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    Oslo, Norway
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    Travel, Literature, Food, Wine, Craft Beer
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kaisatsu's Achievements

Cool Cruiser

Cool Cruiser (2/15)

  1. Definitely have some light layers that you can wear alone. The temperature varies a lot during the day. This week it has been 16°C (61°F) when I leave for work and 27°C (80°F) when I come home. The sun is hot, but as soon as there’s a breeze or some cloud cover, the temperature drops. If it’s partly cloudy, I nearly always carry an extra layer to add and remove. That said, when it’s sunny and hot for a long period, it can be very uncomfortable since many places aren’t built for the heat. Luckily for you, there are some mixed forecasts of rain coming this weekend, so temperatures could be a lot lower next week.
  2. If you’re looking for landings in Antarctica, you’ll need to be on a smaller ship with less than 500 passengers. If you want to land more than once per day, that goes down to 250. And if you want as much time ashore as possible, the closer to 100 passengers the better. I’ve traveled with Hurtigruten, G Expeditions, and Oceanwide and would recommend any of them. Quark and Lindblad also have long histories and good reputations. Expedition cruises (those with landings) usually depart from Ushuaia or Punta Arenas. Some companies include a charter flight from a larger city (typically Buenos Aires). If you’re looking to combine Antarctica with more of South America, you would need to look at the first or last trip of the season or book them separately. Large-ship cruises that include Antarctica on a South America sailing will not include landings, and the only option (if any) would be an expensive and very weather-dependent flight excursion from Chile that carries people down to a short stop in the South Shetlands and back.
  3. Just had this conversation with a friend out on the islands, and as someone particularly attractive to mosquitos she encounters them in the city center. So if you’re particularly prone, you might want to be prepared. But you can always just buy some locally if it turns out to be a problem.
  4. Depends a lot on what you’re doing. If you’ll be hiking in the forests around Oslo, it’s worth having on hand. Within the city center and in breezy coastal areas it’s not usually needed.
  5. There is no single must-see in Oslo, and it very much depends on your tastes. • Vigelands sculpture park often makes it onto people’s top suggestions. It is an astonishing collection of sculptures celebrating the human form through all walks of life. If it’s a concern, be aware that they are all nude (to preserve their timelessness and to focus on the human form itself). • The Norwegian Folk Museum is an open-air park with historic buildings relocated from all over Norway. If you are only visiting Oslo, this is a chance to see more of the architecture from around the country, including an iconic wooden stave church. There are also re-enactors demonstrating traditional activities and displays about the country’s cultural history. • The Fram Museum is often a surprise favorite of visitors. It’s not as famous as many others, but it is an interesting museum about Norwegian polar exploration and houses Fran, the ship Amundsen used on his expedition to first reach the South Pole. The ship is open for visitors to explore inside. • If you prefer a scenic view, take the T-bane (subway) up to Holmenkollen, where you can visit the Holmenkollen ski jump (and its small ski museum) and admire the view from the top of the jump tower. If you’re looking for adrenaline, book a ride on the zip line down the ski jump. • For modern architecture, or just to experience a unique public space, take a stroll up the roof of the Opera House. The building is constructed with a gentle slope that lets visitors walk right up to the roof for a view over the Oslofjord and a dose of Vitamin D on sunny days. If you’re especially keen on modern architecture, also stop in to the Deichmanske central library across the street. It’s an interesting place to explore with a large waterfront view seating area and the Library of the Future project. • The Viking ship museum is unfortunately still closed for renovations and restoration. It is the home of the iconic Viking burial ships. • If you want to see Munch’s famous painting The Scream, I generally recommend the National Museum over the Much Museum. There are multiple versions of the work, and each has one of the three painted varieties (the third is owned privately). At the Munch Museum, they exhibit the painting, a drawing, and a lithograph in a rotating display that automatically exposes them one at a time throughout the day. If you really want to see one of the paintings, the one at the National Museum is always on display, along with a small collection of Munch’s other works and several pieces by other Norwegian artists.
  6. I would choose the 17 May for the variety. You still get two popular fjord ports, but Bergen is a wonderful port to explore and Ålesund brings another different flavor with its art deco architecture. I like Flåm, and the train is a fun trip even though you don’t get much fjord scenery, but I wouldn’t trade the other ports on the 17 May itinerary for it. Especially since it’s also easily accessible on a land trip (You can connect to the Flåmsbana from the main rail line between Oslo and Bergen).
  7. Coming from the airport, you can just swipe a credit card at the ticket gate and choose your destination on the built-in screen. However, I think you might need a card per passenger in that case. If that’s not an option I’d just use the ticket machines to buy the ticket. You can also take the regular Vy trains into the city, since they take essentially the same amount of time and are considerably cheaper. They depart from a different track that doesn’t have a ticket gate, so you just buy tickets from the Vy machines instead (if you don’t want to use the Ruter app). The disadvantage is that there are only three trains per hour, and they don’t run as early and late as the Flytoget. We usually wait u til we arrive and look at the departure board to decide which service to use. I’m both cases, you take your luggage with you on board. There are some storage areas in certain parts of the carriage. The information about printing luggage tags is for departing passengers. They can print the luggage tag for their flight en route to the airport instead of using the check-in kiosks at the terminal. As for the walk, it is relatively flat with decent pavement. Upon arrival at the Oslo S train station, once you leave the platform, from the central station hall in front of the departures board, continue on in the same direction away from the tracks to reach the main exit. There’s a plaza of cobblestones, but there is a flat sidewalk around the outside if you have wheeled luggage. Cross the tram tracks and turn left (on Fred Olsens gate). After you pass the stock exchange (light colored building alone in a fenced block) you’ll need to make a right on Rådhusgata and then a left on Skippergata to reach the hotel.
  8. The farm caters to tourists with a small cafe, and it is assumed that visitors would not do anything to intentionally bother the animals.
  9. If you don’t mind a slightly different angle, you can avoid the crowds and the roads by hiking up to Vesteråsfjellet. There’s a nice but moderate-level trail that departs from behind the Hotel Union and heads up to Vesterås Farm. From there, there’s an easy walk along a farm road to the overlook. The local trail map is available online: http://www.geirangerfjord.no/upload/pdf/TurKart.pdf
  10. I live in Norway and haven’t used any cash here for over five years. Even for purchases under 10 NOK. Cash is mostly a hassle or a novelty.
  11. There are nearly a dozen countries with ports in this area, and they all have their own alcohol laws. it could be good to narrow the scope a bit if you’re looking at specific locations. If you’re asking specifically about drinking on the ship while it’s in port, I can’t recall any restrictions mentioned here. Norway has laws that limit alcohol serving before noon, but I’ve never tested this while I was on a cruise. I’m usually off the ship while it’s in port and not much of a morning drinker.
  12. Do you have questions about a particular port? If you just want to acknowledge the countdown, there is a post for this cruise on the roll call forum:
  13. You’ll check in at Filipstadkaia, but there isn’t really a terminal. All the times I’ve cruised out of Oslo, they just set up a large tent to handle check in.
  14. A large part of this restriction is to prevent cross-site contamination. If bird flu makes it to one site (most likely through natural processes, independent of human visitors), it is important to keep it limited to that site rather than spreading it among colonies. There is not a lot of natural interaction between colonies at different sites, but humans tend to visit several of the same locations, thus becoming a much more likely source of cross-site contamination. IAATO has a difficult job of balancing environmental protection with realistic logistics, and this is what they have come up with. It is not up to a single operator alone, so if you disagree with the approach, it’s best to take it up with IAATO directly. Honestly, I disagree with any marketing that claims an Antarctic expedition is accessible to anyone. It can be difficult to climb in and out of the zodiacs in deep water or moderate swell. Since I’m on the shorter side of average, I remember struggling a few times even when I was barely over the age of 30 and reasonably fit. Of course people can opt to skip landings in difficult conditions, but the ship itself can still be dangerous in rough seas. On my last trip, we had so much movement that the desk chair was thrown from one side of the cabin to another. It was not surprising that someone broke an arm when she lost her grip on a railing (the doctor fashioned a sling for her to use for the next ten days). Additionally, the extremely remote location carries a very high risk, and we are seeing more and more trips disrupted when a medical emergency forces the ship to return to civilization before schedule. It has long been standard practice to require a doctor-signed medical certification, but this hasn’t stopped people from taking on considerable risk to themselves to make the trip, potentially jeopardizing it for their shipmates as well. If standing for an hour is a prohibitive challenge, I would definitely not recommend an expedition cruise, because you’re taking a huge gamble that you won’t encounter more demanding situations.
  15. This. It is a new restriction that only just started in the most recent seasons. The regulations change all the time, and I have often run into outdated information online. For example, they stopped digging thermal bathing pools on a Deception Island around 15 years ago, but you’ll still see photos and mentions in content created by people who’ve never been (or haven’t been recently). I haven’t been down since 2020, but I don’t think this is the case even now. The potential side effects of aerosol treatments seem like they could be very problematic, especially with such frequent use. What has happened in the past is that all material that will go ashore at any point is inspected and carefully vacuumed to remove any seeds or other organic material that may be trapped in seams and fastenings. Before each landing, visitors step into a tub of disinfectant to treat their boots. Upon returning to the ship, all mud and guano is rinsed and scrubbed off and the boots are disinfected once more. The restriction on sitting and setting things down precludes the need to find a way to safely disinfect everything, since only your boots will be in direct contact with the ecosystem. I have definitely experience some moments of quiet contemplation on the White Continent, and have even lay down in the snow at one point in the first trip to experience the environment through sound alone, so I had a bit of a negative reaction to this rule originally (also because I have low blood pressure and can get dizzy from standing too long). However, I’ve been down enough times over the years to see huge changes in the environment and understand firsthand the need to protect it. So my future quiet moments will be experienced standing.
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