Norway always seemed to me like one of those far far away countries you hear about, but never get to visit. Mystical and distant… the land of tall blondes. Then my younger sister Julie married a man of Norwegian descent and the chance to demystify this frozen land became a reality. By the way, the popular Disney film, Frozen, is based in Norway. And yes, my brother-in-law has blonde hair and blue eyes. My sister is, of course Korean and I can tell you first hand that the mix of Korean and Norwegian made a beautiful baby! Of course I am biased since I am the Auntie, but my nephew is beyond cute! While planning the trip to Norway I couldn’t help thinking, I can’t wait to show him off to all of the Norwegian family members who haven’t met him yet.
My son and I flew from New York to Oslo, where we spent one night. One warning about Norway, it’s so damn expensive. It gave this New Yorker sticker shock when I ordered 4 pieces of tapas which came to $35! A mediocre cheeseburger and fries will run you $28. So I took full advantage of the hotel’s free breakfast buffet and made sure I packed a salami sandwich and plenty of fruit for my son to snack on later.
Oslo is small, clean, and beautiful. On Day One, instead of choosing an expensive cab or Uber to get around, we took a tram to Vigeland Sculpture Park. Make sure to buy tram tickets at one of the Narvesen (bodega) prior to getting on. We had to run around a bit to figure this out and I was super annoyed that this otherwise efficient country didn’t figure out that it would be easier to sell tickets at the tram stations, not only at the bodegas. Vigeland is lush and has like million statues. Odin and I had fun running around, choosing our favorite ones and posing in front of them.
Then the jet lag hit us like a ton of bricks and we went back to hotel to rest up and take a mini disco nap. At this time of the year, Norway has 22 hours of sun light. When you add your jet lag to this mix, you just have zero clue what time it is since it’s light all the time. We went to the Opera house at 10:15PM with the intention of watching the sunset but in Norway, the sun doesn’t really set… it goes down in terms of dimness and comes right back up. I wondered if New York had this much sun light, what people would do. People are already such workaholics in New York it definitely would not be good for the city.
The next day, we just walked around and enjoyed the Mathallen area. It has a creative vibe, lots of murals and graffiti, giving it a cool artistic vibe. Also it has an amazing food hall with over 30 specialty shops, cafe and restaurants. And with one last meal, our time in Oslo was up. Alas, we never made to the Viking museum. When you travel with a kid, it’s important not to go over board. We were tired and just wanted to have breakfast and chill before heading to the airport.
I did manage to get a coffee from this famous place nearby Tim Wendelboe that won all these awards for coffee. Holy, these people are serious about their coffee. They only serve coffee (no pastries or nada) and won all these awards. After having their admittedly awesome coffee, we headed to the airport and travelled to the town of Molde. I was supposed to meet my sister’s family at the airport and there were no sign of them. Ahhh! The joy of traveling. I figured we would just get on the plane and see what happens, but her family just made it as the airplane door was closing.
Unfortunately Julie had an awful experience traveling with her child. She left her milk bottles in her refrigerator and forgot to pack them, thus my nephew ended up crying 7 hours of 10 hour flight. People were apparently losing it around him. The poor thing couldn’t sooth himself to sleep without the bottles. And did you know that airlines don’t stock milk? They don’t have milk for anybody. Just cream for coffee. She said she would have paid $1k for a milk bottle around hour 4. I suggested a checklist for my sister for the future but it really is just learning how to travel with your kid. Don’t give up though because it does get better as they grow older and used to it.
As we are landing in Molde, I could already see the fjords and snowy mountains. I was so excited to see what was laying ahead for us. Cue the song, “Let It Go” from Frozen…