Wild Goose Chase and Cruise to Copenhagen
Oh, sleeping was not good last night. The apartment is on the top floor, so the room has a window in the ceiling. That’s a great thing during the day, but it allows for noise and light to come into the room. It also took me a while to fall asleep, although I was surely exhausted from the day. I think that was because I didn’t allow myself time to decompress before going to bed. I need at least 30 minutes. Oh well, I was up before 7:00 and went down to make some coffee and get my yogurt that I had bought the night before. I added some of the host’s granola to the yogurt.
My plan for the day was to go to the Bygdøy peninsula, which is where the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian Culture Museum are, so I went to the Sentralstasjon (Central Station) to buy a 24-hour public transportation ticket. I noticed the entrance for the subway, and for some reason, I decided that I wanted to go to the University of Oslo bookstore to see if I could find a book on Norwegian diction. I know that’s not nearly as exciting as Vikings, but I want to find a book!
Before I left the area, though, I decided to go to the Cathedral, which was just a few steps away. I walked over there, and it was open this time. It is an interesting place. It is definitely not as grand as many cathedrals, but it is beautiful inside. The ceilings are of particular interest, as well as the organ and what I assume is the royal box. Glad I did that and could check it off the list. Next up, a subway ride to the University.
This was my first subway ride in Oslo, and their trains are very clean and efficient, just like all of the transportation I’ve been on so far in Norway. I arrived at the University and walked there with a bunch of students. The bookstore was easy to find, and after searching a bit on my own for the book, someone helped me. When she realized that she wasn’t able to find what I needed, she directed me to someone else. The second girl I spoke with was extremely helpful, but we didn’t find what I needed. She tried making recommendations about other shops to visit but really didn’t know where to look for sure. I got directions from her for the Music Conservatory, which was only one subway stop away back towards the city center.
I boarded the train and went to the conservatory, which as a nice facility. I wish I could have seen the concert hall because it looked very nice from the outside. The lady at the entrance said there was not a bookstore on their campus, and for some reason, I didn’t feel like asking any of the students. I’m sure they would have tried to help.
I thought I still might go to the Viking Museum, so I tried to figure out how to get to the bus that I should have taken in the first place. I thought I had figured it out, but when I got out of the subway, I couldn’t find the right bus stop. However, I did get to see the Oslo Concert House, which is an interesting, modern building. I finally found the bus stop, but when I realized that the bus was 9 minutes away for what would be a 20 minute bus ride, I ditched the whole idea. I walked back to the Sentralstasjon and got back on the subway to go to the Botanical Garden. The new plan was the garden, a waterfall, lunch and back to the apartment.
The Botanical Garden is next to the Munch Museum. Although I’m quite interested in seeing more of Munch’s art, I didn’t really have time for it then. I went to the Botanical Garden, which is free, and it really is a nice area. Much of the garden is outside, and there are two greenhouses (conservatories?). One is a small Victorian garden with orchids and other plants, and the other is larger and has a room for succulents and another room for other tropical plants, like bird of paradise. The Victorian room had the largest lily pads I’ve ever seen!!
The outdoor gardens were nice too. There is a rock garden, a vegetable garden, an herb garden, and others, as well as some great water features.
Next on the agenda was to see a waterfall that is nearby and is part of the river that flows through town. My Trip Advisor app showed that it was pretty close to me, but when I got there, it was not there. However, the river is quite a rushing river going through town! I was in the area known as Grünerløkka, which is supposed to be sort of like Oslo’s Greenwich Village. I had also read on the Trip Advisor app about a restaurant called Fru Hagen that was supposed to be good. I found it, and the prices looked reasonable, so I went inside.
After I sat myself, because I wasn’t sure what to do), a very nice Asian girl came to help me. She offered me an English menu, although I had basically already decided what I wanted from the Norwegian menu. Bacon, Bleu Cheese, and Salad are pretty easy to recognize. She confirmed my inclination when she said that was her favorite thing on the menu. Some of the things on the menu were more authentic Norwegian food, like fried reindeer patties. I just wanted a salad, though, and it was very good!
They had free wifi at the restaurant, so I was able to look up the correct location of the waterfall, which was not far away. Fortunately the tram line runs on the street where I was, and it was a 5 minute tram ride from the restaurant. This time, my directions were correct, and I made it. It is an impressive waterfall in two parts (upper and lower), and some restaurants and apartments sit overlooking it. iI might have stayed a bit longer, but I wanted to get back to the apartment to rest a bit before going to get on my “mini cruise” to Copenhagen.
Back at the apartment I was told that I could leave some things there since they wouldn’t be using the room while I was away. That was great news, since it meant that I could stuff my backpack with everything I needed for 2 days. I took a 9 minute nap and packed the backpack. I got directions to the ship terminal, but I got a bit off schedule since I wanted to pick up some yogurt at the store for breakfast the next day. I had made and paid for a dinner reservation on the ship, so I just needed some sort of breakfast.
After the grocery store, I realized that the bus I needed to take left every 15 minutes and that I would have to wait about 9 minutes for the next one. It wasn’t too far on the map to the terminal, so I decided to walk. It wasn’t such a bad walk, but I was happy to have made it. Check-in was extremely easy. The person who helped me somehow thought I was 3 people since three things printed out when I checked in. I could clearly see that 2 of them were dinner reservation tickets, but she didn’t understand that until one of her colleagues explained it to her. Security was non-existent other than checking passports. No bags or people were scanned for anything. Seems a bit odd to me!
As I entered the ship, I noticed that I was entering on deck 5, which is where my room is. My room was just a few doors down on the right—very convenient! The room is very basic. There is a twin size bed and a shower/sink/toilet room—truly a water closet! Since the room wasn’t particularly exciting, I went out to see what this ship was like. Guest services is on deck 7, along with the 7 Seas Buffet, where dinner is served. There are several other restaurants, but I had made a reservation for the buffet, largely out of curiosity. There is also a casino, a pool & hot tubs, and different cafes & bars.
The ship departed at 4:30, and I stood on the outdoor deck to watch as we left Oslo. Fortunately, the rain had stopped, so it was possible to do that comfortably. At 4:44, I noticed a herd of people waiting outside the duty free shop because it was scheduled to open at 4:45. I went in to check it out, and once again, it was a zoo! I found a spot near my room by a large window and did a bit of writing until it was time to go to dinner. I decided to put on a nicer shirt for dinner and went up to the 7 Seas.
Americans have no need to feel like we have a monopoly on stuffing ourselves like pigs at buffets! I was in a room full of Europeans filling their plates with food with as much vigor as I was. My first course was seafood: some mussels, shrimp, caviar, smoked salmon, and herring. I then had a bit of salad to prepare for my main course of fish, some curry mussels, a bite of beef, one chicken wing, and a pile of mixed vegetables. So far, the best thing to me was any of my “first course” and that chicken wing! If it wasn’t great, I didn’t finish it. Next, I had a bite of salmon that had been missing from the buffet before. It was delicious! On the same trip, though, I prepared a small cheese course with some brie, camembert (I think), pickled onions, and some raisins that I believe were soaked in rum.
Then, I got an assortment of desserts. There were many cakes, which I did not get. I did get a green meringue thing (pistachio?), some strawberry mousse, and vanilla soft serve with chocolate sauce. They had plenty of chocolate sauce, unlike the Norwegian 7-Eleven stores! I had a bite of everything, but the ice cream was definitely the winner! The meringue was pretty tasty too, actually!
Surprisingly, after all of that eating, was not miserable. I guess I wasn’t that bad? I noticed that a piano man would be playing at 8:00 and that a band would be playing at 9:00. The piano player was playing some nice tunes, but I didn’t feel like sitting around for that, although it might have been a better choice. I took my computer into the place where the band would be playing in about 45 minutes, and at around 8:30, they were doing some sort of children’s game—some sort of race with wooden horses. Everything was in Danish, I suppose, except for the names of the horses. They were things like “Yellow Mellow,” “Black Beauty,” and “Pink Floyd.” I guess that was a pre-bedtime game, because the band started playing soon after 9:00. They were OK, although it was a totally cheesy Euro-pop sound. The sun was setting at around 9:45, and the band stopped for a break around that time as well. Then they started playing George Michael.
I decided it was about time to retire for the night, so I made my way down to the 7th floor for one more moment on the internet. That’s the only place on board with wifi. At least they have some access to free internet, though! The ship seems to be moving pretty fast, and it is rocking back & forth quite a bit. Hopefully that will rock me to sleep. All of this makes me want to be on the Norwegian Epic again. If I can work it out, I hope to do their European cruise!