I made a quick trip back to Oslo a couple of weeks back. As Christmas was spent with the in-laws I really wanted to go back to see the family and Norway. I wasn't counting on the constant snow and the cold, it's easy to forget how Norwegian winters really are when you live through the milder English ones. But despite the snow I got all I wanted; quality time with friends and family, loads of overpriced lattes, wholemeal scones (used to be obsessed with these), a chance to wear my winter boots, cuddles with the dog and event some sales bargains. Who would have thought? Already want to go back, those scones are delicious.
There is obviously something really nice about being back "home" for a weekend, generally having the weekend off is a treat, but as last Saturday marked my Norwegian hen party, it was less relaxing and more very busy day. But I had the best time and am so so lucky to have these amazing women in my life! I didn't take one photo at all, isn't that great? But I might try to hunt some down, and see if they are share-worthy. But I did have time to do so many other things while at home, like read a local magazine and have a coffee, do a tiny bit of "sightseeing" with a visiting hen and have the BEST hamburger of my life a The Thief Hotel in Tjuvholmen. that thing was so good it will haunt my burger dreams until I can eat it again.
On Tuesday morning I woke up at 3am, let's face it, it was more night than morning, and I was grumpy. But it was of course my own fault because I was the one that booked a flight at 6.20am, and I had to pay the price. I am not in any way an early morning person, 7.30am is the earliest I would like to wake up but 8-9 is much nicer, who would like to wake up early anyways? But sometimes, life hands you an early morning, and you jsut have to grab it, get on the train to the airport, be the palest you could be, finally get some food and coffee in your body after 1 hour + on the train and start feeling a tad more alive, at 5am. The horror. I made it though, all the way back to Oslo, my home town, to spend some quality time with my family and also to... wait for it... have a Hen Party! That's right, I am still en route to getting married. The party is this Saturday and I don't know what is in the cards (at all!) and for someone who likes to plan, it's a bit frustrating. I am sure it will be great and a lot of fun, but what are we doing?? I can't wait to find out. Secrets are not my thing, so keep anything from me, it freaks me out big time!
But as it is Thursday and I came here on Tuesday there have been a couple of days to enjoy life (and work and answer emails every morning and evening... never a break) and I had that expensive coffee I was planning, had some lunch at an old fashioned hotel with my mom, went shopping and bought some Easter stuff (ahhhhhh, I really can't wait for Easter to come rolling, this girl has plans guys) and sat in my mom's car and had people stare at her car eyelashes (what? Haven't heard of eyelashes for cars?). Best Christmas present ever? Of course, I bought them!
I really love going home. Oslo is amazing for a couple of days, but I have to honestly say that the thought of moving back fills me with dread. So I won't be doing that any time soon. But the 4 days I got back "home" flew by so fast I think next time I need to plan for a longer stay of 2 weeks, just to get everything done. One of my favourite things to do is to spend the day at work with my mom and to go for coffee with friends. Although the coffee prices (!!!) are wild. A friend also wanted to walk from home to Oslo which is about 8 kilometres, and you can't say no to that, although my poor glutes feel the pain now. The pictures are from Frogneparken that we visited during the walk, it is possibly the most famous park Oslo has and it is full of statues, borders a cemetery, and right now has that autumn feeling! After the long walk we refuelled at a nearby cafe and I got my "coffee with friends" experience. Happiness.
This week I used this gun vase for the first time. Finally!
I told my mum I wouldn't eat a cinnabun, and then I just couldn't stop myself and ate the whole thing on my own.
I walked the old way home from school, last time I did this was probably more than 10 years ago.
I celebrated the Norwegian constitution day with friends, took 3 photos and then forgot all about my promise to myself to take photos of EVERYTHING. I will be better next year.
My mum spoiled me with this fancy breakfast! Poached eggs might be my all time eggy favourite.
And I had dinner with this little guy, and a whole lot of pretty ladies that could make the Victoria Secret girls envious, but he was begging for a photo. Don't you think?
Oslo is a lovely place to be today: the sun is shining, it's actually warm (we have hit above the 22 degree mark, which is not very common), it's a Saturday, people are happy, some people are hung over from yesterday so they are probably less happy, and life is generally good. I talked my mum into going to The Thief, a new hotel in Oslo's trendy Tjuvholmen (Tjuv means Thief, hence the name of the hotel) area, for a coffee. For some reason I have wanted to go since they opened, the only problem being that the hotel is in Oslo and I live in London. But we made it there today, after parking far away so we would have to walk (getting a bit of exercise is probably good after all the food from yesterday) and sweating our way through the sunny city. Let's just say that I had a shower when we came back to the house this afternoon.
One of the major sights in Oslo is Holmenkollen, which is the ski jump. The whole area is made for winter, ski jumping and cross country skiing. But thankfully, for those of us who had their cross country skiing peak in the Easter of 1998 (or thereabouts) and then never strapped on a pair of cross country skis again, they also have restaurants. Would you rather sweat your way through a winter white forest or join me for lunch at a warm restaurant? You know the correct answer to this one without even thinking!
We went to Holmenkollen Restaurant, which used to cater to the skiers, but then got their sense back, redecorated, and is now a bit more fancy pants. The view is pretty good too, but some sun would help. I ordered veal, and my portion could probably have fed 2-3 people alone, but it didn't as I ate almost all of it myself. And the fries. I would do it all over again if I could.
I just realised that I forgot about the 2 restaurants I managed to visit when I was in Oslo. The day the boyfriend arrived, I thought it would be nice to go to a restaurant for lunch, just the two of us, in Oslo. And many years ago, when I still lived in Oslo, my favourite place was Bolgen & Moi in Briskeby. I must have had their Caesar salad once a week, and looking back I am not surprised I was fairly broke at all times. Oslo is expensive, y'all! But as with most lost loves, you give them a second chance, you re-visit them and think about the good times. I really did love this place. But growing older (and wiser?), it was time to leave the Caesar behind and invest in a burger. And this thing is an investment at 195NOK which is around £22. You just wouldn't pay that in London, but hey, when in Rome/Oslo, right? Good for me that it was delicious. Best fries I have had in a long time, an amazing burger, and way too much food to finish. I crammed all the fries I could manage down my throat really fast so they would be gone by the time I could feel how full I was. Great trick, until you are incredibly full and never want to eat again. But you will eat again, I can promise you that.
And I have to compliment this place on how great they are at decorating tables with creativity. They have done this for a s long as I have been going, and I am in love with their sense of humour. If you are scratching your head about the tile of this post, you are probably not familiar with the Norwegian language, or you are a Norwegian with little sense of humour. Bolgen means wave, although the restaurant takes it's name from the two founders Bolgen and Moi. Get it now?
Going back to Norway for Christmas means spending plenty of time around a table eating with friends and family, and a couple of days ago the boyfriend and I was invited to a Norwegian Julebord (direct translation is "Christmas table") at a friends house. This is a celebration of Christmas with food and Akevitt, a Norwegian schnapps, which is undoubtedly dangerous in large quantities. Stay away if offered. We got to spend a whole evening eating, drinking, unhappily doing shots of akevitt and generally worrying about the next morning. It all worked out fine in the end, but I might have been feeling a bit unwell for a short period of time during the night. Until next year... Here are the photos.
It's almost time to go back to London and while I am happy to go back, I am also sad to leave Oslo. It's always like that. Christmas isn't like a normal time of the year and if I would stay longer in Oslo, what would I do but go from coffee shop to coffee shop, read books and go shopping? Not much really. So back to reality it is. But it has been amazing to be able to go for a walk in a winter wonderland, enjoy the snow before my feelings turn to hate because I have to scrape a car or almost slip on the ice, and eat until there is nothing left to eat. Of course, after the Christmas food is behind us and the only thing you want is a salad, that is what you get. And maybe some waffles.
And just to round it off, when shopping for the aforementioned salad, I came across a rather large turkey. 12kg, how is it possible? I don't think it would fit in anyone's oven to be honest, it was massive!
I'm Christine and I currently live in London with my husband where I do my best to go to as many restaurants as possible, bake, DIY and occasionally let my hair down and go to a museum. x