What a lovely time for a vacation! Haha 4 days into moving to Ireland we decided to just be true gypsies 🙂 

Not really. Truth is, I had already made plans to see my friend Marie who was an exchange student at Brownstown when we were in high school. She has been back to the US a few times since then-even came over for my wedding!…but none of us have ever gone to see her! (That I know of)… So when I saw super cheap prices last Black Friday- we made plans. 

Fast forward, here we are 🙂

Our flight left Dublin at 9:35am and arrived 12:35pm. We had originally tried to rent a car in Oslo and return it in Stockholm but the pricing was outrageous… And only for US drivers, too! When the website thought I was an Irish driver based on my IP address, my rental quotes were half priced and included full insurance. Still wondering why that is… Global conspiracy…

So, we rented in Gothenburg tomorrow and spent today Ubering all over Oslo and then taking a bus to Gothenburg to our hotel this evening. Today was all about the public transportation.

We left Ciara’s place early (our temporary 4 day home sweet home) around 6:30am. I had to drive our manual transmission SUV back over to the airport. That was a 12 year hiatus on driving a manual. And I drove like it was, too. Haha who in their right mind chooses to do like 5 extra steps while driving?? No thanks. I’ll take my car with a real transmission. (Unless it costs a lot more to rent, in which case… My cheapness wins out and I drive the manual.)

Scrooge McDuck found this charity bin in the airport and said , “Whoa! Let’s get some dollars!!” Then proceeded to try to pick it up. Good luck.

At least some people got some sleep. HaOur flight arrived on time to Oslo, but I didn’t account for the over 2 hour wait through customs for Non-EU passport holders.
Luckily, as it got soooo backed up, about 30 minutes in, they started allowing those of us with kids to use the empty EU line. Thank goodness for common sense. Norah would not have made it another 2 hours. Plus, we only had 5.5 hrs in Oslo anyway. 

Very thankfully, we made our way towards the Flytoget train that does a super smooth high speed rail trip down to the city’s central station from the airport in twenty minutes. What a great infrastructure! 

Since we were behind schedule, instead of walking the length of the city, we went to the bus terminal we would be leaving from in the evening and grabbed a locker to put all of our stuff. We did some major minimalist packing for this trip. We packed for all 3 of us for 10 days in backpacks! The Scandanavians would be proud of our efficiency!

After, we grabbed an Uber straight to Vigelandsparken,which was the most unique thing in Oslo that I didn’t want to miss. It’s a beautiful sculpture park where all of the statues are created by the same artist: Gustav Vigeland.

Seen below are what you might hear referred to as “solar panel Scandanavians”. When there is sun like there was today… The locals all turn into solar panels and soak it up for the rest of the year. Haha

We grabbed another Uber to the Viking Ship museum, another awesome and unique trait about Oslo: Vikings!

Quick nerd notes: 

There have been people in Scandanavia for a heck of a long time, but the term “viking” came to be when these people started raiding Europe in what is known as the “Viking Age”. About 800-1100ad. A good three hundred year run. Back in these times, there was no Sweden, Norway or Denmark… Just Scandanavians who belonged to different colonies or tribes/chieftains with similar ideals, religion and customs. The Vikings from around Denmark invaded England, the Vikings around Norway invaded Ireland and Scotland and the Vikings of Sweden mostly focused on Eastern Europe. They never made much of a dent in mainland Europe because there were already such strong regimes uniting territories around this time. (Think Charlamagne). England and Ireland were fighting themselves for hundreds of years, so when the Vikings arrived- there was no chance to unify. Eventually they did (Kudos to King Egbert) but it was a bloody time getting there.

Mostly it was  Christianity that ended the golden Viking Age of raiding and plundering. By 1100ad, the Catholic Church was legitimizing families and dynasties that didn’t exist or had very little influence in Scandanavia even 200 years prior… It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Christianity conversion bought you allies, money and support and for the Viking Warriors- a new underlying reason to conquer and continue their way of life- the crusades, bought and paid for by European kings to further spread their faith. Christianity also brought Latin language to the north and the end to Old Norse language and as christianity spread, cities and countries began mimicking European culture and finance. Thus ending a lot of the rich pagan culture we know as Viking.

But… Those 300 years or so that we have written records and artifacts are totally cool. Take this Viking ship they have on display at the Vikingship Museum in Oslo. They uncovered it in a field in Norway in the early 1900s. The ship was built in the 800s and was eventually used to bury a very important chieftain with his belongings. 

I had my first run in today with cogender bathrooms! That was exciting and slightly uncomfortable for about 30 seconds. Haha It was strange to be in the bathroom stall and have 2 grown men waiting outside conversing… I had just never encountered it before! But honestly, it makes more sense. At least there were no open urinals! That may have crossed a line 🙂

We stopped by the cafe to grab a snack . I have heard nothing else about Oslo other than how expensive it is and jeez Louise are people right.We got one small shrimp sandwich, 2 Reindeer jerky sticks, 2 waters and a juice… $31. LolAfter selling our firstborn for a snack, we grabbed one last uber to get us down to the harbor and walkable back to the bus terminal

Oslo OperaHouse- performing War Requiem… Hence the “graffiti” on the front. It was designed so you could go all the way up on the roof and get a good view of the city

Someone got a little tired on the way back  and had to be carried like a sack of potatoes.

We arrived back to the bus terminal an hour prior to departure so we grabbed some snacks at a convenience store type kiosk in the terminal. The bus is just like an airplane- tray tables and air vents…and my Personal favorite: wifi! I was able to write up to this point while on our 3 hour trip. It was great just watching outside as we went through the countryside. Some beautiful scenery.

We arrived in Gothenburg at 10:45pm- and after a 3.5hr bus ride, we needed to find the facilities… But we found that the toilets cost 10 krona ($1.17 USD) to use at grand central station! And since we just arrived, we had no dollars or krona. So we had to hit the ATM and then break the bigger bill for some coins. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. Other cities have done the same thing because they found that free public toilets attracted the drug users…. But putting a fee for it kept them nice and pretty and helped fund the services for the government. 

We walked a couple blocks to our hotel, grabbed a Salad, some waters and some chocolate in the lobby and called it a night. It took Norah approx 45 seconds to fall asleep haha

Downtown Gothenburg tomorrow, a boat tour down the river and then an afternoon trekking through some small towns. Goodnight!