20 hours in Oslo, 200 years of Norway: Smashed by stunning Scandinavia.

I have attended a spontaneous “Fiddle Happening” on the roof of the Oslo Opera House in Norway. From only 50 meters away, I saw the royal Crown Princess Mette-Marit, her Crown Prince Haakon and his parents, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, smiling and waving. Visiting the world-famous ski jump “Holmenkollen“, I was thrown myself. Oslo, the Norwegian capital located on the picturesque Oslofjorden, has really left an impression on me – in less than 24 hours. How come this is possible?

“What is it you want to see in Oslo? ”

On board our #PDRBSchiff, a ferry cruise line run by the DFDSSeaways complete with our team of international travel bloggers on a cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo, we are welcomed by Charlotte & Eva of the “Visit Oslo” tourist board with a wink. This, we note, is a common sight among all the people we meet here: “Hy hy”, is the jovial welcome around town, which makes us feel welcome immediately. As I take a look down the ferry at the modern and internationally renowned opera house in Oslo, I start to become somewhat fidgety: For many years now, I have been fascinated by the unique architecture of this particular place. Getting this close, I almost want to leap off board to finally see it up close. As I ponder this, I hear Charlotte saying:


“Tomorrow is National Day in Oslo: Norway celebrates 200 years of independence from Denmark! Contrary to the military performances you might know, you will see: This day is actually a celebration of our children!”


Exciting! All the emotions around the “Day of the Norwegians” really get to me. It all started in a very laid-back way, though.


The “Visit Oslo Pass” opens as an app on my iPhone, public transportation & entrance fees via QR Scanner included.

Perfectly easy, I’d say. Indeed, the Oslo Pass to navigate around town is now also available on our smart phones: The app is free to download, the rate of the pass may be selected according to 24, 48 or 72 hours in Oslo and purchased online. My friend Gudrun Krinzinger & I therefore start our 20 hours in Oslo with an easy check-in at the centrally located Comfort Hotel Grand Central. From there, it is only a short walk of three minutes to the Oslo Opera House: Fiiiiiinally, we are there!

Due to its unique design, the Oslo Opera House is actually accessible from all sides: Architecture that celebrates diversity and uniqueness. Once we have climbed the immense sloping roof and have literally walked all over the opera building, our enthusiasm does not stop there. Here, the National Festive Day of the Norwegian children has already begun. One day ahead of Norway’s National Day celebrations, we find children breakdancing, doing modern dance & a polyphonic, spontaneous open-air concert of violin teachers and their young students on the roof of the Opera building. What a fascinating show! Gudrun and I have become quiet, as less words are needed to render such powerful emotions. Also, the proverbial “nervous index finger” on the trigger of our cameras finally comes to rest after the first few brilliant shots.

Oslo easily puts us under its spell – and this within only a short time.

Ankommen und aufleben: Möwen, Gudrun & ich beim Anflug auf das wunderschöne Oslo Opera House ...

Arrive to relax: Seagulls, Gudrun and I on our way to the Oslo Opera House …


... schon von weitem ist das Gebäude mit seiner modernen Architektur von unserem DFDS Seaways Fährschiff bei der Ankunft im Hafen von Oslo gut zu erkennen.

… even from far away, Oslo Opera House can easily be spotted, especially from the DFDSSeaways cruise ship we are on as we enter the harbour of Oslo.


Die Innenarchitektur des Opernhauses alleine ist schon gewaltig: Was für ein zauberhafter, gigantischer und schön lichtdurchfluteter Raum.

What a large, beautiful and light-flooded space the inside of the Opera House in Oslo provides. Love the view in here, as we finally arrive!


Hier begegnen uns die ersten, entspannten Besucher & Einheimische Oslos ...

One of the first perfect days of spring, visitors and locals greet us in a relaxed way atop Oslo’s Opera House …


... zu Fuß oder auf dem Rad, denn auch so lässt sich die Oper gut "erfahren". :D

… even cycling up the roof, as we can see here. 😀


Oben angekommen, begeistert uns diese junge Gruppe talentierter Musiker: Das "Geigen-Happening" umfasst mehrere Stücke, einen Art "Eintanz", Capoeira-artige Tanzeinlagen und großartige Darbietungen mehrerer Schüler- und Lehrergruppen gleichzeitig. Frei zugänglich. Einfach so. Just for fun. Wir LIEBEN es.!

Having arrived at the top, we suddenly find ourselves immersed in this wonderful “Fiddle Happening”, a concert of violins performed by young students and their teachers on the roof of the Oslo Opera House. A very unique travelling experience it is, and one that “just happened” to us out of the blue!


Und nicht nur wir: Auch bzw. gerade die Einheimischen sind gekommen, um mit uns zu feiern. Für ihren 200. Nationalfeiertag steht die ganze Stadt bereits in den Startlöchern ...

And not only we have come to enjoy and celebrate: Norwegian ladies have come to gather and chat ahead of the nation’s national parade wearing traditional costumes …


... während Reisebloggerin Janett & ich uns beim abendlichen Spaziergang (bis weit nach 22.00 Uhr ist es hier während der Sommermonate noch hell!) uns am aufblühenden Fliederduft erfreuen.

… while my travel blogging friend Janett and I enjoy taking a late evening stroll around town, delighting in the fresh scent of the syringa trees that have only started blossoming here. Beautiful!


But it does not stop there. The following day, we find ourselves waving at King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon & Crown Princess Mette-Marit from only 50 metres distance. Norway’s 200th National Day has begun!

What would you do when you have less than 24 hours to visit a new city? Squeeze through the crowds, risk not to see much and get sore feet from standing all day long? Chances are you won’t. At first, we too were skeptical, but Charlotte from Visit Oslo had really made a point of attending the grand parade on the occasion of 200 years of independence of Norway from the Danes. Should we really go there?

The answer was as easy as it was obvious: Yes, we should. Because after all, Norwegians are just so perfectly RELAXED – even or especially on their big day! No sooner had Gudrun and I left the house that we had already become a part of the national elation, literally pulled by the crowds towards the Royal Palace with such ease that we just had to follow, mesmerised. National Day celebrations to me carried an image of military parades, roadblocks and stressed parents with their children. Not in Norway. Here, the children are centre-stage to the entire festivities, a radiant community of swinging flags, singing songs & colourful dances that make everyone around brim with emotion and joy. How very “clever” to have less of the military and more of the children’s purest emotions on display, I find. And again, the second time in our 20 hours in Oslo, Gudrun and I have become quiet with happiness, right here in the middle of a celebrating crowd that to us is our impression of the Norwegian people. Beautiful.

Schon früh am Morgen, ein Bild für Götter: Norwegische Fernsehmoderatorin in Tracht am Nationalfeiertag des 17. Mai 2014.

Early in the morning, we start our impressions of Norway’s national day by meeting this young lady, a national TV presenter wearing her traditional 17 May costume.


Die Daddies hier in Norwegen sind allesamt recht entspannt, ist heute doch ein großer Familientag ...

Norwegian Daddies seem to be pretty relaxed about it all, as it really is a day of children and families …


... da kann nicht mal der Anblick der Menschenmenge auf der Paradestraße zum Königsschloss in Oslo aus der Ruhe bringen.

… not even a look over the crowds leading up and gathering in front of the Royal Palace stresses anyone out around here.


Wenig später schon begegnet uns das unfassbare Glück, in erster Reihe mit all den internationalen Kamerateams und Fotografen ...

Just a little later, and thanks to Charlotte’s tip, we are front line with all the international TV stations and cameras not able to believe how lucky we are …


... den Blick auf diese liebenswerte Königsfamilie zu gewinnen: Links die Kinder Marius und Aleksandra, Kronprinzessin Mette-Marit und ihr Mann Kronprinz Haakon sowie rechts Königin Sonja und König Harald von Norwegen.

… to catch such a close-up glimpse of this charming Royal Family: From left to right are the children Marius and Aleksandra, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and her husband Crown Prince Haakon as well as Queen Sonja and King Harald of Norway.


Fast fühlt es sich so an, als könnten wir ihnen persönlich die Hand schütteln, so nah sind Gudrun & ich an der sympathisch wirkenden Königsfamilie Norwegens dran. Einmal mehr gibt es Gänsehaut ...

Goose bumps spread across our forearms, as it finally hits us that we are THAT close to such a unique moment in our lives. Gudrun and I are just happy to be here …


... vor allem als wir den Enthusiasmus dieser Menge live miterleben.

… especially as we get to see and understand what Norway is all about: Here is the country celebrating its diversity – and its children.


Und wieder ...

And again …


... und wieder: Parade vor dem Königsschloss in Oslo.

… and again: The parade in front of the Royal Palace Balcony is led by groups from schools all over Oslo and their teachers.


Ein Meer aus Tulpen bildet den Abschied "unserer" Parade: Was für eine Zeit hier in Oslo!

Tulips greet us on our way out of the Parade: What a day here in Oslo, Norway!


Still spellbound by the impressions of the Royal Norwegian Family and their apparent popularity (the continuous cries of children & adults ” Hipp Hipp Hurrah … ! Hipp Hipp … Hurrah! ” still ring in my ear), Gudrun and I now opt for a little more rest & recreation out in the countryside. Oslo’s subway, which runs underground only in the city centre and otherwise overground, reminding us more of a beautiful tourist excursion train, takes us all the way out to Holmenkollen, Oslo’s famous ski jump and lookout tower over the city and the Oslo fjord. On the way, we see many happy children in costume dresses who like us have left the National Parade in central Oslo. Beautiful women there are, too, in their colourful embroidered robes, with eyes calm and firm and yet so very friendly. I feel just comfortable here, and by now completely enchanted. Our enthusiasm for the people of Norway is completed by even more enthusiasm for spectacular views & nature out here in the far north of Europe. From the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, the green city of Oslo looks more like a forest with buildings inside, not to mention all of the surrounding natural landscape of Scandinavia and the extensive Oslofjord to the south of the capital city. I want to return back to Scandinavia already to explore more.

Now !!! 😀

Der Blick von der Schisprungschanze Holmenkollen etwas überhalb der Stadt Oslo verrät: Atemberaubend schön ist es hier (ja, hier darf und möchte ich dies abgedroschene Wort benutzen).

View from the Holmekollen Ski Jump over the city of Oslo and the mighty Oslofjorden in the distance.


Die Architektur der Schanze ist wie das Oslo Opera House schon alleine einen Besuch wert ...

The modern architecture of the ski jump is worth the visit in itself, just as its cousin at the Oslo Opera House downtown …


... gleich dahinter beginnt die grüne Natur Norwegens mit ihren für uns Mitteleuropäer so typisch skandinavisch anmutenden, bunten Holzhäuschen.

… and if you turn around to look from its top, this is the view you get: Typical Norwegian countryside that has this immensely pretty look to us Central Europeans.


Mehr davon gibt es auch hier zu sehen: Blick über einen Stadtteil von Oslo sowie den dahinterliegenden Oslofjorden.

You can also see more here, a part of the green city of Oslo and its Oslofjorden in the back.


Leider heißt es schon kurz darauf mit dem DFDS Seaways Fährschiff schon wieder Abschied nehmen Richtung Kopenhagen ...

Unfortunately though, we have to board our DFDS Seaways ferry cruise again and bid the city farewell …


... doch wir kommen ja schon bald wieder, nicht wahr, liebe Gudrun & liebe Norweger? Sodenn Ihr uns wieder so fröhlich und herzlich begrüßen möget. DANKE für solch segensreiche Gastfreundschaft in Norwegen!

… but we are in for coming back soon: Thank you so much to all the Norwegian people who made our stay in Oslo in less than 24 hours such a wonderful and memorable experience! We LOVED every single part of it!


Check out my entire Flickr Travel Photo Gallery from Oslo here:

Thank you so much DFDS Seaways for hosting us on the ferry cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo & back, and the team of VisitOslo to support our visit of Oslo with the OsloPass. All opinions are my own.

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