Winter in Oslo: Part 3

January 2016

Every time I get out my camera, connect the SD card to my computer and look through old photos I am so grateful for the fact I’m a freak obsessed with taking my camera everywhere (work included). These couple of shots were taken during at 1am while waiting for the bus to take me home from work, and during midday walks through the city of Oslo where Jesus and I had 3 goals: coffee, snow and sunlight.

These photos represent moments I had nearly forgotten, or at least had forgotten I had photos of. They don’t represent a particular event that I photographed, nor are they my favourite places in Oslo. They remind me of my gloves with the one hole in them (perfect for playing monopoly on my iPad on the bus), conversations on how the snow changes the atmosphere of the Opera, awkward ice avoidance manoeuvres, and frozen coffee cups. They are just a couple of shots taken amongst daily life during my first snowy Winter.

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Winter in Oslo: Part 2

28-29 December 2015

Enjoying the snow around Bygdøy and the botanical gardens.

Jesus steps on the frozen pond and it starts to crack.

I go spastic because snow is the best.

Winter in Oslo: Part 1

1-17 December 2015

Post cards from old friends, christmas markets with new friends, towers of fire wood, pepperkaker menn, gløgg, and the first snow. Plus – by this time I had learnt my lesson with the ice and had bought myself proper winter boots.

Autumn in Oslo

September – November 2015

Autumn in Oslo. My birthday, new housemates and a new job! I started working, organised my visa, residence permit, bank account, phone, etc. Amidst all the bureaucracy were many  beautiful outings like these. My favourite places to stroll were the Akerselva river (not pictured), Akershus fortress and Hovedøya island.

I never took a photo of the river in the middle of Autumn, but it is absolutely captivating. The trees are yellow, and the ground too is coated in a blanket of yellow and gold. As the wind blows through the trees the leaves break off and twirl around until they land in the river, where they all float gently down stream. In Europe this is my favourite time of the year, particularly in cities as green as Oslo. As December came closer the colourful Autumn leaves became frosted and my excitement increased 10 fold.

The first time I took the boat out to the islands I started at Hovedøya. I visited the quaint monastery ruins and walked around the island until I ran after a fox I saw dart into the forest. After this I took the next boat to wherever it would take me, and so began my hour sunset “cruise” of the Oslo fjord. Up on top it was absolutely freezing, but as we approached Gressholmen and the sky was purple with a full moon I couldn’t stay below.

November was when the ice really swept across Oslo, the first day there was black ice everywhere I slipped and broke a rib. I didn’t notice at first, so proceeded to walk around Oslo visiting friends and learning which parts of the street to avoid. November is also when I got to work organising Christmassing up our apartment. 30NOK ($4.6AUD) and hiking from one end of Oslo to the other got me an old plastic christmas tree with baubles and everything. After a quick clean up I was able to enjoy the atmosphere, waiting for christmas and the snow with a bottle of baileys.

Welcome to Norway: Summer in the Arctic

July – August 2015

We did not enter Norway as gracefully as we expected to. Every decision we made acknowledged how expensive Norway is and how little money we had. Moving out from Madrid we tried to pack everything – including about 40kg of food (because muesli, rice, beans, etc in Norway MUST be out of our budget, right?). Of course we were about 50kg over our luggage limit and so began the stress, what to throw away? The heaviest things, the cheapest heaviest food items, our favourite muesli and a couple of pairs of shoes. Finally we were able to check in our luggage, so off we ran to security – leaving a giant bag lying in the corner of the airport.

Next – our arrival in Oslo. Hotels/hostels are too expensive for us, and our flight gets in late so lets sleep at the bus terminal the first night? What a fantastic idea. Then after a couple of hours sleep lets haul our luggage (3 suitcases each) to see if we can get early check in, find out we can’t, so store our luggage and go for a walk. That first night in Oslo led to us flying to our next destination (the Arctic) both sick with a fever.

Despite this, our first two days in Oslo were beautiful. I walked around all of Grünerløkka giving my CV to restaurants and fell in love with the city. I kept on thinking – this is where I want to live.

Next: Northern Norway. First 69°N, above the Arctic Circle, in an archipelago called Vesterålen. Here we discovered tiny fishing villages, pristine beaches, incredible mountains and the midnight sun. After this, we caught a fjord cruise south through the Lofoten Islands to Mo i Rana where we stayed with a young Norwegian family whilst searching for apartments in Oslo. We ate sandwiches with mayonnaise and fresh prawns (which I’m told is quite Norwegian) and learnt how to make fish cakes made with fish we caught ourselves (I caught 5 massive fish – 2 were so big they were eating a smaller fish at the time). We began studying the language intensively (well Jesus did, I studied for a week until it wasn’t fun anymore) and took in the serenity of the landscape. Eventually we found an apartment and it was time to see what awaited us back down in Oslo.

A Year and a Half: A Summary

It has been just over a year and a half since my last post from Madrid celebrating one year of travelling. Since then SO MUCH has happened, there has been a trip to Hamburg to get a German working holiday visa, Berlin to visit friends and Croatia because I won that photo competition with Geckos Adventures 🙂

Then back to Madrid in the middle of summer when Jesus and I escaped the heat and fled to the Arctic. We volunteered up in the North of Norway, experiencing the phenomenal fjords and midnight sun while searching for an apartment in Oslo. Just before moving in my family came to Europe to visit and so off I went showing them around some of my favourite places. Then came the misadventures of obtaining a working holiday visa (which included a trip to visit friends in Berlin and a super moon eclipse aka the “blood moon”), a bank account, residence permit, and job. Somehow all of that worked out and I was able to enjoy my first white winter whilst working as a waitress, babysitter and then teachers assistant/PE teacher.

The plan in Norway was to study International Environment and Development Studies at NMBU, however after being accepted I realised I wanted my Bachelor to be more science focused, so I began studying a B.Sc. Biodiversity and Biotechnology via distance. This decision meant I had to travel to and from Australia twice this year to complete the practical work during intensive schools, which basically drained all my savings (yay!). On the up side, after 2 years of travel I was able to reunite with the rest of the family, enjoy the Australian beaches, gormandise on my favourite pastries and hang with my dog.

A brief trip to Poland (because flights and food were cheaper) and Berlin (again, but to visit Jenna!!) and then back to Norway to continue working.

And now our Norwegian adventure is finished. I visited dad and Jonny in Costa Brava and Barcelona for a week, visited my family in Leeds, and then enjoyed London (and nearly died due to being mislead by the weather and humidity which actually froze my heart I swear) with Jesus while catching up with cousins.

Now? I am in Argentina sitting in the house of Jesus’ family, recovering from sunburn, enjoying the birdsongs (seriously there are so many birds here) and sunshine and will soon make a Mate (an Argentinian drink) to share. I may start to post more frequently, probably because now that I have university and Spanish study to do I need a way to procrastinate. Well, that is all for now. Hasta luego!

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