Every juletid Oslo puts on a Christmas market by the docks out front of the Oslo Town Hall. It is mainly for tourists but I’m sure there is an Odd Norwegian around, or two.
During the day the place looks like a construction site but at night the lights make it look like a fairy-tale land. Norwegians love light, (even artificial), so I expected something grand but this lighting display was spectacular – just like fireworks frozen in time.
It seems to be tradition in Norway to have every market place overlooked by a Norwegian Christmas tree with lights. They normally don’t have any other decoration on the tree, as it is certainly not needed, and there is never a star or an angel at the top.
But each tent had a ‘sun’ star.
Here were some of the best dressed trees I have seen in Norway. Usually I just see trees sparsely lit with single light rows often not even attached to the branches. In the wind the lights move and they look like big illuminated jellyfish. These trees at the Oslo Market were certainly dressed with love.
There were, of course, many stalls with different handmade crafts and goodies. Fresh Christmas wreaths are popular in Norway. The store above sold wreaths and Moose stew!
Handmade metal things seem to be popular – this stall sold ‘fire-steel’ items made on the spot. Below is the classic tourist item. I must admit I did buy a reindeer skin this year for Christmas. It got sent to Oz for my best friend. I didn’t get it from the market though. I bought a bigger, fluffier, cheaper one in Tromsø. The store below was selling all things ‘tourist’ – meaning with a Viking or Sami flavour. I love these stores. I often buy touristy items for family and friends. One of my favourites is the old Viking board game “Hnefatafl”.
An African inspired stall above – an odd theme to have at a Norwegian Christmas market. But the stall below was selling something very traditional – pepperkaker! However, these were commercially made.
Christmas decorations and ornament stalls were everywhere. The stall in the picture below sold everything ‘nisser’.
It wouldn’t be a Norwegian market without food. Julegrøt, gløgg, varm kakao are perfect to warm you up on a cold Winter’s night by the dock.
The above is a picture of the ‘serve-yourself’ pølse stall. The pølse were just left to cook by themselves while everyone walked by wondering who they would by them from. The ones on the grill were very crispy which is not for the Norwegian pallet. Norwegians like their pølser just dipped in hot water or rolled over a hotplate which is opposite to their game eating habits. Norwegians cook the life right out of their meat.
The lonely elgburger sellers below were watching the crowd pass by. I guess moose burgers are not a favourite amongst tourists.
A sad sight indeed below – not the stuffed Santa slumped over in the chair but the stall itself. Sitting on a strangers lap asking for presents is a new thing in Norway. Traditionally the julenisse visits the house on Christmas eve to personally give out presents to the children. The coca-cola traditions are slowly taking over Norway. I get all ‘nostalgic’ about a Norwegian Christmas – I hope Norway is strong enough to keep their traditions.
The Oslo Christmas Market has free entry and is open day and night during the Christmas season. Make sure to wear something very warm as you’ll be near the water.