Tag Archives: Oslo

Three Years in Norway?!?!

On February 1, 2013, four weary travelers arrived in Oslo. Tired, jet lagged, and quite overwhelmed, yet relieved to have made it. And ready for whatever was to come.Well, we thought we were ready. What was to come was a lot. Ups and downs. Good days and frustrating ones. But through it all, we’ve come to love living here.

Happy Three Year Anniversary to us!

Then
Now

Kaffetur 18 / Coffee Tour #18: Stockfleths, Oslo

With 10 locations scattered all over the city, Stockfleths is a bit of an Oslo institution. While my niece was here in June, we stopped by their largest location on Prinsensgate for a morning coffee.

Once we managed our way around the construction outside, we walked into a clean and well-lit cafe. Not especially unique in its design, but appealing and comfortable all the same.

 

Stockfleths has been around since 1895. They are easy to find throughout the city. With a nice selection of coffee, as well as tea, pastries and sandwiches, it it a good choice for breakfast, lunch, or a coffee break.

We were on our way to the airport and a bit short on time, so we opted for their daily coffee. It was a nice medium roast with a good, smooth flavor, although I felt it was served too hot. That’s the drawback of getting the daily coffee, I guess!

The Prinsensgate location is two stories, and the downstairs also has a room for holding coffee classes.

A little taste of America

Daniel’s passport is set to expire early next year. And since it is recommended that you not travel with less than 6 months remaining on your passport, we thought we should probably tackle the job before school starts back.So off we went to Oslo to visit the U.S. Embassy.

It was our first time since moving here. Everyone there was extremely friendly, and the process itself went smoothly. We even had a sports celebrity sighting (no name dropping – but there is a Norwegian who plays in the NHL).

While sitting in the waiting room, we discovered the vending machine. And it was like its own little corner of America.

Diet Coke, Root Beer. Starburst. Cheetos. Oreos. Gatorade. And more.

I think we were all drooling.

But the saddest part of the situation wasn’t that I had left my wallet in the security screening room. I would have gladly gone back and begged to grab some coins out of my bag. No, the torturous moment was when we discovered the note on the machine…

Out of Order

Sorry, no photos from the embassy or the machine – again, we had to leave everything in security. But trust me when I say that it seemed like a very cruel joke.

After our appointment, we walked around the city a bit and explored the
fortress/festning for the first time. What a cool area!

 

Kaffetur 13 / Coffee Tour #13: Fuglen, Oslo

Kaffekos. (Kaffe = coffee. Kos comes from the Norwegian word koselig. You can read about it HERE)
For me, kaffekos is a critical factor, and a single word that describes the whole coffee experience.
It’s the perfect combination of excellent coffee and an atmosphere where you’re able to sit, relax, and really enjoy your drink. No feeling of being rushed, but plenty to see while you sit and sip.

 

A couple of years ago, a friend introduced us to his favorite shop in Oslo. And so began our courtship with Fuglen (The Bird) in Oslo.
Seriously, the place looks like a set straight from Mad Men. And if you like what you see, you can do more than just envy its retro-chic styling. Everything from the furniture to the lamps is available for purchase.
After having an amazing cup of coffee, stop by their shop a couple of doors down and tell them what you’d like. And if you’re tight on luggage space, order online and have it shipped.

Fuglen has kaffekos. It is kaffekos.

 

The shop got its start back in 1963. And taking a look around the place, one might notice that the decor pays homage to the cafe’s 60’s roots. In fact, I always half expect to find  Don Draper lounging on one of the sofas.
Yes, the styling of Fuglen is cool. But that isn’t what keeps us coming back.
As you would expect, Fuglen’s baristas typically hit the hipster image on all cylinders. And yet, while their plaid shirts, wayfarer frames and perfectly tailored beards are iconic, they aren’t so overpowering that you miss out on their exceptional coffee knowledge.
Yeah, these folks know their stuff.
And it’s not just their knowledge and friendliness that makes this a frequent stop for us. It all comes down to the coffee they serve. Excellent equipment, proven expertise, and only the best beans.
If you see it on the shelf, you can try it in your cup. We typically choose something from Tim Wendelboe or Drop Coffee. On my last visit, I enjoyed Tim’s Nano Challa Heirloom. Incredible.
Don’t let the light color fool you. This was not at all weak. It was one of the smoothest and most flavorful cups I’ve had in quite a while.
But no matter what you order – pour over, espresso, coffee drink, or cocktail – you can expect a memorable drink and a memorable experience.
Yes, when we first stepped into Fuglen, we definitely found our Oslo dose of kaffekos.
Fuglen has cafe locations in Oslo, Tokyo, and New York.
For more info, check out Fuglen online. If you are in Oslo, this is our number one recommendation for the perfect combination of cool atmosphere and quality coffee.

The Graduate: a European Tour

Two weeks came and went, and before I knew it, I was driving my niece back to the airport.

 

Anna made her way back to the states on Wednesday. Based on my own experience and the occasional iMessages we exchanged, it was one of those days that seemed it would never end.

But now that she is back home, I want to take a little time to show a bit of what we were up to.

 

Her grandparents were gracious enough to help out with plane tickets and passport to get her here, and we really appreciate it.

 

And once here, we found some low-cost airfare so we could show her a few of our favorite places.

 

For the first week, we spent time in our city, as well as Tønsberg and Oslo. After that, she and I had another day in Oslo, before flying to Stockholm for a couple of days, and then to London for the weekend.

It was a great trip, and I look forward to sharing a bit more about it in the coming days.

 

One Day in Oslo

As I took the bus from the city center of Oslo out to Bygdøy, the island that is home to several well-known museums, I struck up a conversation with a lady from Florida. She was spending the day in the city, along with her husband, 13 year old son, younger daughter, and mother, as a brief stop on their European cruise. She asked what I considered the must-see spots if you only have a day in the city.

 

Ironic she would ask this, as I was doing just that: showing my niece my favorite spots in about 10 hours.
We purchased 24-hour transit passes, to help us make the most of our time. If you plan to use public more than twice in a 24-hour period, it makes sense to buy this pass.

 

From Oslo S, we took the 30 bus towards Bygdøy and got off at Vikingskiphuset. The bus stop is a 2 minute walk to the Viking Ship Museum entrance.
This is my favorite museum. Not overly large, but really cool. One of the ships was originally discovered in our city, Sandefjord, and another discovered in our neighboring town on Tønsberg.
We took the bus back towards the city. We exited at Aker Brygge and walked over to Karl Johans Gate.
Lunch was at Deli de Luca. With locations all over the city, I really love this place. I have yet to order anything I didn’t enjoy. Sandwiches, calzone, wraps, salad, dessert, ice cream, drinks, coffee. And I especially like the Karl Johans location. Indoor and outdoor seating, just across from parliament, and great people watching!
After lunch, we took the trolley to Frogner Park and the Vigeland sculptures. Also known by many as ‘the naked statue park’. The statue exhibition is extensive and impressive. There are almost always bus loads of tourists milling about. In the summer, the massive green space plays host to hundreds of carefree locals and tourists, enjoying the sun, a picnic, biking and exercise. Anna and I took time to explore more of the park than I ever have before. And even so, I still have much left to discover on future visits
We took the trolley back to Aker Brygge, where we walked around a bit, took some photos of the fortress, and then stopped at Espresso House for a cold coffee (it was really warm in Oslo today!!).

 

We checked into our hotel (CityBox Oslo is a great budget-friendly, no frills hotel in the city center), and then set out for another stop. A critical stop, in fact, in my quick must-see Oslo tour. Fuglen is our favorite cafe in Oslo. I will be writing about it on the coffee tour soon, but suffice it to say that it is on the top of our cafe list!

 

After coffee, and some really bad walking navigation on my part, we grabbed a pizza at Dolly Dimple’s. From there, we walked to the palace for a few photos, and then strolled the full stretch back down Karl Johan’s.

 

We finished up the evening walking up to the top of the Opera House.

 

If you have more time, I can recommend quite a few other top spots. But this tour seemed just right for us: we managed to squeeze in some shopping here and there, and never felt really rushed. We had a great day!

Kaffetur 7 / Coffee Tour #7: Tim Wendelboe, Oslo

If this blog series were a countdown to the best of the best coffee shops, I would likely have to save this for #1. Or at the very least, in the top five.

But as I am attempting to skip around and mix things up a bit, and because I’m not one to keep a secret, I must tell you about some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.

I’ve mentioned Grünerløkka before. Artsy, trendy, urban, hip… okay it is actually way too cool a place for me to be. But call us rebels, because despite lacking our cool-kid cards, we tend to hang out there most anytime we are in Oslo.

In the midst of pricey secondhand stores (did you know that the word vintage instead of used means you can charge more money), trendy restaurants, sidewalk cafes, parks and über-cool boutiques sits Tim Wendelboe.

Tim is, at least in our humble opinion, one of the Coffee Kings.

The coffee is carefully selected. Tim travels often to find the best beans from select farms. It is roasted in-house. And when I say in-house, I mean in a quite small shop sitting on a corner in our favorite neighborhood.

Don’t go in expecting to find ample seating, as there are only a few seats.

Don’t look for an old school coffee machine, because you won’t find one.

And I personally would not recommend Tim’s for those who like a little coffee with their milk and sugar.

But if you are a coffee purist, I highly recommend a visit.

 

For more information, visit https://timwendelboe.no

Oslo in Spring

No matter how many times we find ourselves in Oslo, we are always finding new areas and new things. And no matter how many times we go, I always enjoy going back.

Oslo is especially lovely when the sun is shining and the flowers are in bloom. And that is exactly how we found it when we there about a week ago.

It was a perfect day for walking around the city, with coffee in hand and friends by our side.

And that is exactly what we did. Once we arrived in town, we kept our distance from public transportation and just enjoyed the city on foot.

I loved seeing all the colors, both in decor, and in nature.

 

 

 

 

As is always the case in Norway, when the sun comes out, the people come out.

And Karl Johans Gate, the main pedestrian street in Oslo, was certainly bustling with people and activity.

It was another fantastic day in the capital city!

 

 

 

Kaffetur 2 / Coffee Tour #2: Solberg & Hansen

Those that visit our city typically end up taking home a bag of Sandefjords Blanding (Sandefjord’s blend) coffee, purchased at a shop downtown. And that coffee is actually roasted by a company based in Oslo. That company, Solberg & Hansen, recently opened a concept shop in Mathallen, in one of our favorite areas of Oslo.

How can I describe Mathallen? As I’ve mentioned before, mat is the Norwegian word for food, so the name translates to The Food Hall. Located on the river in an area that was formerly comprised of factories and mills, Mathallen sits on the edge of Grünerløkka, home and play place of all of Oslo’s cool kids.

To call Mathallen a food court seems a bit unfair, because it is so much more than that. In this massive warehouse-style shrine to gourmet delicacies and discriminating palates, you can buy superior cuts of meat and hard-to-find cheeses, grab lunch from one of the varied counter-service shops, or sit down and relax with friends for a drink or a meal. Weekends also include cooking demonstrations and delicious samples.

You can also take a break and enjoy a fine hand-brew at Solberg & Hansen. Their new concept shop offers coffee, tea, retail sales, and even some courses and cupping.

We have always been pleased with their coffee when we’ve bought it here in Sandefjord. So we were anxious to see what they had to offer at Mathallen.

They have a nice variety of beans available for purchase, and the styling and presentation at their pour-over bar is impressive.

The overall feel of the space is nice. The relaxed pace certainly fits the brewing technique, but seems to stand in contrast to the loud environment where it sits.

If you find yourself in the Vulkan or Grünerløkka neighborhoods of Oslo, we highly recommend a stop at Mathallen. And while you’re there, why not take the time to check out Solberg & Hansen as well?