Woke up very early. Tried calling a taxi but in typical UK style, couldn’t get one for an hour. Should have ordered one in February then maybe…but maybe not. Ended up parking Neville at Aldershot station figuring that if anyone stole him, we’d get more from the insurance than he was worth anyway. Felt a bit slack doing it though…but figured he was only a car and should just get over it.
We built in loads of buffers but everything in the world conspired against us: The train was early, we consequently got the earlier Heathrow coach and ended up at the airport a day earlier than necessary. Mind you, the plane was actually held up because of a storm, so a good job we raced.
Finally got to Oslo at 4:45pm. A very modern airport, all sort of Temple to Air Travel. Glass and steel, wood and height. All makes it appear much bigger than it could possibly be and very empty.
Took the express train into town. Now, the Norwegians immediately impressed us with this train. Absolutely gorgeous. All sort of pine and burgundy padding. Big telly in the centre of each carriage, lots of room for luggage without inconveniencing anyone. And the guard actually tells people to take their feet off the seats! No way anyone from Britain could get a job on Oslo-Rail.
Went to the TIC at Oslo-S (that’s Tourist Information Centre at Oslo Central Station) and found accommodation at a reasonable-ish rate at the Terminus Hotel. Now it didn’t sound too good and we were a little concerned about the size of the rats but it turned out to be lovely and very close to the station. Also it was directly opposite a massive shopping centre called Oslocity, except in the signs the letters ‘o’ & ‘c’ in the middle were transposed over each other so really read Osloity or Oslcity depending on how you view these things.
After we dumped our gear and had a flick around the tv channels (I don’t know about anyone else, but I ALWAYS do this, not from any desire to actually sit and watch the telly but just out of curiosity, you understand) we set off to check out our destination.
We strolled down Franz Josef Gate. This is pedestrianised up half it’s length and was abuzz with life. In Norway most roads are called Gates, by the way, it isn’t just a big Gate. Anyway, it’s a lovely walk all the way to the Palace at the end.
From here it’s just a hop and a skip to the docks and the waterfront. We had a delicious dinner at the second restaurant we chose – The first one refused to allow us entry because Mirinda was wearing trainers – and paid a fortune for something actually worth the money. Had cardamom ice-cream, a taste I will not forget for a long, long, long, long…well, basically forever. The chef is a genius and should be canonised.
We finished, mopped up our chins and walked back to the hotel, pretty stuffed but well pleased.
Back in our room we discovered that in Norway, foreign TV is broadcast in the original language and they put Norwegian sub-titles on. Great for us since most TV is American sit-coms and movies. Mind you, watching Ally McBeal and Sex in the City is nowhere near as much fun as it was in Austria or Italy. Still it’s a lot easier to get the jokes.