This morning after checking out we drove to the Holmenkollbakken, which is a ski jumping hill in the Holmenkollen neighbourhood of Oslo. The clouds were hanging very low above the city, so the top of the ramp was not always visible while we were there. After my previous visit ten years ago, the entire structure was demolished and rebuilt, and I really like the new design.
From here we drove to the old part of Fredrikstad to visit one of the best-preserved fortress towns in Scandinavia. Besides strolling around the cobbled streets within the fortified walls, we also got a very delicious lunch here in a cozy cafe.
The next stop was the Fredriksten fortress in Halden, where we could walk along the walls high above the city, and also catch a glimpse of Sweden for the first time.
Tonight we are staying in the Nordby Hotell, right next to a huge shopping mall on the Swedish side of the border (which is clearly aimed at Norwegians who come here to buy cheap drinks, tobacco, toys, sweets, and fishing gear). Today we got lucky with the weather, because it was only raining when we were inside :)
Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3532 km (of which 173 km was today).
Today we did the tour of the five museums on the Bygdøy peninsula, taking the small ferry there and back, getting the most out of our 24 hour Oslo Passes. We visited The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (an open air museum of buildings from different regions and epochs of Norway), the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, The Fram Museum, and the Kon-Tiki Museum.
As far as I can tell all of these had at least something new compared to ten years ago (especially the Maritime Museum looked totally refurbished), but I did not remember half of the exhibitions anyway, so it was more or less equally new for the both of us. By the time we arrived back to the city centre it was raining quite hard, so we did not plan to walk around much, and after a coffee and a short tour in a shopping mall we got on a tram that was supposedly heading towards our apartment. Unluckily it turned out very soon that even though the number on the tram was the one we needed, it was diverted to another direction due to some disruptions… Therefore we got off at the second stop, and started walking. At the same time the Norse gods decided to turn the rain up a notch, so even though we had umbrellas, we decided to take cover in a supermarket (and get some cheap food for dinner). It is good that we did not listen to the weather forecast on the morning and ditch our umbrellas for the day.
Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3359 km (we did not drive today).
Yesterday I set my alarm to 10:00, but of course I could not sleep later than the usual hour, and by the time it actually went off, we were already on our way to the city centre. We passed by The Royal Palace and its gardens, the University of Oslo, the Nationaltheatret (and its interesting fountain), the Nobel Peace Center, and walked along the Aker Brygge neighbourhood.
After a coffee and a pastry, we continued our tour by visiting the Rådhuset (Town Hall). I did not go inside when I was here a decade ago, so it was also something new for me (and I really liked it).
From here we went to the Akershus Fortress, which was mainly interesting because of the panorama from its walls.
Then we crossed the old square of Christiania Torv on the way to the Østbanehallen (a food court in the refurbished old part of the Central Station), where we had a small lunch (wrap/sandwich). The next sight was the Opera House, which was again new for me too. Here we walked up the blindingly white roof and also had a look inside. It would have been better without all the construction cranes around, but I still managed to get a few OK pictures.
The last stop of the day was the Mathallen, which is another food court, situated in an upcoming, hip/trendy area of the city. Since it was only around four on the afternoon, I could only finish half of the pad thai portion, but we brought the rest (along with a citron merengue) back to our apartment for “dinner”. On the way back we walked along the Karl Johans gate (where it even rained a little), and only stopped for an extra smoothie before calling it a day.
Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3359 km (we did not drive today).
Yesterday evening I was so tired that (for the first time) I probably fell asleep before Clio did. This morning we slept till 09:00, then had breakfast before heading out for a short walk through downtown Lillehammer into the rain. It is a pity for the weather, but at least we finally managed to get the spatula with a Marius pattern in blue that Clio was looking for since we arrived to the country.
After a bit of drying up back in our room, we checked out around noon, and started driving towards Oslo. Instead of heading straight towards the capital, we took the scenic route, following road 250 to Dokka, road 245 to Jevnaker, and the E16 to Sandvika. Unluckily it was raining almost constantly, except for the last kilometres, so we did not get the opportunity to stop along the road for a nice pick-nick (just for the usual hot dog at a tank station). It is a bit of a shame, because we passed many beautiful lakes and forests. It was also quite a tiring drive, because the road until Jevnaker was constantly turning left and right (while going up and down), and on top of everything I also had to navigate around quite a few potholes, plus occasionally a few sheep with possible suicidal tendencies. In Oslo we are staying in the Saga Apartments, and we arrived just on time to take the last proper, covered parking spot.
After dinner we still went out for a short walk to the nearby Vigeland Park, to enjoy the sunshine (mixed with a few minutes of rain producing a nice double rainbow) and look at all the sometimes slightly strange sculptures of Gustav Vigeland.
Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3359 km (of which 208 km was today).
Today we went hiking again, this time in the Rondane National Park. The route, which was considerably flatter than the ones from the previous hikes (details on Strava), started just a few kilometres from our hotel, at the end of a short toll road (to Spranget). We followed some narrower paths along the small river (sometimes through bushes, moors, and small streams) on the way to the Rondvassbu hut, which is situated at the Rondvatnet lake.
There I still “climbed” a bit higher to be able to take pictures from above, before we got something to eat and drink inside (hot chocolate and a waffle with strawberry jam for me, coffee and a slice of banana bread for Clio). On the way back we took the much easier main gravel road, which ran a bit higher on the other, Eastern side of the river.
The scenery was very beautiful, I think this is my favourite from the Norwegian National Parks that we have visited (it is also the oldest one of all). We saw quite a lot of birds (at one point almost stepped on one), but unluckily no larger animals. As it might be also visible on the pictures, the beginning of the day was nice and sunny, but then it became more and more cloudy towards the afternoon.
After the hike we drove to Ringebu first to visit another stave church, then further all the way down to Lillehammer. We are staying in the Scandic Victoria hotel, but for most of the evening it was raining quite hard, so we only went out for dinner (to the Heim Gastropub, which was great). Tomorrow we can finally sleep a bit longer, if everything goes according to the plan.
Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3151 km (of which 137 km was today).