Before leaving for Norway, I was painfully aware that it was an expensive city but I was only there for an extended weekend so this little fact wasn’t going to bother me too much. After all, the flight had cost us next to nothing and in my books, that was enough to make up for slightly more expensive everything else. From the moment I landed in Oslo, the trip started off on the right foot. I had managed to ditch my stalker from the flight (long story that’s just not worth going into) and was moments away from reuniting my Aussie travel buddy as I scarfed down a rather pricey fast food dinner. After picking up some random supplies and having a rather odd conversation with a local that befriended us, we were off to figure out what kind of trouble 2 girls could get themselves into over the next couple of days.
Even though the main reason for Oslo was the toboggan run, we decided that we should start off our trip by exploring the city and all it had to offer. After a bit of a struggle, we finally located the tourist information centre to purchase our 48 hour Oslo pass. This pass gives us free admission to museums, winter walks, transit, with a host of discounts on food and other activities. The one surprising thing about the Oslo pass is that it’s based on the honesty policy where the pass doesn’t become active until you date it yourself. If questioned, I will refuse to declare whether or not my pass remains dateless to this day. Regardless of this one little fact , we had decided that we’d kick-start the use of our passes by participating in one of the winter walks that was happening later that evening. Until that time, we figured we could walk around (truth be told, it was more like slipping and sliding) and check out all the other tourist things to do. Sadly, for some odd reason, this translated to an extended but amazing lunch at the Opera House and a few hot chocolate breaks to warm up from the cold before making our way to the National Gallery to do the winter walk covering Munch’s painting.
As we saw the group gathering in the lobby, it became very apparent that we were going to be the youngsters on this tour but the brochure advertised a free hot drink at the end so we were sold! What wasn’t to love – we would get a custom tour of the National Gallery and learn about what Munch did besides The Scream and all that would be topped off with a tasty beverage. What we weren’t aware of at this time was the fun teacher turned tour guide in charge was out to put us in our place. She was strict, expected complete silence, and kept eyeballing the two of us like we were about to steal something from in the National Gallery. If there such a thing as a fun killer, she would be it! She had a script and was hell-bent on sticking to it. No questions could be asked without her making some sort of remark about us being tourists and she wasn’t going to elaborate on the stories that were of interest to the people taking the tour. This was a dictatorship and from the moment it started, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
We tried to give her a chance but 10 minutes into the tour, we knew we had no choice but to cut our losses and run. Even the hot drink at the end wasn’t going to be worth spending 2 hours with this lady. As quickly as possible, we slipped to the back of the group and out the closest exit. In hindsight, our exit was so quick that it was hard to know if the tour picked up at all or not but at the end of the day life is too short to waste. We managed to pull together our own quick tour of the museum before exiting into the frigid cold temperatures that make up a beautiful winter’s night in Oslo.