I went to Oslo last weekend.
It was my second solo trip, and this time I have travel medicine to take. On the way there it made me frightfully tired, and I would fall asleep, then wake up terrified and panting. But no vomitting, so that was nice.
It was cold and rainy, which actually I prefer. So that part was nice. It was not a long trip, so I tried to make the best of it, and the weather.
On the first day, I decided to take a long walk. I left in the morning, only eating a piece of bread with nutella, and half a banana. I first tried finding a pot so I could boil water, as most of the food I brought required such, and I had no cash for the deposit on the cooking supplies at the hostel. I found something suitable, for around 23 US dollars, and soon after, I gave up.
Oslo was very posh. At least in the center.
So, not wanting to take the bus or a taxi, I decided I would walk to the viking ship museum. This was only an hour and a half walk, according to google maps. Though, I am good at making things much longer. It was cold, raining for at least half the way, but it was fine. I quite liked it. For perhaps the first two hours.
I began at the harbor, because I like the sea at a city. They all have their distinct peace, their distinct stillness. They have their respective, languid mysteries, drifting beneath the surface. Sometimes you can smell salt, sometimes you can feel the chill breezes biting. Oslo’s waters were foggy. They were moody and mysterious, and seemed to echo something held long ago, just across from these countless fingers of glass and steel. My favorite part about being by any ocean though, is the smell of salt. I did not smell any salt that day.
I walked for a very, very long time. There were many points where I was lost, only aiming for a general direction. I was ready to give up. Though I was warm beneath my coat, the chill was getting to me. It set in my face, and I brought no gloves. No hat. I wandered and wandered, crossed through quiet neighborhoods and parks, over a highway. I walked through Tjuvholmen, which put me in a big circle, but I eventually found my way.
I passed through a marina, ready to give up, and managed to snag some wifi. I don’t know how. I realized I was much closer to the Museum than I thought, though it was still a long ways. I kept going. I went through a natural area, past pretty houses with green grass. And then I was finally fucking there.
When I got there, I was famished. It was nearly 14.00, and I last ate that pitiful meal around 09.00. Without thinking, cold and exhausted, I ordered a sandwich. I though I would order in Swedish, because why not, though I couldn’t quite understand what she said. First I had to tell her I wanted a different sandwich, and finally, I paid. It was incredibly expensive, but I thought, it is Oslo, a musuem cafe, oh well. I am hungry.
She takes out the sandwich, and puts it on a plate. Then there are three. I pay, and then look at the sandwiches. These, here, um, are these mine?
Yes, yes, you ordered three sandwiches.
Oh my. Well, I don’t know how, but something went very wrong, somewhere down the line. I apologized, she was nice, and gave me my money back. In cash. What could I do? Now I had 150 Norwegian kronor to spend before I left the next afternoon. Oh well. I brought food with me, and probably wouldn’t buy anything. Oh well.
I sat down, with my one sandwich, and one waterbottle, which did little to stave off the deepening dehydration. I already had a headache, but no time. It was time to eat.
I hadn’t really thought before I ordered, but the sandwich had a huge chunk of salmon, and an egg salad. I haven’t eaten meat in maybe, two months, and even then, it was very little. But all the same, I ate my one sandwich, and brooded in my, yet another, failure in the language I have worked so hard to learn and speak. But, maybe it was the four hour promenad, and the huge scope that one foot in front of the other can carry a single person across. Maybe it was the moody day that so suits me, maybe it was the overpriced sandwich talking. But I decided.
The world is bigger than three sandwiches.
This doesn’t entirely make a lot of sense, but it did in my dehydrated, famished, over walked mind. But accidentally ordering three sandwiches, is not a big deal. Learning a language is hard, and it is so much bigger than three sandwiches. A person is bigger than three sandwiches. Three sandwiches, is nothing. I am having trouble explaining this. But it had been reassuring. Saying something wrong, messing up in a language you are trying to learn, it’s ok. Sometimes we order three sandwiches, but they are just sandwiches, and you don’t need to beat yourself up about it. The world, you, ambitions, dreams, the mind, are all much bigger than three sandwiches.
So I finished eating my one sandwich, and realized I did not have much time left for the Folk Museum, and I was most definitely going to the Viking ship museum, because I had walked too fucking far that day not to go. Fuck it.
So I did my ‘museum power walk’. I first went to the open air museum, freshly refuelled, running through the exhibits. Hasty photos, but all was remarkable. The museum was practially empty, probably because most of it was closed, but it was gloomy and quiet and beautiful. There was this suspension, dripping from the grass roofs, hiding in the dark sleepiness that soaked in the logs. Shadows waited in the empty farmhouses, and outside rain would drip in an ancient rythm, of forests and a lives lived long ago. Yes, it was quite magical, this eerie emptiness.
I went very quickly through the indoor exhibit, strange dark mazes of lights and glass and mirrors, with some knick knacks here and there. I lost my sense of depth perception, and accidentally walked right in front of where a lady was looking, and then had to cirle back past them. Three sandwiches, more or less.
With that museum checked off the list, I went to the viking ship museum, which I nearly thought was closed. No, just renovations, free admission. Can’t spend my cash.
It was fantastic. Though my headache was getting worse, I still tried to look at everything. It wasn’t hard, the place isn’t very big. I have always loved viking ships. I don’t know. As a kid I went to this viking disney exhibit, and was convinced it was real, and there were still vikings rowing around in their wooden dragon boats.
And there I was, in the prescence of these massive creatures, that were replicas, of something that swam through those icy, salty seas. I was there, I was not, and it was wonderful. I bought two post cards.
Then I was certain to take the bus home. I was not walking the way back in the rapidly approaching dark, or light even. I would take the bus, and that was it. It turns out, you can only pay in cash on the bus. 50 fucking kronor. Three sandwiches, and it wasn’t so bad after all.
I made it home, and was ready to eat. I ate ramen, and probably four digestives with nutella. My head was pounding, and I was getting nauseous. I tossed and turned, and the lights stayed on. And then it was time, because I am not allowed on a trip without vomitting. The salmon, the nutella, the digestives. I can’t even look at them, think about them, without my stomach lurching. The bathroom was in the room, quiet, so I ran the sink while I wretched, so no one had to listen. If anyone heard, the said nothing. I slept fitfully that night, but woke up with no headache.
I spent the rest of my trip looking at a church, and reading in a cafe. Then I rushed off to my train, mostly because I had to pee, and didn’t remember to take my travel medicine before I was actually on the train. The way back was spent sleeping, less fitfully at least this time, and battling with myself not to vomit. I only had to go to the bathroom once, and only wretched. Then I was off to sleep in a lurching panic. It was a modest success.
Then on my last train back, for some reason my ticket was for not the next train, but the train after, so I waited an hour at the station. It was not so bad. I ate dinner, my traditional MAX after a long journey. Then it was over, I was home again, and now for damage control, reality, and beautiful insomnia.
Also, here are some pictures of snow, no in Oslo. There was snow for some days, and every time I looked out the window, I would be surprised. Why is it so white, jesus.
More stories to come? Maybe. Money is a shy creature, but I still have places left to go.