It doesn’t really snow in Oslo for Christmas and the city is too far down the northern hemisphere to get the Northern Lights. So to give some Christmas cheer to the Osloenser in the dark season the city burns enough juice to make sure the astronauts can find Norway.
Karl Johans Gate is one of the main attractions in Oslo. The walking-street takes you from Central Station to the Royal Palace. On the way you pass street restaurants, buskers, beggars, parliament, the national theatre, an outdoor ice rink, the Oslo University and many, many Christmas trees.
There are two bakeries that I just love. A United-Bakery that serves chocolate filled croissants (they literally just open the croissant and pour in runny-chocolate – yum!) The other one is Samson at Egertorget where we got our wedding cake from.
Karl Johan is always buzzing. At this time of year you often see groups of nisser walking around or having a drink in the street-side pubs. Olso is becoming very ‘English’ and (I’m sad to say) there are many English-speaking traditions that have now infiltrated into the Oslo Christmas culture. Visiting ‘Santa’ at the shops and telling him what you want for Christmas is a very new addition. Christmas stockings and candy canes have also crept in.
The Royal Palace overlooks the west end of Karl Johan. The castle didn’t have any Christmas decorations except for a Norwegian spruce tree that stood on the Royal Balcony but as you can see in the photo below, the city lights were all that was needed to decorate.
Posters, banners and flags demonstrate the happenings in the city at this time. The Nobel Peace Prize was just awarded to Obama, the shops try to attract tourists with their ‘Merry Christmas’ flags but the colours of Advent (purple and white) are still prominent.
The Grand Hotel is where we had one of our wedding dinners. It was elegantly lit as usual – they had taken down all the ugly bullet proof shields and steel fences (as this is where Obama had stayed). Across the road is a social icon – the outdoor ice skating rink. During the Summer it is a waterfall but in the Winter it is a gathering place for the youth. They play screaming teeny-bopper tunes but when you get your skates on and are stuck in the middle of the rink with teenagers whizzing by, you are grateful that you have something to mask your squeals.
Moose brought me here on one of our first dates. I think it was a test to see how strong my stomach was as he had just taken me to a Turkish kebab place for dinner and now he was skating circles around me.
An Australian caught on phone-cam trying to ice skate in Oslo’s outdoor rink.