra wife person always hanging around) So I just sat on the bed trawling my life away on the internet before finding some Filipino guy who said that there was a small mall about 500m away, which just happened not to show up on Google maps, the hotel maps, or on the hotel info sheets which I had translated using Google.
So I immediately got my Google on and found the mall which had a great supermarket! The walk was cold but next to the fjord So you know, pretty view.
I left the hotel about 3 pm, and reached the supermarket about 3:15 pm. I spent about 1 hour wandering around and buying stuff. And when I came out, it was dark.
But I figured I was safe because all the angmohs wouldn't want to attack this Asian with an RBF. And I was hungry. A hungry woman is an angry woman. Also I am Asian so surely I know martial arts. So I figured they would attack someone else over me. Like all the people with big dogs.

Anyway, just so you know, I had myself a wonderful meal. (James had to eat dinner with his important business kakis). I'm serious ok. Look at my wonderful spread.
Here I have gravlaks (raw salmon cured with dill, salt and pepper), ham seasoned with peppercorn, prawn salad, crisp bread, and red wine. JK, it's Coke Light. Doesn't it look delicious?
I know. Proof that anyone can take tasty looking food photos if they have the right camera. In this case, a Google Pixel. Cheers to that.

#5 My phone takes really good photos.

Okay I know, you've heard. But let me just show you what it can do.
Akker Brygge at twilight.

The fjord at sunrise.

RĂ„dhusbrygge (Port of Oslo) at midday in winter.

Akker Brygge at twilight.

It's a great phone. This trip made me fall in love with my phone all over again.

#6 The fog is worse than the haze.

When you compare Oslo to Singapore, that is. Sure it doesn't smell or anything. But it's cold, and wet, and when you're near a body of water, you can barely see your hands. This is Vigeland Park on a nice, clear, summer day.

And this is Vigeland Park as I saw it...
I think the words you're looking for are "motherfucking creepy".

#7 The switches are weird.

So I know that different countries have different norms and regulations. Some countries drive on the right, other countries which the British took a liking to and decided to claim as their own drive on the left. Some countries use the two pin plug, other countries use the three pin plug. We get it. But omg, in Norway, the switches, they work backwards.
It's so weird. I didn't notice this the previous times Edwina and I were there because we were too busy drinking mulled wine and stuffing our faces with salmon. And also because we didn't stay for the night. #efficientstopover

#8 It's a work in progress.

So it may have different weather conditions and switch conventions, but you know what is so similar about Oslo and Singapore? Everything is under construction. There are cranes and roadworks everywhere!
Cranes and cute little poofy jackets at the Oslo Opera House.

Cranes at Barcode.

Roadworks in the shopping district.

More roadworks in the shopping district.

It's a good sign! That the city is working to improve itself and that I can go back in a few years and still have things to see! James also said that the roadworks is due to the Norwegians installing heating to melt any ice which may form on the road. Also, roadworks reminds me of home. #nostalgic.

Ok and that's all I have to share. Oh wait. I was supposed to tell you how I accidentally climbed a mountain. So I was on the Visit Oslo website and I happened to click into this section for "Culture". Because I am a cultured bitch. *flips hair*.
(Via Giphy).

Anyway I continued reading and read that the rock carvings at Ekeberg were supposed to be one of the highlights.
(Via Visit Oslo).

And I thought they looked quite interesting. So why not. Off I went. Around a lake.
Lake at Middelalderparken (Medival Park).

Across some church ruins.
Ruins of 14th century St. Mary's Church.

Over some railway tracks.
Railway tracks in the Ekeberg neighbourhood.

Past a cemetery.
Cemetery at Gamlebyen Church.

And then, no one told me, and no where was it mentioned, up a fucking hill.
It was pretty at the top.

But also a bit strange. You know the campaign where IKEA turned kids drawings into stuffed toys? 

This looked like someone turned a teenage boy's doodle into a sculpture. 
But ok, moving on. So I hunted around for the rock carvings but couldn't find them. They were indicated there on my GPS, map, and everything. Then, I realised that, I had been staring at the rock carvings the whole time. I just didn't notice what they were because they were so unimpressive.
Waste time only. But you know, at least there was a good view (I say to console myself).
Okay and that's all I have this week! Have a good weekend guyssss! Oh and also, enjoy this song.

❤ Jac.

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