Friday, 8 June 2007

Norway (Part 2)

The area outside the station is called Jernbanetorget, and being as my life practically revolves around all things Norway related even when I have the misfortune of being in this country, I knew that there was going to be some roadworks there during May. They’re improving the downtown Oslo public transport system or something. Don’t know why, it seems pretty good to me. Anyway, these roadworks confused me somewhat. But it didn’t matter, I still managed to remember where Storgata is. Although the walk along it to get to the hotel seemed a hell of a lot longer than it did last year. Maybe it’s coz it was raining. It made me rather happy to see that the hairdresser’s nextdoor to the hotel and hostel still had the advert in the window with Morten Gamst Pedersen on it. Not sure why, but it did.

Our room wasn’t as good as my one last year, and I’m sure there were some channels missing on the telly, but it was still clearly on the quieter side of the building which was good news. Last year I hardly slept at all thanks to all the trams/police cars/drunk Norwegians that went past at all times of the night. But not only was our room this year quieter, you could also see Holmenkollen from it, which was pretty damn fabulous. Especially at night when it was all lit up. That was pretty.

We went out to have a look around Karl Johan’s Gate after we’d dumped our stuff. Karl Johan’s Gate is the main street of Oslo, it’s ideal for lazy tourists, as it’s home to no less than 4 rather important buildings- Oslo university (which is very pretty), the National Theater, Stortinget (the parliament) and my personal favourite- Det Kongelige Slottet (the palace). The National Gallery and town hall are also pretty close to Karl Johan’s Gate, a fact that I somehow managed to miss last year. We went all the way to the top of the street, which I’m sure I read somewhere was a mile long (it so isn’t), because I was rather excited about going back to Dronningparken, one of the royal parks behind the palace. Dronningparken is my favourite part of Oslo. I’m not sure why. It’s pretty, and relaxing, and it has lakes with ducks in. I went there last year after my long-winded walk to Aker Brygge, and I sat there for no less than an hour (in fact it was more than an hour), on a little grassy bank, listening to Kurt Nilsen and watching ducks swim about on the lake. It was lovely, I’d never felt that relaxed and calm before (even if there were multiple motorbikes whizzing past noisily on Parkveien behind). I remember having lots of little philosophical revelations there last year, can’t remember what they were now though. A new feature of Dronningparken this year though, seemed to be Fit Cyclists. I’ve never seen so many attractive men on bikes. Over here the only people who ride bikes are old men in lycra. Not so in Norway. Thankfully. We walked back up the path to the palace. The Norwegian palace obviously being the best palace in the world, because you can get so close to it you can practically touch it. There’s a few guards around- attractive ones obviously- but it doesn’t really feel like somewhere where the most important people in the country live. I’ve read before about the Norwegian royal family being quite in touch with their people, and that it’s not uncommon to see them around the palace gardens and such places. Whether that’s true or not, I’ve always thought it would be quite cool to meet them. They’re obviously so much cooler than our rubbish royal family. What I also find quite cool every time I go to the palace is that there’s always
a Volkswagen Passat parked round the side. I like to think maybe that’s what the crown prince or someone drives. Now that would be cool.

We walked back down Karl Johan’s Gate. I read somewhere years ago that all the ugly Norwegians are shipped off to Finland. This may be true. Everyone I saw in Oslo was ridiculously good looking. Even the chavs. And that’s saying something. We found a French restaurant, with French/English/Norwegian speaking waiters. That confused me. But then I think I was quite tired at that point. We stopped off at the local Narvesen before going back to the hotel. I love Narvesen shops, they’re the best. Not only do they sell super Norwegian newspapers and Porøs chocolate, they also sell bits of pizza and stuff. Fabulous! This month they had an offer on pølse. Hot dogs basically. For 19 krone. Which is pretty good. They were nice too. Anyway, I bought my VG there and then I was happy for the rest of the evening. Probably.

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