A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: IainT

Hygge

sunny 20 °C
View Oslo on IainT's travel map.

Hygge

Hygge

I’ve blogged about Airbnb before, but my experience in Oslo (or Nesodden, to be more accurate) gave me more cause for reflection.

My Airbnb experience in Oslo was fabulous. The property is what Brits would call a “granny flat”. It’s 100% self contained (with its own entrances) but attached to the owner’s house. Inside, you’d describe it as a split level studio. It’s an open plan kitchen/living room/bedroom space, with the sleeping area being up a few steps from the rest.

Airbnb

Airbnb

It is 100% pine - floors, walls and ceilings - so it smells like a sauna. Wonderful! It has a little balcony leading onto the owner’s back garden.

Terrace

Terrace

My lasting impression is of a quiet, calm, relaxing and comfortable place to stay. I slept well. The only thing which comes close to resembling an interruption is the owner’s cat wanting to check you out. You choose...

It’s a 5 minute walk to a good corner shop and takeaway pizza shop. I used both. They are excellent (Oslo prices, but so is everything else!) There’s an Asian restaurant in the same building, but I didn’t try it.

Oksval (in Nesodden) is 30 minutes from the centre of Oslo by bus (5 minutes) and ferry (20 minutes).

Location

Location

The sail is great.

Oslo Harbour

Oslo Harbour

The cost was included in my Oslo Pass. The ferries run every 30 minutes for most of the day. The buses connect with the ferries. You can get coffee and something to eat at the Nesoddtangen ferry terminal, or on the ferry itself. It’s all fun and easy.

Nesoddtangen Ferry Terminal

Nesoddtangen Ferry Terminal

At the city end of the ferry trip you have tram and bus services right there, and the T-Bane (Nationaltheatret station) an easy walk away.

Aker brygge

Aker brygge

Nationaltheatret station also has mainline train services to/from the airport or you can take the tram to the central station (5 minutes).

The property suited me perfectly. It gave me easy access to the city centre for sightseeing and food. It gave me peace and quiet when I wanted it in the morning and evening.

Oksval is like a seaside village crossed with a suburb. Summer houses mixed with year round properties. It has a little beach, and yes, I did go swimming. And yes, I did find a deer in the garden one evening.

Intruder

Intruder

The owner was friendly and helpful, but I only saw him on arrival and departure.

Now, crunch time. The cost. £153 (€167) for 3 nights, which includes a cleaning fee of £13 and Airbnb’s fee of £17. £51 per night. In a place where a takeaway pizza costs £12, that’s fabulous value for money (even for those who aren’t Scottish).

In comparison terms, that is much better value for money than where I stayed on Colonsay and Islay this year (although both were excellent). Colonsay was a self catering apartment (much like Oslo) and Islay was a normal B&B.

It would be hard to compare anything with my accommodation on Eigg - it was unique.

Eigg

Eigg

Oslo was massively better than my Belfast experience in an Ibis hotel - wakened at 3am by a disturbance in the corridor right outside my room which turned out to be the manager trying to eject a drunk. 4 hours sleep that night...

Oslo was my 9th Airbnb experience in 4 years, in places as diverse as Rīga and Amsterdam.

Rīga Airbnb

Rīga Airbnb

They’ve all been different and all have been positive. It won't be my last.

Footnote: The Danish word hygge is derived from a 16th century Norwegian word - hugga. The German word Gemütlichkeit is a close translation. None of them translate well into English. English speaking folks often think the meaning is close to “cosy” and implies sitting in front of an open fire in winter. In fact, it can just as easily mean sitting on a deserted beach in mid summer whilst appreciating the fresh air and solitude.

Posted by IainT 12:46 Archived in Norway Tagged oslo norway belfast islay eigg colonsay nesodden Comments (0)

Oslo - Day 2

overcast 20 °C

I started Day 2 with a walk along Karl Johans gate - it’s the city’s main street, and leads to the Slottet (Royal Palace) at the western end. I reached the Slottet as the guard was changing - good timing.

Slottet

Slottet

Next on the itinerary was Holmenkollen - the ski centre high above the city in the suburbs. Metro line 1 takes you right to it. T-bane is what the Norwegians call the metro, so look for the “T” signs. I’d wanted to go up to the top of the ski jump, but the queue was 50 minutes long. I settled for the ski museum, the spectator area and the snack bar.

Holmenkollen Ski Jump

Holmenkollen Ski Jump

My last stop on Day 2 was the Nobels Fredssenter (Nobel Peace Centre). It’s a powerful place. I liked it, but some tears welled up too - and some anger.

FARC Guerillas

FARC Guerillas

As with my blog post about Day 1, everything I’ve mentioned was prepaid in the price of my Oslo Pass (including the ferries and T-bane). It’s available from various places - check out the Visit Oslo website for the current list and prices. I got mine at the Ruter service point at the airport because I wanted to use it on the ferry over to Nesodden where I was staying. (Ruter is the Oslo public transport organisation).

Nobels Fredssenter

Nobels Fredssenter

Posted by IainT 11:57 Archived in Norway Tagged oslo sport norway Comments (0)

Oslo - Day 1

sunny 20 °C

So, well, 3 nights in Oslo in July. What was the game plan?

One thing to remember for a June/July visit is Oslo lies at 59.9⁰N. For Scottish readers, it’s on the same latitude as the Shetlands. Accordingly, you have almost endless daylight hours to play with. When I was there darkness was starting to show up at 10pm. Daylight was back about 4am.

My sightseeing started at the Vikingskipshuset in Bygdøy. In summer you can get there across the harbour on a small ferry. It takes about 20 minutes. The bus (no 30) is the alternative. You won’t need long there - say an hour. It is very impressive. It was fairly busy already when I arrived (about 10am) but not unpleasant.

Magnificent

Magnificent

The Norske Folkmuseum is about 200m away. I thoroughly enjoyed it too, but it does require more time. Many of the exhibits are impressive, but the wooden church (Gol Stave) and the Gamlebyen (old town) stood out for me. Most of it involves being outside, so save it for a dry day.

Impressive

Impressive

After a sandwich lunch at the Norsk Folkesmuseum’s Torgkaféen I walked over to the Frammuseet - still in Bygdøy, but a 20 minute walk away. It was very busy, to the point where it was hard to enjoy. The Fram is an Arctic exploration ship used by Amundsen, among others. I saw the ship quickly and made my escape.

Fram

Fram

I jumped on the next ferry back to the city centre and headed for Akershus Festning - the castle overlooks the Aker brygge part of the harbour. Going around the castle itself doesn’t take long, but you have the outside fortifications (Kvadraturen) to tour as well.

Grand

Grand

That was it for Day 1.

Everything I’ve mentioned was "prepaid" in the price of my Oslo Pass (including the ferries). It’s available from various places - check out the Visit Oslo website for the current list and prices. I got mine at the Ruter service point at the airport because I wanted to use it on the ferry over to Nesodden where I was staying. (Ruter is the Oslo public transport organisation).

Posted by IainT 11:53 Archived in Norway Tagged oslo ferries norway Comments (0)

Oslo

sunny 20 °C
View Oslo on IainT's travel map.

My summer holidays resumed in the last week of July, with a 3 night trip to Oslo.

Norwegian flies there daily from Edinburgh, so it’s convenient and not too expensive for the flights. £267 return for mine, including the £30 extra they charge for a checked in bag.

I’d been to Oslo once before but it was in the late 90s and purely a business trip. I saw the airport, the hotel and a restaurant.

This time I opted for Airbnb for accommodation. I don’t remember how I found it, but the place I chose was wonderful.

Airbnb

Airbnb

It’s in Nesodden, which is across the fjord from the city centre.

Location

Location

It takes 20 minutes on a ferry and then 5 minutes on a bus to get there, plus a couple of minutes to walk from the bus stop. Several buses (4 was the least I saw) meet each ferry and so you just walk right onto one.

B10 from Akers brygge

B10 from Akers brygge

It is well worth any inconvenience as compared to the city centre. It is quiet and peaceful - a cross between suburbia and a wee beach village. It’s so quiet I found a deer visiting the garden one evening - snacking on the owner’s vegetable patch, I think.

Intruder

Intruder

In fact you’ll find a beach and marina just 200m from the house. I did, and went swimming one evening at 9pm.

Oksval Beach

Oksval Beach

I found a great pizza takeaway opposite the bus stop and right next to it a grocery with a fabulous choice of fruit and veg.

You can get coffee and rolls at the shop in the ferry terminal, or on the ferry itself.

Nesoddtangen Ferry Terminal

Nesoddtangen Ferry Terminal

I bought an Oslo Pass for my 3 days in the city - 745 Nkr (€78.47 or £68.68). As well as giving me free travel on the ferries, buses, metro and trams, I got free entry to a whole host of places I visited.

Vikingskiphuset

Vikingskiphuset

I reckon the pass covered the cost of all those visits and I got the transport free.

Oslo isn’t cheap when it comes to food and drink. As luck would have it, I’d been alcohol free for a couple of months before my trip and decided Oslo isn’t the place to fall off the wagon.

Quality food is easy to find - in fact I didn’t find any which wasn’t quality (depending on what you’re looking for). To give an example, when I was visiting the Norsk Folkemuseum I had a sandwich and a bottle of water in the Torgkafféen. 131 Nkr or £11.98. Say €13.69. But then the sandwich was fantastic. Prawns, crayfish tails, crab, scrambled egg, hard boiled egg, two kinds of smoked salmon and vegetables. It was a meal and not a snack.

Lunch

Lunch

My takeaway pizza from the wee corner place in Nesodden cost 140 Nkr (£12.90 or €15.30). It too was excellent but at least 50% more expensive than in Scotland. Mind you, I don’t know anywhere to buy a decent pizza in my home town (Kirkcaldy). Folk seem happy to put up with crap.

I’d go back to Oslo any day (well, maybe not midwinter) and I’ll need to look at visiting other parts of the country.

Posted by IainT 05:51 Archived in Norway Tagged oslo ferries norway nesodden Comments (0)

Colonsay - Some More

all seasons in one day 15 °C
View Colonsay on IainT's travel map.

I had 2 nights on Colonsay and almost 2 days there. It’s not big, so unless you have a particular interest in staying longer, 2 or 3 days is enough.

Away from it All

Away from it All

It’s the perfect place for the “get away from it all” holiday, so long as you’re flexible in your attitude to the weather! Most accommodation is self catering - holiday cottages. Mine was self catering - but a 1 bedroom apartment at Colonsay House. It was very comfortable and relaxing.

The House is the home of the island’s owner - Donald Howard, 4th Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, and is currently occupied by his eldest son. The servants’ quarters have been converted into self catering units.

Colonsay House

Colonsay House

Other options are a couple of bed and breakfast places, a backpackers’ hostel and the Colonsay Hotel.

I ate at the Hotel once - it was superb. I had oysters from the farm on the island and beef (for a burger) also from an island farm.

Local Oysters

Local Oysters

I also ate at the cafe at Colonsay House Gardens - much less grand, but excellent too.

You can buy food (and lots of other stuff) at Colonsay General Store. Their fresh croissants perked me up in the mornings. They modestly announce themselves as the “ Best Wee Shop in the Hebrides”. They’ll also deliver (free) to your self catering place and will even fill the fridge and cupboard before you arrive.

That makes a lot of sense and is smart marketing even in a normal environment, but with Colonsay the ferry often arrives at 18:45 and the shop shuts at 17:30.

You can buy lobster and crab from a local fisherman.

I rented a bike from Archie’s enterprises for £10 per day. He was helpful by dropping it at the apartment for me before I arrived and then collecting it from the ferry terminal when I left. If the weather co-operates, walking and cycling are the way to get around.

Kiloran Bay

Kiloran Bay

Even if the weather turns “Scottish” it’s no big deal. When I turned up for dinner at the hotel looking like I’d been through a hedge backwards and landed in a muddy puddle, no-one looked twice. This is not unusual.

Surf City

Surf City

If you need to buy presents or souvenirs to take home, there’s the beer, gin and honey produced on the island. I went for the honey. The bees feed on the machair and it is claimed to give the honey a special flavour. I haven’t tried my jar yet but I gave a jar to a friend and she reckons it’s great.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

The Calmac ferry back to the mainland (at Oban mostly, but a couple of sailings take you to Kennacraig) takes 2.5 hours. That’s plenty time for a leisurely lunch or dinner on board, and then a nap. The food is good too! The ferry journey cost £7.15 for a single.

Posted by IainT 14:20 Archived in Scotland Tagged scotland ferries island calmac islandlife colonsay Comments (0)

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