Part 2 of my Scandinavia recap today with Vegan on Tour: Oslo!
It was a few hours on the train from Gothenburg to Oslo, pretty comfortable though and we had Wi-Fi and books to keep us occupied!
We found a place to stay through Airbnb which worked out really well since both the host couple and apartment itself were lovely. The apartment was in the Grunerløkka district which is the bohemian/”hipster” part of Oslo and had a nice relaxed feel to it and lots of little independent boutiques and cafés to browse.
We saw some of Oslo’s main tourist attractions: walking up and around Akershus fortress…
on to the roof of Oslo’s Royal Opera House for the view of the city and harbour…
and around Vigeland Sculpture Park (Vigelandsparken), the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. The sculptures were pretty bizarre: Angry babies, men throwing babies, people killing monsters, unhappy couples…The museum actually closed before we got to it so we never did get any explanation for the sculptor’s chosen theme.
I’m afraid I don’t have too many foodie pics from Oslo to share but I do have a few highlights.
Helt Raa was a place we went to a couple of times (in a food hall called Mathallen near us). The staff were really friendly and the food delicious. It’s mostly raw but they do also serve some cooked Thai food, though we didn’t try any. There isn’t much seating there but we were lucky to have a gorgeous balcony at the apartment where we were staying so we enjoyed our takeaway dinners outside, making the most of the warm evenings.
The dinner “box” pictured featured raw parsnip rice, creamy coconut vegetable curry, marinated broccoli and apple salad, a red cabbage salad with sultanas and raw cashews. The next time we went we also got a little raw chaga brownie thrown in for free!
We were in the area one afternoon and tried a Coconut-Pineapple Smoothie which was sweet and creamy- a perfect pick-me-up.
You should definitely definitely check out Roetter health food store if you’re in Oslo. It’s a true treasure trove with lots of new-to-me products, as well as old favourites. We discovered an amazing raw food company called Funky Fresh Foods stocked there too. Of course we couldn’t try everything.. but we did get some coconut yogurt with goji berries and seeds which we ate as part of breakfast one day, two ice creams and a raw cake which we had as desserts after our helt raa balcony dinners!
The raw chocolate and coffee cake (pictured above) was very very good.
But this ice cream! I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the best ice cream I’ve EVER had, vegan or otherwise. The creamy strawberry ice cream was delicious in its own right but it had a thick swirl of sweet and salty liquorice sauce which took it to a whole other level! Wow! (Liquorice is very popular in Scandinavia and you’ll see lots of places selling liquorice sticks, candy and liquorice flavoured things)
The second ice cream we had was Vanilla Cookie Dough and very tasty, but it couldn’t compete with the liquorice & strawberry.
We had to see Oslo’s Botanical garden! Not as special as Gothenburg’s but still very pleasant.
One evening we thought we’d eat out and hit up the local pizzeria, Villa Paradiso. This was just 2 minutes from our place and apparently the best restaurant for authentic stone-baked pizza in Oslo. It was very busy but with a nice buzzy atmosphere, and the pizza was excellent. You definitely don’t need cheese for great pizza!
H and I both just made up our own pizzas as, unsurprisingly, there wasn’t a vegan pizza listed on the menu. I topped mine with grilled aubergine and courgette, baked tomato, olives, pine nuts and fresh rocket.
Just a pretty street I snapped while we were waiting for a table at Villa Paradiso
Since we had a decent kitchen and Oslo really is very expensive, we put together our own breakfasts and lunches most days .
We bought some fantastic sourdough bread from Apent Bakery, recommended by the Hairy Bakers ( with whom my UK readers will I’m sure be familiar!), which didn’t need much adornment, and picked up fresh fruit and veggies from Roetter. One lunchtime we made this easy white bean salad with olive tapenade. Another day we got bread and fillings, including hummus, sundried tomato spread, salad, etc. from a local bakery called Godt Brod (Good Bread).
What else did we get up to? Outside of Grunerlokka I wasn’t actually too fond of Oslo so after checking out the main sights we headed out of the city. We spent a magical day hiking in Oslomarka forest which amazingly is only 20 minutes away on the metro.
The highlight was finding wild blueberries! We stumbled across a couple of boys and realized that they were berry-picking. We hadn’t even noticed the fruit-laden bushes until then! They kindly gave us a couple of empty bags and containers to fill. Admittedly most got eaten on our journey home but we managed to save a few for with breakfast the next day.
As was the case in Gothenburg, there are many islands just outside Oslo and it’s easy to catch a ferry on the coast and go island hopping. The evening after our hike it was still sweltering hot so we popped over to one of the nearby islands in Oslo fjord for a little dip. It’s rare that I get to swim in the sea but I loved it!
We were recommended Hovedoya island by the girls we were chatting to in Apent bakery as one popular with locals rather than tourists.
You can see that it really wasn’t far from the city- note the fortress we visited earlier just across the water.
We rested our weary legs and dried off lying in the sunshine for a while…
Here are a few of the furry friends we met on our travels! A giant Saint Bernard (?) on the metro, a fluffy little dog cooling down in the stream in the Botanical gardens…and some sheep!
That’s it for Oslo! A few of the restaurants we’d bookmarked to try ended up being closed for the summer. I can’t remember their names just at the moment but will update when I do for those of you who get the chance to visit the city.
Next week I’ll conclude the series with my recap of our time in Stockholm!
Have any of you been to Oslo? What did you make of it?
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