On Monday, August 25th I arrived in Oslo. It was noon and I was exhausted from the flight and pretty intense over night experience in Reykjavik airport.
The first thing I did when I got off the airport was buy alcohol. Whiskey, of course. I knew that if any of my couchsurfing requests came through that I would leave the bottle with them (since alcohol is insanely expensive in Norway and I would be going through the tax/duty free area) or that it would be drank by Ziggy. And by Ziggy I mean me. Those are the best gifts, right? The kind you can decide not to give because you would rather have it for yourself?
I also took a major step in the trip and activated my EURAIL pass! So my three month continuous pass will last me from August 25th to November 25th. See you then, Istanbul.
I then spent a few hours in Oslo’s main terminal trying to decipher how best to go about my Norway to-do list. It was during this time that one of my couchsurfing requests was accepted! The crowd at Pepe Pizza got to see my happy dance when that notifcation popped up on my phone.
I wandered around before heading over to Mikal’s house. On the way I stopped and picked up some groceries for the next few days although I was bummed I couldn’t find any white gas for my stove.
When I got to Mikal’s, I could instantly tell that this was going to be a good surf experience. While his apartment was a simple studio, his welcoming and open attitude made it feel like a palace. We spoke over some dinner and he was able to give me some great insight into how I should spend my time here in Norway.
Originally from Norway, Mikal is an engineer in Oslo who has done some incredibly thorough traveling of Europe. We connected on a lot of things and he is a genuinely good guy. I particularly liked when we talked about some of the cultural/societal differences between the States and Norway. It was through this conversation that I was able to decide to head to Stavanger the next morning as opposed to during the day on Wednesday.
With this decision made, Mikal offered to take me on a quick tour of Oslo so I could still see the city on my expedited schedule. We took the tram to this massive park that is known for its abundance of naked statues including a particularly upset baby whose hand it has become popular to hold. As if holding the hand of the temperamental naked baby statue is going to calm it down. Next we walked to the royal palace, which I learned Mikal had worked at during his time in the army, and he was very informative about the family, their role in the government, and why Norway has decided to keep them around. The old fort by the harbor was our next stop and, although it was closed, it was still very cool. The view from it was an Oslo harbor and downtown lit up for the night and it was beautiful.
We headed back to Mikal’s place after that. Here I was able to take my first shower of the trip! I have officially showered more times than I have pooped in a hole so by those numbers the trip has been a success!
I crashed hard and mighty that night. It had been a long day in Oslo and I had a hot date with Stavanger to rest up for tomorrow.
If you’re reading this Mikal, a million and one thank you’s for your friendship and hospitality.
All my love.