Oslo: March 2017
Had a delicious breakfast spread at the hotel buffet (nice job, Radission Blu!), then ended up in a massive group of 50+ people for Free Tour Oslo starting off at the Tiger at Oslo Sentralstation.
The volunteer guide did a great job leading such a big group to the Oslo Opera House, Akershus Fortress, City Hall, National Theater (Nationaltheatret), Parliament (Stortinget), and a quick view of the Oslo Harbor. Efficient use of 90 minutes, and well worth it for those who need to get their bearings via a quick introduction to central Oslo.
Stopped by United Bakeries for croissants afterwards, and then walked up to Fiskeriet for a proper meal of fish and chips. Fiskeriet had raw oysters too-- pretty good, much like the fish and chips as well as the croissants at United Bakeries, which would be the theme of my meals in Norway: good to very good, but nothing blew me away. Still, everything was very fresh, and tasty enough that I had no complaints.
Fram Museum and Viking Ship Museum next; the former was much more interesting, given they had not one, but two Arctic exploration ships inside, Gjoa and Fram, and an extensive history and collection of Arctic exploration. (hint: Arctic explorers were not only brave, some were definitely crazy, and there may have been more than a few fools...). The Viking Ship Museum was smaller and less elaborate, but they had three (!) ships on display in what was otherwise an unassuming space. Lots of other museums in Oslo for the museum-lovers, the Nobel museum right by the harbor was pointed out by the tour guide as worth a stop if time permitted (sadly I did not...).
Did a harbor cruise after to see all of the little islands dotting the fjord. Probably the most efficient way to see Oslo harbor, although not sure I'd do it again. They use a sailing ship but end up cruising on engines the whole time, and the tour audio is pre-recorded and a little hard to hear. Plus unless you're a serious history geek on Norwegian history, the details may elude you. Rememeber to grab a hot chocolate and a blanket if you get cold!
Wrapped up the night with dinner at Hos Thea, a French-Scandinavian restaurant that was among the most popular in Oslo. Swordfish ceviche was very interesting with coconut milk, and the crayfish ravioli reminded me of a won ton. Deer was very good and the selection of flavors in the cheese board was quite varied. Topped off with a nice selection of flavors in the chocolate, ice cream, and sorbet.