I NEEDED more time. Yes, I did. The visit to Oslo was too short, so was the visit to Copenhagen and Stockholm. To “thread through” the Scandinavia rather than “immerse in” is not just my thing, but given the limited time, I was left with no choice but just get a glimpse of these European cities. It was the last leg of my 30-day European sojourn, and yes, fatigue was setting in as well. I must admit I am not the man I used to be (read: I have aged!).

The 48 hours in Oslo may be short but fruitful. Des, friend, guide and host who made the city her second home, made sure I made it to my bucket listed spot and threw in several other attractions a first time tourist should see. I was her adopted child, where she went I followed. Look Ma, no map! Yep, it saved me the time deciphering the way and ride to where I needed to be in the city.

Oslo is beautiful, but the city was a bit too quiet for my taste. Was it the cold weather at my time of visit? Maybe. For one thing, I liked it that it wasn’t crowded in the city attractions I went to—the Munch Museum, Ekeberg Park, the Vigeland sculptural area in Frogen Park, the Oslo City Hall and the Opera House. As for the Metro, there was a station where it was devoid of traveling souls (kind of eerie, actually).

There were very few people mingling around the Royal Palace because it was closed on the day I went (ugh!) but the Royal Guard was kind enough to whisper a few words to Des saying it was okay to have a photo beside him. Thank you, kind sir.

I may have stayed in the city center but the area was devoid of the large crowd, again maybe it’s the time of year when tourists are a handful. I liked it that I didn’t have to wait in line to have a shot with that voluptuous woman around the corner. It’s a Fernando Botero, if you must know. The “Reclining Woman” in bronze represents the artist’s ground rule: “Art ought to be an exaggeration of reality, both in terms of size, shape and spirituality.” If I’m not mistaken the statue has been moved to the Ekebergparken.

Shopping? Oslo, or Norway generally, is not too friendly on the pocket. Des warned me about the place and I saw why. Food and shopping are more expensive in this place than in the other Scandinavian nations. A plate here can be equivalent to a feast in Copenhagen, that designer chair can buy two in Sweden. For everything else, Des confessed she has to wait for the sale season to score the good deals on the stuff she set her eyes on.

They say to see the true beauty of Norway you have to get out of the city. The mountains, fjords and seaside towns are breathtaking, I was told. This was the lure, the bait I will bite on. Norway is worth another visit, a longer one the next time.

Farvel Oslo, until the next visit!

*****

For more photos about this story and other travel stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ . For lifestyle stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/