A Travellerspoint blog

August 2017

Liosmòr

sunny 18 °C
View Lismore on IainT's travel map.

Welcome Sign

Welcome Sign

Well, that was fun!

I visited Lismore/Liosmòr for the first time on a 2 night/ 3 day trip.

The island is just north of Oban, and it is one of the very accessible islands of the Inner Hebrides. The car ferry from Oban takes about 45 minutes. In the summer a passenger ferry is an alternative option - it’s a 10 minute crossing from Port Appin.

Port Appin Ferry

Port Appin Ferry

The Port Appin option and a rented bike was my choice, partly because I like cycling and hiking on the smaller islands and partly because the bed & breakfast owners recommended it. With only a handful of single track roads on the island the locals really don’t want the island to become congested. It wouldn’t take much.

Castle Coeffin

Castle Coeffin

Their advice turned out to be excellent - and it was not expensive. £15 per day for the bike and £1.85 each way for the ferry.

The B&B was very good value too - £62 per night.

Gaelic Heritage Centre

Gaelic Heritage Centre

Unless you want to spend a week or two “away from it all” - and it is perfect for that - two nights is enough to explore the island. It isn’t big. The population was 192 in 2011 and it’s only 15km (9 miles) from end to end.

Port Ramsay

Port Ramsay

It would be ideal even for a day trip if you’re in the Oban or Appin areas. What’s really noticeable is how it’s a different world from the mainland. The contrast was clear between sleepy Port Appin and the island, but must be even starker if you’ve been in bustling Oban. Amongst other things, the islanders are so friendly and laid back.

Welcome Party

Welcome Party

I crammed quite a few highlights into a very short trip. However, top of the list is getting very close up to an eagle. Opinion is divided as to whether it was a golden eagle or a juvenile sea eagle.

Wow!

Wow!

It doesn’t matter - it was beautiful and such a rare privilege.

Posted by IainT 17:05 Archived in Scotland Tagged scotland ferries lismore islandlife Comments (0)

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)

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