A first-timer’s short visit to Oslo


Work has taken me to so many different locations and I am often a little ashamed after getting back home not to have found the time to actually get to know something about the place. I made the decision that Oslo would be different and, after completing two days shooting for the client, I set about making the most of the two extra days I’d tacked on to my schedule, 48 hours to wander around with a camera and see what jumped out at me.

On the first evening strolling along the seafront with my assistant, location scouting done and winding down before the big shoot the following day, we couldn’t help but notice the huge brick building that dominated the skyline and it immediately made it onto my list of things to see. It turned out to be the Rådhuset, Oslo’s city hall. I haven’t attempted to do justice to the scale of the exterior, let alone captured all the details, but I’ll give you what little I have…

From a distance, the block-like brickwork of the huge city hall gives the impression of a very utilitarian structure, proud of its functionalism. It is only as you approach and take one of the two walkways leading up to the imposing entrance that you notice a series of these large, carved wooden friezes by Dagfin Werenskiold, only a few of which you can see above. They depict scenes from Norse mythology and are the first hint of the splendour to be found inside these walls. As you enter, it doesn’t take long to realise that the role of the building is to act as the backdrop for what is to be a glorious expression of Norwegian nationalist pride.

These are just some of the treasures to be found at the city hall and I would definitely classify it as a must-see destination. I’ve kept these last two images separate, as the stark clean lines don’t really fit with the rest of the series, suiting more my particular style and humour…

From what I remember, the sun shone each day and I was able to stroll around Oslo enjoying the sight and sounds of Spring. One of my favourite walks took me through the cemetery where Edvard Munch is buried, passed the allotments and idyllic homes on Telthusbakken, then following the river in Kuba park until reaching the exit that would take me a short distance from Supreme Roastworks, where I’d heard a mighty fine coffee awaited me. I had myself a cappuccino but there were plenty who were willing to wait for the time it took for the master barista to prepare the perfect drip coffee. Fortified by my caffeine hit, I strolled round the Grünerløkka district with crowds of other like-minded lazy shoppers enjoying the sunshine, through the outdoor market in Olaf Ryes plass, made a note to come back and sample some of the craft beers on offer at Brewdog Grünerløkka later that evening, then stopped for lunch at the cheap, friendly and tasty Freddy Fuego burrito bar.

With my stomach stretched and feet rested, I headed south to cross the railway lines at the Akrobaten pedestrian bridge, which gives a fantastic view of the downtown high-rise Barcode Project. New building works is something that Oslo has obviously being doing a lot of recently. I took the long way round to get to the Opera House and I couldn’t work out where the heavy dub bass was coming from, getting louder and louder until I came across Losæter, an alternative communal allotment that has been allowed to carry on existing as the building work goes on around them…

I crossed the pontoon that took me to the Oslo Opera House and was suitably impressed…

To try and get an interesting panoramic view of the city at sunset, I took a tram up into the hills to Holmenkollbakken. I never did find a spot that was worthy of a photograph but I loved the journey and the views along the way. I headed back into the city, got myself ready for a night out and just have to recommend another very tasty, affordable restaurant, Tunco, where a single diner was made to feel very welcome. And the beer at Brewdog hit the spot, at least once or twice.

 The following day, I definitely missed the early morning light but was met by another glorious blue sky. On the walk to see the statues in Vigeland Park, I stopped for brunch at the excellent and healthy Eckers Cafe. Some tourist destinations may be ruined by the hordes that gather there but the statues by Gustav Vigeland are truly joyous to observe and are afforded a glorious amount of space to experience them in. The rest of the images below are a miscellaneous collection of misfits from various parts of Oslo, with the final image, Rest in Breast, a fitting sentiment to end the journey on. I obviously missed many other special places in Oslo during my short stay but I truly loved what I did see and hope that my next visit is not too far in the future, maybe even with the family!

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