Oslo - you were the coolest. I'm so glad I made time to see this awesome city and also visit a few friends. Oslo is pretty small and compact for being a capital city, but that doesn't stop it from having its own personality and flair. The weather was perfect the weekend I was there, and the city was booming with excitement. You can definitely see all of the main tourist spots in a day, so I toured around in the sun all day on Friday.
I primarily went to visit one of my best friends, Mark, who is from New Zealand and lives in Oslo now. I met Mark while I was studying in Australia for a semester and we have visited each other and met up in different cities since then. He took me around with all of his friends to different bars, cafes, and restaurants on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday and I had such a blast. He has acclimated to the city so well, and I gained so much insight about Norwegian culture from him. I also hung out with two girls who I met at Carnivale in Rio in February. Helena and Mimi are Swedish and they both work at a cool restaurant in Oslo now. I met up with them at their restaurant and hung out over the course of a couple days. It was seriously so insane to see them, and this is really why I love traveling so much. You meet people in crazy places on a whim, and it's so easy to reach out to them if you're ever visiting their city.
All that being said, I probably wouldn't have liked Oslo so much if I didn't have friends there to take me under their wing. It's a very typical cosmopolitan capital city with all of the typical things that cities offer. You can definitely explore it in a day or two and then move on. Mark made a good point to me that if you're not from Oslo, it's definitely hard to know the cool spots to go to. Everywhere he took me looked very unimposing from the outside, but then we would walk into such cool spots. This is definitely the case for any city - getting a local's perspective and going to all of their lesser known favorite places can make all of the difference in whether you fall in love with a city or not. I was definitely the only tourist in most of the places we went and I was so happy about that. I've come to realize that what really makes a place great depends on the people you're sharing those experiences with, because good friends and company is always more fulfilling than flying solo.
This episode features conversations with Dave, Mark's roommate, who is from Sydney, Australia and now living in Oslo. He's been in Oslo for almost five years and has really found his niche and a great network of friends in the city. He gave me great perspective in our conversation, as well as the whole weekend, about his new social life in Norway, his tough transition into this new culture, and his favorite things to do. Dave, Mark, and all of their friends were such a blast to hang out with all weekend and I'm so happy they could make the time to show me around. I also spoke with Lucas, who is a co-worker of Helena and Mimi's at their restaurant in Oslo. He was born and raised in Oslo and loves it - he gave me lots of tips on things to do in the city and raved about it to me. I think his passion really comes through here.
This is Oslo for you!