I’ve always been interested in Viking history. When I decided to pick up building models as a hobby I chose the ship below:
Apparently some tools and paints are required as well. I got some but probably missing some colours.
Thi is the before picture. I’ll post when it’s done too. There are nice YouTube videos that show a lot of the steps of building process in detail which I’ve added to References section for future reference.
I find any body water very calming and peaceful. I’m fortunate that my flat is located next to River Quaggy. Even though it’s a narrow and shallow point sometimes it’s nice to spend some time watching it in my balcony.
Here’s a short clip of what it looks like from my balcony:
Here’s another one. Very similar but this one has ducks in it!:
The next one is from a few days of rain:
River Quaggy is quite a long one actually. According to Wikipedia it’s 17 km. long. It goes all around Lewisham including Manor House Gardens which I posted some pictures of in my last post Celebrating 8 Years in the UK
8 years ago today I moved to the UK. As a small celebration I decided to take the day off and enjoy my old neighbourhood: Lee Green
I think it’s sometimes more interesting to discover the local history then distant lands. Just imagining all those events happenning right where you send centuries ago is just fun. So I took the day off to walk around the neighbourhood.
Greenwich is a short quick walk from Lee and there’s this commerative stone to mark the Greenwich Meridian.
Merhcant Taylor’s Almshouses
This is a nice historical place which I first noticed while I was playing Ingress.
I never had a chance to visit this place as it’s almost always closed but hopefully one day! It’s built on 1683 and is one of the oldest buildings in the neighbourhood.
My old house which I lived in for 4 years. Now it’s a youth hostel. My room had a park view and I can still my old room from the park.
Manor House Library
Along with Pentland House, one of the oldest buildings in Lewisham.
Manor House Gardens
Behind the library there’s one of most beatufil (and underrated in my opinion) parks in London.
This is a nice bookshop with a cafe just down the road from my old house. I always used to see it but this is the first time I went in. It’s hard to browse through thousands of books and they are not categorized very well but it was like a littel treasure hunt. I got 2 nice books £2 each so I think it was a bargain.
They have a very nice cafe too and you can outside. It’s quiet and peaceful. It’s a nice affordable option to make a day out of.
The Dacre’s Arms Pub
This is by far my favourite local pub. I posted about it a few years ago too but that didn’t stop me from enjoying a cold one!
8 years down, who knows how many more to go but it’s important to enjoy the days as they go by instead of waiting for some day in the distant future where you can finally rest. So celebrating or not it’s nice to take days off like this and enjoy where you live. It takes no effort to walk down a few minutes.
I’ll post some bits of history of the above places later on after more research. For the time being I’ll just enjoy the scenery and celebrate 8 years spent in the UK!
April 13th was Turban Day in Oslo. Apparently it’s been an ongoing organisation for 10 years. I think it’s a nice gesture to embrace other cultures and promote diversity
Nice number plate
First time I saw one of these I thought somebody abandoned theirs but turns out it’s like city bikes. They are everywhere and you need a QR code to activate them. I haven’t tried one of them but surely looks like a fun way to ride around the city.
Max Burgers Ordering Machines
This is not a widely known fast-food franchise (and I’m glad it’s not as they have very rude staff!) but I like the ordering system a lot. You simply order and pay at the machine and pick up from the counter. Couldn’t be simpler.
I loved my hotel, CityBox Oslo, as they intentionally cut down all the
luxuries and hence making it quite cheap in a central location. But apparently I wasn’t the only one who liked that area:
Double red man in traffic lights
The traffic lights have double red man. Apparently this is to ensure if one of them goes out you can still see it’s red. Redundancy is helpful and safer!
OsloPass is a must-have for free museums and public transportation.
Also FlyToGet made it extremely easy for me to get to the city centre and back to the airport. These were the apps I had on my phone for this trip:
I shopped at Way Nor and Norway Shop and liked both places because of the number of options and kind and helpful staff.
Mixed gender royal guards
It’s interesting to see female soldiers in the arms and as part of the royal guards:
In one of the supermarkets I noticed they had LCD displays as price labels. Being rich is something else!
National Museum coming in 2020
It’s currently being moved and it will be re-opened in a new location next year
View from the hotel cafe
Just how the city looks while waiting for my pizza:
Tips to self for the next trip
I had 2 luggages which made it very hard to find my way around. Try to have 1 large luggage so that you can keep one hand available to use the phone for navigation.
I could have easily made it with no cash. But Lloyd’s bank charges a lot of extra charges for overseas transactions. The problem with leftover cash, on the other hand, is you lose a lot of money because of the exchange rates. If it was Euros, I would have kept them but since Norwegian Krones aren’t valid anywhere else I lost money when converted back to British Pounds. So I guess the ideal way is to have some small amount of cash and make sure to spend it all including the coins as they will be completely worthless once out of the country.
Oslo is very rich in history and even though it’s a small city it’s jam-packed with museums, sights and activities. In my 3-day trip I wasn’t able to finish seeing all of them but here’s another I enjoyed a lot: Oslo Opera House
It’s located at the edge of Oslofjord:
Especially on a sunny day it’s definitely a must-see:
In general Oslo struck me as a small, quiet and well-organised city. I din’t like crowded big places so it’s a place I’d like to live in if I was rich! It’s a very expensive city but you pay for quality I guess.
Here’s are some of the pictures I took in no particular order and at various times:
The night life in Slo seems to be rich and lively. They especially seem to be fond of clubs. I like quiet places mostly and preferred rocks bars (at quiet times) and pubs in the afternoon.
Revolver Rock Bar
While walking around, I bumped into this place which was one of the places in my list. It plays very soft rock music, the staff is quite rude and a 0.5L beer cost me 91 kroner (£7.5) so not a great visit but something to cross off my list at least.
This was the first bar I’ve been to in Oslo and I thought the beer expensive but apparently the worse was yet to come.
Hard Rock Cafe Oslo
It was a Sunday afternoon and it was empty which was great.
Some good music, a few photos and a good chance to rest my tired feet!
I’d never been to a Hard Rock Cafe before. I’m not into collecting their collectible stuff so stayed away from the gift shop but it’s a nice bar overall.
Looks like there were quite a few English-names places in Oslo. The Scotsman is one of them. Located on the high street, it gives you a nice chance to observe people outside while sipping your beer. Heating was nice so even in cold it’s perfectly fine to sit outside.
Sir Winston’s Public House
Very nice and authentic-looking pub. Like the Scotsman it’s located on the same street a few doors down and gives a good view of the street.
If you’re right next to the street, you constantly get harassed by gypsies trying to sell you magazine (probably a loophole around begging for money). Even they speak English though!
The name is quite catchy. I haven’t been to this one but mabe next time…
Arrived at Oslo at 22:45 local time. I had to wait a bit for the luggage but I was fortunate that mine was one of the first ones that came out of the carousel.
The most important thing at that point, and a great relief, was that my Internet connection was fine so Giffgaff didn’t fail me and the forum thread I posted in the preparations post was correct.
Next step was to get to the city centre. I was prepared for that as I had installed FlyToGet app and entered my card. As I had Internet connectivitiy I was prepared to buy a ticket straight from the app.
I was able to catch 23:30 FlyToGet express train. It’s super-convenient and highly recommended. From baggage claim I just followed the signs for Fly To Get. After I’ve arrived at the gates I purchased the ticket by simply clicking the Buy Ticket option in the app and scanned the QR code.
Waited a bit for the futuristic-looking train above. It was a pleasant ride. Especially I liked that everybody kept quiet. There were signs posted all around to keep it quiet anyway. I don’t know if it;’s the whole train or I just landed on a quiet car but 22 minute ride just flew by.
23:53. Oslo Centre. Time to find the hotel. I hate heavy-travelling with lots of bags. Unfortunately this time I had 2 bags to lug around. After I managed to pull them both with one hand, freeing the other for Google Maps, after a bit trial and error I was able to locate my hotel.
I liked this hotel a lot. It’s quite cheap compared to others and that’s because they mostly automated eveything. It’s open 24 hours. You check-in at the machine in the lobby which prints you your key and an info sheet. There’s no room service or daily cleaning (which I like as I don’t want anyone going into my room anyway). No TV in the rooms (which is also fine in this case as I don’t speak Norwegian!).
I think this will be my first preference if I travel to Oslo again.
So after a very long day, I finally checked-in. Just went out for a some snacks and drinks. Then wrapped up the day while watching some pre-loaded videos on my iPad.
It is located close to city centre (approximately 1 km). It’s also surrounded by cafes and pubs which also makes it a bit noisy during the Friday night but I was so tired I fell asleep without any issues.
Started this post as a place to keep my notes before the Oslo trip. Part 2 will have the actual experiences. I wonder how much of this prep work will prove to be useful! I think I’ll find out soon.
I use GiffGaff in the UK and found in a thread in their forum that I can use it exactly the same way in Norway. As having an Internet connection at all times in a city that I’ve never been before is crucial I hope that really works. Otherwise I’ll have to buy a SIM card first thing in the first morning.
Norway still uses their own currenty (Norwegian Krones). 1 Streling Pound is about 11 Krones. I bought enough Krones in cash from Post Office in case my card doesn’t work in Oslo.
I decided to get a affoardable (a.k.a. cheap) hotel as I don’t plan to spend too much time in the hotel anyway.
Looks like it’s in a central place and it has good reviews so hope it will be fine:
For airport transfers I found a site called FlyToGet. They also have an iOS app. The idea is to buy a ticket from within the app. Based on the map above it looks very close to my hotel so should be a much better alternative for taxi. I hope I can catch one.
Assuming I made it to Oslo, I had to plan what to do in the city as well. Oslo Pass looks like a great option especially if you haven’t planned out every minute if your trip.
It comes in 24, 48 and 72 hour plans. 72 hour works great for me as that’s the exact duration of my stay.
It comes with an app. Buying the pass and activating it can be all done within the app. It seems it also covers public transportation so one of the first things I’ll do is enable it.
Places to visit
I think once I start exploring the city, finding places to visit shouldn’t be too hard. As a loose guide I found these places to visit:
Viking Ship museum
Vigeland Sculpture Park
The Museum of Cultural History
Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum
City Hall (Rådhuset)
Natural History Museum & Botanical Gardens
Oslo Opera House and Annual Music Festivals
In addition to these I’ll also look into some comdey clubs (must be in English though), rock bars and some metal concerts. It would be a shame leaving Norway without seeing a death metal show!