The first thing I do when I get into a new city is get a map and circle the key things I might be interested in checking out while I’m in town. The first night in Oslo however, did not include much exploration. Instead, I managed to suffer through a 15minute walk outside, in an attempt to get some fresh air, and then retreated to my bunk for the evening. It ended up being a small case of travel anxiety, which decided to manifest in my stomach. Apparently going from a nice hotel to an 8-person hostel with one shared bathroom the size of an old closet can send one’s digestive system into an uncertain whirl.
Before falling uneasily asleep, I did manage to befriend an American girl who has been traveling parts of the world for the past 8 months. We both wanted to get some hiking in and agreed to depart early the next morning and explore the hillsides just north of the city. Leave it to the Scandinavians to have a subway stop far enough up a mini-mountain that you could literally ski out of it and onto endless trails that wind up and down the countryside. Our first pit stop was at the “Hollemn……” Olympic ski jump tower. You can see all of Oslo from the top of that thing.
Our next stop was at this beautiful ski chalet that was built in 1891 where we stopped for lunch and a coffee. We then hiked through what Google informed us was the quickest route to our next destination. I say through and not along because Google maps leads you along the path that has the shortest distance, regardless if there is an adjacent path which is dry, well-marked, less elevated and without 12” of mud in most spots. So we saved ourselves 0.4km of hiking and got covered in mud. Near the end of our trail was this gorgeous, pristine lake. I blame the picses in me but whenever I am near water, I have to go in. When it’s super cold water, I typically only need to make it in shin deep but this time I decided it was necessary to go all the way. I stripped down to my sports bra and underwear and ran off the dock before anyone could realize what I was doing. I lasted all of 12 seconds and spent the next 20 minutes figuring out how I was going to dry off and exchange my soaked clothes for my muddy, non-soaked ones. I feel that was an appropriate first impression to grant my new travel companion. We’ll see if she responds to my Facebook friend request.
Eight hours after departing for our excursion, we were back at the hostel. I made dinner (Ichiban and boiled vegetables, a backpackers standard fare) and went down to the lobby to get some much needed work done. Any time in the past where I have found myself all dolled up and looking for some attention…crickets. Nothing. The one time that I am without an aesthetic care and need to get some heavy duty typing done, I find myself 2 beers in with a very handsome Floridian engineer, exchanging travel (and Tinder) tips. I almost missed my train to Bergen, but no man is worth missing the best Fish’n Chips in Norway. Are they?