A weekend in Oslo sounds like fun, so when my calendar showed a free weekend, I quickly packed my bags, booked my flights and accommodation and whizzed to the airport. After an hour-long flight I was enjoying the sunshine in Oslo.
It turned out, that as a low-budget traveller, I couldn’t have come at a better time. It was the Oslo Art Night (Oslo Kulturnatt) and Open House weekend (Oslo Äpnehus)!
During Oslo Art Night a lot of the museums, galleries and event venues are free with extended opening hours. One of the best things about travelling is the opportunity to experience new things. Oslo Art Night was a good way to explore the city’s art scene. There were so many events from tattooing, graffiti workshop and live reading of Game of Thrones to visiting a WW II bunker, glass blowing and movie screenings. The hardest thing was to choose where to go.
My Art Night started with exploring the Akerhus Castle and Fortress at sundown before going inside the Catle Church to hear St.Hallvard-Guttene boy choir sing Duruflés Requiem. The music was heavenly and I hope the boys enjoyed performing, because in every single photo I took there was someone frowning. To their defence, it is incredibly hot to perform in a woollen robe in direct sunshine in a small space.
After the performance I walked to the Oslo Cathedral to view some stunning ceiling paintings. The evening continued by visiting two museums: The Museum of Architecture and The Museum of Contemporary Art. The Museum of Architecture was one of my favourite buildings in Olso. Designed by Christian Heinrich Grosch and adapted and extended by Sverre Fehn, it is a very unique exhibition space, and the concrete, behind the glass wall, becomes a part of the viewing experience.
Saturday started by walking down the shopping street Karl Johans Gate to the Royal Castle and the Parks.
Visiting an observatory has always been a dream of mine. The Observatory in Oslo was designed by Christian Heinrich Grosch. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures inside. The tour was in Norwegian so I didn’t understand everything, but still enough to enjoy the visit. The highlight of the tour was when they opened the dome. I really want to visit a working observatory and actually gaze at the stars.
After this I wandered closer to water. The Oslo Opera House is certainly an eye-catcher. The different surface levels and the water surroundings make it stand out.
On the last day I wanted to visit the National Gallery (free on Sundays!) and the Vigeland Park. The National Gallery is a must if you have any interest in art. Besides housing a number of works from Norwegian artists, it also has an impressive collection of works from Picasso, Cézanne, Manet and Rodin.
The Vigeland Park has over 200 statues made by Gustav Vigeland. Scattered around the park, you can spend hours following different footpaths and running into new sculptures in every corner.
Olso is a beautiful city well worth a visit. The city has a very friendly and laidback atmosphere. The only thing that bothered me was that I couldn’t find any unique shops. The shopping street and shopping centres were full of typical Nodic chainstores, but the UFF secondhand store was massive. Oslo is an expensive city so it is wise to plan your trip in advance. Make sure that breakfast is included in your accomocation because eating out is ridiculously expensive. If you want to shop remember that most of the shops are closed on Sundays. Check Oslo Event Calendar to see what is happening in the city during your visit and check the museums’ websites to see when they offer free entrance.