We were finally on our way on our "Western Europe" (which was originally a Baltic Sea) cruise. The first stop was Oslo. We passed this small, but cozy looking island as we pulled into port.
We'd booked a morning tour with the cruise line. Although crowded, as most excursions are, it was still a nice experience since most of the stops were in large wide open areas. The first stop was in Frognerparken, a park containing a number of Gustav Vigeland's sculptures. As it states in Wikipedia: Gustav Vigeland occupies a special position among Norwegian sculptors, both in the power of his creative imagination and in his productivity. Much of that creativity and productivity is on display in this park. Click the picture below to see more of the park.
Norway is really into winter sports as you might have noted if you've watched the Winter Olympics. Norway is one of top winners of gold medals at the olympics even though it only has a population of a bit over five million people[*]. The Holmenkollbakken ski jump and the stadium that is at the bottom of it and holds 70,000 people, illustrates Norway's commitment to winter sports.
Our final stop on the cruise ship excursion was at the Viking Ship Museum, which is run by the University of Oslo. It is the world's leading Viking museum.
Our ship excursion completed, we still had half a day to explore on our own. One of our favorite tours in the various cities we've visited is a food tour. The food tours, besides being interesting just because they provide a variety of new experiences, are also interesting due to their cultural and historical significance. Since there wasn't a food tour available in Oslo, Elizabeth had done quite a bit of research to find out which places we should visit.
Our first stop was at the Oslo Street Food. Although it may be back in full swing now, at the time it was still recovering from COVID shutdowns and many of the restaurants were closed. Disappointed, we moved on to the next stop.
Our next stop on our self guided food tour was at Godt Brød Grünerløkka. It far exceeded my expectations and more than made up for our first stop disappointment. As reviewed by Elizabeth:
This is a great place to start on tasting some of Norway’s best bread and snacks! The woman on the counter was so gracious and helpful in providing us with a small snack of the highly recommended Norwegian Brown Cheese with grain bread and a piece of sourdough bread with smoked salmon. It was one of the best and memorable food tasting we’ve ever had! Give it a try!
If you're like me, when you hear "brown cheese" you have an immediate negative reaction. But it's really quite delicious. The taste is sweet and caramel tasting. Technically it's not a cheese as it is made from the whey byproducts from making cheese. If you're ever in Oslo, Godt Brød Grünerløkka is a must see (and taste) stop.
Our next stop was at Syverkiosken hotdog stand. Although highly rated on Google, we weren't that impressed. Maybe because I had just a plain hotdog with mustard on a bun. There are some wilder combinations available such as crispy onions and jalapeno which definitely would have spiced it up a bit.
The last stop on our self guided food tour was at Den Glade Gris, The Happy Pig. As you might guess, although there are some non-pork dishes, this restaurant specializes in pork. Some, such as the Langgrillet Svineknoke, a grilled pork knuckle, is slow grilled for at least 5 hours. It's not always available, but if you're there and it's available it's a must try.
The beer menu was also outstanding! See the photo album for a complete menu and beer list as well as pictures of some appetizers.
Stuffed from the great food at Den Glade Gris, we casually made our way back to port. Luckily we didn't have to go too far out of the way to get this picture of the Royal Palace.
The end to another great day! An extensive morning tour followed by our own self guided food tour in the afternoon. It almost seemed like we spent two days in Oslo. It was a great city to visit and I hope to visit it again. This time longer.