Day 1. Arriving in Oslo

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Oslo Central Station
After spending the night in Edinburgh we took a Ryanair flight from Edinburgh Airport to Oslo Torp.   Edinburgh is my favourite UK regional airport, it’s modern, stylish, has a good choice of shops and cafes and is small enough to reach gates without lengthy walks.

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Our friend’s home in Ski, Norway
Coming into land at Torp we had good views along Oslofjord and its surrounding coniferous forests.  Torp is a tiny airport, mostly used by low cost carriers such as Ryanair.  Connecting coaches transfer passengers to the city centre one hour away but the coach fare is exorbitant and with hindsight we would have been better flying BA or SAS to Oslo Gardemon as the total cost would have been similar and we would have saved a lot of time. Still, we were here now and excited as we got off the bus because we had come to meet some Norwegian friends we hadn’t seen for a very long time.

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Our accommodation in Ski, Norway

Our friends live in Ski, a 35 minute train journey to the south of Oslo, so off we went and it was lovely to be reunited with them and share memories around their dinner table.

Day 2. Exploring Oslo in heavy rain

As our friends set off for work, we walked along to the railway station in Ski for a train into the city centre.  Alongside the pathways wild lupins were flowering and looking bright and cheerful despite it being a gloomy morning with heavy rain showers.

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Wild lupins in Ski, Norway

On reaching Oslo we headed first of all to view the Royal Palace.  Unlike most royal palaces security was low enabling people to walk to the entrance.  There were few people around taking photos because of the weather.  Next we headed to the sea to visit Oslo’s modernist dark brick City Hall which dominates the harbour front.
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Royal Palace, Oslo

To shelter from the rain awhile we caught the metro to Holmenkollen Ski Jump which stages international events each winter.  Speaking of winter, it felt more like January than June at Holmenkollen with driving rain and a cold wind.

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Oslo harbour
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Holmenkollen Ski Jump, Oslo
Still, we braved the elements and climbed to the view points of the ski jump to take some photos.  At the base of the ski jump is a small museum which was quite interesting displaying the changes in ski equipment over the years.

Returning to the city centre we had lunch in a waterfront cafe.  Everything is incredibly expensive in Norway so it’s easy to overspend.   A little further on we came to the regenerated old shipyards, now sleek modern waterfront apartments, bars and shops called ‘Aker Brygge’, so it was another opportunity to take shelter from the rain.

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Aker Brygge, Oslo
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Central Oslo
Later, walking back to the railway station we noted that even the Norwegian buskers had taken shelter from the rain, as they were playing in a tram shelter.

Day 3. Oslo’s Frogner Park and Kon-Tiki Museum

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Walking on the sloped roof of Oslo’s Opera House
Our friends suggested a visit to the Opera House this morning.  Built in 2008, it’s a futuristic white building, overlooking the sea with it’s angled exterior covered in Italian marble and white granite to make it appear that it is rising from the water.  The angled roof has been designed to allow people to safely walk along it which was interesting.  It’s home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and is located in the city centre district of Bjornvika.

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Akerhus Fortress
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Ferry to Bygdoy
Our next stop today was along the waterfront where we visited the Akerhus Fortress (castle) which dominates the harbour from its cliff top position.     Further along the harbour front we came to the Bygdoy ferry boat across to the museum island, home to the famous Kon-Tiki and Fram vessels.

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Frogner Park, Oslo
Ferry tickets are included in Oslo public transport one day travel passes and we enjoyed our 15 minute sail across the harbour to Bygdoy.

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The Fram museum, Oslo
It was a pity the weather was so awful as there are some attractive beaches and picnic spots over there.  Our final destination of the day was to the Frogner Park and Vigeland Sculpture Park.  This is Oslo’s largest park and contains Vigeland’s sculptures depicting life from the cradle to the grave.  It obviously would have been better if it had been fine, but we tried to avoid the puddles as best we could in order to explore the gardens and sculptures.

Day 4. Touring Oslofjord and Oscarsborg Fortress

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Oscarsborg, Oslofjord
It was a Saturday and our Norwegian friends were free to spend the next three days with us, and, for once the sun was shining and there were no rain clouds in sight!

Served with our breakfast was a brown cheese, sweet tasting, rather like fudge but absolutely delicious, it’s called Gubrandsdalost and I will definitely be taking some back home to the UK with me.

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Oscarsborg Fortress
Ready for our day out, we drove down the side of Oslofjord and caught a ferry across to Oscarsborg.  It’s situated on two small inlets and has a fortress, museum, cafe and walking trails.   We spent a pleasant morning exploring the castle, strolling around the island and enjoying ice cream cones before taking the ferry back to our car.

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Oscarsborg, Norway
Driving a few miles further we reached Oslofjord’s narrowest point, with the pretty little village of Drobak waiting to be explored.  A really lovely small town,  it’s main square surrounded by old wooden houses, shops and a church.  The Post Office is also home to Father Christmas and sells all things festive year round and is very popular even in June.

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Santa Claus Post Office Drobak
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Drobak
We walked by the sea where families were enjoying weekend picnics and dips in the sea.  It was so nice to feel the warmth of the sun after two days of torrential rain.

Finally, we drove onto Hurum and enjoyed a meal overlooking the fjord before returning across the water via the lengthy toll tunnel which reduced our driving time considerably.

Day 5 and Day 6. Shopping at Vestby Outlet and dinner al fresco

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Ski, Norway
Day 5:  After yesterday’s sunshine it was back to heavy rain this morning so a shopping trip was planned to Vestby, the home to Norway’s only outlet mall.  Compared to Bicester Village and Cheshire Oaks in the UK, this was much smaller scale, there weren’t many bargains to be had as everything is considerably more expensive in Norway than the UK, but we did make a couple of purchases from Cottonfield, the Danish menswear retailer.  Driving back to Ski, the weather improved and a few hours later we were able to light the barbecue and enjoy dinner in the garden.

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The delicious Gubrandalsost cheese served with breakfast
Day 6:  The sun was shining on our final morning, so we spent the time drinking coffee and eating waffles with the delicious Norwegian Gubrandalsost sweet brown cheese sliced on top.  (I bought a kilo of this yesterday to take home with me as I haven’t seen it at home).   Then it was time to return to Oslo’s La Galleria Bus Station for our Ryanair coach transfer back to Oslo Torp airport and our flight back to Edinburgh.

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Back in beautiful Edinburgh
To summarise, it has been a pleasant few days in and around Norway’s capital city Oslo that would have been greatly improved if we hadn’t experienced two and a half days of torrential rain, but this was beyond our control and we just carried on making good use of our umbrellas!