Trip by Frequent Reader Contributer Bobbie Banda
After the lovely Norwegian ladies hosted the International Women’s Club night last February, it made me want to go visit their country. So, my husband and I went to talk to the folks at the Norwegian NSU here on GK. Not only do they have military lodging in Oslo, they were even kind enough to make the reservations for us! There are several options, but they will pretty much put you where they can. After your stay, a bank draft form is sent to the Norwegian NSU and they give you a call to come get it and pay it via EFT. This is a little more difficult that other EFTs unless you are a Dresdner Bank customer. We ended up giving euro to a Norwegian co-worker who then paid it online through his Norwegian bank.
BUS: There is a “Torp Express” bus . You can pay on board with a Visa or Mastercard. There is a bus service that runs regularly operated by Torpexpressen located outside the terminal building. Journey time is approximately 1hr 45 minutes; cost is 180 NOK one way/ 300 NOK return (students and senior citizens 260 NOK return). The bus takes you right to the main bus and train station and from there you can easily find the Tourist Information Center – it’s right out in front of the train station.
TRAIN: There is a train connection to Oslo and to Skien. Take the shuttle bus to the train outside the terminal building (timetable and prices: www.nsb.no).
You can buy your OsloPass there at the station. We highly recommend these! The price breakdown is as follows for adult for 24/48 and 72 hr pass: 220/320/410 NOK. For kids 4 to 15 it’s 95/115/150 NOK. The pass includes free public transport (bus, train, tram and ferry in the summer). You also get free entry into 33 museums (more to follow) and discount in some restaurants and shops. In the summer it includes the swimming pool.
Obviously you can get all the details on line at http://www.oslo.com, but here’s a rundown of the things we actually went to. Most of the museums we went to see are in Bigdoy (pronounced Big Day).
- The Polar Ship Fram Museum that houses the Fram, which has traveled farther north and south than any other wooden ship. http://www.fram.museum.no/en/
- The Kon-Tiki Museum is all about Thor Heyrdol’s expeditions. http://www.kon-tiki.no/Ny/index.php
- We really enjoyed the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the Viking Ship Museum the best. The Maritime Museum houses the oldest boat ever recovered in Norway – about 2,200 years old! http://www.norsk-sjofartsmuseum.no
- The Viking Ship Museum houses 3 Viking Ships which were used as burial sites – two of which are extremely well preserved. Just beautiful! http://www.ukm.uio.no/
- Lastly on Bigdoy, we visited the Norwegian Folk Museum. It has a stave church which is 1,200 years old and absolutely breath taking. http://www.norskfolke.museum.no/
Other museums we enjoyed are The Natural History Museum which has some pretty nice dino bones that the little ones will really like and the Norwegian Resistance Museum which details Norway’s efforts during WWII, something I must confess I knew very little about before our visit. There is also a castle (Akershus Slot) (the Resistance Museum is near it).
One of our little one’s favorite sites was the small but cool Oslo Reptilepark. All of these were free with the OsloPass, so, for us it was an extremely good value. The entrance fees alone would have cost us 970 NOK – which is what the passes cost, so all the transport was just a bonus!
There are a lot of other museums and activities including city walks, ferry rides (weather permitting) and such to do, but seriously, I don’t think we could have dragged our child into one more museum without a protest!
A word about food: it is very expensive in Norway! A typical sit down restaurant meal cost us about 450 NOK for 2 adults and one child. That’s about $63. You will find some kids meal choices on the menu typically for about 69 NOK ($9.60). Although you are used to expensive sodas here in Germany – in Norway a soda at a restaurant is about 39 NOK or $5.50. The good news is that they serve tap water upon request (didn’t even see bottled water on the menus) and there is no charge. Yeah water! Also, according to the tourist books I read, tipping isn’t necessary, but rounding up is appreciated; however, we had a couple times where we got such amazing service that we did tip 10% to 15%.
We found a place called Beach Club in the Akerbridge area that was really nice. It’s not far from TGI Fridays (which gives you 20% off with your card). The service at the Hard Rock Cafe was excellent but of course, the meal was expensive.
A word about our lodging: the room was smallish, but quite comfy for 2 adults and 1 child. We also had a small kitchenette (and thankfully, a coffee pot), which really saved us some funds. We were able to cook a few meals in the room after picking up some food and produce at a local shop (they are plentiful). In fact, we found some amazing smoked salmon (rot laks) similar to what the ladies served at IWC. Yum! The staff provided plenty of clean bedding and sheets, but you are expected to clean up the kitchen area yourself.
(Akersborg Military Lodging at 300 NOK per night)
Oslo, Norway 00254
Tel: 47 2255 0742/1111
Ms. Caroline L. Pedersen
Tel: 0047 2309 8868
Mob: 0047 4899 3738
Virtually everyone speaks English and we found the people very hospitable. The bus/train area was not unsafe, but a bit dirty and there are quite a few panhandlers, so be observant and careful. We walked about 5 minutes to pick up the trams/busses and took the tram to the hotel using our 48 hour mass transit pass.
The rest of the town is quite clean. English signage was plentiful. We would definitely recommend Oslo anyone, even those traveling with small children.